Graduates of the Stem Cell Biology Master's program have gone on to procure jobs in biotech industry and academic labs, and to pursue further graduate studies in PhD, MD, Vet Med and Law. Some of our graduates are featured below.
Aron graduated from the Stem Cell Biology Master’s program at the U of M in 2016 where he worked in the lab of Dr. Allison Hubel optimizing the cryopreservation of mesenchymal stem cells using newly developed solutions to replace DMSO. His thesis title was “Examination of Post-Thaw Behavior between DMSO and Non-DMSO Cryopreserved Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells.” He began working at Miromatrix in 2017 through the Bio-Business Partnership internship program. Miromatrix is a private biotechnology company focused on eliminating the organ transplant waiting list by bioengineering manufacturable organs. Aron is currently the Liver Development Lead in the R&D department, managing a team working to develop a full-scale transplantable liver.
Tianxia (Mike) Lan
Mike conducted his Master's thesis research project in the laboratory of Beau Webber, seeking to identify the cell type that gives rise to Ewing's sarcoma, a rare and lethal childhood bone cancer. He graduated in Jan 2020 and started working as a Potential Project Analyst at Huiyu Seacross in March 2020. In this capacity Mike screened for targets for anti-cancer drugs based on disclosed clinical data and potential market size, and recommended promising targets for innovative drug development.
Mike currently works as a technician with his future PI in Sichuan University. His project is about using mesenchymal stem cells to treat pulmonary fibrosis. Mike has applied to a PhD program where he hopes to be accepted and start his studies in September, 2021.
Sushmita Nayak received her masters in Stem Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota in Fall of 2018. Her thesis project titled, “Accelerated neural induction to create hiPSC derived peripheral neuron progenitors in vitro via an intermediate neural crest stage” was completed under the guidance of Dr. James Dutton. The comprehensive mix of theory, weekly journal club sessions and high emphasis on research in the Stem Cell Biology program provided the right environment to grow. Sushmita says "It not only increased my passion as a scientist but also empowered me to get multiple job opportunities after graduation." Post graduation, she moved to the industry to work at Innovative Surface Technologies, MN. As an Associate Scientist, she cultured hiPSC derived glutamatergic and GABAergic neuron progenitors on photoreactive aligned nanofiber scaffolds to simulate the Schaffer collateral pathway in vitro. Sushmita currently works as a Senior Research Assistant at Serqet Therapeutics, MA. The mission of Serqet is to combine insights from computational biology and experimental readouts from iPSC-derived diseased models to better understand complex diseases. She is also co-author of a paper published in August 2020 entitled "Accelerated differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into neural lineages via an early intermediate ectoderm population."
Shivanshi Vaid received her Master’s degree in Stem Cell Biology from University of Minnesota in 2017. As a student, she worked on determining the putative ZIKV receptors in the human fetal brain in Dr. Walter Low’s laboratory. She is currently a Research Technician in Dr. Jack Parent’s lab at the University of Michigan performing stem cell research to uncover the molecular and genetic causes of epilepsy, a neurological disease characterized by chronic seizures. Her current research interests include modeling an mTORorpathy, Polyhydramnios, megalencephaly, and symptomatic epilepsy syndrome (PMSE) using patient iPSC-derived cortical organoids.
Anala Shetty joined the Stem Cell Biology Master's Program in the Fall of 2019. She is currently working with Principal Investigator Dr. Walter Low. Her research topic is "Using spacial genomics to look into the transcriptome and proteome during blastocyst complementation". But being a student involves more than hitting the books. Anala is also a yoga flow instructor at the UMN RecWell Center who now misses practicing yoga with a group. However, she created a simple yoga flow on the RecWell YouTube page for people to follow along during this time when gathering is restricted.
Anala says that "Yoga has tremendously helped me during this pandemic to feel good mentally and physically. Regularly practicing the yoga asanas followed by meditation leaves me feeling calm, re-energized and grateful for the good things in life. It has helped me cope with the reality of the situation during this unprecedented time with a positive mindset and make everyday count."
We applaud her contribution to wellness among the University Community during this pandemic.
Henry came to our program after completing his BS in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota in 2014, and while he was employed in the laboratory of Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, a member of the Stem Cell Biology graduate faculty. Henry's research project and thesis were entitled "Facilitation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cell Differentiation to Endoderm with a Novel Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitor". After working at the Antibody Applications Quality Control Department of Bio-Techne for 2 years, Henry matriculated into the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2018.
Madison obtained her BS in Genetics & Cell Development from the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota in 2017, and worked at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center before matriculating into the SCB MS program in Fall 2017. Madison's thesis entitled "Production of induced regulatory T-cells through CRISPR/Cas9 based gene editing" was nominated for the Best MS thesis by the SCB graduate program. After obtaining her MS degree, Madison continued her research in the laboratory of her thesis advisor, Dr. Mark Osborn, and will enter the MD/PhD program at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago in July 2020. Madison was a co-author of the paper "CRISPR/Cas9-Based Cellular Engineering for Targeted Gene Overexpression" published in 2018.