2024 – 2025 Cohort

We are excited to introduce the new 2024 – 2025 Cohort of Genetics & Genomics Scholars. These PhD students are from multidisciplinary fields and are participating in a first-year core curriculum that integrates foundational conceptual training in genetics and genome-scale techniques with big data analysis and professional development.

I love being a part of a cohort of students from different fields, building a network with my fellow GG scholars, and having class together to discuss our perspectives on different topics in genetics.

Nicole Choquette, 2020 GG Scholar (Crop Science)

I chose the GGS umbrella program, because the interdisciplinary graduate experience lets me rotate through different labs & graduate programs giving me the chance to find a project & labs that best fit my interests!

Megan Dillon, 2020 GG Scholar (Undeclared program)

The GGS program provides many more opportunities than any one program could, including exposure to several scientific disciplines & scientists outside of my field of study.

Madison Moore, 2020 GG Scholar (Functional Genomics)
Tomoka Adams
Tomo Adams

Entomology

Moving around a lot growing up–from Western Pennsylvania to Minnesota and then back again–I always appreciated the little things in life that were always there: family, friends (even after we no longer saw each other in person), and bugs! Although I primarily lived in the Pittsburgh and St. Paul suburbs, I ended up at the College of Wooster in Northeast Ohio for my BA as a double major in Biology and Spanish under Drs. Nanfack-Minkeu and Medina. My senior independent thesis project at Wooster had me sampling invasive mosquitoes and analyzing the symbolic usage of insects in art and literature. After graduating in 2023 I took a gap year to be a Fulbright Student in Panama, conducting research on the effects of microplastic exposure on the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti at the Gorgas Institute, with multiple trips to areas such as the Darien province and Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal. I’m entering NC State’s Entomology doctoral program where I’ll continue to work with insects, hopefully while maintaining my connections in Panama! Outside of work I enjoy playing video games, going to kikis with friends, and weightlifting.

Edeline Anthoniraj
Edeline Anthoniraj

Microbiology

I grew up in Utah and then California, where I pursued a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology with an emphasis in Microbiology and a minor in Bioinformatics at UC Davis. During my time as an undergraduate, I worked in a couple different labs but the one that had the most impact on me was a plant pathology lab where I was able to complete my senior thesis looking at how in-season deficit irrigation in tomato fields changes the microbial community, including decomposers and pathogens, during the off-season. The project really opened my eyes to host-microbiome interactions. I’m excited to be entering the doctoral microbiology program at NC State to continue exploring this area of research as well as incorporate a genetic aspect as a GG scholar. Having been a West Coast person my whole life, I am super excited to join NCSU and explore the East Coast!

Ty Bradley
Ty Bradley

Toxicology

I grew up in Windsor, South Carolina. I attended the University of South Carolina-Aiken where I received my B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology. I spent my undergraduate career working on plant genetics and molecular biology, focusing on using transgenic Arabidopsis to visualize the transposition of mPing. I graduated with an MSPH in Environmental Health Sciences and a graduate certificate in Disaster Management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. I spent my graduate career working on heavy metal exposure, saltwater intrusion impacts on water quality, lead exposure in the New Orleans region, and several Environmental Justice projects with a faculty member and NASA. I am interested in exploring the ways in which chemicals and contaminants in the environment impact human health with a specific focus on the immune system. With the GG Scholars and Toxicology programs, I will be able to contribute to interdisciplinary research in genetics and genomics, and immunotoxicology, while including One Health concepts. This opportunity will provide me with the skills and knowledge necessary to take a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to assessing how the environment has implications for the human immune system. In addition to my education, I find interest in reading scientific-fiction novels, cooking, and spending time with my sister and her kids!

Trip Brooks
Trip Brooks

FWCB

I was born and raised in North Carolina, where I attended East Carolina University. I graduated with a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in psychology. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of labs. These labs allowed me to explore a range of topics, from examining wetland plant community diversity to the restoration and conservation methods for oyster reefs found along North Carolina’s coastline. In my final year and a half at ECU, I concentrated on marine parasitology, where I examined the prevalence and distribution of Shrimp Black Gill Disease in grass shrimp populations. I also used this time to explore the population genetics and gene flow of grass shrimp. With the opportunities that come with GGS, I hope to continue expanding my knowledge of technical abilities and better implementing skills for conservation through the lens of genetics. GGS and a PhD in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology will help prepare me for a career in academia as a professor with a lab of my own. Beyond academics, I enjoy long-distance running, Ultimate Frisbee, trying coffee shops, and exploring new genres of music.

Kiran Daulla
Kiran Daulla

Genetics

I was raised in Denton, Texas where I completed my B.S in biochemistry with minors in biology, classical studies, and history at the University of North Texas. My first introduction to research was through the SEA-PHAGES program under the guidance of Dr. Lee Hughes and I continued to work independently in phage genetics in Dr. Mauricio Antunes’ lab. I then joined Dr. Robert Jinkerson’s lab for a summer under the guidance of graduate student Claire Mauss at the University of California, Riverside’s National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. There, I worked on creating multiplexing CRISPR/Cas9 plasmids. While I am unsure of what exactly I’ll study at NC State, I am broadly interested in gene-environment interactions, evolutionary genetics, and developmental genetics. I’m excited to begin my doctoral studies with GGS and create new friendships! Outside of science, I enjoy reading fantasy novels and learning about the classical period.

Meghan Dillon
Meghan Dillon

Toxicology

I grew up in Carmel, NY, and attended Binghamton University, where I earned my B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Biological Anthropology. As an undergraduate, I researched how exposure to atrazine (an herbicide) affects various developmental and morphological characteristics in Drosophila melanogaster. Additionally, with a passion for education, I designed and published an original teaching strategy that fosters scientific communication skills among first-year undergraduate researchers. As a GG Scholar and Toxicology PhD student, I look forward to further studying gene-environment interactions and other mechanisms underlying toxicant susceptibility, and hope to leverage this knowledge to benefit human, animal, and environmental health. Outside of research, I enjoy baking, painting, long walks, café-hopping, and watching football – go Wolfpack!

Jessica Ding
Jessica Ding

Entomology

I grew up in Illinois and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied Integrative Biology and Environmental Studies with the intention of becoming a veterinarian. My passion for One Health research took me along a different path — after graduating and working for a few years, I decided to move to North Carolina and attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a graduate education in Geography. In addition to my master’s research studying swine flu evolution, my experiences working in interdisciplinary collaborations across the Research Triangle motivated me to seek out further training in genetics and vector ecology so that I am better equipped to study emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. As a PhD student in Entomology, I look forward to bringing a geographic approach to studying vector-borne disease and host-pathogen evolutionary dynamics at the human-environment interface. I am excited to learn from my fellow GG Scholars and continue my training as an interdisciplinary scientist at NC State! Outside of academia, I enjoy bouldering, lifting, birdwatching, and anything that involves being active or being outside (with the exception of running).

Audrey Fahey
Audrey Fahey

Genetics

I was born in California and grew up in New Jersey and New York. My undergraduate years were spent at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts where I got my B.A. in Biochemistry and minored in Math. Since then, I’ve worked as a Research Technician on Long Island, NY where I initially sought to treat cancer using antibody-based therapeutics. I then transitioned to another lab where I’ve been doing work understanding how transcription factors and genes influence the crop, sorghum bicolor. It’s here that I’ve rediscovered my love of plants and plant biology, and developed an interest in crop genetics and genomics. As a GG scholar and member of the Genetics Program, I look forward to learning from multiple disciplines so I can incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to crop improvement. In my down time, I enjoy reading, going on walks, exploring nearby towns and cities, and listening to music.

Zehta Glover
Zehta Glover

Genetics

I grew up in a small beach town called Englewood, FL. After high school, I moved to Tallahassee, FL, where I attended Florida State University. Despite earning my B.S. in Cell and Molecular Neuroscience, I decided to join a maize genetics lab where I investigated an enzyme, MNase, for sequence bias when digesting DNA and chromatin for chromatin profiling assays. I was able to present this research at the Annual Maize Genetics Conference, which is where my love for maize as a model organism really blossomed. As a GG Scholar and a Genetics PhD student, I plan to continue to research maize genetics and make a meaningful impact in advancing crop quality and yield. Outside of the lab you can find me reading, crocheting, or trying out new recipes in the kitchen!

Cameron Grey
Cameron Grey

Genetics

I grew up in Cary, North Carolina, and developed a passion for all things natural sciences in the forests of the triangle. I attended East Carolina University and graduated with a B.S. in Biology concentrating in Ecology and Evolution. I have had the privilege of researching both threespine stickleback brain genetics and transgenic cotton plants while completing my undergrad degree. In addition to the GG Scholars, I will be enrolled in the Genetics and Genomics PhD program at NC State in the fall. My general research interests are in evolutionary genetics, but I am excited to see what puzzles present themselves in Genetics at NC State! Outside of research, I enjoy hiking, cooking (eating), Jiu-Jitsu, and beekeeping.

Shirley Jacquet
Shirley Jacquet

Biology

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. My life journey did not take me down the “normal” path as most people would have. My time serving in the Army brought me to Fayetteville, NC where I attended Fayetteville State University and earned my BS in Forensic Science with a double minor in Biology and Chemistry. In my research ventures through the Ronald E. McNair Program, I worked with mentors, Dr. Jiazheng Yuan and Dr. Willietta Gibson on various scopes of undergraduate research such as Comparative Assessment of Resistance to Charcoal Rot in Glycine Soja and Individual Effects of Gallic Acid and Curcumin in Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I have also been thoroughly trained to work in a Forensic laboratory through the guidance of Dr. Khalid Lodhi and have presented in front of the NC State CrimeLab Board. I am grateful and excited to be joining the GGS program and starting my Ph.D where I will be taking everything I have learned and utilizing it on this new journey here at NCSU!

Sarah Jeffers
Sarah Jeffers

Biology

I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and received my B.S. in Entomology with an American Sign Language minor from the University of Georgia. While I’m unsure of exactly what I’ll study, I look forward to possibly researching Lepidopterans and how certain genes can affect morphological traits. I’m excited to discover what applications of science interest me the most through the GGS program. I also hope to incorporate curation and outreach into my time at NCSU as a creative outlet. Other than science, I enjoy anything outside. I mountain bike, whitewater kayak, run, and so on. My main passion is rock climbing, both bouldering and sport.

Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson

Biomathematics

I grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and developed a keen appreciation for Greek food, as Tarpon has the highest percentage of Greek people of any city in the U.S. I attended the University of South Florida, where I earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics. During my time in undergrad, I worked as a research assistant at Moffitt Cancer Center, focusing on analyzing differences in response dynamics between African American and European American prostate cancer patients. Looking ahead, my long-term aspiration is to pursue research in biomathematics to help bridge health disparity gaps using mathematical tools. At NC State, I’m eager to leverage mathematics, genetics, and genomics to uncover the biological underpinnings that contribute to disparities in chronic diseases and to identify more effective treatment approaches. Outside of my research, I find joy in dancing, cooking, baking, and exploring fashion. I’m eager to embrace the learning journey offered by the GG Scholars program.

Robby King
Robby King

Biochemistry

I am from Glen Rock, New Jersey, where I have been my whole life. Remaining in New Jersey, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). During my time at TCNJ, I delved into both the morphological and genomic realms of honeysuckle in Dr. Wendy Clement’s lab. I developed the most comprehensive plastid phylogeny for honeysuckle, currently under comparison with nuclear phylogenies of the group, revealing instances of cytonuclear discordance. Additionally, I contributed to a project analyzing invasive honeysuckle species, investigating variations in herbivory compared to their native counterparts. Our approach involved pioneering the use of digitized herbarium specimens. I am equally interested in the ecological and genomic realms of biology and aspire to delve deeper into the intricate relationships among plants, including their chemistry.

Jaylin Knight
Jaylin Knight

Genetics

I grew up in Snellville, Georgia. I attended the University of Georgia where I received my B.S. in Biology and my B.A. in Anthropology. My undergraduate research was focused on reproductive isolation, specifically hybrid inviability and infertility, in Mimulus flower species. I’ve also contributed to a publication analyzing sizing patterns in phrynosomatid lizards and their implications for reconstructing body size in fossil lizards. I’m interested in human adaptation and the intersection between genetics, evolution, history, and health through an anthropogenic lens. Additionally, I want to use these topics to better understand the evolutionary histories of African people, in both the distant and recent past. I’m excited to join the Genetics PhD program and the GG Scholars, create new connections, and participate in interdisciplinary research! Outside of research, I enjoy crocheting, sewing, and playing video games!

Anne Lindbergh
Anne Lindbergh

Entomology

I grew up in rural West Virginia, where I spent most of my childhood picking flowers and flipping over rocks in the creek behind my house. Though I had a brief stint as an engineering student, it’s no surprise to me that I’ve ended up studying entomology and plant biology. As an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, I worked on a project with Dr. Clyde Sorenson identifying bee species from Grandfather Mountain, NC. I also received funding through the NC State Kelman Scholars Program to pursue research in the labs of Drs. Anna Whitfield and Marcé Lorenzen, where I studied virus-host protein interactions and transgenic organism development. I’m excited to continue my work as a Genetics and Genomics Scholar, with a focus on vector biology and insect genetics. Also during my time at NC State, I co-founded the undergraduate Entomology Club, and I hope to continue my involvement as a graduate student mentor. I’m particularly interested in expanding access to research opportunities for undergraduate students. When I’m not in the lab or the library, I enjoy writing, baking, and looking for bugs.

Erin Logan
Erin Logan

Plant Biology

I was born in Monroe, Louisiana but spent most of my life in Jackson, Mississippi. I attended The University of Southern Mississippi where I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Music with a minor in Spanish. My undergraduate research focused on potential relationships between plants and music. Later, I performed genetics research on grape varieties for E&J Gallo Winery. Interdisciplinary work has always been a major part of my education, and I enjoy topics that intersect between science, culture, and creativity. At NC State, I plan on studying ethnobotany, especially the plants used by the African Diaspora in American history. Outside of academia, I enjoy painting, sewing, playing music, and learning different hobbies. I am excited to grow and learn through the GG Scholars program!

Anuja Pimplapure
Anuja Pimplapure

Microbiology

I grew up in Mumbai, India. I’ve always been fascinated by the intricate mechanisms of biological systems, which led me to pursue my undergrad and Master’s in Microbiology from the University of Mumbai. Further, I explored different areas of biology by working as a research assistant on multiple projects focusing on cancer biology, biomarker discovery, and gut microbiome research. Learning the intricate and synergistic mechanisms by which microbes maintain the homeostasis of the human body as well as the complete ecosystem is truly awe-inspiring. Through the GG Scholars and Microbiology Program, I am excited to learn and develop new ways to understand and decipher the interactions that lead to the resilience and adaptability of microbiomes and expand their application potential. Along with doing science, I love to travel, dance and eat!

Kassidy Robinson
Kassidy Robinson

Genetics

I grew up in Gainesville, Florida and attended the University of Florida, where I received my B.S. in Environmental Science in August 2022. After exploring many different fields within environmental science, I was ultimately drawn towards plant biology and became fascinated by the intrinsic power of plants to mitigate climate change. Alongside my classes, I completed science communication internships at the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory and the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute. After graduation, I moved to Raleigh to work at NC State as a Research Technician in Dr. Ryan Sartor’s lab. Here, I helped set up and program an automatic high-throughput phenotyping system, and have since been using it to selectively breed for high-yielding varieties of Lemna gibba, a species of duckweed. During my PhD, I hope to continue conducting research that utilizes plant genetics to improve the sustainability of our agricultural system. Outside of work and school, I enjoy making art, playing guitar, hiking with my dog, and going to concerts!

John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon

Genetics and Genomics Scholars – First Year

Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, I graduated from NC State with a B.S. in Biochemistry, a B.S. in Biological Sciences, and a B.A. in Chemistry. I have since been working in Dr. Robert Smart’s molecular toxicology lab for over two years researching the role transcription factors Nrf2 and C/ebpβ play in skin biology and chemical carcinogenesis in addition to characterizing a long non-coding RNA. I’m particularly interested in learning more about how the environment interacts with and destabilizes biological systems as well as other genetic principles and computational techniques. Outside of the lab you can find me relaxing in a coffee shop, walking around a park, or camping.

Zach Zagon
Zach Zagon

Genetics

I grew up in Cornwall, New York before attending the University of Miami. At UM, I received a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology with a minor in Ecosystem Science and Policy, and later a M.P.S. in Marine Biology and Ecology with a focus in Tropical Marine Ecosystems. During my time at UM, I worked in a variety of labs and on a wide range of projects. I was with the Ocean Acidification lab studying genotypic and physiological responses to environmental factors in staghorn coral. After undergrad, I joined NOAA’s Coral Program where our team performed experiments to evaluate the effect of algal symbiont assemblages and environmental co-stressors on stony coral tissue loss disease and coral physiology in mountainous star coral. As a GG Scholar and Genetics PhD student, my research interests lie in furthering our knowledge of reef building organisms’ responses to the changing environment and how to implement our findings into restoration and conservation. Outside of research, I am an avid SCUBA diver, and enjoy cooking, photography, and my New York sports teams!

Noor Zamamiri
Noor Zamamiri

Genetics

I grew up in Albany, New York and received my B.S. in Biology and Neuroscience from Syracuse University. My undergraduate research focused on the genetic factors that alter secondary cell wall composition in poplar hybrids, which has applications in improving biomaterial production from lignocellulosic biomass. Going into graduate school, I am interested in studying some of the gene regulatory elements implicated in development and disease, and their applications to the discovery of therapeutic targets. As a Genetics PhD student and GG Scholar, I am so excited to gain more of an interdisciplinary perspective on questions in genetics and to meet new people along the way! Outside of the lab, I really love crocheting, baking, and finding new coffee shops to try out.