Dr. Emilyn Alejandro is an Assistant Professor in the Integrative Biology and Physiology (IBP) Department at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She joined IBP in September 2015 after completing her post-doctoral training with Dr. Ernesto Bernal-Mizarchi at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Emilyn received her degrees from the University of Washington (BS) in Seattle, WA and at the University of British Columbia (Ph.D.) in Dr. James D. Johnson’s laboratory in Vancouver, Canada. Outside of her research work and mentoring her trainees, Dr. Alejandro enjoys spending time with her husband and two curious little girls and exploring local attractions in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Check out https://www.physiology.umn.edu/research/alejandro-lab/minneapolis-mn
Ms. Amber Lockridge ~ A PhD student in the IBP graduate Program working with Dr. Alejandro to explore physiological mechanisms that adaptively regulate the coupling of beta cell glucose metabolism with insulin secretion with an eye towards better understanding the pathology of type II diabetes. One of her projects is investigating the insulin secretion defect phenotype of mice with a pancreas-specific deletion of the enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). A second project involves the role beta-cell membrane ion channel NMDA receptor on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.
Dr. Ramkumar Mohan is a Post-Doctoral Fellow. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University September 2016. He is working on the role of OGT on mitochondrial function and beta-cell regeneration. He is also trying to understand the mechanisms of susceptibility to cellular stress in the offspring dams exposed to low-protein diet during pregnancy.
Mr. Brian Akhaphong is Minnesota made. As a former undergrad in IBP Physiology, he worked on the effects of hypertension during pregnancy or preeclampsia on beta-cell development and function in the offspring. He is continuing this work as a post-baccalaureate, and expanding on the impact of placential insufficiencity in maternal programming of obesity and diabetes. Outside of the lab, he likes to play with his two needy cats, Reginold and Pooksi.
Mr. Seokwon Jo is a talented post-baccalaureate junior scientist working to identify novel OGT targets in insulin-producing cells. He joined the Alejandro Lab after graduating from the University of Minnesota wih degrees in Biochemistry and Genetics. Seokwon hopes to attend graduate school in the next couple of years. Outside of the lab, Seokwon's hobbies include food, tea, horror movies and being creative.
Ms. Tate Zemanovicis a 3rd year Physiology student at the University of Minnesota. Tate transferred from Pace University in NYC. Her two favorite things are cats and coffee. And she loves to dance.
Mr. Nicklas Damberg is a 3rd year Biology student at the University of Minnesota. Nicklas and Amber are working together to assess bihormonal cell number in multiple projects.
Ms. Lensa Ali- Hello! I am a junior majoring in Physiology, possible Arabic minor, and an aspiring pediatrician. In my free time I like to go running. I also like baking, which, in some ways, ruins my be-healthy-go-running initiative. I care about public health and I enjoy being involved in my campus community and that's what brought me to Dr. Alejandro's lab—while in the lab, she studied the impact of OGT in beta-cell development.
Ms. Alicia Wong is a second year Biochemistry student at the University of Minnesota. In the lab, she focuses on Beta cell mass analysis involving various projects. Her spare time is spent cooking, singing, and catching up on sleep.
Ms. Elina Da Sol Chung is a third year Physiology student at the University of Minnesota. She is currently working as a volunteer intern in Dr. Alejandro’s lab, mainly assisting Brian and Seokwon. She likes to play piano, draw in pencils and make origami flowers whenever she is free.
Ms. Neha Panigrahy- She is a Junior student in Chemistry and Physiology. In the lab she is working with Seokwon to identify specific OGT targets in beta-cells and the mechanisms of pro-insulin processing failure in mice lacking OGT. Outside school, she likes to watch Netflix, read or take long naps.
Ms. Megan Rauschnot is a sophomore physiology student at the University of Minnesota with hopes of becoming a physician. Megan is currently assisting Amber in her various projects with a goal of understanding the pathology of type ll diabetes. She enjoys hockey and soccer in her free time!
Ms. Bailey Aberthany is a Colorado native and a newcomer to the Alejandro Lab. She is in her fourth year at the University of Minnesota, pursuing a degree in Physiology. She is working on her honors thesis in the lab which is on the role of OGT in beta-cell adaptation to insulin resistance. Outside of the lab she is a member of the university's women's gymnastics team and is a barista at Caribou Coffee.
Ms. Michelle Ann Wasan- was a junior student from the University of Washington in Seattle when she joined the lab. While in the lab, she assisted in characterizing the phenotype of mice overexpressing a kinase-dead mutant mTOR and offspring of dams exposed to low-protein diet during the last week of pregnancy. She is now in Pharmacy Graduate School.
Mr. Daniel Baumann is a former Researcher 1 working to elucidate the role of OGT in pancreatic development and beta-cell regeneration and plasticity. He investigated the contribution of placental nutrient sensors in beta-cell programming and susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. He graduated from Boston College with magna cum laude in 2013. He is now pursuing graduate school in IBP.
Ms. Miranda Olson was a third year student Physiology when joined the lab. She worked on the impact of nutrient sensor protein mTOR and OGT during pregnancy on the development of beta-cell mass.
Danica Fondevilla was our second summer intern (2017) from the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines. Her major is Biochemistry and she aspires to become an endocrinologist after taking her undergraduate degree. She enjoys traveling, watching movies, and catching-up with her friends.
Ms. Alleah Abrenica- was our first summer intern from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. Her summer project involved insulin signaling assessment in liver and visceral fat of mice lacking Serine Racemase.