MCDB Graduate Students

Welcome New Students!

The Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Interdepartmental Graduate Program welcomed four new students this fall. We are very excited to have them here at Iowa State University!


Mark Bouska

Mark is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, earning a bachelor's degree in All Science Teaching. Following five years of teaching a variety of high school science courses, Mark returns to higher education to pursue his doctoral degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology. Of particular interest in his research pursuits are to elucidate one or more of the molecular mechanisms involved in the aging process. More specifically Mark is interested in changes of hormone levels, transcription factors, epigenetic tags, and other molecules associated with development and aging.

Mark is currently completing his research rotations with MCDB faculty of interest. Following the completion of his research rotations in the spring, Mark will be selecting his major professor and home lab.

Why did Mark choose Iowa State University and the MCDB Graduate Program?

"I chose Iowa State because it has excellent technology available to its researchers, faculty that are performing interesting and relevant research, and the university offered the interdisciplinary program Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. I felt that entering this type of program would be the most effective approach to solving questions about the aging process."


Karan Gera

Karan joins us from India where he completed a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Biotechnology from the Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University. He is pursuing a PhD degree in MCDB and is currently completing research lab rotations with program faculty. Following the completion of his research rotations, Karan will be selecting his permanent lab, around the middle of the Spring 2017 semester.

While studying at Manipal University, Karan pursued opportunities to get involved with research. These projects involved the cloning and expression of a therapeutic biosimilar peptide for scale-up purposes and the detection of IgE receptors on a pre-basophilic mammalian cell line for further testing with a monoclonal antibody. Primary research interests include cancer biology, infectious and viral diseases, chromosomal diseases, drug targeting and immunology.

Why did Karan choose Iowa State University and the MCDB Graduate Program?

"ISU was my first choice simply because here I have been given the opportunity to test out the waters of research on a rotation basis before narrowing down on a PhD thesis. The quality and diversity of the kind of research being conducted by the faculty here was immensely interesting and quite frankly, too good to pass up. Since my aim is to work in applied biosciences in order to combat disease by formulating therapeutics, ISU offers me the perfect platform for the same." 


Neenah Huang

Neenah joins us to pursue her doctoral degree in MCDB. After earning a bachelor's degree in Bioengineering from Southwest Jiaotong University, she completed her master's degree in Biomedical Sciences - Microbiology and Biochemical Pharmaceutical Science from the joint program of Sichuan University and Southwest Jiaotong University, China. 

Neenah is interested in areas of biomedical research which can translate into human applications. She comes to ISU following six years of research experience in molecular biology. She will be selecting her permanent lab this spring, following research lab rotations with program faculty.

Why did Neenah choose Iowa State University and the MCDB Graduate Program?

"Iowa State University has a long history of biological research, as well as beautiful campus. MCDB is an interdisciplinary program with diverse research areas that offers graduates a variety of research choice. It not only empowers students to enrich their molecular and cellular biology research experience, but is also highly recognized. It meets my needs for career advancement."


Pallavi Sinha Roy

Pallavi completed her undergraduate at VIT University, India, where she earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in Biotechnology. Previous research experience has predominantly consisted of unraveling the genetic determinants of various human disorders including obesity and Parkinson’s Disease. She is interested in areas of research which include gene expression and regulation, molecular genetics, stem cell therapy, and cancer biology.

Pallavi is pursuing a PhD degree in MCDB and is currently completing research lab rotations with faculty of interest. She will be selecting her permanent lab by the end of the Spring 2017 semester.

Why did Pallavi choose Iowa State University and the MCDB Graduate Program?

"The main reason why I choose Iowa State University for my Graduate studies is because Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology is an interdepartmental program consisting of faculty from diverse research background performing groundbreaking collaborative research. Being a part of such a program, I am sure to grow and be successful as a graduate student. Iowa State University also has excellent infrastructure which would provide me with all the tools and resources that I would require to make the most of my graduate studies!"