Members

Principal Investigator

Cédric Feschotte

Cédric Feschotte

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Toulouse in the Southwest of France, where I also earned my Bachelors’ Degree in Organismal Biology in 1997. My fascination for transposable elements and genome evolution truly begun with my PhD research for the University of Paris VI (Universite Pierre et Marie Curie) during which I worked on mosquitoes with Dr. Claude Mouches who also taught me molecular biology at the bench. My passion continued to blossom as I crossed the pond to work as a postdoc with Dr. Susan Wessler (then at the University of Georgia), who pioneered the molecular and genomic analysis of plant transposons. Sue was a terrific mentor and a major influence. I started my own lab in 2004 in Texas, then relocated to Utah in 2012, and here I am now at Cornell -back to McClintock’s roots!
The Feschotte lab is also a proud member of the Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics (3CPG)

You can read more about me and the other things I love here.  A recent CV is here.  And back by popular demand, that day I told Morgan Freeman everything about transposons, aliens, and skateboarding.

Postdocs

Jainy Thomas

Jainy Thomas

Throughout my graduate and postdoctoral period, I have focused my research on mobile DNA and their impact on genome evolution. Currently, I am working on endogenous retroviruses and their role in multiple sclerosis. I am currently a Research Associate in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, where I also work with Dr. Lynn Jorde. My publications can be found here.

 

Michelle Stitzer

Michelle Stitzer

I grew up in a small town near Seattle, studied Biology and Anthropology as an undergraduate at University of Washington, and did my PhD in Population Biology at University of California, Davis with Jeff Ross-Ibarra. Now, I’m an NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Fellow, in the Feschotte Lab and Buckler Lab at Cornell. My research focuses on TEs in the maize genome, investigating how natural selection acts on the interaction between host and TE to generate the staggering diversity of TEs in maize. In my free time I’m exploring all the outdoors of Ithaca, getting used to snow, and learning how different all the plants look on the East Coast.

Krista Angileri

Krista Angileri

I was born and raised in the midwest, became an Air Force veteran, and then pursued a career in scientific research. My graduate studies focused on DNA methylation and its role in retinal stem cell maintenance in Jeff Gross’ lab, through which I discovered the nuances and intricacies of transposon biology. I quickly found myself fascinated with transposons and their functions during vertebrate development. My recent transposition to the Feschotte lab has kickstarted my studies into transposable elements during neural development and degeneration using the zebrafish as a model. In my spare time, I enjoy practicing kungfu, reading, and playing video games.

Manvendra Singh

Manvendra Singh

I was born and made in India. I researched on population genomics of ancient and modern DNA at CCMB, Hyderabad (Link: https://www.ccmb.res.in). I then received Helmholtz fellowship in February 2012 and moved to Max-Delbrueck Centre for Molecular Medicine (Link: https://www.mdc-berlin.de/) for my PhD on Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), advised by Prof Zsuzsanna Izsvak (Link: https://www.mdc-berlin.de/izsvak#t-research). My research investigated the complexity of regulatory networks at single cellular level and the possible involvement of spatio-temporal activities of ERVs in the progression of human embryonic and placental development. We re-defined the naïve state of pluripotency as a winner cells of selection arena where MVPs are primate-specific ERVs. I moved to Feschotte lab at Cornell as a Presidential fellow in July-2019 to work on the role of transposed elements in the cell fate decisions from healthy to diseased state in humans. We started this project with elucidating the changes in the timing, level, location and regulation of gene expression by the introgression of transposed elements with certain chromatin state. We notice that TEs exerts regulatory activities that might modulate the fate and development of both healthy and dysfunctional neuronal cell populations during neurogenesis, so our prime focus is Neuronal disorders, which would be followed up by Placental, Germ lines and Immunity dysfunctions.
When I am not in lab, I play Cricket on weekends, Chess, badminton and long walks or simply cooking. I love socialization over drinks and nerdy talks of interesting theories which can never be proven. My favorite quote is “Doesn’t matter how you feel. Get-up, dress-up, show-up and never give-up”.

Jonathan Wells

Jonathan Wells

I was born in London and lived there until moving to sunny Sheffield to do a degree in molecular biology. In my final year there I had my first taste of proper research, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I did my PhD in Joe Marsh’s group in Edinburgh, and along the way my head was turned by evolutionary biology and genomics. I transposed to the Feschotte lab early in 2019, and I am currently studying coevolution between zinc finger proteins and transposable elements in zebrafish and beyond. When I’m not doing science, I love climbing, reading, and discovering the local flora and fauna.

Clément Goubert

Clément Goubert

I come from La Rochelle on the French West coast and did my PhD in Lyon (capital of gastronomy!) in the laboratory of biometry and evolutionary biology. I joined the Feschotte lab in 2016 at Utah (co-advised by Lynn Jorde) before moving to Cornell in 2017. I am interested in the evolutionary biology of transposable elements and the consequences of their mobilization to their hosts. My current research focuses on unfixed TE insertions and how they impact gene regulation in various models. I am also involved in different TE annotation and detection projects. In my free time I like camping, building furnitures with pallets, playing and listening music, but most of all: free pizzas!

Graduate Students

Thomas Carter

Thomas Carter

I grew up in Northern Colorado before attending CU Boulder in the department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. There, I studied the role of ECM composition on satellite cell differentiation and homeostasis in Dr. Bradley Olwin’s lab. Following undergrad, I started graduate school at the University of Utah, eventually joining Cedric Feschotte’s lab where I currently research the transposon influence on gene regulatory evolution in primates. When I am not in lab, I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, crossfit, beer, and petting my cat, Queen Jellybean the Good.

Sylvia Chang

Sylvia Chang

I’m always fascinated by nature, especially the molecular mechanism behind the phenotype of organism. My major interests are focused on evolutionary genetics, specifically on how transposable elements shape organisms’ phenotype or behavior.  I also like to do all kinds of activities, just like hopping-around transposons.

Julius Judd

Julius Judd

I grew up in Grafton, NY, a rural area just outside of Albany. I completed an associate degree at Hudson Valley Community College, where I took a biology course which sparked my interest in all things molecular. I decided to pursue this and transferred to SUNY Albany, where I received a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. It was there that I got my feet wet in the biological research lab under the mentorship of Ramune Reliene, where I studied the chemopreventive properties of pomegranate extract. After graduation, I joined the lab of Keith Derbyshire and Todd Gray at the Wadsworth Center where I investigated the molecular mechanisms of distributive conjugal transfer, a unique type of conjugation in mycobacteria. I am currently a PhD student in the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology at Cornell, where I am co-
advised by Cédric Feschotte and John Lis. I will develop new tools for measuring the nascent transcriptional impacts of a genetic perturbation, in a massively parallel manner, and will use them to investigate the contribution of species-specific transposable elements to regulatory networks. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy exploring the great outdoors by skiing, mountain and rock climbing, and cycling. A list of publications can be found here.

 ORCID iD icon

Jason Chobirko

Jason Chobirko

(rotation)

My current path through life has only just now taken me far from home. I was born and raised in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, a fairly small town about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. It was there, at the University of Pittsburgh, where I both earned my Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics and my interest in the complexities of gene regulation in my work with Dr. Miler T. Lee in zebrafish investigating the role transposable elements play in early zebrafish development. The capacity for a single cell to contain all of the necessary instructions to transform into a fully formed adult organism is incredible and I intend to follow that passion by continuing to broadly investigate gene regulation during my rotation here in the Feschotte lab! Otherwise, I enjoy walking, playing D&D, eating, sleeping and playing chess in no particular order.

Undergraduate Students

Nathalie Ramos

Nathalie Ramos

I’m a junior majoring in Biology concentrating in Molecular and Cell Bio and minoring in Health Policy and Business. In the lab I am investigating transposable elements in the genome of zebrafish. I am from Miami, Fl and my interests include: music, Latin American food, volleyball, and animals.

Fabio Cabrera

Fabio Cabrera

My name is Fabio Cabrera, I come from Colombia, and I am a freshman student at the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Biological Sciences and Philosophy, and with a minor in German Studies. I am currently working on the transposable elements of Danionella dracula, a model organism with great potential. Besides biology, I love good books, writing poetry, and exploring nature.

Mriganka Nerkar

Mriganka Nerkar

Helen Li

Helen Li

I am a sophomore double majoring in biology with a concentration in genetics, genomics, and development, as well as English. In the future, I think I would like to go to graduate school and study rare genetic diseases, which I’ve been fascinated with since middle school. Currently, I am working with Julius on a project regarding the nascent transcription of LTR5HS-derived enhancers. During my free time, I enjoy hiking, running, reading, and trying to eat spicy ramen.

Tianyi Zhang

Tianyi Zhang

I am a junior majoring in Biological Sciences and Economics. I am currently working with Julius on a project about the transcription mechanisms of LTR5HS-derived enhancers. I was born in Shanghai, China and later moved to Canada and now the States! Hobbies include tennis, dance, and going to the grocery store 🙂

Raphael Kirou

Raphael Kirou

I was born and raised in the Greek-American community of Astoria, New York. I am currently in my third year at Cornell, studying biological sciences with a minor in applied economics. In the lab, I am working with John Frank, studying human endogenous retroviral envelope proteins. Specifically, I am studying their role in inhibiting infection by exogenous retroviruses and their mechanism of action. My hobbies include playing soccer and basketball, fishing, observing nature, and reading current events.

Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield

pms264[at]cornell.edu

 I am from Annapolis, Maryland and am majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in genetics, genomics, and development and minoring in business for the life sciences.  My research in the lab involves how LTR transposons may play a role in the development of the zebrafish model organism.  I have been competitively racing sailboats all my life and am on the Cornell sailing team.  I have 6 pet fish (one of them is a long-finned zebrafish), a frog, and a hamster.

Renee Zhang

Renee Zhang

I’m a junior Biology major concentrating in Molecular and Cell. In the lab I am currently investigating transposases fusion genes that involves novel domains. I came from China, and really enjoy exploring Chinese cuisines. Besides, I also like watching movies, reading novels and playing board games.

Nathaniel Garry

Nathaniel Garry

I am a senior studying biology, with a concentration in genetics, genomics, and development. I originally come from a small upstate New York town called New Berlin, and hope to go into medical genetic research in the future. In the lab, I am working on a project investigating the function of a novel transposase fusion gene found in bats. Outside the lab, I enjoy running, working out, reading books, and getting lost in the depths of YouTube.

Alumni

John Frank – Graduate Student (now Postdoc at Yale with Akiko Iwasaki)
Rachel Cosby – Graduate Student (now Postdoc at NIH with Todd Macfarlan)
Min-Jin Han – Visiting Professor, SouthWest University (China)
Nicolas Arce Zevallos – Undergraduate Student
Alan Zhong – Undergraduate Student
Hyoann Choi – Undergraduate Student
Alesia McKeown  – Postdoc
Christopher Lu – High school Student (RABS Program)
Ethan Cordes – High school Student (RABS Program)
Anant Sriram – Undergraduate Student (’18)
Xijia Wang – Master student (’18)
Mitchell Lokey – Lab Tech/Manager (’16-’18) – Now PhD student at Cornell University
Ed Chuong – Postdoc (’14-18′) – Now Assistant Professor at University of Colorado Boulder
Katie Gordon – Rotation PhD Student (Summer 2018)
Alexa Bracci – Rotation PhD Student (Summer 2018)
Frances Clark – Rotation PhD Student (Spring 2018)
Aurelie Kapusta – Postdoc (’13-’17) – Now a Researcher in Mark Yandells’ lab at University of Utah
John McCormick – Masters Student/Researcher (’09-’17) 
Xiaoyu Zhuo – PhD Student (’13-’15) – Now postdoc at Ting Wang’s lab at Washington University Saint Louis
Hayley Buchman – UROP Undergrad Researcher (’13-’15)
Ray Malfavon-Borja – NIH/NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow (’13-’15) – Now at the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the University of Washington, Seattle
Clement Gilbert – Postdoc (’08-’11) – Now Junior Group Leader at the University of Poitiers, France
Sarah Schaack – Postdoc (with Ellen Pritham) (’09-’10) – Now Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Reed College in Portland, Oregon
Sun Cheng – Postdoc (with Ellen Pritham) (’09-’10) – Now Postdoc with Rachel Mueller at Colorado State University
Qi Wang – Ph.D Student, Biology (’07-’10)
Mahima Varma – M.S. Student, Biology (’08-’11)
Marcel Guibotsy – Undergrad, Biomedical Engineering
Diwash Jangam – Undergrad, Biology
Daniel Szalay – M. S. Student, Biology (with Esther Betran) (’08-’10)
Maria Dao – Undergrad, Honor’s College (10)
Jaime Flores – Lamar High School, Arlington, Texas (’10)
Sharon Hernandez – Undergrad, McNair Scholar (’09-’10)
Brandon Lopez – Undergrad (’09)
John Pace – Ph.D Student, Biology (’05-’09)
Don Hucks – M.S. Student, Biology (’05-’08)
Claudio Casola – Postdoc (’06-’07)
David Maxfield – Undergrad, Junior, Honor’s College (’08)
Daniel Moore – Undergrad, Senior
Marlena Clark – Undergrad, UNT
Stephanie Ethofer – Undergrad, Sophmore, Biology
Jeff Lucas – Undergrad, Junior, Biology
Ashlea Denton
Marguerite Shaffer
Rebekah Campbell
Ahmad Gaber
Zeina Abdallah
Nirmal Ranganathan
Rebecca Hafer
Joe Jacocks
Tasneem Pultiwala
Swalpa Udit