Young Investigators

Nurturing the Next Generation of Systems Biologists

The Center uses proven strategies to support young investigators and ensure funding success as they achieve independent careers. Strong mentoring and career development are provided by the Center in addition to collaborations and interaction with the systems biology community.

Postdoctoral Researchers / Associate Research Scientists - Current

Robyn Ball Robyn Ball Robyn Ball (Graber Group) is developing Spliced RUM, a pipeline that discovers novel isoforms using RNA-Seq data and various alignment tools. During her doctoral studies, she developed statistical methodology in a variety of fields. She worked on two proteomics projects with biologists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, two genomics projects with scientists at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a cardiology project that predicts an individual's heart age with scientists at NASA.
Steve MungerSteve Munger Steve Munger (Churchill Group), is expanding on this earlier graduate work by mapping gonad expression QTLs in the new Diversity Outcross (DO) population.  With this wealth of genetic and expression data, he will develop predictive network models of sex determination that can be tested in the Collaborative Cross (CC) panel of recombinant inbred strains. Munger received his doctorate from Duke University in the University Program in Genetics and Genomics. As part of his doctoral research, he characterized inbred strain differences in gene expression in the mouse gonad at the critical time point of primary sex determination.
Pavlina PetkovaPavlina Petkova Pavlina Petkova (Paigen Group), is searching for trans-acting suppressors of hotspot activity.  She is using a model system in which the presence of trans-acting CAST alleles suppresses hotspot activity at several individual hotspots on chromosome 1, and is mapping the trans-acting genes in a B6xCAST F2 cross keeping the hotspots heterozygous while the rest of the genome is segregating. Petkova received her doctorate in Genetics from the Higher Attestation Committee, Ministry of Education, Bulgaria and she investigated the structure and function of Drosophila melanogaster Dia-1 and Dia-2’ genes.
Narayanan RaghupathyNarayanan Raghupathy Narayanan Raghupathy (Churchill Group), is interested in developing statistical/computational approaches to utilize next generation/high-throughput genomic data, and applying integrative genomic approaches to understand transcriptional regulation and molecular basis of complex traits. Raghupathy's graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University focused on developing statistical methods for spatial comparative genomic analyses using a combinatorial approach and understanding the role of duplication in the evolution of insulin signaling. Following his graduate work, Raghupathy performed his postdoctoral research at Princeton University developing integrative statistical/computational methods for using high-throughput genotype and gene expression data to understand the genome-widelandscape of genetic associations in multiple human populations.



Postdoctoral Researchers / Associate Research Scientists - Alumni

David Aylor David Aylor David Aylor (Pardo-Manuel de Villena Group), had projects which involved genetic studies of the emerging Collaborative Cross recombinant inbred lines. Aylor characterized the genomic architecture of the panel, including the frequencies and spatial distributions of founder alleles and combinations of alleles. Additionally, he developed methods for mapping complex traits in the CC. Prior to joining UNC, Aylor received his doctorate in Bioinformatics from North Carolina State University studying methods for the genetic analysis of gene expression.
Rachael Hageman Rachael Hageman Rachael Hageman (Churchill Group), in collaboration with Ron Korstanje, worked to identify possible null mutations and the downstream pathways that lead to high HDL levels in mutant mice. Hageman was awarded an NIH NRSA Fellowship to study Bayesian dynamic genome scale modeling of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol transport. Prior to joining The Jackson Laboratory, she received her doctorate in Mathematics from Case Western Reserve University, studying Bayesian methods for large-scale parameter estimation and sensitivity analyses for myocardial metabolism during ischemia.
Nicole LeahyNicole Leahy Nicole Leahy (Graber Group) examined the potential significance of genes within gene deserts to hypothesize the functional importance of the gene deserts. Leahy also searched for genomic features strongly correlated to local recombination rate as part of the Petkov laboratory's effort to understand observed patterns of recombination hot spots. Leahy received her doctorate in Bioinformatics from Iowa State University, studying the evolution of reproductive isolation in simulated population.
Gerardo Marquez Gerardo Marquez Gerardo Marquez (Hibbs/Chesler Group), improved and developed analytical methods for gene expression in the mouse genetic model using high-throughput sequencing as applied to Systems Biology. Prior to joining The Jackson Laboratory, Marquez was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Entomology of Cornell University, using Illumina-Solexa sequencing in biological experiments in Population Genetics/Genomics.
Emil Parvanov Emil Parvanov Emil Parvanov (Petkov Group) investigated trans-control of hotspot activation and placement during meiotic homologous recombination. Parvanov received his doctorate in Genetics from the Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Switzerland studying the mating-type related bias of gene conversion in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
Peter Vedell Peter Vedell Peter Vedell (Churchill Group) designed and analysed expression microarray experiments to assess variation in transcript abundance within and between inbred mouse strains and tissues. Vedell received his doctorate in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Iowa State University where he examined boundary value approaches to molecular dynamics simulation.
Ricardo Verdugo Ricardo Verdugo Ricardo Verdugo (Churchill Group) performed genome-wide gene expression surveys in 17 tissues and 26 mouse strains. He also dissected the genetic architecture and gene interactions underlying the determination of HDL levels. Verdugo received his doctorate in Genetics from University of California, Davis performing the genetic dissection of growth and obesity traits in a mouse congenic strain using transcript profiling and high density mapping.

JAX MouseHyuna Yang Hyuna Yang (Churchill Group) developed and analyzed data generated using the JAX Mouse Diversity Array with Drs. Churchill and Pardo-Manual de Villena. Yang also performed statistical method development and high throughput data analysis including microarray, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), Bayesian haplotype association mapping. Prior to joining the Churchill group, Yang received her doctorate in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying model based clustering of the genomic aberration.