Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Officers

Zachary Schoepflin

Zachary Schoepflin
President

Zach grew up on Long Island in New York in a small town named Centerport. He attended the University of Delaware where he earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. He is currently a fourth year MD/PhD student and works in the lab of Dr. Makarand Risbud where he studies the roles of HIF and PHD signaling in intervertebral disc disease.


Donna Brennan

Donna Brennan
President Emeritus

Donna grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended Bucknell University where she earned a B.S. in Biology. After working as a research technician and earning her M.S. in Biomedical Chemistry here at Jefferson, she decided to go back for her PhD. Now starting her fifth year, Donna is working under the joint advisorship of Drs. Natalia Riobo and My Mahoney studying the cross-talk between hedgehog and cell adhesion-mediated signaling in cancer. In her free time she enjoys cheering on Philadelphia sports teams and exploring the city.


Samantha Garcia

Samantha Garcia
Secretary

Samantha grew up in New York City and Pennsylvania. She attended Temple University where she received a bachelor’s of science in Biology in 2011. Samantha is currently starting her third year as a PhD student in the Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis program. She is in Dr. Hooper's laboratory studying central nervous system immunity using a rabies model.


Caity Logan

Caity Logan
Treasurer

Caity grew up in the Bucks County area of Pennsylvania, near Doylestown. She attended Smith College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and Chemistry. She is now a fourth year MD/PhD student in the lab of Sue Menko, studying the role of the cytoskeleton in lens development.


Emily Bongiorno

Emily Bongiorno
Vice President of Academic Affairs (PhD)

Emily grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She graduated from Cabrini College with a BS in Biology and a BA in Philosophy. Emily is currently a 4th year PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. D. Craig Hooper where she is developing a rabies virus-based vaccine for brain tumors and studying the immune system in the central nervous system.


Suren Rajakaruna

Suren Rajakaruna
Vice President of Academic Affairs (MS)

Suren is originally from Sri Lanka. He attended Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA for his undergraduate studies where he majored in Biotechnology. During college he did research on anti-bacterial resistance with his microbiology professor for 2 years. Upon graduation, he worked for the Elizabethtown College Dept. of Biology as a research technician for 6 months working on cancer biology. Afterwards, he moved to Philadelphia in 2009 to join Dr. Sue Menko’s Lab, where he currently work as a research technician. His work involves studying signal transduction pathways and developmental biology in the ocular lens. He is also currently a MS student in the Microbiology program, going into his second year. He loves to go out with friends whenever he can and have a good time. He enjoys the gym and also running outdoors. He loves watching and playing sports specially rugby, football, and basketball.


Nathan Fried

Nathan Fried
Vice President of Career Development (PhD)

Raised by his watchmaker father and schoolteacher mother, Nathan was inspired to pursue knowledge of all shapes and forms. His early love of the X-men shaped his eventual ascent to the sciences. He attained his B.S. in biology and math from Drexel University, and went on to develop a strong skill in writing and graphic design that he utilizes in web-based science advocacy projects in his spare time. He is currently studying the pathophysiology of the alcohol hangover headache in Dr. Michael Oshinsky's lab during his fourth year in the PhD Neuroscience program. He is determined to find unique ways to apply his training to various careers in the sciences.


Alexis Landau

Alexis Landau
Alexis grew up in Lancaster Pennsylvania. She attended Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA where she received a bachelor's of science in Biology in 2012. Alexis is currently in her second year as a MS student in the Microbiology program. She is in Dr. Linda Siracusa's lab studying cancer genetic susceptibility.


Sana Dastgheyb

Sana Dastgheyb
Vice President of Community and Cultural Affairs

Sana obtained her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia Class of 2011. She is currently a 3rd year PhD student in the Hickok Lab studying photodynamic antimicrobial therapies in the setting of orthopaedics. She is also interested in travel, music and art.


Lauren Klayman

Lauren Klayman
Vice President of Internal Affairs

Lauren graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May 2010 with a BS in Biochemistry/Biophysics. She is currently a fourth year PhD student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program. In the Wedegaertner Lab, she studies non-canonical g-protein signaling. She enjoys musical theater and Eagles football.


Justin Rock

Justin Rock
Vice President of Social Events

Justin grew up in Hereford Pennsylvania before attending college at Clarion University. He graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in Molecular Biology/Biotechnology and Chemistry. Before attending Jefferson, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry producing vaccines for Merck and Co. Currently, he is investigating mutant BRAF variants found in drug resistant malignant melanoma tumors in Dr. Andrew Aplin's Laboratory.