Michaela Green, MS
Collin Krzyzaniak, MS
Eric Carrano, MS
Rachael Massey, MS
Annika Grewal, MS
Twisha Shah, MS
Twisha Shah (Fall 2020 - Summer 2021) graduated magna cum laude from UConn with a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Cell Biology. Twisha's Honors Scholar thesis was conducted under the advising of Dr. Mary Bruno and was a literature review thesis titled "An Investigation into the Complex Role of Senescence in Cancer Cells". Her undergraduate experiences also included time as a teaching assistant for a physiology and neurobiology lab class and employment as a student technology specialist in UConn's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Originally from India, Twisha moved to the United States when she was 9-years-old and has since lived in South Carolina, Texas, and Connecticut. Twisha has volunteered with Migrant Farm Clinics and St. Francis Hospital extensively during the summers of her undergraduate years at UConn and is now volunteering with Crisis Text Line as a counselor. She is now at West Virginia School of Medicine, completing her MD. Twisha hopes to incorporate genetics into her future plans, whether it be through research or going into residency after medical school.
Trevor Hunter, MS
Alec Moschitto, MS
Amy Balk Amy joined the Health Care Genetics program as a full time student while navigating life as a military spouse and mother. Amy was a dedicated student who had recently completed a UConn biological sciences degree, during which time she participated in research in the plant genetics lab of Dr. Berkwotiz and studied gene regulation during development and reproduction under the mentorship of Dr. Hans Laufer. Amy's work and research interests are in the social determinants and equitable health. She was a Research Assistant for a Jan-Jun internship with the Weitzman Institute at the Community Health Center of Middletown CT, Amy designed a research project and question, prepared a proposal, IRB protocol, and informed consent with considerations for participant recruitment and supplementary educational materials under the mentorship of Yashoda Sharma, PhD a Senior Research Scientist at the Weitzman Institute. Amy's programmatic professional intern experiences also included a community outreach coordinator position at the CT Chapter Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Amy's education, training, innovative projects, and experiences are reflective of her desire to connect to patient communities in an effort to support and advocate for newer, less expensive and tailored health care leading to better outcomes. She is open to employment and receives an A- YES! recommendation from her faculty.
Bailey Randolph From Seton Hall University with a bachelor's of science degree in biochemistry, Bailey brought to our graduate program prior internship experience with Roche Sequencing Solutions in both chemistry and infectious disease assay development. Bailey was immediately hired by Dr. Kendra Maas in our Microbial Analysis, Resources, and Services center within the Institute for Systems Genomics on the Storrs campus where she continued to work for one-year while completing classes. Bailey graciously volunteered for career fairs and to take prospective students on tours around campus, sharing her dynamic personality and excitement for the field of genetics. Bailey accepted an internship career position at SEMA4 labs in Branford, CT starting in March 2019, finished her capstone project for the ASCP Molecular Certification Examination, and continues to work as a full-time technologist with the ever growing SEMA4 company.
Soochi Vaderha, MS
Soochi Vaderha was not a stranger to UConn when she joined the Health Care Genetics program. She had earned her bachelor's degree in biology before venturing out for brief employment as a microbiology tech and then to Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT where she advanced over the years in her role to the Integrated Fertility and Wellness Coordinator. During her time in the HCG program, Soochi gained unique experience and provided invaluable service as an instructional assistant for two undergraduate classes; Counseling and Education for Health Professionals and Molecular Diagnostic Techniques. Soochi spent the 2019 summer as a research fellow at the University of CT Health Center with the start up company called YouCOMM LLC wherein she gained valuable education about the intersection of science, healthcare and business. Under the mentorship of Dr. Kristen Cooksey Stowers, Soochi completed a project and internship in health care policy. Soochi's final work products included RedCap video training modules for future Health Care Genetics students. Hitting the job market at the start of the pandemic has been frustrating, but we have no doubt, someone smart will recognize the need for someone like Soochi who has skills and training in genetics, health policy, ethics, counseling, and a natural ability to be a health advocate and educator.
Kimberly Winnick is an avid hiker, a 2017 UConn Animal Science graduate and a former veterinary technologist. Kim's programmatic experiential learning included a rotation in the Center for Genome Innovation with Dr. Bo Reese and Lisa Labelle, MS, MB (ASCP) and an internship with SEMA4 group in Branford, CT. Kim made such a great impression during her first rotations, both labs hired her back for the last semester of the program! Kim's professional development project stemmed from an interest she gained while interning in the SEMA4 lab. Kim designed an online HuskyCT blackboard learning course about test validation in the clinical lab including her own powerpoint presentations, links and assessments for webinars, journal readings and discussion postings. Kim's course was put to use the spring semester for our undergraduate genetics interns on quarantine. The students are exploring test/assay validation in the clinical laboratory, and given the rapid advancements in genome sequencing technologies each year, the focus of Kims class is on next-generation sequencing. Kim's course learning modules cover the basics of test validation, regulation, test performance parameters, clinical validity and utility, as well as costs associated with genetic testing and limitations of testing validations. Kim graduated in December 2019 and headed to the UConn of the North, to accept employment as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center's Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technologies Laboratory with Dr. Greg Tsongalis.
Anna Smith, MS
Mohammed Sayeem, MS
Jen traveled from Michigan to Connecticut to complete her master's of science degree in health care genetics. She assisted Dr. Laijun Lai with his research bioinformatics during her time on campus. Clearly not afraid of the cold - she completed a 6-month molecular technologist internship with Dr. Greg Tsongalis in the Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technology lab at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.
Jen presented a research project titled "Validation and Routine Clinical Use of RT-PCR to Confirm Gene Fusions Detected by Next Generation Sequencing" to a full auditorium of technologists, fellows, post-docs and docs from across the Department of Pathology at Dartmouth. Congratulations to her for soon thereafter passing the ASCP BOR examination in Molecular Biology!
Jen worked as a technologist in the Clinical Genomics and Advanced TechnologyLaboratory for Dr. Gregory Tsongalis for a bit, but Jasper (puppy), missed his home in Michigan so back they went. Jen is now working as a tech at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI.
(Photo) Jake presents his research posted titled " LPS-induced TLR4 Activation during a 164-km Cycling Event in a Hot and Humid Environment" at the CAHNR Graduate Student Research Retreat.