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Jen Gallagher
Department of Biology


Jen Gallagher



Friday afternoons are the best time in the lab. I look forward to the weekend where I can conduct my experiments. I am fascinated by the inter-connectivity of metabolism. Pull a string on pathway and you see an effect on a seemly unrelated phenomenon. Use genetic variation of yeast as a model organism, we work on understanding the mechanisms of a drug/ chemical. During the week you will find me in front of my computer, running tech support for my lab or in the teaching labs were I use yeast to teach inquiry based classes. After lab, class, and writing you will find me at the local waterhole enjoying the products of yeast metabolism.

Google Scholar

Amaury Pupo Meriño


I am a Biochemist, with a strong background in Bioinformatics, plus an extensive experimental experience. I like the projects where is possible to combine both experimental work and data analysis, plus statistics. I am a fan of Linux and Free Software in general. I like science fiction and fantasy stories.

Google Scholar

Apoorva Ravishankar

grad student

I completed my undergraduate at Mount Carmel College, I majored in Chemistry, Zoology and Microbiology. I went on to do my Masters at St. Josephs College of Arts and Science in Microbiology after which I worked in the laboratory of Dr. K. Muniyappa at Indian Institute of Science. I hope to complete my PhD here at West Virginia University successfully and pursue a career in research in the field of Molecular Biology. 

Jordan Barney



If I am not currently in the lab then I am on my way to the lab.

Matt Winans

grad student 
Matt Winans was born and raised in Parkersburg, WV. Since then, he earned his undergraduate degree from Fairmont State University. He is the current president of the BGSA and involved in nanotechnology research for his PhD at the Biology department of West Virginia University. Matt’s model organism is usually the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. He and his labmates work through questions relating to genetics, molecular biology, and toxicology. In particular, he is studying how to utilize copper in nanoparticles in antimicrobial products made from West Virginia sawdust, a byproduct of the timber industry. He loves to have a hand in everything from exotic animal training and whitewater rafting guiding to sake brewing in Japan. On what spare time he has as a grad student, he is an avid home brewer, creative entrepreneur and donates his time to the foundation board of the community college in his hometown.


grad student  

As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, I studied Biochemistry and History, graduating with my B.S. in 2006. After several years away from the field, my interest in research culminated in a desire to return to graduate studies in genetics. I joined the lab in 2014 to study yeast genomics. student. I intend to pursue the ultimate goal of a Ph.D. and a position doing experimental and computational genomics research in academia or industry.  

Taizina Momtareen


grad student 

Steve Carlson



 I am a senior pre-med student who will graduate in 2019. I am the president of Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society. I joined the lab in the summer of 2018 after gaining exposure to genomics research through the genomics capstone program. Despite their inconvenience in the lab, I enjoy writing with fountain pens. 

Zach Sherman

recent graduated undergrad

I received my bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. While there I did research on human cell lines in hematopoietic stem cells under Dr. Wei Du and yeast toxicology work under Dr. Jennifer Gallagher. I am currently a lab technician as I sort out what my next steps will be. I am most interested in genetics and microbiology and in a few years from now hope to graduate with a master’s degree in microbiology or a related field.

Suk  Lan Ser

grad student 
Suk Lan

I earned my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from West Virginia University. During my undergraduate years, I conducted a study on the antioxidant activities and gene expressions of primary metabolites in various broccoli tissues. My area of interest includes molecular biology, genetics, and medical research


Mahmoud Summers - Then high school student. Now undergrad at Johns Hopkins University.

Rachel Vance - Then Lab tech. Now lab tech at University of Alabama

Justin Blaize - Then undergrad. Now man at large.

Jasleen Ghandi - Then undergrad. Now still an undergrad.

Katie Perroz - Then NanoSafe summer undergrad. Now undergrad at Allegany College.

Noor Malik - Then SURE undergrad. Now still an undergrad.

Audrey Biega - Then undergrad. Now in the real world.

Alejandra Guardado - Then undergrad foreign exchange student from Universidad de Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Now still an undergrad.

Justin Lee - Then undergrad. Now medical student at West Virginia University.

Matthew Pyster - Then undergrad. Now soon to no longer to be an undergrad.

Catherine Blackwood - Then undergrad. Now grad student at WVU Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology

Vince Pilolli - Then NSF NanoSafe student. Now in the real world.

Xiaoqing Rong-Mullins - Then postdoc. Now Bioinformatic Specialist at The Ohio State University, School of Public Health.

Scotia Kirkham - Then undergrad. Now training to be an EMT.

Jordan Brewer - Then undergrad. Now still an undergrad.

Emily Morgan - Then undergrad. Now at the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Lyndsey Weatherly - Then undergrad. Now medical student at West Virginia University.

John Philip Creamer - Then undergrad. Now grad student at Washington University, St. Louis.

Julia Gallo - Then undergrad. Now medical student at West Virginia University.

Casey Nassif - Then undergrad. Now Associate Scientist at Eurofins.

Jenay Grant - Then SURE undergrad. Now working in an optimist office.

Amna Khan - Then NASA scholar undergad. Now medical student at Avalon University School of Medicine.

Zach Lonergan - Then NSF REU undergad. Now graduate student Vanderbilt University.

Kirsten McNeal nee Robinette - Then undergrad. Now research assistant at GenDx.

Cassie Worley - Then undergrad. Now in grad student at WVU Public Health.

Photo credit David Grose