Dec 2018



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.


Dustin Wcisel, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow –

Dustin graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2009 with a BS in Cell and Molecular biology. Following graduation, he moved to the coast of Lake Michigan to study the genetics of invasive aquatic plants at the Annis Water Resources Institute. Dustin came to NCSU in the fall of 2012 through the Genomic Sciences program to pursue a PhD which he completed in 2017. As a postdoc, Dustin continues his research on the evolution of vertebrate immune receptors.



Amanda Kortum

Graduate Student –

Amanda is a Montana native that attended the University of Montana Western to earn a degree in biology with a cellular/molecular emphasis, with veterinary school as her next goal. However, through four years of work studying the cell biology of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans, she discovered a passion for research and decided to pursue dual DVM and PhD degrees. Amanda’s current research focuses on the immune system and the cellular mechanisms involved in the migration of innate immune cells to sites of infection. She has a particular interest in host-pathogen interactions. Amanda plans on using her training in veterinary science, immunology, research and clinical medicine to pursue a career in government, implementing knowledge in veterinary sciences and immunology to the study of highly infectious diseases.





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.






Thomas Howard














Andi Barker



Jacob Driggers

High School Student


Anika Palekar

High School Student





Postdoctoral Fellows

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

Currently: Senior Scientist in IMIDomics

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


Graduate Students

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

Currently: Postdoc in the Yoder lab

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

Currently: Veterinary student, NC State University

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

Currently: Clinical Veterinarian in Anatomic Pathology, Population Health and Pathobiology, NC State University

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

Currently: Graduate student, Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University

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

Currently: Post-doc, Moffitt Cancer Center

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

Currently: Senior Clinical Research Associate at Macrogenics, Inc.

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

Currently: Veterinary Resident at the University of Michigan

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

Palak Desai, (NCSU 2017-2018)

Emma Davis, (NCSU 2016-2018)

Gabbie Robbins, (NCSU 2015-2017)

Marcos Castro, (NCSU 2015-2016)

Katherine Cupo, (NCSU 2014-2016)

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: Assistant Teaching Professor, Penn State University

Myra Fulp, (NCSU 2005-2009)

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)