SCI Predoctoral Infuse Awards

The Stem Cell Institute created the Predoctoral Infuse Award Program in May 2021. Thirteen awards were granted on a competitive basis to PhD students in any graduate program who are working in SCI faculty labs. The main goal of the award program is to build a community of graduate students who are interested in stem cell biology and the potential of stem cells for future regenerative therapeutics. The program is intended to infuse new creative insight and intellectual energy into doctoral research projects while also providing advanced professional training.

Meet our Trainees

Kelsie BecklinKelsie Becklin

Program: Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB)

Advisor:  Branden Moriarity, PhD and Beau Webber, PhD

Project:  Bottom-up pediatric sarcoma modeling using iPSC and precision genetic engineering strategies

Undergraduate major/institution:  Biology, University of Minnesota


Marcus FlowersMarcus Flowers

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Advisor:  Chun Wang, PhD

Project:  Spatiotemporal control of drug delivery for the purpose of controlling in-situ cardiac differentiation within a 3D-bioprinted prototypic heart.

Undergraduate major/institution: Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY


Sophie GivensSophie Givens

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Advisor: Brenda Ogle, PhD

Project: Understanding the epicardial - myocardial interface in a human cardiac tissue model

Undergraduate major/institution: Bioengineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR


Richard GoniganRichard Gonigam

Program: Integrative Biology & Physiology

Advisor:  Jop van Berlo, MD, PhD

Project: Investigating Immune Mechanisms Regulating Cardiac Remodeling

Undergraduate major/institution: B.S. Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Liz HitchLiz Hitch

Program: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics

Advisor:  Linda McLoon, PhD

Project: Defining the role of Pitx2 in the sparing of EOM in muscular dystrophy 

Undergraduate major/institution: Molecular Biology at California State University, Fullerton


Anne Huntemer-SilveiraAnne Huntemer-Silveira

Program: Neuroscience PhD

Advisor:  Ann M. Parr, PhD

Project: Stem cell transplantation and the development of functional relays in the dorsal horn following spinal cord injury

Undergraduate major/institution: Behavioral Neuroscience,Western Washington University.


Huzefa HusainHuzefa Husain

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors:  Ferenc Toth, DVM, PhD and Brenda Ogle, PhD

Project:  Using iPSC-derived chondrocytes for articular cartilage engineering

Undergraduate major/institution: Biomedical Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA


Jennifer MikkilaJennifer Mikkila

Program: Integrative Biology & Physiology

Advisor:  Jop van Berlo, MD, PhD

Project:  Single nucleus sequencing to define gene expression patterns in mouse cardiomyocytes and non-cardiomyocytes during normal development and maturation

Undergraduate major/institution: Biological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (also Master's degree in Stem Cell Biology, University of Minnesota)


Pranati MondkarPranati Mondkar

Program: Chemical Engineering

Advisor:  Samira Azarin, PhD

Project:  Block Copolymer-Mediated Stabilization of the Damaged Blood-Brain Barrier

Undergraduate major/institution: Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Chris SipeChris Sipe

Program: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics

Advisor:  Branden Moriarity, PhD

Project:  Digital correction (base editing) of Fanconi anemia patient mutations for autologous gene therapy

Undergraduate major/institution: Cellular & Molecular Biology, University of Minnesota Duluth (also Master's degree in Stem Cell Biology, University of Minnesota)


Leo SutterLeo Sutter

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Advisor:  Wei Shen

Project: Modeling Muscular Dystrophies Using hPSCs and Engineered Biomaterials

Undergraduate major/institution: Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology (also Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute)


Austin WinkerAustin Winker

Program: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics

Advisor:  Linda McLoon, PhD

Project:   Neurotrophic factors for treatment of childhood onset strabismus

Undergraduate major/institution: Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA


Alicia WongAlicia Wong

Program: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics PhD

Advisor:  Emilyn Alejandro, PhD

Project:  Role of O-GlcNAc Post-Translational Modification on Protein Pdx1 in Pancreatic β-Cells

Undergraduate major/institution:  BS in Biochemistry, University of Minnesota Twin Cities.