Postdoctoral Associate, since May 2017
Ph.D. Molecular Biosciences, Arkansas State University. (Graduated with the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. program.
M.S. Biotechnology, Arkansas State University.
B.S. Bioengineering, Qindao Agicultural University.
About: Ningning received her PhD in Molecular Biosciences in May of 2017 by dissecting the O-glycosylation process of plant cell wall structural glycoproteins and reengineering the plant cell wall for improved biomass processability. She started in the Zhang Lab as a postdoctoral research associate in the same month to study how photosynthetic organisms respond to their environment by using cutting-edge technologies. Specifically, Ningning is using the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, as a model system to better understand how photosynthetic cells sense and respond to high temperatures. A genome-saturating, indexed, algal mutant library and a quantitative phenotyping tool are used to conduct high-throughput genetic screening for mutants with interesting phenotypes. In her free time Ningning likes to work with plants, especially cacti. She also likes staying active by running frequently and playing pingpong.
Jooyeon Jeong Position:
Postdoctoral Associate, since November 2018 Education:
Hanyang University, Korea, PhD, 2018
Jooyeon received her PhD in Life science in August of 2018 from Hanyang University, South Korea. During her PhD, she studied on chloroplast signal recognition particle pathway proteins that involved in transport and assembly of light harvesting protein by using CRISPR-Cas9 in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In Zhang Lab, she is now working on psychrophilic Chlamydomonas showing sustained cyclic electron flow (CEF) to understand the role and regulation of CEF. She'll also focus on the function of heat shock transcription factors in model Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by generating mutants and analyzing their phenotype. She likes to listen podcasts and sing. And she enjoys to visit Saint Louis Zoo!
Laboratory Technician, Laboratory Manager, since November 2016
University of Missouri, Columbia
BS in Biological Engineering, 2016
Mathematics and Spanish Minor
About: Will received his bachelor's degree in biological engineering (emphasizing in biomedical engineering and biophotonics) from the University of Missouri, Columbia. During his time there, he was involved with several research teams including computational ecologists, herpetologists, and R&D engineering companies. In all of these positions, much of his work focused on computational data analysis and automated data collection pipelines. In the summer of 2015, Will participated in the Danforth Center's Summer REU Program where he worked in Doug Allen's Lab investigation carbon fixation pathways in soybeans using isotopic labeling and mass spectrometry technologies. Will started in the Zhang Lab in November of 2016 and will be working as a lab manager and lab technician while frequently focusing on bioinformatics pipelines and data analysis. Will enjoys running, swimming, and climbing. He additionally enjoys music and tinkering with electronics.
Graduate Student, since April 2018
Cornell University, BS in Biological Sciences, 2017
About: Erin received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Cornell University in May 2017. Her work there focused on the genetic aspects underlying meiotic recombination in maize. In the summer of 2015, she was an REU intern where she studied the genetic similarities between plant interactions with mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. She is now a first-year graduate student in the Plant and Microbial Biosciences program at Washington University. Erin rotated in the Zhang lab from Nov - Dec in 2017 and then decided to join the Zhang lab for her PhD in April 2018 to study algal heat responses. In her free time, Erin enjoys cooking, swimming, and exploring the local community.
Laboratory Technician, since September 2018
Missouri Baptist University, BS in Biology, 2018, Biochemistry & Chemistry Minor
Cheyenne received her B.S. in Biology from Missouri Baptist
University in May 2018. During her time there she was involved in a research
team to develop a protocol to preserve long-term viability of the microalgal
species, Chlorella protothecoides
Additionally, she served as a laboratory teaching assistant for genetics,
general chemistry, and anatomy labs. In her free time, Cheyenne enjoys being active
outdoors, playing tennis, travelling, and thrift shopping.
Laboratory Assistant, since February 2019
University of Missouri-St. Louis, BS in Biology, 2018
About: Zachary is from Southern Illinois. He graduated from the University of Missouri - St. Louis in December of 2018 with his BS in Biology. At his time there he also was a member of the Pierre Laclede Honors College. During his time there he helped gather information for a guide to spotting Lepidoptera in Missouri that feed on oak trees. Additionally, he also studied the variations between wild type and different mutant c. elegans. In his free time, Zachary writes movie reviews for the Brain Stew, a student/alumni publication of Pierre Laclede Honors College. He also likes to watch movies, be outdoors, travel, and find new restaurants.
Grants Specialist, since July 2016
University of Missouri - Columbia, BSBA with Marketing Emphasis, Economics Minor
About: Michelle received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has worked in the administrative field for the past 10 years and has done everything from payroll processing to office management to assisting with grant proposal submissions. Michelle joined the Danforth Center in July of 2016 as an Administrative Assistant and now serves as a Grants Specialist for several of the labs here, including the Zhang lab.
Position: Laboratory Technician
Education: University of Missouri, Columbia
About: Eric is from the greater St. Louis area and received his bachelor's degree in biological engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2019. During his time there, Eric was a research assistant in a soybean genomics lab focused on the molecular genetics of plant stress tolerance and the application of genomic technologies for crop improvement. He was also a member of a biomedical research team contributing in the R&D for new and innovative medical devices. In his free time, Eric enjoys spending time in the outdoors, working out, reading, and exploring new places.
Research Associate, October 2018 to May 2019
Ph.D. Biological Engineering, Northwestern University (expected June, 2018)
B.S Cell and Molecular Biology, Ohio University in Athens
About: Her graduate work focuses on engineering the properties of the prototypical MAP Kinase pathway in yeast for use in biosensor diagnostics. In the Zhang lab, Sarah will use the grass Setaria viridis as a model organism for photosynthesis in C4 plants such as maize and sorghum. She will combine traditional genetic approaches with engineering techniques to improve the thermostability of C4 photosynthesis, making C4 plants more tolerant of high temperature stresses. In her free time, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, opera and knitting.
Rotation Graduate Student, since January 2019
Loyola Marymount University, BS in Biology, 2018
Washington University in St. Louis, PMB grad student
Sarah is from the Bay Area in California. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Cum Laude) from Loyola Marymount University in May 2018. There, her research focused on the synergistic affects of mixed populations of rhizobacteria on white sweet clover. In the summer of 2017, she was an REU intern at Harvard Forest where she studied the role of manganese in leaf litter decomposition along oxic-anoxic interfaces. She is now a first year graduate student in the Plant and Microbial Biosciences program at Washington University rotating in the Zhang lab, with an interest in gene regulation of algal heat response. Sarah is an Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) Scholar. In her free time, Sarah enjoys exploring new places, going on outdoor adventures, and playing tennis. Rachel Jouni
Rotation Graduate Student, since March 2019
University of Florida, BS Biology
Washington University in St. Louis, PMB grad student About:
Rachel is from Florida and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Florida. During her time there she studied evolutionary genetics in Drosophila
with a focus on host-virus interactions. In between undergrad and grad school she worked in a tomato breeding lab with a focus on how volatile compounds affect flavor in tomato. She is currently in the PMB PhD. program at Washington University in St. Louis, and her rotation in the Zhang lab focuses on studying the heat response in algae. In her free time she enjoys eating and exploring St. Louis.
Position in Zhang Lab: Rotation Graduate Student (July 2018 - September 2018)
Current Position: WUSTL Graduate Student
Education: Bowling Green State University, BS, MS
About: Emily is from NW Ohio on the Lake Erie shores. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with her BS and MS. Her Master's project was a diel study of gene regulation of an in-situ cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie. After her Master's, she took a job with UM in Ann Arbor at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab where she helped introduce the first freshwater Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) into western Lake Erie in an effort to monitor microcystins in Lake Erie. She is now a first year at WashU rotating through the Zhang Lab, with an interest in using bioinformatics to study cell responses and gene regulations. In her spare time I enjoy any outdoor activity, cooking, camping, painting, and karaoke.
Position in Zhang Lab: Laboratory Technician (January 2018 - July 2018)
Current Position: Graduate Student at UC-Riverside
Education: Gustavus Adolphus College, BA (2017); Graduate Student, UC Riverside
About: James received his bachelor’s degree in Biology (emphasizing in plant biology) from Gustavus Adolphus College in December 2017. While at Gustavus, James conducted research on plant ecology emphasizing statistical modeling and will continue using mass spectrometry to study plant proteomics. During the summer of 2017, he worked in the Zhang lab to optimize the use of environmental photobioreactors to better understand the effects of heat stress on Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. James sails, mountain bikes, camps and climbs mountains in his free time. He is hoping to summit his 30th mountain by summer’s end.
Position in Zhang Lab: REU Student (May 2018 - August 2018)
Current Position: Undergraduate student at University of Arizona
Education: University of Arizona, undergraduate student
About: Andrew is working on his bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular/Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. There he works on tomato developmental genes and patterns in the Frans Tax lab. Afterwards, he plans to pursue graduate school to study algal biofuels. He is excited to be the summer 2018 REU intern for the Zhang lab and to learn about heat stress responses in Chlamydomonas. In his free time Andrew likes to bike, write, act, and scuba dive.
Position in Zhang Lab: STARS Intern (June 2018 - July 2018)
Current Position: Highschool student at Marquette Highschool
Education: Highschool student at Marquette Highschool
Attending Princeton University in Fall 2019
About: Varun is a rising senior at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was selected to participate in the STARS (Students and Teachers As Research Scientists) program, a six week program that pairs a student with a research mentor in the St. Louis area. In the Zhang lab, Varun is working on using the IDEA Spectrophotometer and environmental Photobioreactors to probe various photosynthetic parameters, found from chlorophyll fluorescence and electrochromic shift, in wild type Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In his free time, Varun likes to read, travel, play tennis, and cook.
Position in Zhang Lab: High School Student (April 2018 - May 2018)
Current Position: Undergraduate at University of Mississippi
Education: University of Mississippi, undergraduate student
The Zhang laboratory is currently recruiting a postdoctoral researcher. If you are interested, please apply at the Danforth website.