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Outstanding Thesis Research Award Winners

In recognition of a graduate whose research findings, in the judgement of the faculty and the Dean, has significant impact in their field.


Kathleen Morrill
The Genomics of Canine Behavior and its Comparative Relevance to Human Neuropsychiatric Conditions
Mentor: Elinor Karlsson, PhD

James Shen
Vps13D Is a Regulator of Pink1-Mediated Mitophagy and Membrane Contacts
Mentor: Eric Baehrecke, PhD


Krishna Ghanta
An Exploration of the Properties of Repair Template DNA that Promote Precision Genome Editing
Mentor:  Craig Mello, PhD

Jordan Smith
Reversing Cancer Cell Fate: Driving Therapeutic Differentiation of Hepatoblastoma to Functional Hepatocyte-Like Cells
Mentor:  Wen Xue, PhD


Zachary Milstone
Histone Deacetylase 1 and 2 are Essential for Early Cardiac Development
Mentor: Chinmay Trivedi, MD, PhD

Erica Mondo
Investigating Microglia -Vascular Interactions in the Developing and Adult Central Nervous System
Mentor: Dorothy Schafer, PhD


Mona Motwani
Cytosolic DNA Sensing in Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Diseases
Mentor: Kate Fitzgerald, PhD

Pranitha Vangala 
Role of CIS-Regulatory Elements in Transcriptional Regulation:  From Evolution to 4D Interactions
Mentor: Manuel Garber, PhD


Maximiliaan Huisman
Vision Beyond Optics:  Standardization, Evaluation and Innovation for Fluorescencemicroscopy in Life Sciences
Mentor: David Grunwald, PhD

Harish Palleti Janardhan
Histone Deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) Regulates Lymphatic Vascular Development
Mentor: Chinmay Trivedi, MD, PhD


Mehmet Fatih Bolukbasi 
Development of Chimeric CAS9 Nucleases for Accurate and Flexible Genome Editing
Mentor: Scot Wolfe, PhD

Reka Haraszti 
Engineered Exosomes for Delivery of Therapeutic siRNAs to Neurons
Mentor: Anastasia Khvorova, PhD


Hatem Elif Kamber Kaya
Regulation of the Drosophila Initiator Caspase DRONC through Ubiquitylation
Mentor: Andreas Bergmann, PhD 

Yihang Li
Mechanisms of Synaptic Development and Premature Aging in Drosophila
Mentor: Vivian Budnik, PhD


Bryan Lajoie
Computational approaches for analysis of chromosome conformation capture data and their application to study long-range gene regulation
Mentor: Job Dekker, PhD 

Margaret Heider
Investigating the architecture and vesicle tethering function of the exocyst complex
Mentor: Mary Munson, PhD


Laura Danai
Role of protein kinase Map4k4 in energy metabolism
Mentor: Michael Czech, PhD

Po-shen Chen
Regulation of embryonic stem cell pluripotency by the Tip60-p400 chromatic remodeling complex
Mentor: Thomas Fazzio, PhD