2016-06-15 12.12.02.jpg
2016-06-15 12.12.02.jpg




Kristen Kwan, PhD. Assistant Professor. 

Kristen is a native of Southern California, where she grew up in Agoura Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles.  She attended Stanford University, majoring in Biological Sciences, and then moved to Harvard Medical School for her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology.   When not in the lab, Kristen can be found chasing her kids, watching football, knitting, and trying out new restaurants. Click through to see Kristen pictured with  Heisman trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Jim Plunkett (no big deal).


Sri Pratima Nandamuri, PhD. Postdoctoral Researcher

Born and brought up in Andhra Pradesh, India, Pratima first came to the US to pursue a Masters in Biology at the University of Cincinnati. After that she moved to College Park to complete a PhD in Biology at the University of Maryland, working on the visual system of African cichlids. Currently, Pratima is interested in understanding the role of primary cilia in the development of the optic cup and the photoreceptors. Outside of the lab, Pratima loves to hike Utah’s many parks, travel and read. Visiting all the National Parks in the US and digging up a fish fossil are a few things on her bucket-list!!!


Emily Woodruff, PhD. Postdoctoral Researcher

Emily grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and she completed her undergraduate education at Mount Holyoke College. She attended the University of Bristol in the UK and earned a Master of Science with Distinction in Palaeobiology. She completed her doctoral research in Zoology from the University of Florida where she studied dental development and evolution in mammals. Emily’s interests are broad and span the fields of developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and paleontology, with a special interest in craniofacial morphogenesis and evolution. In her spare time Emily enjoys hiking and climbing and loves riding horses whenever possible.



Keith Carney, MS. Research Engineer

Originally from Utica, New York, Keith studied physics at Stony Brook University, and earned a Master’s degree in physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He moved to Salt Lake City in 2003 to pursue long track speed skating as a fulltime athlete, and also began working as a lab tech at the University of Utah. Following retirement from skating in 2010, Keith transitioned to research engineering positions, and has worked in several labs prototyping instrumentation and writing software. Keith is a master of MATLAB, but outside the lab, he is a passionate singer/songwriter.


Sarah Lusk, BS. PhD Candidate

Sarah is from Portland, Oregon. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biology from the University of Oregon where she was first introduced to zebrafish. Following graduation, Sarah continued her research studying axonal transport and microtubule dynamics at Oregon Health & Science University. Sarah is currently interested in understanding the role of Hedgehog signaling and its effectors in early development of the optic cup. When not in lab, Sarah enjoys exploring Utah's wilderness through photography, birding, and beer. 


Macaulie Casey, BS. PhD Candidate

Macaulie grew up in the rural community of Libby, Montana. She received her bachelor's degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. While there, she got her first taste of research, also utilizing the zebrafish. Macaulie is currently interested in understanding the role of extracellular matrix components in optic cup development. Outside of the lab, she enjoys climbing, hiking, reading, and a healthy dose of Netflix. 



Sydney Stringham, PhD. Postdoctoral Researcher

Sydney started as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Chi-Bin Chien where she worked on a project examining factors influencing axon branching. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Utah, she joined the lab of Michael Shapiro where she studied the genetic basis of morphological differences in natural populations using the ninespine stickleback as a model. Sydney works as a teacher at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education and as a seasonal post-doc during her summer vacations. Outside of lab and school, Sydney enjoys hiking, camping, photography and her canine sidekick, Elphie.


Lab Alumni

Chase Bryan, PhD. Currently post-doc at OHSU.

Hannah Gordon, PhD. Currently at Recursion Pharmaceuticals.

Brooke Froelich Murray, BS. Currently an outdoor brand ambassador.

Ben Jussila, BS. Currently at Nemametrix.

Thomas Brown, BS. Currently at Myriad.

Emily Wirick, MS. Currently at Great Basin Scientific.

Aaron Scoresby, BS. Currently at Biofire Diagnostics. 

Shadai Flores Arce, BS. Currently at the University of Utah Medical School.