Peterson (Kariuki) Maina successfully passed his Ph.D. examination on Friday, April 14, 2017

Peterson (Kariuki) Maina (left) successfully passed his Ph.D. examination on Friday, April 14, 2017 in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. His thesis title was "Novel Oncogenic Roles and Regulations of Histone Demethylase PHF8 in Prostate Cancer". Members of his thesis committee were chair, Hank Qi, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology;  Adam Dupuy, also from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Michael Henry from Physiology; Lori Wallrath from Biochemistry and Weizhou Zhang from Pathology.

Kariuki graduated from Alliance High School (Kikuyu, Kenya) in 2005 before matriculating into St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY) in 2006. It was there that Kariuki discovered epigenetic research. For his biochemistry major senior year thesis project, he elucidated the DNA binding mechanisms of the histone deacetylase complex Rpd3p in S. cerevisiae.

Upon graduation in 2010, Kariuki taught Math for one year at Kashmere High School in the Houston Independent School District. During this time, he met scientists at the Texas Medical Center that inspired him to apply to graduate school. Consequently, he joined the University of Iowa’s Biosciences Program in 2011 and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in 2012.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Hank Qi, Kariuki has published three, and submitted two manuscripts, on two of which Kariuki enjoys the first author position. His data has been used as preliminary material for four grants (two were funded), above being the focus at three scientific meetings. A dynamic team player, Kariuki has trained undergraduates and visiting scholars in the lab. His initiatives have also seen him serve as an ACB co-senator to the Graduate Student Senate and a graduate student representative to the Presidential Charter Committee UI Research Council in 2014. He and former students, Douglas Bursich and Javier Gomez, co-founded the Coffee and Papers (CAPs) student group.

When not in the lab, Kariuki ministers with his church and volunteers with the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UIHC. He is a fan of Kenyan and English soccer, an avid intercontinental backpacker, and a regular to UI’s mainstage theatrical productions.

This August, Kariuki will start medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017