Each year, we recruit a new cohort of MARC Fellows during their Junior year. Below you can see each cohort and learn a little about them.

Junior COHORT (Graduating 2024):

Elizabeth Hardy

Mentor: Dr. Nathan Fried

About: My goal is to obtain my Ph.D. in nutritional sciences. As an advocate for healthy eating, I plan to research the correlation between monosodium glutamate consumption at elevated levels and chronic pain. I enjoy volunteering with Alpha Kappa Alpha, cooking, and working out in my free time.

Sandy Lam

Mentor: Dr. Nathan Fried

About: The research that I am currently involved in will be with circadian rhythms and how it affects chronic pain. The goal of this lab to understand how much sleep can really affect the pain that we feel throughout our lives and any long term effects. My research goals would be to ultimately understand how sleep can impact everything that we do throughout our day to day. Something that I have recently enjoyed doing would be to collect little bald figures called Smiskis!

Blessing Awogbamila

Mentor: Dr. Kwangwon Lee

About: Currently, I’m involved in the Circadian Rhythm lab. I’ve been experimenting on the mechanisms involved in Photoperiodism in Neurospora. My research career goals include eventually publishing a paper and learning many techniques and skill sets. What’s unique about me is my ability to step out of my comfort zone in order to improve myself.

Senior COHORT (Graduating 2023):

Sashoya Dougan

Mentor: Dr. Anthony Geneva

About: Currently my research aims to investigate the evolutionary origins of Adenovirus (AdV), particularly a novel lineage that infects Anolis lizards. Most reptilian cases are caused by AdVs within the Atadenovirus genus, yet more recently two individuals of Anolis sagrei from the island of Staniel Cay were found to be infected with AdVs more closely related to the Mastadenovirus genus previously known to primarily infect mammals. In hopes of better understanding the origins of these novel AdVs from Staniel Cay, we have continued AdV research with various anole species that were collected across the West Indies. Going forward I hope to utilize and strengthen my interest and skills in genetics and put it towards conservation. I’m particularly interested in the lion populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Outside of my research I enjoy spending copious amounts of time in the gym, cycling, and scrolling through cute animal clips!

D’Erica Boskie

Mentor: Dr. Xingyun Qi

About: The research I currently conduct focuses on how certain mutations that are inserted on the Arabidopsis genome can impact the phenotypic expression of stomata on the plant surface. These phenotypic qualities can result in plants that are better suited to survive in the climates that are have higher carbon dioxide rates and less access to water like the climate conditions we are currently approaching with climate change. In the future I hope to venture away from the field of plant and Molecular biology and focus on the field of Cognitive Neuroscience to conduct child and infant cognition research.

John Crespo

Mentor: Dr. Nathan Fried

About: The research I will be involved with will be looking at the association between pain and sleep through the use of fruit flies by utilizing a chemical, mechanical, and thermal assay. In theory, lowering sleep should increase pain and increasing pain should lower sleep, so I will be testing this theory on fruit flies to see how this can also be associated among humans. My research career goals are to take part in treating cancer by using a procedure that would cause less side effects, resulting in lowering the chances of mortality after a few years of treatment. I am unique because of how quickly and young I have started my career journey, where I am two years ahead of school because of early college credits and starting school early overall. This leads me to graduate and gather the experience that is needed at a younger age, compared to the average person who graduates.

Teresa Osorio

Mentor: Dr. Marien Solesio

About: Currently, our lab is studying the effects of mitochondrial inorganic polyphosphate in pharmacological models of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. The goal of this study is to understand mitochondrial physiology and dysfunction in neurodegeneration and aging. Born and raised in Camden, my surroundings fostered a desire to pursue research. I aspire to continue researching neurodegenerative diseases and advocating for equity in the science community. When I am not in the lab or volunteering in my community, my hobbies include drawing, journaling, and exploring Philly’s collection of museums and restaurants.