UBRP Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Portait of Ahmed Badran

UBRP alumni have gone on to do amazing things around the globe! Here’s just what a few of them are doing now:

Ahmed H. Badran, PhD
Broad Fellow and Principal Investigator, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge MA

Ahmed is a ribosome bioengineer and recipient of the NIH Early Investigator Award.

Picture of Aanika Balaji jumping in the air to celebrate graduation

Aanika Balaji, MD, MPH
Internal medicine resident, Johns Hopkins Osler Medical Residency, Baltimore, MD

Aanika is about to graduate from the Johns Hopkins University school of medicine in May, is excited to start her internal medicine training at Hopkins, and hopes to eventually become a hematologist-oncologist. During medical school her research focused on immune-related adverse events from immune-checkpoint inhibitors used in cancer and has published 5 peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject. She enjoys running along the Baltimore harbor, eating local ice cream, and gardening in her free time.

Picture of Jordan Barrows at the lab bench

Jordan Barrows
Graduate Student, BCMB Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Jordan published his first first-author research paper (March 2020) and a review article (November 2020), and he is preparing to teach an elective undergraduate course on basic bacterial research within the next year. 

Picture of Jessie Brown in the laboratory

Jessie A. Brown, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY

Jessie is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Cancer Genetics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she is the inaugural Candy and William Raveis Fellow of the Damon Runyon-Sohn Foundation Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award.  She celebrated her wedding in March 2021 and has recently gotten into cycling to take advantage of New York City’s, somewhat quieter, lockdown streets. 

Picutre of Lindsey Chew and her dog, Taz.

Lindsey Chew
MD/PhD Candidate, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC

Lindsey is in her 3rd year of the MD/PhD program and studies visual neuroscience. Her research aims to understand retinal physiology and computation in the context of eye disease. After raising multiple guide dog puppies while at the UofA, she recently adopted her own resident pup Taz.

Portrait of Marc Engelsgjerd

Marc Engelsgjerd, MD
Senior Biotechnology Equity Research Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence, New York, NY

Marc joined Bloomberg in January 2020 after nearly nine years as a Senior Principal at inThought Research, a biopharma consulting firm. He is looking forward to running his 16th marathon at some point (fingers crossed for Berlin in September).

Portrait of Dana Floyd

Dana Floyd, MS
Research Technician, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

Dana has been working in a cardiovascular research lab since she graduated with her Master’s degree, where she studies how the overactivation of certain subsets of cardiac fibroblasts lead to a greater chance of developing hypertension and heart failure.  She got married in February of 2020, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs when she is not in the lab.

Picture of Rohith Jayaram

Rohith Jayaram, MS
Fermentation Associate, C16 Biosciences, New York, NY

After working in medical research and pharmaceuticals, Rohith moved to New York to join synthetic biology startup C16 Biosciences in 2020. 

If you’d like to join too, they’re hiring more scientists!

Picture of Colin Jones-Weinert by seaside cliffs

Colin Jones-Weinert, MBA
Quality Assurance Associate, W.L. Gore & Associates, Phoenix, AZ

Colin has spent the majority of his career in medical product manufacturing, and recently moved from a manufacturing role to a quality role.

Colin enjoys playing soccer and looks forward to driving an electric car in the future.

Portrait of Mark Leick

Mark Leick, MD
Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital, Hematopoietic Cell Transplant & Cell Therapy Program, Post-doc Maus Lab

Mark completed medical school at Georgetown followed by a residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. After completing fellowship in the combined Harvard Cancer Care Oncology program, he started on faculty splitting his time between clinical care of bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy patients and designing novel cellular therapies in the lab. Mark’s UBRP time at the UofA was critical for his exposure to basic science research and he would not be where he is today without it. 

Picture of Stephen Lu working in a forensic science lab

Stephen Lu
Criminalist, Firearms and CSI, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Regional Crime Laboratory

In 2018, Stephen’s department moved into a brand-new laboratory located in Kearny Mesa in San Diego. The previous site was a converted hospital, and they are now enjoying more lab, office, and evidence storage space, as well as room for future growth.

Portrait of Fatima Molina

Fatima Molina
Graduate Student, Master of Arts Health and Society in South Asia (MAHASSA), Universitat Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Fatima is currently in her fourth semester of the MAHASSA program in Germany.  After graduation, she plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail before pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology.

Portrait of Shameema Sikder

Shameema Sikder, MD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Director, Center of Excellence for Ophthalmic Surgical Education & Training, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Shameema is a busy cataract and corneal surgeon in DC with a research interest in using Artificial Intelligence to make better surgeons.  She’s looking forward to future visits home to Tucson with her 6 year old twins.

Portrait of Susanne Rafelski

Susanne Rafelski, PhD
Deputy Director and Director, Assay Development at the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle, WA

In 2021 Susanne took on the role of Deputy Director of the Allen Institute for Cell Science, leading its scientific programs.  She has greatly enjoyed watching both the Institute and her kids grow and thrive over the past five years.

Picture of Rose Vining ice climbing

Rose Vining
Environmental Technician, State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Air Quality

Rose moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, and has migrated into the field of government as an environmental technician. She is a lead participant in the wood stove curtailment program, which is aimed to bring the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole back into attainment for the particulate matter (PM 2.5) regulations set forth under the EPA. She has learned how to cross country ski, whitewater kayak, and rock/ice climb in her spare time.

Picture of Ben Zaepfel at the lab bench

Benjamin Zaepfel
PhD Candidate, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Ben recently published the first chunk of his PhD work in Cell Reports entitled “UPF1 reduces C9orf72 HRE-induced neurotoxicity in the absence of nonsense-mediated decay dysfunction” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108925).