Jeffrey A. Yoder, Ph.D. 

Principal Investigator –

Jeff graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Biotechnology and performed his graduate work with Tim Bestor receiving his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University’s graduate program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences. He then did a post-doc with Gary Litman at the University of South Florida. Jeff joined the faculty at NCSU in 2004.



Drake Phelps

Graduate Student –

Drake graduated from NC State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with minors in French Language and Biotechnology. After graduating, he worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency where he fell in love with all things zebrafish. In 2017, he returned to NC State University to pursue a Ph.D. through the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program in Dr. Yoder’s lab. You can also find him on Twitter with all the other cool kids at @drake_phd.






Kara Carlson

Graduate Student –

Kara graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2015 with a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies. After graduating, she worked in the Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences where her research focused on conservation genetics in freshwater ecosystems. Kara began her studies at NC State University in 2018, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Genetics.






Ashley Connors


Ashley graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2017 with a BS in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Studies. After graduating, she worked at Oregon Health & Science University where her research focused on hypothalamic neuronal circuits involved in reproduction and other homeostatic functions. In 2020, Ashley came to NC State to join the Genetic & Genomics Scholars Program and to pursue her Ph.D. in Toxicology.




Andi Barker













Jacob Driggers



Anika Palekar






Postdoctoral Fellows

Dustin Wcisel, Ph.D. (2018-2021).

Currently: Product Developer – Bioinformatics, Q^2 Solutions

Ivan Rodriguez-Nunez, Ph.D. (2009-2015).

Currently: Senior Scientist, IMIDomics

Liala Farzana, Ph.D. (2009-2011)


Graduate Students

Amanda Kortum, Ph.D. (2012-2019).

Currently: Veterinary Medical Officer, USDA APHIS Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

Joy Ganchingco, D.V.M., Ph.D. (Co-mentor with Wolfgang Bauemer, 2014-2019).

Currently: Veterinary Medical Officer, FDA

Dustin Wcisel, Ph.D. (2012-2017).

Currently: Product Developer – Bioinformatics, Q^2 Solutions

Jessica Romanet, D.V.M., Ph.D. (2011-2017).

Currently: Veterinarian, Sanford Animal Hospital

Debra Tokarz, D.V.M., Ph.D. (2011-2016).

Currently: Staff Pathologist, Experimental Pathology Laboratories, Inc.

Amyn Murji, M.S. (2014-2015).

Currently: Graduate student, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Hayley (Dirscherl) Ackerman, Ph.D. (2009-2015).

Currently: Research Project Manager, Moffitt Cancer Center

Amy (Heffelfinger) Worth, M.S. (2007-2010).

Currently: Sr. Clinical Project Manager, Macrogenics, Inc.

Laura Ott, Ph.D. (Co-mentor with Sam Jones, 2005-2010).

Currently: Teaching Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jibing Yang, D.V.M., Ph.D. (2005-2009).

Currently: Clinical Veterinarian at Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Radhika (Shah) Patel, Ph.D. (2004-2009)

Kim Dobrinski, Ph.D. (2003-2004, Univ. South Florida)


Veterinary Students

Ashley Kirby, NCSU (summer 2016)

Gretchen Scheffe, NCSU (summer 2016)

Jamie Gerlach, NCSU (summer 2015)

Shaina Stewart, NCSU (summer 2014)

Carolyn Collier, NCSU (summer 2011)

Amanda Lehnberg, NCSU (summer 2010)

Shannon Burroughs, NCSU (summer 2007)


Lab Technicians/Managers and Research Associates

Ashley Fletcher (2016-2017)

Currently: Specialized Technical Services Lead, BioRepository and Precision Pathology Center (BRPC), Duke University Medical Center

Poem Turner, M.S. (2008-2011)

Tim Orcutt, M.S. (2006-2008)

Dereje Jima, M.S. (2005-2007)

Currently: Bioinformatics Research Scholar, Center of Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) and Bioinformatics Research Center (BRC), NC State University

Amanda Grant (2004-2006)


Undergraduate Students

Katherine McVay, (NCSU 2020-2021)

Currently: PhD candidate in Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University

J. Thomas Howard, (NCSU 2017-2019)

Currently: MS candidate in Bioinformatics, NC State University

Palak Desai, (NCSU 2017-2018)

Currently: PhD candidate in Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto

Emma Davis, (NCSU 2016-2018)

Gabbie Robbins, (NCSU 2015-2017)

Currently: DVM PhD Candidate, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Marcos Castro, (NCSU 2015-2016)

Katherine Cupo, (NCSU 2014-2016)

Currently: PhD candidate in Poultry Science, NCSU

Hannah Jones, (NCSU 2012-2014)

Jessica Powell, University of Surrey (summer research at NCSU 2013)

Fiona Ryrie, University of Surrey (summer research at NCSU 2012)

Austin Anzivino, (NCSU 2011-2012)

Abby Reif, (NCSU 2010-2012)

Philip Wright, (NCSU 2009-2010)

David “Quint” Reid, (NCSU 2008-2011)

Kendall Smith, (NCSU 2008)

Salili Desai, Rice University (summer research at NCSU 2008)

Ronald “Aaron” Garner, (NCSU 2006-2008)

Currently: Associate Teaching Professor and Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Ethics, Penn State Eberly College of Science

Myra (Fulp) Southwell, (NCSU 2005-2009)

Currently: Veterinarian, Hambright Animal Hospital

Kolin Griffin, (NCSU 2004-2005)

Patoula Panangos, (USF 2003-2003)

Currently: Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Pediatric Physician, Department of Pediatrics, Rush Medical College

Jeff Buidens, (USF 2003)

Kathryn Heal, (USF 2002-2003)

Robert Buzzeo, (USF 2002-2003)

Matthew Buzzeo, (USF 2003-2004)


High School Students

Jacob Driggers, Triangle Math & Science Academy, Cary, NC (summer 2018)

Anika Palekar, Panther Creek High School, Cary, NC (summer 2018)

Kidus Kudumu-Clavell, Research Triangle High School, RTP, NC (summer 2018)

Carlos Rivera, Millbrook High School, Raleigh, NC (summer 2012)