Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) Program

Madhuri Bendale

Address: 5322 PBDB

Phone: 319-335-1574

Email: madhuri-bendale@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Samuel M Young, PhD

Ashley Goll

Address: 246 BB

Phone: (319) 335-7713

Email:  ashley-goll@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Tina Tootle, PhD

Salma Hassan

Address: 357 MRC

Phone: (319) 335-8306

Email:  salma-hassan@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Arlene V. Drack, MD

Amelia Hurley-Novatny

Address:  1216 MERF

Phone:  (319) 335-8303

Email:  amelia-hurley-novatny@uiowa.edu

Program:  Dr. Ken Li

Research Interest: Pathogenesis of bone diseases

Place of origin: Rockville, MD

Bio: I am an MD/PhD student doing my thesis in Dr. Ken Li's lab studying the pathogenesis of

osteoporosis in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. After completing my graduate research, I plan to

apply for an orthopedic surgery residency. I hope to continue my career as an orthopedic

surgeon-scientist studying pathogenesis of musculoskeletal morbidities in genetic diseases. I

chose Iowa for the research, strength of the department of orthopedics, and the people!

Everyone is extremely friendly, helpful, and collaborative. In my free time, I powerlift, walk my

dogs, cook, and renovate my house.

Trevor Jones

Address: 1-661 BSB

Phone: 319- 384-4466

Email: trevor-jones-1@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Andy Frank PhD

Riley LeonardRiley Leonard

Address: 1-675 BSB

Phone: 319-353-5741

Email: riley-leonard@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Brad Amendt, PhD

Jie Li

Address: 246 BB

Phone: (319) 335-3997

Email: jie-li@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Tina Tootle, PhD

Jianing LiJianing Li

Address: 5326 PBDB

Phone: (319) 335-1574

Email: jianing-li-1@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Samuel M. Young Jr., PhD

Emily Liu

Address: 1-400 BSB

Phone: 319-335-7725

Email: emily-liu@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Amy Ryan PhD

Uchechi Okoroafor

Address: 5322 PBDB

Phone: 319-335-1574

Email: uchechi-okoroafor@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Samuel M Young, PhD

Tate Neff

Address: 3332 PBDB

Phone: (319) 335-7447

Email: tate-neff@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Ling Yang, PhD

Juan Rodriguez

Address: 3332 PBDB

Phone: (319) 335-8306

Email: juan-rodriguez@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Ling Yang,  PhD

Research Interest: Obesity, diabetes, and liver diseases

Place of origin: Puerto Rico, United States

Bio: Hey there! I'm Juan, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm a PhD candidate in the Cell

and Developmental Biology program. In the lab, I channel my passion into unraveling the

molecular mechanisms underlying liver disease caused by obesity and other risk factors,

notably type 2 diabetes. As hobbies, I find joy in sports, particularly basketball, and outdoor

adventures like kayaking and skiing. Additionally, I love spending downtime watching movies,

which is the perfect way to add entertainment to my day.

Patil Sidramagowda

Address: 3332 PBDB

Phone: (319) 335-7447

Email: sahebgowda-sidramagowdapatil@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Ling Yang,  PhD

Research Interest: Cell and molecular biology

Place of origin: Karnataka, India

Bio: I chose UIOWA for its vibrant research environment, evident from PIs consistently

publishing in high-impact journals. During my interview, a faculty member's endorsement

affirmed UIOWA as the best place for scientific exploration. My academic passion lies in

uncovering novel facets of science, and I envision a future in postdoctoral research. The

collaborative atmosphere and cutting-edge opportunities here align perfectly with my

aspirations. Outside the lab, I find joy in running, embracing the balance between intellectual

pursuits and a healthy lifestyle. I am excited to contribute to the dynamic scientific community at


Danielle TalbotDanielle Talbot

Address: 246 BB

Phone: (319) 335-7763

Email: danielle-talbot@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Tina Tootle, PhD

Israel Wipf

Address:  246 BB

Phone: (319) 335-7763

Email: israel-wipf@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Tina Tootle, PhD

Research Interest: The role of lipid droplets in collective cell migration

Place of origin: South Dakota, United States

Bio: I am a PhD candidate in Cell and Developmental Biology. What drew me to the University

of Iowa was its reputation for excellence in biomedical research, the broad range of topics being

explored, and, of course, the people. The community here is welcoming and collaborative, and

there are many great opportunities for both scientific training and professional development. My

research interest is to understand the mechanisms controlling collective cell migration,

especially the role of lipids droplets (small storage organelles important for lipid and energy

homeostasis). Determining how cells migrate as collectives is important for understanding both

human embryonic development and cancer metastasis. Outside of science, I enjoy music

(especially playing the drums), reading and writing fiction, and many forms of exercise (weight

training, biking, and yoga).

Wendy Xu

Address: 357 MRC

Phone: (319) 335-8306

Email: yunwen-xu@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Sam Young, PhD

Samantha Wuebker

Address: 1 -600 BSB

Phone: (319) 335-7713

Email: samantha-wuebker@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Eric VanOtterloo, PhD

Zewei Zhang

Address: 1 -500 BSB

Phone: (319) 335-7739

Email: zewei-zhang@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Thomas Rutkowski, PhD

Research Interest: Cell differentiation; liver diseases; bioinformatics

Place of origin: China

Bio: Academic interests: To understand how cells respond to stress conditions (anything that

perturbs normal cell function) in both homeostasis and disease, we focus on a cell organelle —

endoplasmic reticulum (ER, a site of protein synthesis and folding), in which non-/mis-folded

proteins abnormally accumulate to result in ER stress. Cellular response to this ER stress

impacts cell function and behavior. We are deciphering the ER stress's mechanisms and

consequences using approaches in vitro (cellular & molecular biology), in vivo (transgenic &

lineage tracing), and in silico (bulk & single-cell RNA sequencing). Noteworthy experiences: I

was trained and worked as a plastic surgeon & dermatologist in China, treating and researching

human skin diseases. During the research training, I come to learn how to express clearly and

fall in love with scientific writing. Future goals: a scientist, bioinformatician, or journal editor.

Favorite hobbies: walking, playing pool, & climbing stairs.