Holdener, Bernadette


Bernadette Holdener continues to study mouse mutations that disrupt embryonic development. In collaboration with Dr. Robert Haltiwanger at University of Georgia and Dr. Suneel Apte at the Cleveland Clinic, they are investigating the role of a unique disaccharide modification during embryonic development. Mutations in enzymes that add the sugars to target proteins interfere with the tissue organization and subsequent organ differentiation. Understanding the molecular basis for the developmental defects in these mutants will provide a better understanding of the origin of common human congenital abnormalities involving the bone, brain, eye, heart, and limbs. Bernadette continues to co-teach the core Developmental Biology course for the Developmental Genetics Biology track with Dr. Thomsen. She assumed the position of Director of Undergraduate Biochemistry Majors after Dr. Lyman retired. Bernadette serves on the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Executive, Biology Executive, Stem Cell Advisory, and IACUC committees.

Brian Benz, MS, (a former SBU Biochemistry Major) and BCB student in the lab, completed his MS degree and submitted his thesis titled “The role of POFUT2 in gastrulation and axis elongation of the mouse embryo”. He is currently employed as a technician in the lab.

Charles DeRossi, PhD, a former MS student and technician in the lab, completed his PhD at the University of Heidelberg, Children’s Hospital in the Koerner lab, where he worked on developing a therapy for Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation type Ia (PMM2-CDG). He is currently a post doc at Mount Sinai in the Sandler/Chu lab, working on fatty liver disease, and expanding his research to included liver fibrosis and cancer. Charlie continues to collaborate with Dr. Hudson Freeze at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and maintains an affiliation at the same institute.

Michael Feldman, MD, PhD, a former high school student in the lab, completed his residency in Internal Medicine at UCSF and is currently a clinical and research fellow at Harvard/BGH/Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Lance Lee, PhD, a former PhD student in the lab, is an Assistant Professor at the Stanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota, and an Associate Scientist at the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center. He was appointed Director of Higher Education for Sanford Research, where he is primarily responsible for overseeing training of graduate students at Sanford Research, development of new graduate elective courses, recruitment of graduate students, and directing the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research. Lance recently received a grant from the Hydrocephalus Association for a project aimed at identifying genetic modifiers of hydrocephalus.

Janet Lighthouse, PhD, a former PhD student in the lab, is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Small lab at the University of Rochester. She recently received an American Heart Association Post Doctoral Fellowship to study the protective effect of metallothioneins on cardiac remodeling and fibrosis.

Christina Leonard (formerly Melief), PhD, a former PhD student in the lab, is a technical sales consultant for a German company called Miltenyi Biotech. She is enjoying traveling around the Pacific Northwest assisting and training scientists using translational research reagents.

Andrew Taibi, MS, a former MS student in the BCB program, is working on his PhD at the University of Utah. His project in Jason Sheperd’s lab is focused on developing novel tools to study the cell biology of synaptic plasticity across neural networks in cultured neurons and in vivo.


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