The Carvunis Lab members (August 2020 on Zoom)

Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Born and raised in Paris, France, she received a BS in Biology/Biochemistry and a Masters in Molecular Neurosciences from Université Paris VI and the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris and a second Masters in Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences from Université Paris VII. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from Université de Grenoble in 2011, having done most of her graduate research work on the mechanisms and dynamics of protein interaction network evolution in the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Carvunis went on to study the evolution of transcriptional networks at the University of California, San Diego. She established an independent research group in Pittsburgh in December 2016 to study the molecular mechanisms of change and innovation in biological systems. Dr. Carvunis has received a number of distinctions including a Medal of honorable doctoral work, the national L’Oreal-Unesco Award for Women in Science, the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Searle Scholars award, the Trailblazer award from the Ladies Hospital Aid Society, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship. | anc201[at]pitt[dot]edu |CV
Omer Acar is a PhD student in the CMU-Pitt Joint Computational Biology program. Born in Turkey, Omer has an undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering with Physics minor from Sabanci University, Istanbul. He worked as an undergraduate research assistant in MIDST Lab in Sabanci University on antibiotic resistance and related mutations on E. Coli. He joined The Carvunis Lab in December, 2017. | oma21[at]pitt[dot]edu | website
Nelson Castilho Coelho is Senior Research Specialist in The Carvunis Lab. Born in Portugal, Nelson has an undergrad in Biochemistry and a Masters in Biotechnology both from University of Algarve. He first worked as research technician at the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC) and then as lab manager/research technician at the Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR) in Portugal and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. Before joining the Carvunis lab he was working as research assistant at the Institute of Genetics and Development of Rennes (IGDR) in France. Nelson likes to dedicate his free time to photography, running and baking. | CASTILHO[at]pitt[dot]edu
Carly Houghton is a PhD student in the CMU-Pitt Joint Computational Biology program. She received her BS in Biology from George Washington University and then trained as post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. She received her MA in Biology from Johns Hopkins University, and conducted her graduate research at the NIH that focused on the regulation of aerobic respiration in a bacterial relative of mammalian mitochondria. Following completion of her masters, she completed a short research fellowship at the NIDDK that concentrated on computational modeling of neural circuit activity in the human visual cortex. She has broad scientific interests and a passion for studying evolution and systems biology. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and being outdoors. She joined the Carvunis lab in December, 2018 and obtained funding for her PhD research through a competitive T32 award from NIBIB. | cah244[at]pitt[dot]edu
Jiwon Lee is a Ph.D. student in the CMU-Pitt Joint Computational Biology PhD program. She received a BS in Biological Sciences with a minor in Science and Technology Policy from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and an MS in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. After completing her master’s, she spent three years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she primarily worked on whole genome sequence association studies of sleep phenotypes in the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, and harmonized Cleveland Family Study (CFS) data for various TOPMed studies. |JIL303[at]pitt[dot]edu|
Kate McCourt is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in molecular biology with a focus in biochemistry as well as minoring in neuroscience and being on the pre-medical track. She is from Pittsburgh and graduated from Mount Lebanon High School in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, exploring Pittsburgh, and golfing. | kmm325[at]pitt[dot]edu
Saurin Parikh joined the Carvunis lab a graduate student at Pitt’s bioengineering department in the summer of 2017. He since has become a PhD student in the Integrative Systems Biology graduate program of the Pitt Medical School. He has a background in medicine, and a passion for studying genetics and evolution. As a medical technology enthusiast, Saurin is interested in taking technologies from bench to bedside. He loves to travel, explore different cultures, go to museums, meet new people and take tons of pictures! | saurinparikh[at]pitt[dot]edu | website
April Rich is a PhD student in the CMU-Pitt Joint Computational Biology program. She received a BS in Biology from Fordham University where she did research on DNA methylation in neuronal synaptic plasticity. Her research interest include epigenetics and chromatin dynamics. Outside of science, April enjoys crossword puzzles and dogs. | aar75[at]pitt[dot]edu
Branden Van Oss is a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA postdoctoral fellow in The Carvunis Lab. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from Wheaton College, IL, and worked in the field of cancer genetics as a technician at both Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, MA, and at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. He recently completed his Ph.D. in molecular biology in the lab of Dr. Karen Arndt at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied the mechanisms that govern a conserved epigenetic histone modification. Outside of biology, his hobbies include gardening and beer making. | sva5[at]pitt[dot]edu
Aaron Wacholder is a postdoctoral fellow in The Carvunis Lab. Born in Maryland, he has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Stanford University. He attained his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from University of Colorado Boulder, developing computational methods for evolutionary analysis of transposable elements in the laboratory of Dr. David Pollock at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Aaron joined the Carvunis lab in Februrary 2018. | acw87[at]pitt[dot]edu
Lin Chou is a Ph.D. student in the Integrative Systems Biology program of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Lin has a broad interest in genomics and evolutionary biology. Lin received an undergraduate degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. He worked as an undergraduate researcher and developed a high-throughput genotyping toolkit for crop breeders. After completing his undergraduate degree, he spent two and a half years at the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, where he used next and third-generation sequencing data to study the genome evolution of symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria. He joined the Carvunis Lab in March 2021. | lic130[at]pitt[dot]edu
Jiazhen Xu is a first-year PhD student in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program of the University of Pittsburgh and a rotation student in the Carvunis lab. His study began at Chlamydomonas microRNA and Trypanosome procyclin-associated genes in undergraduate. After graduating from Sun Yet-sen University, Jiazhen joined Molecular Microbiology and Immunology graduate program in the University of Southern California pursuing a M.S. degree. During his graduate study, Jiazhen learned and performed experiments about CRISPR and stem cells, aiming to model the contribution of SYNGAP1 mutation to neuron developmental disease. Jiazhen has a broad interest in science and now he focuses on the methionine metabolism in yeast. He likes sports, outdoors, music and he is always willing to make new friends. | jix104[at]pitt[dot]edu
Former Group Members
Manuel Michaca, rotation student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program, March 2020.
Marissa Di, rotation student, Joint CMU-Pitt program in Computational Biology, November 2019.
Tyler Lovelace, rotation student, Joint CMU-Pitt program in Computational Biology, October 2018.
BaDoi Phan, rotation student, joint Md/PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, summer 2018 – now pursuing medical school.
Trevor Frisby, rotation student, Joint CMU-Pitt program in Computational Biology, November 2018 – now pursuing a PhD with Dr Langmead.
Feng (Ryan) Shan, rotation student, University of Pittsburgh program in Integrative Systems Biology, August 2017.
John Iannota
, University of Pittsburgh, Molecular Biology major, 2017 – 19. Now Research Specialist in Dr. Susana da Silva‘s lab.
Tanvi Yende, Yale University, Statistics and Data Science major on pre-medical track, summer 2019.
Jake McKee, Robert Morris University, Biology major on pre-medical track, summer 2019.
Dominique Cantave, Harvard University, Applied Mathematics with a focus in Biology, TECBio REU , summer 2018.
Tom Dougherty, Harvey Mudd College, Math-Computer Science, TECBio REU , summer 2018.
Selin Sevgi, Koc University (Istanbul, Turkey), Molecular Biology and Genetics, Research Training Program for Student in the Health Sciences, summers 2017 and 2018.
Kate Karlovich, Ohio University, Chemistry, Research Training Program for Student in the Health Sciences, summer 2017.
Neha Sodhi, University of California San Diego, Bioengineering – Biotechnology, March – September 2017.
Andy MacWilliams, Laboratory Automation / Research Specialist
Anthony Newbrough, Research Assistant