Sidney graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a degree in zoology. He has a background in animal-based research and contributes his experience to the lab by performing surgeries and histology for ongoing projects. In his spare time, Sidney enjoys cycling, camping, and hiking with his dog.
Cristina obtained her Ph.D. (2015) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the “Universidad Complutense” in Madrid, Spain. She did a previous postdoc at OHSU in Portland, OR, where she studied non-coding-RNA responses in the tumor microenvironment. Cristina is passionate about non-coding-RNAs, and she is currently focused on how small and long-non-coding-RNAs influence vascular cell identity. Cristina relocated to Pittsburgh to work with Dr. Gomez and study the crosstalk of different epigenetic mechanisms such as histone modifications, DNA methylation, and non-coding-RNAs vascular smooth muscle cells. Cristina’s goal is to gain a more in-depth knowledge of vascular disease models such as aortic aneurysms and hypertension. Long term, Cristina wants to bring together her background in RNA biology, vascular disease, and tumor microenvironment to study the epigenetic changes happening as a secondary response to cancer therapies.
Mingjun is a Ph.D. candidate in Cellular and Molecular Pathology Program in University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Mingjun got Bachelor of Engineering in Bioengineering from Chongqing University (China) and Master of Science in Biotechnology from Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering. Mingjun is interested in epigenetic regulation of cell fate determination and maintenance. He is currently working on the project of understanding the roles of H3K4-dimethylation in controlling smooth muscle cell lineage identity and functions.
Mingyuan Du obtained his M.B.B.S. at Central South University, China, and he is a M.D. candidate in vascular surgery and biology in Clinical Medicine 8-year Program (CSU) / Xiangya-Pitt Scholar Program (PITT). He completed clinical internship at Central South University and was a visiting intern at National University of Singapore and Omsk State Medical University, where he gained medical understanding of vasculopathy and took interest in vascular research. He also did research on inflammatory responses in pulmonary fibrosis. Under Dr. Gomez’s mentorship, he is currently studying the role of microRNAs and TET enzymes in phenotypic switching of vascular smooth muscle cell, aiming to discover novel microRNA regulator and investigate DNA methylation that control cell plasticity and contribute to atherosclerotic vascular lesions. In the long term, Mingyuan wants to discover non-coding RNA biomarkers / therapies in arterial diseases with translational perspectives.
Outside college, Mingyuan is interested in medical social activities and worked with Xiangya Red Cross Society as presidium member and International Federation of Medical Students’ Association for local branch events.
LACIE COLLINS: Undergraduate student
EMILIE WONG CHONG: Master’s student
KANYA DAYANANTH: Master’s student