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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

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.

Raúl Perez-Estrada
Tracy Haynes

Research Associate, Teaching Professor


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.

Graduate student researchers

Alex Valentine
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Alex is pursuing a degree in Cellular, Molecular & Structural Biology. Under the Diversity Enhancement Pathway Assistantship, Alex wishes to study  the molecular mechanisms that govern lens regeneration in the Spanish newt.

Carlos Mario Charris Dominguez
George Tsissios

Analyzing big data for retina regeneration


  • Undergraduate Research Award (URA) 2018

Jared Tangeman

Jared is a 5th year Ph.D. 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

Sophie Ratvasky

Major: Biology (Undergrad class of '22)  

Sophie is studying the role of macrophages in lens regeneration in the Spanish newt.


  • Undergraduate Summer Scholars (2021)

  • DUOS (2021)

Stacy Bendezu

Research International Scholar


Stacy is an international scholar from Perú, she received her BSc. in Genetics and Biotechnology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Perú), and her current focus in data science is Transcriptomics.
In addition to regenerative biology, outside of the lab, she enjoys travel and taking wildlife photography. She plans on pursuing further graduate studies in regeneration and wants to meet an axolotl in person!


Abby Green
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Major: Chemistry, Biology, and Pre-Medical Studies

Abby is studying retinal regeneration in the Spanish newt.


  • Sharon Janosik Mitchell Undergraduate Research Scholarship (2022)

Gabriella Theodoroudis
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Major: Biology and Pre-Medical Studies, with a Spanish minor

Gabriella is studying the role of aging and regeneration in the Spanish newt, as well as the role of cell-cycle kinetics involved in the lens regeneration process. 


  • Sigma Xi Grant (2021)

  • Undergraduate Summer Scholars (2021) 

  • Hughes Internship (2022) 

  • Stephen R. Williams Research Award (2022)

  • SACNAS Travel Scholarship (2022) 

Harshavardhan Sanaka

Major: Biology and Pre-medical studies, with a Medical Sociology minor

Harshavardhan is investigating the role of metabolism in the determination of cellular fate in retinal regeneration in the embryonic chicken, with a focus on hypoxic conditions.


  • Undergraduate Summer Scholars (2021)

  • William A Browne IV Research Fund (2022) 

  • Undergraduate Research Award (2022)

Katie Schuckmann
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Majors: Biology, Psychology, and Pre-Medical Studies

Katie is currently developing transgenic tools to induce lens regeneration in the Spanish newt.


  • MIAMI Women Giving Circle Grant (2022)

Lake Ernst
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Major: Biology and Pre-Medical Studies


Lake is studying lens regeneration in the Spanish newt.


  •  Beckman Scholars Award  (2022)

Saranya Sanaka 
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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

Sofia Rebull

Major: Biology and Pre-Medical Co-Major, Chinese and Medical Sociology Minor

Weihao Chen.jpg
Weihao Chen
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