Current Members

Sangeeta Ghuwalewala (Postdoc) 2017-

Sangeeta received her PhD in 2017 from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, University of Calcutta and joined our lab soon after her graduation. Her doctoral study was broadly based on the stem-cell biology of oral cancer, in which she successfully characterized the cancer stem cell (CSC) population from the Human Oral Squamous cell carcinoma, followed by examining its epigenetic means of regulation. She has been interested in molecular mechanisms of stem cell heterogeneity in mammalian tissue.  Her main research focus in this lab is understanding how  epidermal stem cells form territorially distinct patterns in adult skin

Nina Li (PhD Candidate) 2018-

Nina is a graduate student in Genetic Genomics and Development Graduate Field at Cornell University. She obtained her B.A degree in Biology from Oberlin College, where she studied how intestinal calcium wave affects metabolism and longevity. Currently, she is interested in how the hair follicle stem cells cross-talk with their vascular niche. In collaboration with Dr. Prachi Jain and others, she used Runx1 epithelial and Alk1 endothelial knockout mice to demonstrate the two compartments can cross-talk to each other and thus coordinate and modulate each other’s behaviors. She is now investigating more deeply the molecular mechanism behind this cross-talk.


Gopal Chovatiya (Postdoc) 2018-;

Gopal has performed his graduate study at the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Navi-Mumbai, India. During his PhD (August 2012-May 2018), he worked on elucidating the  involvement of growth factors and developmental signalling in hair follicle stem cells regulation in the laboratory of Dr. Sanjeev Waghmare. He is currently exploring projects on vasculature remodeling during hair cycle and on developing new methods to examine nascent transcription in tissue stem cells in vivo, in the mouse living tissue.

Seona Lee (PhD Candidate) 2018-

Seona is a graduate student in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) PhD Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She is currently investigating the physiological relevance of stem cell heterogeneity in the epidermis, particularly in wound healing. She worked as a lab technician at Cornell prior to beginning her PhD studies. Seona has a background in biomedical engineering and holds a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and Louisiana State University, respectively. Outside of lab, Seona enjoys taking strolls and petting friendly neighborhood cats and dogs whenever she gets a chance.

Peter VandeVort  (Undergraduate) 2018 –

Peter is a Biology Major in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is working with Dr. Gopal Chovatiya in the laboratory to better understand genetic regulation of skin vasculature remodeling during the hair follicle cycle. After graduating, he plans to go to law school. When not in the lab, he is likely playing trumpet in the jazz band or the Big Red Marching Band.


Joydeep Baidya (Undergraduate) 2017-

Joydeep is a senior majoring in Human Biology, Health and Society. He works with Sangeeta Ghualewala, a post-doc in the lab, on epidermal patterns defined by two distinct stem cell populations. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school. When not in lab, he enjoys playing the saxophone, boxing, and rock climbing.

JJ Pace (Undergraduate) 2018 –

JJ is a Biological Sciences major in the College of Arts & Sciences. He works with Dr. Gopal Chovatiya  to elucidate the communication between vasculature and the stem cells of the hair bulge. After graduation, he plans to pursue further research in biology. In particular, he is interested in studying the biology of aging and age-associated diseases. When free time is not just a distant memory, he enjoys exploring the beauty of Ithaca and, on occasion, rehabilitating baby birds.

Daniel Ko (Undergraduate)  2019-

Daniel is majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Human Nutrition and minoring in Business. He works with Nina Li, a PhD candidate in the lab, on the cross talk between hair follicle stem cells and its vasculature. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school. In his spare time, he enjoys dance, cooking, and traveling.

Kevin Jiang, (Undergraduate) 2018-

Kevin is a Biological Sciences and Chemistry double major in the College of Arts and Sciences. He works with Dr. Sangeeta Ghuwalewala on clonal analysis of stem cell populations in tail epidermis. After graduating, he plans to attend graduate school. In his free time, he enjoys raising ants, watching food videos and discovering new music.