Bookmark and Share

Meet Our Trainees

Pre-doctoral Trainees

Maegen Borzok

Maegen Borzok: Ms. Borzok graduated in 2002 from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA, with a BS in Biochemistry. In the fall of 2002, she became a student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she worked under the direction of Dr. Robert Bloch, professor in the Department of Physiology. Her research project entailed understanding the interaction between two proteins of striated muscle - Small Ankyrin 1, a protein of the sarcoplasmic reticulum, and Obscurin, a giant protein surrounding the sarcomere. She was awarded her doctorate degree in 2007, and she is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Robert Bloch.

Nicole Hoppman

Nicole Hoppman: Ms. Hoppman earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she was also involved in research involving the characterization of clostridium beijerinckii. After obtaining her Bachelors of Science, Ms. Hoppman was awarded a predoctoral CRTA fellowship at the NCI-Frederick, where she worked with Dr. Dwight Nissley and Dr. Jeffrey Strathern examining HIV-1 NNRTI drug resistance and screening potential anti-HIV1 RT inhibitors. She then joined the PhD program in Human Genetics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2003, where she worked under the direction of Dr. Braxton Mitchell on the identification and functional studies of genes that are involved in variations of bone mineral density in Mexican Americans and the Old Order Amish. Ms. Hoppman was awarded her doctorate degree in 2007. She is currently a Clinical Genetics Training Fellow at the Mayo Clinic.

Jaclyn Kerr

Jaclyn Kerr: A native of Michigan, Ms. Kerr earned her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Georgia, where she was also involved in research on maternal effects on evolution in Drosophila in Daniel Promislow's laboratory. After earning her Bachelors of Science, Ms. Kerr returned to Ann Arbor, MI to work as a research assistant in the division of Cardiovascular Research at Pfizer for two years under Stephen Rapundalo. Following that, she joined the PhD program in Physiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2003. In Dr. Meredith Bond's lab and in Dr. Robert Bloch's lab, Ms. Kerr is working on identifying the proteins involved in PKA signaling via the intermediate filament protein, synemin, and its role in the development of heart failure. Following her training, she plans on re-entering pharmaceutical research and development, researching intervention strategies targeted towards heart failure, hypertension and dyslipidemia.

Maureen O'Donnell

Maureen O'Donnell: Ms. O'Donnell graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2004 with a major in Physiology/Neurobiology. Her post-doctoral research in Dr. Bond's lab focuses on the nuclear protein CH8/Dupin, which she has shown to be an A-kinase Anchoring Protein (AKAP) and also a negative regulator of ß-catenin in the nucleus. Maureen has reproduced this binding of PKA to Duplin in mammalian cells, both alone and in the presence of Ht31, a known competitive binding peptide for the Regulatory subunit type II (RII) of protein kinase A (PKA). Maureen has produced duplin constructs in which the RII binding site is eliminated and is currently producing RNAi to knock down duplin and determine functional consequences. She was supported by this Training Grant until August 2008. She then transitioned to her own funding, an individual NIH NRSA. She plans to defend her thesis proposal in the Fall of 2008.

Post-doctoral Trainees

Joseph Mauban

Joseph Ryan H. Mauban, Ph.D.: Joseph Mauban received a B.A. in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University, and an M.S. (1997) and a Ph.D. (2003) with Dr. Wier from the Department of Physiology at UMB SOM, where he measured Ca2+ sparks in both isolated smooth muscle cells as well as intact blood vessels, a major new accomplishment. Dr. Mauban carried out two years of post-doctoral training with Dr. Jason Yuan in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California San Diego. He then returned to Baltimore and joined the laboratory of Dr. Bond. He is developing new skills in molecular and cell biology (e.g. gene knock down by siRNA). He is testing the hypothesis that AKAP-Lbc, a Rho GTP Exchange Factor (RhoGEF), which is phosphorylated by PKA, plays a pivotal role in regulation of blood pressure and hypertension through activation of the Rho kinase pathway. While supported by the CVCB Training Program, Dr. Mauban was successful in obtaining an AHA post-doctoral fellowship, a minority supplement to Dr. Bond’s NIH R01, and, in September 2008, he received the annual GPILS post-doctoral scholar of the year award.

Evadnie Rampersaud, MSPH, Ph.D.: Dr. Rampersaud is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She received a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of South Florida and completed her doctoral degree in genetics from Duke University in August 2005. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Braxton Mitchell in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology in 2005, where her primary research interest was in the mapping of complex diseases through the application of statistical approaches. Dr. Rampersaud worked as part of a collaborative effort to map genes that are involved in causing Type-2 diabetes using whole genome-wide association mapping techniques. In addition, she was involved in studies of osteoporosis and longevity in a genetically enriched population, the Old Order Amish. She is currently a faculty member in the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Kwame Yankey, M.D.: Dr. Yankey is currently an active research associate of the Artificial Organs Laboratory at the University of Maryland Medical Center, following three years of general surgery training. The laboratory is currently involved in several projects, including the use of a miniature ventricular-assist device in heart failure, the development of a pediatric ventricular-assist device, the use of intramyocardial electrograms to detect rejection in heart transplants and the development of an artificial lung. Dr. Yankey’s specific project is to study the molecular and cellular aspects of cardiac remodeling post-MI and how mechanical unloading with use of a ventricular-assist device can mitigate or reduce the changes in molecular and cellular events accompanying cardiac remodeling. Dr. Yankey is currently in his final year of residency training. Upon completion of his general surgery training he hopes to pursue a fellowship in cardiac surgery.

Yinghua Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.: Dr. Zhang was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She received her M.D. from Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences in China and a PhD from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan. After working as a Research Scientist in the Department of Oncology and Hygiene at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan, Dr. Zhang was a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University. Dr. Zhang’s future goals are focused on 1) Characterizing alpha II spectrin, cardi+, an alternative splicing form of spectrin that is selectively expressed in the heart. To localize it in heart cells, to identify the proteins it associates with and to study its interactions with beta-spectrins; 2) Characterizing other spectrins and the complexes they form at the cardiac t-tubule membrane; 3) To identify the spectrins and ankyrins that link the t-tubule to the SR/ER membrane and the proteins with which they interact, 3) Identifying the spectrins and ankyrins that link the t-tubule to the SR/ER membrane and the proteins with which they interact; 4) Studying the effects of phosphorylation on the spectrin network at t-tubules on the morphology and physiology of cardiocytes. Dr. Zhang is currently a faculty member in the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.