Senior and post-doctoral scientists

Erika Esquivel

Research Associate,

 Lab Manager


Investigates the role of complement proteins during retina regeneration.

Modeling epigenetic modifications during

RPE reprograming

Tracy Haynes

Research Associate, Senior Lecturer


Courses Taught

Principles of Human Physiology (BIO 161)
Human Physiology (BIO 305)
Cell Biology (BIO 203)
Biotechnology in the 21st Century (BIO 101)

Investigates the role of complement proteins and Wnt signaling in the induction of retina regeneration.

Raul Perez Estrada

Post Doctoral Scientist

Anthony Sallese

Post Doctoral Scientist


Tony obtained his PhD at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital while working on a rare lung disease called Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis. Using patient derived samples and mouse models, he characterized a disease process similar to atherosclerosis which occurs in the lungs of patients with mutations in the cytokine receptor or autoantibodies for GM-CSF. Since coming to Miami University Tony has been working on characterizing the differences in regenerative potential between the dorsal and ventral iris of the Red Spotted Newt. His group uses a number of cellular and molecular approaches both in vitro and in vivo to study the remarkable ability of these amphibians to regrow body parts.

Gonzalo Nicolás Spelzini

Research International Scholar


Gonzalo contributes to the lab as an international scholar, hailing from Argentina. Gonzalo has both a PhD and MD from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, where he also served as President of the AECUBA from 2016 to 2017. During his time in our lab, Gonzalo aims to study the role of the Eph-ephrins system and neurotrophic factors in the development of topographically ordered connections of the central nervous system via the embryonic chick model.

Graduate student researchers

Zeyu Han
Zeyu Han_IL6 induces retina regeneration

Investigate the role of IL-6 during retina regeneration

Aristotle Kayafas

Analyzing big data for retina regeneration


  • Undergraduate Research Award (URA) 2018

Jared Tangeman

Jared is a 3rd year PhD student studying ocular development & disease. Using the embryonic chicken, newt, and axolotl, he studies the epigenetic landscape governing the formation of ocular tissues, and how this landscape behaves in response to injury. Jared serves as the president of SACNAS at Miami University

George Tsissios

Explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms that orchestrate lens regeneration in newts 

Artem Nikolaev

Artem studies retina regeneration in the Spanish Newt. 


Vayda Barker

Major : Biochemistry

Investigate the role of EphA receptor signaling pathway during lens regeneration.


  • Undergraduate Research Award (URA) 2018

  • Undergraduate Summer Scholar (USS)  2018

  • Doctoral Undergraduate Opportunity  Scholarship (DUOS) 2018

  •  Cancer Research Award (CRA) 2018

Alyssa Miller

Major : Biology / Pre-Med

Alyssa is a member of the Miami University class of 2021. She is currently in her third year in the Regeneration Lab, where she studies newt lens regeneration. She focuses on the role of Ephrin within this system.


  •  Howard Hughes Summer Internship 2019

  • M.I.A.M.I. WOMENs Giving Circle 2019

  • SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference Travel Scholarship

  •  Cancer Research Award (CRA) 2018

Emily Van Zeeland
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Major : Bioengineering / Pre-Vet

Emily is a senior at Miami University majoring in Bioengineering. Her primary focus in the Regeneration Lab is studying the epigenetic landscape of various ocular tissues during regeneration in embryonic chickens, newts, and axolotls. She is also working to develop ex ovo culture systems for the embryonic chicken. When not in the lab, Emily enjoys riding horses and is the president of the Miami University Equestrian Team.


  •  Hughes Howard Summer Internship 2019

Arielle Martinez
Arielle Martinez Photo.jpg

Major : Biology / Pre-Med

Arielle is from North Carolina, and is a member of the Miami class of 2022. She is a member of the Newt Group, where she performs a number of tasks, including preparation of specialized solutions, and carrying out immunohistochemistry assays. She recently has been studying the role of macrophages in newt lens regeneration. 


  •  Cancer Research Award (CRA) 2018

Junfan Chen

Major : Biochemistry

Junfan hails from Kunming, China, and is in his junior year of pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry. He currently works on the in vivo OCT imaging project within the newt group to improve the visualization of lens regeneration.


  • DUOS Grant (w/ Georgiois Tsissos)

Bailey Haynes
Bailey Haynes, Biology, C3a.jpg

Major : Biology / Pre-Vet

Bailey is a senior at Miami from Hamilton, Ohio and started working in the lab her sophomore year. She has worked on multiple projects with different model organisms studying retina regeneration. She performs retinectomies, collects, sections, and stains samples, and does immunohistochemistries. When she's not in the lab I love to go out with friends and play intramural soccer. Bailey minors in Management and Leadership.


  •  Hughes Howard Summer Internship 2019

Emilio Bloch

Majors : Biology & Public Health

Emilio is Copley, Ohio. He spends most of his time in the lab making slides, doing lab chores and carrying out various experiments. Outside of the lab, he enjoys being active in student organizations that focus on community service and social justice.


  • LSAMP Summer Scholar Award for the Summer of 2018

Taylor Lentz

Majors : Biology and Neuroscience

Taylor is a member of the class of 2020, and she works to determine the role of iL6 in retina regeneration under the tutelage of Zeyu Han. When not in lab, Taylor enjoys running and working with the residents at the Knolls. After graduation, Taylor will be working at the NIH as a post-bac in the NIDDK. 

Nathan Corbissero

Major : Bioengineering

Nathan is a member of the Miami University class of 2020. He hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, and majors in bioengineering. He began his work in the Regeneration Lab in the spring of 2019, and he currently is working to develop alternative methods to deliver growth factors to our model systems. Nathan utilizes his bioengineering knowledge and technologies such as gelatin microspheres to develop systems to better deliver FGF to our embryonic chick model. 

Lizbeth Montoya-Alvarado
Syd Rivera
lab pic - Syd Rivera.JPG

Major : Kinesology / Pre-Med

Syndi is a member of the class of 2021. In the lab, she studies C3a-induceed retina regeneration via the embryonic chick.