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Pre and Postdoc Institutions

  • UConn Health
  • University of Maine
  • Tufts University


Applicants should apply directly to one or more of our JAX Cooperative PhD Program partner institutions. In order to select an appropriate PhD program, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the faculty and research at the two JAX training campuses - Bar Harbor, Maine, and Farmington, Conn - and the requirements of the individual academic programs.

Explore Degree Granting Institutions

Uma Arora

Hometown: Bangalore, India
Undergrad Institution: University of California – Los Angeles
Undergrad major: B.S. Psychobiology and Marine Biology

What is your research focus?
I am investigating the variation in centromeric DNA and kinetochore proteins and its impact on chromosome segregation dynamics.

What question/problem do you hope to help solve as a scientist?
I will use my training in evolutionary genetics and genomics to contribute to the environmental protection or improving human health.

What do you like about training at JAX?
I like the collaborative scientific community, the hands on training from PIs and other scientists, and the accessibility to resources (computational, experimental, and educational).

Visit the Dumont Lab

Alex Nesta

Combines computational and wet lab techniques to investigate the impact of transposable elements on disease transcriptomes.

Elli Hartig

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University School of Medicine conducting my thesis research in the Tarchini Lab at JAX. I study the sensory cells of the inner ear that allow us to hear, balance, and orient ourselves in space. We are born with a sparse population of non-renewable sensory "hair" cells (named for their unique cytoskeletal architecture) that we must maintain across our lifespan. Many deafness-associated genetic variants affect hair cell structure, either during development in the case of congenital deafness or in adult maintenance in the case of age-related hearing loss. I hypothesize that certain factors integral to hair cell development remain involved into adulthood and contribute to the steady-state structural maintenance of these cells. My goal is to gain insight as to how we might preserve sensory cell function with age, thus extending the healthspan of our aging population. Elli is currently on the Korstanje T32.

Caryl Young

I received my B.S. in bioengineering from the University of Maine. Immediately after graduation I joined the Munnamalai Lab as a research assistant and then a Postbaccalaureate Researcher . Currently, I am a predoc student in the University of Maine's GSBSE program. I am in interested in how cell fate and specific patterning is established during development, and I enjoy developing quantitative methods to better understand this. My project specifically investigates the influence of Wnt signaling on the patterning of the cochlear epithelium during early time points of development. I aim to characterize how disruptions in patterning early on can affect the proper formation of a mature cochlea.

Patience Mukashyaka

Hometown: Rwanda
Undergrad Institution: Spelman College
Undergrad major: B.S. Biochemistry

What is your research focus?
I am interested in using computational analysis especially image analysis to understand how cancer cell populations function and evolve.

What do you like about training at JAX?
I am very lucky and grateful to be a trainee at JAX. I have so many resources, I feel very supported and I am always learning from my colleagues who are experts in different areas of computational analysis. Moreover, JAX implements a great learning environment by providing training courses, conferences and distinguished scientific talks.

Share something you have learned from your PI that makes you a better/wiser/more efficient scientist.
I joined Jeff Chuang’s lab because my research interests are very similar to his lab but, also because he is an amazing mentor. I have learned from him that no matter how challenging a research question might seem, there is always an answer: just read more, think harder and be patient.

Tionna Ouellette

Hometown: Glenburn, Maine
Undergrad Institution: University of Maine
Undergrad major: BS Biochemistry, minor in neuroscience, though! :)

What is your research focus?
I am interested in mapping neural circuitry that drives complex behaviors, like feeding.

What do you like about training at JAX?
The community. Not just the students and professors, but the research community as a whole are very welcoming. I haven’t found a question or problem that couldn’t be faced with the help of those around me.

Share something you have learned from your PI that makes you a better/wiser/more efficient scientist.
Patience! My PI has taught me the value of taking a deep breath and focusing my energy where it is needed most. This is a skill that has made me more efficient both in and outside of the lab.