DSCB Alumni

The Duke DSCB program began admitting students in 2002. In 2007, the first students received their PhD degree. While the program itself is young, the alumni of the DSCB program have been very successful, earning postdoctoral fellowships in prestigious labs or going on to hold fulfilling careers in industry. Below is a selection of some alumni and where they are currently in their respective careers.  


Jennifer KwonJennifer Kwon
Degree Department / Year: University Program in Genetics & Genomics, PhD 2020
Research Mentor: Charles Gersbach, PhD
Research Description: Genome engineering in stem cells for skeletal muscle regeneration
Current Position: I am a scientific co-founder at a start-up biotech company in Durham. I conceive, develop, and execute experiments relating to epigenome editing strategies for therapeutic applications.


Ceri WeberCeri Weber
Degree Department / Year: Cell Biology, PhD 2020
Research Mentor: Blanche Capel, PhD
Research Description: Initiation and Maintenance of Temperature Dependent Sex Determination in the Red-Eared Slider Turtle
Current Position: I am a post-doc in Kim Cooper's lab at the University of California San Diego. I am studying the genetic and cellular processes underlying the elongation of the axial skeleton and growth of individual vertebral elements within and between species.


Benjamin StormoBenjamin Stormo
Degree Department / Year: Cell Biology, PhD 2017
Research Mentor: Don Fox, PhD
Research Description: I studied how the chromosomes of polyploid cells are altered compared to those of diploid cells. In particular, I showed that cells that undergo multiple S-phases without mitosis can return to mitosis but must undergo an extra step to separate their chromosomes before cell division.
Current Position: I am a post-doc in Dr. Amy Gladfelter's lab at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. I study the process of biological liquid-liquid phase separation and how cells use these biological condensates to organize their cytoplasm. My research focuses on how the material properties of these condensates are tuned to environmental conditions, especially temperature.


Javi CorderoJavi Cordero
Degree Department / Year: Pathology, PhD 2017
Research Mentor: Oren Becher, MD
Research Description: Stem Cell Biology and Mouse Epigenetics in Cancer - The Role of H3.3K27M-Induced Gene Repression in Brainstem Gliomagenesis.
Current Position: Regulatory Affairs Associate at United Therapeutics Corporation, Durham, NC


Emily MillerEmily Miller
Degree Department / Year: University Program in Genetics & Genomics 2011, PhD 2017
Research Mentor: Debra Silver, PhD
Research Description: Cell Biology and Mouse Genetics--The Discovery of EJC Independent Roles of EIF4A3 in Mitosis, Microtubules, and Neural Crest Development.
Current Position: I am a project leader at the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). I help manage a number of projects across the bench to bedside spectrum, for example: early development, manufacturing, and preclinical testing for novel medical devices; drug discovery; and quality improvement projects to help streamline multi-site clinical trails functioning under a single IRB. 


Jonah Cool Jonah Cool
Degree Program / Year: Cell Biology, PhD 2011
Research Mentor: Blanche Capel, PhD
Research Description: My work investigated the role of the remodeling vasculature during organ patterning and cell differentiation.
Current Position: Scientific Program Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Palo Alto; helping build relationships among scientists while bringing program management experience from my years at Organovo.


josh ziel Josh Ziel
Degree Program / Year: Biology, PhD 2011
Research Mentor: David Sherwood, PhD
Research Description: Basic cell biology of cell invasive behavior, using C. elegans as a model system.
Current Position: Associate Medical Director, Grey Healthcare Group/Medical Communications .



shu-yu-wu Shu-Yu (Simon) Wu
Degree Program / Year: Biology, PhD 2007
Research Mentor: David McClay, PhD
Research Description: Studying gene regulatory networks controlling an epithelial-mesenchymal transition using primary mesenchyme cells in the sea urchin embryo as model.
Current Position: Research Instructor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center  



David Rasmussen David Rasmussen
Degree Program / Year: Biology, PhD 2014
Research Mentor: Katia Koelle, PhD
Research Description: I study the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of several major human pathogens, including dengue virus, influenza and HIV. I also develop new phylogenetic and statistical methods for studying the epidemiological dynamics of these pathogens using viral sequence data. Currently, I am working on new tools to study the spread of HIV through sexual contact networks.
Current Position: Postdoctoral research fellow, ETH Zurich


Lisa Pfefferle Lisa W. Pfefferle
Degree Program / Year:University Program in Genetics & Genomics, PhD 2012
Research Mentor: Gregory A. Wray, PhD
Research Description: I used transcriptomics, molecular biology, and their combined synergism, to expose important changes in primate white adipose tissue and its specialized cell type the adipocyte. This work provided insight into the physiological, morphological, and disease susceptibility differences that distinguish humans from chimpanzees.
Current Position: Director, Corporate Development and Licensing / Laboratory Corporation of America