Former Research Assistants & Graduate Students

Miranda Perez, B.S. Staff Associate I. Next: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

I was excited to join the John Lab after graduating from the University of Miami with a B.S. in Neuroscience. I appreciated the detailed and informative interview, and the opportunity to learn broad skill sets. In the John Lab, I study the mechanisms underlying intraocular pressure elevation and retinal ganglion cell death in glaucoma, while enjoying the supportive environment. I have developed expertise in a variety of valuable wet lab skills and techniques, including genotyping, immunohistochemistry staining and imaging, cell culture, and mitochondrial/metabolic assays. My training extends to performing delicate microscopic dissections and complex physiological assays such as intraocular pressure measurement, as well as the handling, processing, and metabolic study of human patient samples from a glaucoma clinical trial. This position has also given me the great opportunity to shadow Dr. Wang in the clinic and operating room, solidifying my passion for combining patient care with translational research. Overall, working at the John Lab puts me in a privileged position for my future career as a clinician scientist, and I start my medical training in the Fall of 2023.

Felicia Juarez, B.S. Staff Associate II

I received my Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience with a concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University in 2017. My main research interests are genetics and neuroscience. As an undergraduate, I worked in Seth Blackshaw's lab on a project entitled "Investigating the role of Lhx2 in the development of the ciliary body." Since graduating college, I have worked in several labs ranging from studying blood diseases to building a library of nuclear constructs to study the phase separation of nuclear proteins in vivo. I joined the John lab in June of 2020 as a Research Associate. I am experienced in tissue culture, mouse colony management, cloning, and various molecular biology techniques. During my free time, I enjoy reading, exploring new areas in New York, and spending time with my dog, Nova. 

Sally Zhou, B.S. Research Associate. Next: Medical School, SUNY Downstate

I joined the John Lab as a research assistant after I graduated from Northeastern University in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Biology. In my previous research experience, I studied the mutational frequency of mice treated with NDMA, a water contaminant that is known to cause DNA adducts that contribute to the development of cancer in mouse models. During the pandemic, I worked at Massachusetts General Brigham’s COVID-19 Diagnostic Accelerator Lab to validate alternative COVID-19 diagnostic devices. At the John Lab, I am excited to be exposed to working with animals models, studying mechanisms of ocular disease, and various molecular and physiological techniques such as IHC, ISH, dissection, and genotyping. I believe this experience will enhance my foundation in science and support my journey to pursue a career in medicine. In my free time, I enjoy cooking meals from various cultures and I plan to adopt a cat soon.

Aakriti Bhandari, B.S. Research Assistant/ Research Associate. Next: Ph.D. student, Neuroscience, University of Utah

I joined the John Lab in 2018 as a research intern after receiving my B.S. in Biochemistry and Neuroscience from Centenary College of Louisiana. I have gained valuable experience with eye examinations (clinical ophthalmology for mice) , genetics and colony management, genotyping, physiology, molecular studies including immunohistochemistry, and microscopy.           

Logan Horbal, B.S. Research Assistant/ Research Associate

I joined the John lab in September of 2018 as a research assistant. I earned my BS in Physiology & Neurobiology from the University of Connecticut in 2017. I have gained experience with behavioral assays, ocular phenotyping of mice, physiology, genetics, immunohistochemistry, data visualization with R, and computer-aided design devloping devices necessary for physiologic assays

Stephen Kneeland, M.S. Research Assistant. Next: Project Manager, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

I joined the John Laboratory as a Research Assistant in 2007 shortly after graduating from the University of Maine with an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology. In the John Lab, my research is focused on identifying new mouse models of glaucoma with an emphasis on open-angle glaucoma. To obtain these mutants, I manage an ENU-induced mutagenesis screen and use a variety of thorough ocular examination techniques during the screening process.  These techniques include measurement of intraocular pressure (IOP), and examination and photography of the anterior chamber, fundus, and optic nerve. In addition to primary open-angle glaucoma, we are also interested in closed-angle glaucoma, pigmentary glaucoma, developmental glaucomas, and anterior segment dysgenesis. These efforts also provide valuable models of other ocular conditions including retinal degeneration and pediatric cataract.  One of my projects recently discovered that a gene which is important for RNA granules, including stress granules, results in pediatric cataract and glaucoma. These findings are relevant for susceptibility to IOP due to oxidative stress and for susceptibility to glaucoma following cataract extraction.

Margaret Ryan, M.S. Research Assistant. Next: University of Virginia, Department of Biology 

My scientific journey started at the University of North Carolina, Asheville where I received a B.S. in Chemistry. During my studies in Asheville I worked in an environmental quality laboratory analyzing "real world" samples (i.e. water, food, soil, and paint) for heavy metals such as Lead. Serendipitous events directed me to Bucknell University where I continued my education to the M.S. level in Chemistry. My thesis research involved studies toward improving the use of Cisplatin in cancer treatment. Upon graduation from Bucknell, I made a daring move and joined the Cell and Developmental Biology department at UNC-School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC. It was a sink-or-swim kind of arrangement. I guess I know how to swim considering I spent six years there as a Research Technician and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that has prepared me to work at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX). I joined the JAX community in 2007 and am proud to be working as a Research Assistant in Simon John's Lab. In addition to my histological responsibilities and mouse colony management, I am active on projects that have me utilizing Laser Capture Microscopy, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and various other techniques. I am vested in studies to understand how aqueous humor drains from the eye, including cutting edge microscopy techniques to understand the micro-anatomy of the ocular drainage structures. I also contribute to studies to understand early molecular changes in specific cell types during glaucoma. 

Amy Bell, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: The Howell Lab, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

I have been a Research Assistant in the John Laboratory since 2001. I provide key support for many experiments. My main activities within the lab are measuring intraocular pressure (IOP) and the daily management, supervision, and maintenance of our centralized mouse colonies. I have great experience measuring mouse IOP and every week spend two days gathering IOP data for various experiments in the laboratory. This data is important for all areas of our research including mechanisms of IOP elevation, the discovery and characterization of glaucoma models, and complex genetics experiments. The mouse colony work is critical to our research. With a Shared Services Assistant, I develop new strains for current and future experiments. Together, we produce and age quotas of experimental mice to support the experiments of Research Scientists, Postdoctoral Fellows, and other laboratory members.  I also help train new lab members in proper mouse room procedures, animal handling procedures, and in IOP measurement.

Zhivka Hristova, B.A., Research Assistant. Next: Graduate. Student, Cancer Biology, Heidelberg University, DKFZ 

I joined the John lab following college in 2013.  Originally from Bulgaria, I came to the US in 2009 to attend college. I obtained my Associate of Science from Cottey College, Missouri, and my Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts.  At Cottey College, I worked on a forensic chemistry project, which enabled me to learn NMR, GC/MS and FTIR techniques. For my honors thesis at Mount Holyoke I studied genetic regulation of fat body remodeling in D. melanogaster. I was interested in learning why the fat body is remodeled during fruit fly metamorphosis while most larval tissues undergo programmed cell death.  Using quantitative PCR, I discovered that one of the pro-apoptotic genes is downregulated specifically in the fat body during remodeling, explaining why this tissue escapes early cell death.  I joined the John Lab a month after my graduation from college. Since joining the lab I have learned colony maintenance, genotyping, sample collection, optic nerve and retina dissection, IOP measurement and other techniques.  I am entrusted with the critical job of producing and maintaining colonies for the IOP and ocular disease screening projects. This work provides the resources for much of the groups future work and will enable important new discoveries. I am excited to contribute to the molecular characterization of mutants that affect IOP and aqueous humor outflow, projects that are expected to take off over the coming year.  In my free time, I enjoy skyping with my family and friends, reading, and watching comedies. 

Nicole Foxworth, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Traveling the world!

My interest in research science developed when, as a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I joined a lab. There, I participated in a number of projects including a study of female garter snake (T. sirtalis) mate preference, and surveys of the local turtle populations. From there I moved to the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Jakob, where I helped with ongoing projects studying the behavior and cognitive abilities of jumping spiders (P. audax). During the summer of 2012, I was lucky enough to travel to Indonesia with Operation Wallacea and contribute to their ongoing conservation research and surveys of the local flora and fauna, both on land and in the sea. Upon returning to UMass for my senior year, I began a yearlong thesis project in Dr. Jakob’s lab investigating the ability of P. audax to perceive the distinct movements of an animate object, called biological motion. I graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology, and was fortunate enough to be accepted as a Research Assistant in the John lab beginning in July 2013.  During my first few months in the John lab, I have learned valuable skills from every member of the lab, ranging from dissections and mouse handling, to measuring intraocular pressure using a system designed in the lab. With the guidance of two postdocs, I have been working on interesting projects involving the neurobiology of glaucoma. I continue learning something new every day, and aspire to be more independent – something that is actively encouraged in the lab.  

Catherine Braine, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University Neurobiology and Behavior graduate program

I finished my undergraduate degree in Biology at Mount Holyoke College, where I worked in the laboratory of Professor Craig Woodard. There, I investigated the effects of hAPP, hParkin, and Pink1 expression in a Drosophila melanogaster model of Sporadic Inclusion Body Myositis.  This experience whetted my interest in neuroscience, and I was lucky enough to join the John Lab in Spring 2011. Since joining, I have been involved in several projects that investigate the neurodegenerative aspect of glaucoma pathology. My primary projects are aimed at elucidating the role of the complement system in the neuropathology of glaucoma, as well as other neuroinflammatory processes in the optic nerve and retina. In addition to this, I am involved in testing a potential drug therapy that attempts to mediate the detrimental effects of transendothelial migration of monocytes into the optic nerve, as well as streamlining an RNAi therapeutic that may be used to alter gene expression in the drainage structures in the front of the eye.

My experiences in the John Lab have been invaluable to my development as a scientist. Not only have I learned a variety of molecular and physiological techniques, that will serve me well as I begin my PhD, but also I have gained critical thinking skills that are indubitably more invaluable. I have had the opportunity to carry out projects under the mentorship of several incredibly supportive scientists, and under their guidance, I have become adept at generating hypotheses, designing and executing experiments, and analyzing the data I generate. The lab’s mission to conduct basic research, develop complex genetic models, and then to test clinically relevant and innovative neuroprotective therapies is what I find to be the most inspiring, and what has reinforced my desire to pursue graduate education. Being able to start with a scientific query, determine a molecular interaction relevant to a pathological event, and attempt an intervention, has been the most rewarding part of my experience so far. It allows both my interests in fundamental neuroscience and my passion for practical applications of biomedical research to come full circle, to realize that the work research scientists do has direct humanitarian applications. My time in the John Lab has been formative in my development as a scientist, and I am positive I could have gained this experience nowhere else.

Trip Freeburg  B.A., Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D. Student, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

I received my undergraduate degree in biology from Oberlin College in northern Ohio. I worked in two labs during my time at Oberlin. My first lab experience was in Dr. Michael Moore's plant systematics lab, where I studied the evolutionary history of gypsum-endemic plants in the Chihuahuan desert. I then moved to the lab of Dr. Maureen Peters, where I completed my thesis project. Dr. Peters studies the genetic basis of a highly stereotyped one-minute digestive motor program in C. elegans. My project focused on the role of the gene ehs-1 in this motor program. After graduating from Oberlin, I was fortunate enough to get a position in the John lab and started my tenure in June of 2014. My primary role is studying factors affecting aqueous humor outflow from the anterior chamber. To this end, the John lab has developed a device that applies pressure to the anterior segment of a dissected mouse eye and measures the resulting outflow.  During my time working on this project, I have developed my problem solving and troubleshooting skills as we continue to make improvements to the outflow measurement device. I have also become proficient with the highly precise and technical dissection used to prepare the mouse eye for outflow measurement. In addition to my work on the outflow project, I also maintain a number of mouse strains used in different projects in the lab. I’m certain that the skills I've acquired in the John lab will continue to be useful as my career develops.

Dan Sunderland  B.A., Research Assistant. Next: Medical School, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 

I earned a B.A. in Biology with a concentration in neuroscience at Colby College.  While there, I worked in the laboratory of Professor Andrea Tilden, investigating the molecular basis of the circadian clock in crustaceans.  This allowed me to begin exploring neuroscience as a research discipline, and I learned many useful techniques that I continue to use today.  I also completed two independent undergraduate research projects and presented my findings at the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium in 2014: a literature review of the current treatments for viral diseases and their molecular actions, advised by Professor Frank Fekete, and a series of experiments exploring the effects of the heterologous expression of psychrophile cold-shock proteins in Escherichia coli, advised by Associate Professor Ron Peck.  I joined the John Lab in June 2014. My projects concentrated on the aqueous humor outflow pathways in the eye, working closely with Dr. Kizhatil. I have learned the great value of the mouse model for complex genetics and human disease, as well as many new techniques, through our study of glaucoma.  The climate within the lab is one that fosters growth through collaboration and camaraderie, enabling us to conduct this research effectively and promote innovative new ideas.  I feel that I have grown a great deal as a scientist by working in this lab.  It has prepared me for the rigor of medical school, and a career of pushing the frontier of available treatments. 

Tionna Ouellette (Baldwin) B.S., Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D. student in neurobiology, Tufts University

In the summer before starting my senior year in High School, I was accepted to participate in a cooperative research opportunity in the engineering department at the University of Maine. Working under Dr. David Nievandt, the focus of the project was to create synthetic model membranes for use in later studies. This led me to study Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University and continue work in the Nievandt lab until my sophomore year. After taking classes in anatomy and biochemistry I realized I was far more interested in genetics as well as biochemical responses to disease in humans, specifically related to sensation and perception. During my senior year I studied cell signaling cascades and pseudo-zinc fingers associated with G-Proteins under Dr. Robert Gundersen using the model organism Dictyostelium discoideum.After graduating from the University of Maine I was accepted into the John Lab as a Research Assistant, and joined the lab July 2014. My primary project is the ENU-induced mutagenesis screen that is central to our mission of developing new models of glaucoma. Focusing on this project has required that I master a number of skills: mouse husbandry, delicate dissection of optic nerves and other tissues, intraocular pressure measurement using a glass microneedle, examine the anterior chamber of the mouse eye using a slit lamp, examining the posterior chamber of the mouse eye using MicronIV / OCT imaging and the use of pattern electroretinography (PERG) to determine retinal function.

My experience at the lab has been instrumental to my development as a scientist and gave me a new perspective on career opportunities. The atmosphere is cooperative and welcoming, with a lab group that is easy to talk to and provides useful feedback. I enjoy learning new technologies and the John Lab has given me opportunities for personal and professional growth that I would not have gotten at any other institution.

Zain Ali, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D.  Student, Harvard University

I am originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh - one of the most densely populated cities in the world - but have spent a lot of the past years of my life moving from one idyllic rural town to the other. At the age of 16, I was selected to attend the United World College of the Atlantic (UWC-AC), a 2 year international boarding school with students from more than 80 different countries in Llantwit Major, Wales. It was arguably the most transformative experience of my adolescence and it instilled in me a desire to apply my knowledge and intellectual passions to the alleviation of human suffering (a desire that is fulfilled through working in a world-class translational research setting like the John Lab). After graduating from UWC-AC, I attended Carleton College (in Northfield, Minnesota) supported by the Davis United World College Scholars Program.  At Carleton, I majored in Biology with a Biochemistry concentration, and was particularly interested in the fields of developmental genetics and the evolution of development.

I have been interested in biology from a young age and realized in college that I really wanted to pursue science as a career. I joined the John Lab primarily to gain much-needed practical lab experience before applying for a Ph.D. program. At college, my theoretical interests were primarily in gene regulation, biology, and animal development - topics that I continue to be interested in and areas I would definitely like to pursue at graduate school. Working in glaucoma research is a big change of pace from the more basic science topics I studied in college but it has already been an eye-opening experience.  In less than two months here, I acquired an appreciation for the immense complexity of the genetics involved in a disease like glaucoma.  I think the most exciting aspect of the research in the John lab. is its ability to bring together such a wide and seemingly disparate range of biological sub-disciplines--from the detailed cell biology of ocular drainage structures to mammalian genetics, immunology, mechanisms of neurodegeneration, the list goes on--in the context of a very specific problem.

The work I am doing is connected to the work of Sai Nair and is related primarily to processes at the "front of the eye" (i.e. mechanisms contributing to elevated intraocular pressure) as opposed to "back of the eye" (neurobiology, mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell death).  I am primarily working on a number of key projects. The first is the characterization of a novel protease identified as a cause of high intraocular pressure and glaucoma glaucoma during a genetic screen. The protease was not  previously characterized in the literature and we are basically starting completely from scratch to discover its downstream targets and biological function, as well as the mechanism by which the mutation leads to glaucoma. It is a very exciting project combining molecular biology, biochemistry and the in vivo characterization of a novel gene. It has given me the opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills and is a very exciting project to be a part of. Beyond this, I am also running mapping crosses to identify loci that conspire to contribute to IOP elevation, another stimulating and rewarding project that is truly teaching me about complex genetic interactions that underlie disease.

Danilo Macalinao, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D. Student, Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

I joined the John Laboratory as a Research Assistant in 2008 after graduating with a B.A. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Wesleyan University. I have always had an interest in studying diseases.  Work at the John Lab gives me the unique ability to tackle the complex neurodegenerative disease of glaucoma using a set of complementary molecular and clinical approaches. Time spent in the John Lab provides extremely valuable experience relevant to studying human diseases in graduate school - something I plan to pursue in 2011. Currently, I am working on a neurobiology project to understand how changes in different cell types impact retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma. Additionally, I am investigating the effects of genetic context on intraocular pressure and disease in a new mouse model with direct relevance to human glaucoma. The ultimate aim of this project is to better understand molecular pathophysiology through the identification and mechanistic characterization of modifier genes. 

Frances Ding, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Medical Student, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Originally a Jersey girl, I moved to Massachusetts to attend Tufts Univeristy, and graduated with a B.S. in Biopsychology.  During my time at Tufts I worked under Isabel Quadros in the Behavior Core at Tufts Medical School.  It was there I had my first experiences working with mice, some of which came from Jackson Laboratory.  Continuing my journey north, I joined the John Lab in 2011 to gain necessary lab experience and learn about the complex disease, Glaucoma.  Already in my short time here I have come to appreciate how stimulating the John Lab is, particularly in its multi-faceted approach to studying glaucoma.  There is no shortage of techniques to learn, ranging from standard cell biology to phenotyping techniques, such as how to perform IOP readings.

Greg Sousa, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: Ph.D. student, University of Pennsylvania, School of  Veterinary Medicine

I joined the John Laboratory as a Research Assistant in February 2009 after graduating from Bates College with a B.S. in Biology.  During my time at Bates I worked in the laboratory of Nancy W. Kleckner investigating the role of neuropeptide phenylalanine (NPF) in the feeding behavior of the pond snail Helisoma trivolvis. In the John Lab I have been involved in a number of projects aimed at elucidating the contributions of the classical complement cascade to diseases pathogenesis, understanding the neuroinflammatory processes occurring within the glaucomatous retina and optic nerve, assessing the neuroprotection conferred by the Wallerian degeneration slow gene, and investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying a radiation-based neuroprotection.  I will be heading off to graduate school for a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in the fall of 2011. 

Katharine Harmon, B.A. Research Assistant. Next: Graduate Student, University of Maine

I completed my undergraduate education at Colby College, majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry. While there, I published research with a variety of professors, but I discovered my passion for molecular biology work in the lab of Dr. Joshua Kavaler. The project that led to my thesis dealt with identifying putative targets of transcription factor D-Pax 2 in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Within that lab I not only learned valuable techniques and procedures, but I was fortunate enough to find others as enthusiastic about lab science as I was. I joined the Simon John Lab in October 2010, where I am currently involved with our mutagenesis screen, as well as the flow cytometry work we are pursuing for comparing glaucomatous and non-glaucomatous eyes. I've enjoyed learning new procedures on mice - they're much easier to work with than flies - and the John Lab has awakened a new interest of mine in optics. There is no question that the numerous techniques I've picked up along the way will aid me as a molecular biologist. 

Keith Funkhouser, B.S. Summer Student/Intern

I am an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in Biostatistics. I worked in the John Laboratory as an intern in the JAX Summer Student Program in 2010, and returned for another summer plus a semester in 2011.

While in the John Laboratory, I have been working on two projects. The first involves identifying glaucoma-relevant genes which have been identified as important across studies in multiple species and disease models. The second project involves analysis of next generation sequencing (NGS) data using a variety of computational tools. Working in close conjunction with those in the wet lab working on the mutagenesis screen, I am responsible for identifying putative causative mutations in our mice. I also analyze sequence data from collaborators who study glaucoma in human families, in order to identify candidate genes for further study.

Michael Sellarole, B.S. Research Assistant. Next: International Public Health volunteer, Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.

I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Biology.  At UNH I gained laboratory experience in the cognitive psychology lab of Robert Mair.  For my senior project I worked in the plants genetics lab of Subhash Miocha, testing the feasibility of mass-produced barnacle cement proteins in transgenic plants.  I am excited to be in the John Lab because its work spans both neuroscience and genetics.  It has been very interesting learning the basics of colony management, genotyping, and dissection.  The variety of approaches the John Lab employs to study glaucoma is fascinating and I am excited to learn new techniques and begin to focus on specific projects. 

Brynn Cardozo B.A., Research Assistant

As a child my favorite question was '"Why?" I was on a constant exploration of knowledge and my wild tree-climbing ways led me to even more fascinating things, multicolored fungi, the way trees saw in the wind (which I unfortunately discovered at the top of a 100ft pine) and much to my parent's dismay, hundreds of tadpole pets that taught me about the life cycle of frogs. This passion for exploration and knowledge led me to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where I studied Biochemistry, delving into the chemical reactions that allow life to function. WPI's project based curriculum provided many opportunities for me to dip my toes into the scientific world. In my senior year I was granted the opportunity to complete my Major Qualifying Project (a senior research project) at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester Massachusetts. There, I worked characterizing and confirming a novel CRISPR/Cas9 quintuple knockout of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin, meant to model a protein deficiency that leads to early onset emphysema, COPD, and in some cases cirrhosis and/or carcinoma of the liver. 

I joined the John lab after graduating from WPI, with the desire to expand my knowledge and skill set in the laboratory. In my first month I have already been exposed to new techniques and procedures, as well several different approaches to studying glaucoma that result from the complex nature of the disease. I am excited to continue growing and learning as a scientist, and expanding my knowledge of disease pathways.

Graham Clark B.A., Research Assistant. Next: The Kizhatil/Howell Lab, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

I received a B.A. in Biochemistry and Mathematics from Bowdoin College, where I performed research in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry in Rick Broene’s lab. The subject of my honors thesis was the improvement of a cobalt-based catalyst for olefin synthesis. I greatly enjoyed studying synthetic chemistry, but following graduation from Bowdoin, I decided to change things up and pursue biomedical research in preparation for application to medical school. This led to me joining the John Laboratory as a Research Assistant.

My time at the John Lab so far has been very interesting. I have had the opportunity to learn and employ various techniques that I had not been exposed to in my chemistry background, including physiology, genotyping, immunohistochemical staining, and handling and care of mice. I look forward to learning and contributing more.

Jocelyn Thomas B.A., Research Assistant

Science, and more specifically, life science, has been a passion of mine since an early age. I continued to foster that curiosity as an undergraduate at Colby College where I received my B.A. in Biology. I was also part of the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences. While at Colby, I had the opportunity to participate in research in several laboratories, with projects ranging from measuring the effects of an acetylcholine rich diet on the development of the hippocampus portion of rat brains, to better understanding the mechanisms how circadian rhythm proteins cause their effects in fiddler crabs. I joined the John Laboratory team a few months after graduating and I have already learned so much during my time here. I have learned a vast array of techniques for both handling and collecting data from the mice we work with. I have also been trained to carryout genotyping, as well as optic nerve dissections. I really enjoy working in the John Laboratory and appreciate the chance to continue to develop my scientific research skills. The latter is something the John lab is invested in doing for their RAs.

Kelly Keezer,  Laboratory Technician IV. Next: The Howell Lab, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

I have been a Laboratory Technician IV in the lab since 2014. I help maintain our core mouse colonies that are needed by everyone in the lab to complete experiments. I am also involved in research with one of our postdoctoral fellows, to develop an inducible model of glaucoma in mice. Our goal is to raise intraocular pressure and cause optic nerve degeneration, as seen in glaucoma. I perform intraocular injections and follow up by measuring intraocular pressure (IOP) using a tonometer, and evaluate optic nerve cupping using optical coherence tomography (OCT). An inducible model of glaucoma will allow us to more quickly assess whether mutations and treatments affect the course of the disease.

I really enjoy working in the lab, as the group continually challenges me to master new techniques. Despite having two very active kids, I am currently working towards my Bachelors Degree through Husson University during the evenings.