Vijayalekshmi Nair, Ph.D.
Rachel Z. Behar
Rachel Z. Behar is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology (CMDB) graduate program and was recently awarded an NIH pre-doctoral fellowship to support her research dealing with the effects of electronic cigarette refill fluids and aerosols on embryonic and lung cell health. Rachel received her BS degree in Biological Sciences from UCI where she graduated with honors. Since entering the CMDB graduate program at UCR, she has published several papers dealing with the development of assays for accessing cytotoxicity using human embryonic stem cells and human pulmonary fibroblasts. She subsequently used these assays to identify flavoring chemicals in some electronic cigarette products that are highly cytotoxic to embryonic and adult lung cells.
Barbara Davis is a 6th year Ph.D. Student in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB) Graduate Program at UCR. She also did her undergraduate work at UCR, where she was awarded the Circle of Science Award and was the recipient of the Chancellors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Barbara graduated summa cum laude and received her B.S. in the field of Biology. During her first year as a graduate student she received a TRDRP Cornelius Hopper Diversity Award as well as the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Barbara has been a member of Talbot lab for 8 years and during that time has had several publications related to electronic cigarette research. She is currently continuing her work by evaluating the effects of electronic cigarette use on embryonic development.
My (Crystal) Hua
My (Crystal) Hua is a first-year Masters student at UC Riverside (UCR) studying environmental toxicology. She double majored in English (BA) and Biology (BS) at UCR. During her undergraduate career, Crystal researched the topography of electronic cigarettes (EC) and health-related effects of EC through informatics-based research, and her findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals. For her Masters studies, she received the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) Cornelius Hopper Diversity Award to support her work.
Careen Khachatoorian graduated from California State University, Northridge in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and a Minor in Chemistry. She attended the NSF-CEPCEB REU program in plant and plant-pathogen cell biology at UCR and worked in Dr. Howard Judelson's lab. Currently, Careen is a third year graduate student in the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology PhD program working in Dr. Prue Talbot's lab. Her PhD research is focused on the investigation of Electronic Cigarette Exhaled Residue. She plans to identify the components of the residue as well as its toxic effects on different cell types. Identification of nicotine components will be done by GC/MS analysis and cell health endpoints will be examined using the Nikon BioStation CT for live imaging and CL Quant software for analysis. She is currently in the NSF funded IGERT in Video Bioinformatics program and plans on identifying morphological in mitochondria when cells are stressed.
Her skills include: cloning, PCR, plasmid transformations, extracting EC residue, toxicological studies, cell culture, video and image data collection and analysis
Monique Williams graduated from University of California, Riverside with a B.S. in Neuroscience. Currently she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology with an emphasis on Environmental Health. She primarily focuses on evaluating and characterizing the components and metal emissions from electronic cigarettes. In addition, she has evaluated the performance characteristics of electronic cigarettes, and showed that electronic cigarette performance differs from that of conventional cigarettes and even differs greatly among and between different brands of electronic cigarettes. Monique’s most recent data raises serious concerns about the health impact that electronic cigarettes may have on users.
While evaluating these products, she has learned valuable techniques, including various types of microscopy (i.e., Philips XL30 FEG and FEI NanoNova 450 Scanning Electron and Phillips CM300 Transmission Electron microscopes, Nikon SMZ 745 stereoscope, and Nikon Eclipse Inverted Microscope) and has also become experienced in standardized smoking procedures using an analytical smoking machine.
Atena Zahedi earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California. She earned her MS in Bioengineering from UCR and she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at UCR. She is in the NSF funded IGERT in Video Bioinformatics program and plans on studying the effects of electronic cigarettes (ECs) on the cytotoxicity of primary adult and embryonic cells.
By engineering molecular tools and video bioinformatics techniques, she can probe and analysis the underlying biological processes that may become impaired due to direct exposure or prenatal exposure to toxic constituents in ECs. Using genetically-encoded reporters, she creates various stable cell lines expressing specific reporters of cellular health. Furthermore, she has developed/used a live video tracking software StemCellQC, which can characterize the spatial and temporal dynamics of stem cells by monitoring features related to growth, morphogenesis, motility and apoptosis.
Her skills include: fluorescence microscopy, video bioinformatics, recombinant technology, culture of primary and cell lines, ICC, western blot, optogenetics, neuroimaging, and biological modeling.
Rattapol (George) Phandthong is a 1st year Ph.D. Student in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB) Graduate Program at UCR. He graduated from University of California, Riverside with a B.S. in Biochemistry. He has knowledge in studying application of chemistry of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. He has the necessary skill to explore the chemistry of living organisms and the molecular basis for the changes occurring in living cells.
His previous job was a research assistant in Dr. Talbot's lab. His primary responsibility is to use quantitative software to observe and record morphological and chemical changes stem cells and cancer cells.
His skills include: Cell Culture, Bacteria Culture, DNA Transfection, Plasmid Prepartion, Protein Purification, Western Blot, Nano-Drop, Immunohistochemistry, Video Bioinformatics, and Data Mining
hane Sakamaki-Ching is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB) program. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from California Lutheran University and then progressed to a Master’s Degree Program at Cal State University Channel Islands. In his Master’s Degree program he was awarded the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Training Grant to support his research at Cedars-Sinai which he differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from Alzheimer’s Disease patients into monocytes to assess the monocyte’s ability to degrade amyloid beta plaques.
During the CIRM Bridges Program he received stem cell training from USC. Currently his research in Dr. Talbot’s lab at UCR focuses on differentiating human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into cardiomyocytes to assess the cardiovascular toxicity of chemicals and metals found in electronic cigarettes. Also he is researching the identification of potential biomarkers of smoking harm in human patients.
Esther Omaiye was a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Intern at University of California, Riverside. She received a BS in Microbiology from the University of Jos, Nigeria and has a MS in Biotechnology & Bioinformatics (Stem Cell Emphasis) from California State University Channel islands. Esther has her research focused around the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), mouse neural stem cells (mNSC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (ipsc) to evaluate environmental chemicals and their effects on human health. mNSCs and hESCs can be used to model the stages of development and thus provide a very powerful in-vitro model for accessing the lifelong effects of exposure to chemicals, drugs and environmental toxicants in general. She also uses several other cell types for her research work.
Skills & Techniques: PCR, Gene Sequencing, Microbiological assays, Cell culture, Live cell Imaging, MTT.
Angela Chaili is a second year Biochemistry major at the University of California, Riverside. She is currently working under graduate student Atena Zahedi to study the cytotoxicity of electronic cigarettes within stem and cancer cells.
Her technical abilities include: Molecular/Micro/Biochemical Research Techniques, and Video Bioinformatics
Malcolm is a second year Biochemistry major at the University of California, Riverside. He is currently working under guidance of graduate student Rachel Z. Behar. His responsibility is to extract aerosol samples from electronic cigarettes refill fluids, which are use to study genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of electronic cigarettes.
Shreya is a second-year undergraduate student at UCR majoring in Chemistry. She is a research assistant for graduate student Monique Williams, and together they focus on identifying the metal components in electronic cigarettes, evaluating different brands, and understanding the differences between these and conventional cigarettes. Shreya's job consists of collecting aerosol from different electronic cigarette brands by using an analytical smoking machine.
Leland is a second year Biology major at the Univeristy of California, Riverside. He is currently working under the supervision of graduate student, Barbara Davis. His field of research is to study nicotine effect on Pluripotent Stem Cells. His primary responsibility is to use analytical bioinformatics software, Stem Cell QC, to accurately quantify morphological changes in stem cell colonies.