Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at CUNY-Hunter College and Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medical College. Her appointments reflect her traditional training in synthetic peptide chemistry and her subsequent interest in evolution of venomous marine organisms and characterization of venom peptides. Dr. Holford’s research is at the forefront of Chemical and Biological Diversity – pioneering an evolutionarily integrated approach to the discovery of novel venom peptides for therapeutic development in pain and cancer.
Bobby Habig is an Assistant Professor at Mercy College and a research collaborator at the
American Museum of Natural History and the Research Foundation of the City University of
New York (Hunter College). His integrative research program encompasses evolutionary
biology, urban ecology, biological anthropology, and science education. As a research associate at
Hunter College, Dr. Habig is collaborating with Mandë Holford on an Innovative Technology
Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant from the National Science Foundation.
Giulia received a PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology in 2017 from the University La Sapienza of Rome with a thesis on Antarctic mollusc larval ecology and genetic connectivity. She received a grant from her home country of Italy to visit the Holford laboratory for five months. During this period, she is learning to analyze NGS data using bioinformatic tools and she has joined the ongoing project on Terebridae diet identification and correlation with venom diversity.
Juliette received a BS from Colby College, majoring in Biology and Animal Ethics, and received her MS from Hofstra University, majoring in Biology. Juliette is currently a PhD student working on venom variation and population genetics of the neogastropod clade. To complete this work, she uses next generation sequencing and bio-informatics. She has also had the privilege of joining Dr. Holford in the field for two expeditions to Papua New Guinea in the hopes of increasing the pool of available Terebridae toxins. Additionally, she spent the summer in Paris working on Terebridae taxonomy and the classification of potentially new species.
Tanya received a BS in Forensic Toxicology from John Jay College in 2015. She then worked as a research chemist for the Research Foundation of CUNY, synthesizing mitomycin interstrand cross-linked DNA adducts and studying their effects on cancer cells. Tanya entered the CUNY Biochemistry PhD Program in Fall 2016 and joined the Holford lab in Spring 2017. Currently, she is working on developing a high-throughput method for screening purified Terebridae venom peptides. Using an integrated approach, a validated teretoxin functional activity pipeline will be made to identify potential therapeutic candidates. Teretoxins are an uncharted territory for drug development that can ultimately overcome molecular and pharmacokinetic obstacles. To develop this high-throughput method for screening purified Terebridae venom peptides, a variety of approaches will be used. These approaches include two peptide synthesis methods, both recombinant and synthetic, three instrument screening platforms for crude venom characterization, and three types of bioactive assays to test the functionality of venom peptides.
James received a BS in Forensic Toxicology and Molecular Biology from John Jay College in 2015. He continued his study to receive an MS in Pharmacology from Weill Cornell in 2018. He took a gap year to teach as an adjunct at his Alma Mater prior to entering the CUNY Biochemistry Ph.D. Program in Fall 2020. As a rotation student in the Holford lab, James is currently working to synthesize recombinant Terebridae venom peptides and to characterize Terebridae venom peptide binding through homology modeling.
Favour received a BS in Chemistry/Biochemistry from Rivers State University in 2016. She worked for a year at the Center for Infectious Diseases Lagos in 2017 on medical research data collection, medical record storage, and outreaches. During and after her undergraduate study, she was a high school math and chemistry tutor, preparing high school students and undergraduates for national exams. Her undergraduate research focused on measuring changes in biochemical parameters of albino rats to determine the effect of corticosteroids on their vital organs. She went on to work as a business analyst at a financial institution using data to solve business problems and managing projects that eliminate waste and redundancy in the organization. Favour joined the Holford Lab in Summer 2021 and is interested in studying how venom can advance cancer treatment. As a rotation student, Favour will be working with the bioinformatics team.
Max received a BA in Chemistry and Philosophy in 2015. He then went to get his license in paramedicine in 2016, eventually joining a critical care team specializing in neonatal transport in 2017. He entered the Master’s of Biochemistry Program at Hunter College in Fall 2019, and joined the Holford lab in Winter 2020. Max is currently working on transcriptome analysis of mucin glycoproteins of terebrid snails.
Jessy received a BS in Biology from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2015. He entered the Bioinformatics Master Degree Program at New York University in Spring 2020, and joined the Holford Lab in Summer 2021. After graduation, he hopes to pursue his career in Bioinformatics via a PhD degree.
Intesar received his BA in Biochemistry from NYU in 2018. He entered Hunter College's Biochemistry MA program in the Spring of 2021 and joined the Holford Lab in the Summer of 2021. After graduating, he hopes to pursue study in MD and/or PhD programs.
William is currently an undergraduate senior majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Mathematics and Physics at Hunter College. He joined the Holford lab in January of 2018. His work at the lab involves the synthesis and purification of terebrid snail peptides by employing Fmoc solid phase peptide synthesis and liquid chromatography. He has also involved in modifying protocols experimentally so that they can be adapted in characterizing the more recently discovered terebrid venom peptides. After graduating, William hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in either Synthetic Organic Chemistry or Organometallic Chemistry.
Syeda is an undergraduate junior majoring in Biochemistry and Special Honors Major at Hunter College. She joined the Holford Lab in Summer 2021 as a McNulty Scholar. After graduating, Syeda hopes to pursue an MD or MD/PhD degree.
Mariam is an undergraduate junior majoring in Bioinformatics and minoring in Mathematics at the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. She joined the Holford Lab in Summer 2021. After graduation, Mariam hopes to pursue a career in medicine via an MD or MD/PhD.
Nusrat is an undergraduate junior majoring in Biology and BA/MA in Psychology at City College of New York. She joined the Holford Lab in Summer 2021. After graduating, she hopes to pursue an MD-PhD degree and aims to do further research on psychoneuroimmunology related to glioblastoma.
Prachi Anand, PhD (Analytical Research Scientist, Genesis Biotechnology Group)
Abba Leffler, PhD (Senior Scientist, Private Firm)
Elizabeth Mary Wright, PhD (Lecturer, Princeton University)
Giulia Fassio, PhD (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sapienza Università di Roma)
Aida Verdes, PhD (Assistant Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Juliette Gorson, PhD (Special Assistant Professor of Biology, Hofstra University)
Patrick Kelly, PhD (Teaching Fellow, Fullstack Academy)
Tanya Napolitano, PhD (Application Scientist, Phenomenex)
Danny Simpson, MS (Bioinformatics Specialist, New York Genome Center)
Raj Musunuri, MS (Bioinformatics Specialist, New York Genome Center)
Emily Lin, MS (PhD Candidate, CUNY Graduate Center)
R. S. Ramakrishnan, MS (Bioinformatics Specialist, Mount Sinai)
Jessica Schulman, MS (Computational Biologist, Mount Sinai Department of Neuroscience)
Henry Yelkin (Financial Representative, MassMutual Metro New York)
Marouf Hossain (Medical School, SUNY Downstate)
Manjeet Kaur (Masters Program, CUNY Graduate Center)
Peter Filipenko (Bioinformatics Consultant)
Girish Ramrattan (Bioinformatics Facility Manager, Weill Cornell Medicine)
Michelle Yun (Masters Program, Boston University)
Magid Mohamed (MD/PhD Program, UT South Western)
John Moon (Medical School, University of Chicago)
Michael Lyudmer (Medical School)
Nicolette Somogyi (Masters Program, NYU)
Corina Grijuc (Medical School)
Carolina Santamaria (Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Emily Lau (Graduate School, UC Santa Barbara)
Justin Ho (Graduate School, Cornell University)
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Safiyah Samad (Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine)
Eleonora Achrak (Medical School, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Sharmin Sultana (Research Technician, Albert Einstein College of Medicine )
Ikenna Onyekwere (Medical School, Weill Cornell Medicine)
Mackenzie Mitchell (Masters Program, Wesleyan University)
Saama Salim (Nursing School)
Kelly Huang (Nursing School)
Justin Ho (Graduate School, Cornell University)
Natasha Pandey (...)
Sharmin Sultana (Research Technician, Albert Einstein College of Medicine)