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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Student Profiles

DEGREE PROGRAM -  Master of Science (ScM)

Sean Brown

Zirkin Lab

Mengyin Chen

Wan Lab

Yasmeen Elsakary

Drummond- Barbosa Lab

Kyrra Engle

Klein Lab

Brendan Fowl

Kavran  Lab

Jingting Han

Drummond- Barbosa Lab

Hans Liu

Prigge Lab

Bixi He

Culotta Lab

Yeong Jin Jeong (YJ)

Matunis Lab

Shahrzad Khaiat

Evans Lab

Yoo Jin Kim

Kavran Lab

Brian Krahl

Bailey Lab

Dao Nguyen

Wang Lab

Maria Laura Reategui

Jordan Lab

Lesley Summerville

Bailey Lab

Ravi Thombre

Wang Lab

Xueqi Zhao

Jordan Lab


Sean Brown

seanSean was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in the fall of 2015 with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During his undergraduate studies, Sean was a student research assistant in two different labs. In Dr. Xin Chen’s lab, he studied the metabolic control of stem cell development in Drosphilia melanogaster testes. In the second, Dr. Barry Zirkin’s lab, Sean studied how the presence of various factors contributes to the development of stem cells and differentiation of those cells into testosterone-producing cells in adult rat testes. He hopes to continue research in the reproductive stem cell arena.

    Sean enjoys playing basketball and has a passion for music. A combination of Dr. Zirkin’s mentorship and the vast resources offered by the BMB MHS program led Sean to choose JHSPH. He aspires to attend medical school to become a surgeon. 

Mengyin Chen

mengMengyin Chen was born and grew up in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China. She graduated from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology. She has conducted cancer research about autophagy both at her university and Cancer Research Institute of Shandong Province. In addition, she has conducted scientific research on the structure and function of monolignol ferulate transferase and strategic research on extracting sulforaphane from broccoli seeds.

   In her free time, she likes reading, watching drama and taking part in outdoor activities. She has done some volunteering and hopes to continue that. Mengyin is very curious about science. She chose Johns Hopkins because she really loves biology and JHU is second to none in this field. In the future, she hopes to be a professor and have her own lab to do research in biology.

Yasmeen Elsakary

yasmeenYasmeen Elsakary was born in Secaucus, New Jersey and grew up in Rahway, New Jersey, right outside of New York City. She attended Rutgers University and received her B.A. in Biological Sciences, with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Nutrition, in 2016. As an undergraduate, Yasmeen conducted research at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies studying the effects of chronic mild stress and prolonged alcohol consumption on macrophage activity in the liver of osteocalcin knockout mice.

    Outside of academia, Yasmeen enjoys reading, eating, volunteering, and engaging in community activism. Interestingly enough, it was this passion for social justice and feminism that brought her to the field of public health. Yasmeen chose Johns Hopkins because of the impact the school has made, and continues to make, around the world. She hopes to one day become a physician to serve marginalized communities, and further pursue her interest in women’s health and reproductive rights throughout her career.

Kyrra Engle

kyrraKyrra Engle grew up in Sunnyvale, California. She graduated from the University of Redlands in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Sociology and completed a post-baccalaureate health professions program at the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. She has worked as a clinic assistant and health educator at Planned Parenthood for the past three years. In addition, Kyrra has worked for community development organizations on four different continents and seen firsthand the way individual health problems are born from larger societal forces.

   In her free time, she enjoys dancing, practicing calligraphy, reading, and traveling. Kyrra chose Johns Hopkins because their world class education and learning environment will help prepare her for medical school. This will be her first time living on the east coast and owning a scarf!

Brendan Fowl

brendanBrendan Fowl grew up in Baltimore and is thrilled to be home. He attended undergrad at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Biology. Following graduation, he moved to Boston and took a research assistant position in the Camargo Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. His work at Children’s focused on the role of the Hippo Pathway in cellular maintenance, proliferation and oncogenesis. At the beginning of this summer he moved back to Baltimore and has been working in the Kavran Lab in BMB.

   At Carleton, Brendan was on the baseball and track and field team. He still loves to play baseball, as well as, pretty much any pick-up game that’s going on. He is looking forward to taking advantage of all the community partnerships Hopkins has to offer and wants to find a community health organization to work with throughout the school year. Brendan hopes to continue on to medical school where he would love to go into pediatric oncology and continue with oncology research.

Jingting Han

jingJingting Han was born and grew up in Beijing, China. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego majoring in Pharmacological chemistry. She has conducted biochemistry research and presented it at undergraduate research conferences and at the UCSD undergraduate symposium. Jingting has conducted scientific research using different software to calculate the distance between the alpha carbon of each atom in a protein to discover the conformational change of each protein.

   In her free time, she likes sleeping, cooking, mostly Chinese food and cookies, drawing and reading. Jingting can speak Chinese, of course, and English. An interesting thing about her is that she does not like coffee. She chose JHU because of the world famous education and diverse culture. Her future goal is having the ability to follow her own heart while enjoying life, and help others to have a better life.

Hans Liu

hansHans Liu was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota – “the Land of 10,000 Lakes”. At the age of four, he traversed the Pacific with his family and arrived in Beijing, settling in their humble abode located minutes away from the soon-to-be Bird's Nest of the 2008 Olympics. After completing elementary and middle school in Beijing, he returned to Minneapolis for high school, and subsequently attended Washington University in St. Louis for undergrad, with a major in Chemistry (Biochemistry concentration). Post-graduation, Hans worked at the NIA on telomeres, and thereafter, conducted research on cytomegalovirus at Johns Hopkins.

   Upon completing the BMB program at Johns Hopkins, Hans plans to pursue a PhD degree in preparation for a career in biomedical research, with the goal of gaining useful knowledge and putting it to good use.

Bixi He

bixiBixi He was born and grew up in Liaoning, China. She graduated from Beijing Normal University and received the Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology. Bixi applied a funding project for undergraduate students, which aimed to screening the optimal derivative among three kinds of derivatives of GCC, and then explored its pharmacological function and its immunosuppression mechanism.

   She likes running, playing badminton and watching movies. She also likes to watch basketball games. Bixi chose BMB because Johns Hopkins is a well-known university with well-arranged courses and expert professionals holding the leading role both in the academic research and practical application areas. She believes studying in BMB can help her to acquire integrated knowledge required for a PhD. In the future, Bixi wants to apply to a PhD program and do research in biomedical sciences.

Yeong Je Jeong (YJ)

yeongYeong Jin Jeong (YJ) was born in South Korea, and grew up there until the age of 13. Then he moved to the United States to study and then back to South Korea after college in 2012. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. Back in Korea, YJ helped out his family by working for their real estate business. He learned to invest and produce profit by remodeling the properties and selling them. He enjoyed his work and so far he managed to sell 12 properties.

    In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, weightlifting, reading and hiking. YJ is fascinated by carpentry and he wishes to make it his hobby someday. He chose Johns Hopkins BMB program because he remembered how he loved studying science in college. And he trusts that the best institution to learn it is at Hopkins. His future goal is to become a dentist and conduct stem cell or regenerative research in the field. 

Shahrzad Khaiat

sharShahrzad Khaiat was born in Shiraz, Iran and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 2010 after she finished her secondary school. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with B.Sc. Degree in Microbiology and Immunology and a minor in Spanish. She has conducted research at ICORD (International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries) on neurogenesis and rehabilitation after spinal cord injury. She has also conducted research experiments at UBC microbiology and immunology lab, and physiology lab. She swam with the UBC synchronized swimming club for 4 years and competed in the Canadian University Synchro Swimming League (CUSSL) national competitions. She also participated in a study abroad program in Spain, Barcelona to practice her Spanish and study Spanish literature. She speaks English, Farsi and Spanish  and her hobbies include swimming, beach volleyball, dancing, traveling and hiking.

   She chose to study BMB at John Hopkins University to prepare herself for medical school, meet new people and expand her networking. She hopes to enter medical school and continue her interest in the area of research. She also hopes to use her abilities as a physician to contribute to helping the underprivileged areas in South America.

Yoo Jin Kim

yooYoo Jin Kim was born in South Korea and moved to the United States at the age of 9. Since then, she has spent her time in Chicago, IL. Yoo Jin graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2015 with majors in Neuroscience and Spanish. After graduation, she made the decision to further explore medicine and the healthcare system while developing her scientific interests. Yoo Jin always had an inclination towards BMB throughout her classes at Hopkins which led her to choose the BMB program. Here, she plans to explore aspects of BMB apart from her initial interest in Neuroscience and to pursue a research project to better prepare herself for the translational and scientific research she hopes to pursue in her future career as a physician.

   During her free time, Yoo Jin either walks her two puppies or pursues her musical hobbies: playing the piano and singing.

Brian Krahl

brianBrian Krahl was born and raised in Salisbury, Maryland. He received his interdisciplinary bachelor’s in biology, chemistry, and neuroscience from Salisbury University in the spring of 2015. In addition to his course work at SU, he conducted undergraduate research in functional and structural oligodendrocyte changes in hyperglycemic zebrafish.

    In his free time he dabbles with wood working. He has no regrets except not attending baseball camp with his cousin as a child, because he most certainly would be playing for the Orioles by now. He chose JHU because he knew he would get the foremost education and research training in the molecular biology field. Also, for Brian JHU is located in state, and in the most biotech dense region in the country. After graduating from JHU, Brian intends to go on to earn is Ph.D. in molecular biology, and work in pharmaceutical R&D.

Dao Nguyen

daoDao Nguyen was born and grew up in Da Nang, Central Vietnam. In 2009, he began his study abroad in the U.S as a high school student. In 2013, he received an associate degree in general sciences from Portland Community college. Dao then graduated from Pacific University - Oregon in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. From the summer of 2015 until his graduation, Dao has conducted a funded research on the presence and prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes and related mobile genetic elements in environmental metagenomics DNA samples utilizing basic molecular methods, a study that Dao and his colleagues are looking forward for a publication in 2016.

   In his free time, Dao enjoys playing guitars, and making arts. Soccer is his favorite sport. During this winter of 2014, Dao traveled back to Vietnam and volunteered at Da Nang Cancer Hospital, where he sparked his interest in studying public health. Attending the MHS program at JHSPH, he is eager to further explore the intersections between the fields of public health and medicine. The program will provide new opportunities and expose him with ideas to achieve his goals to involve in biomedical researches and international medical relief as a physician in the future. 

Maria Laura Reategui

mariaMaria Laura Reategui was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Puerto Rico when she was ten years old. She finished high school in Puerto Rico and then moved to Baltimore for college. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2016 with a B.S in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a B.A in Romance Languages. She has conducted lysosomal storage disease as well as cancer research.

   In her free time, she likes to go to the gym, hang out with her friends and go shopping. Maria Laura also loves dancing salsa, merengue, and bachata and speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. She chose Johns Hopkins because the curriculum and diverse opportunities will help her become better prepared for medical school. She is very excited about staying in Baltimore especially now that her two brothers will also be studying in Johns Hopkins as undergraduate students. In the future, Maria Laura would like to be a doctor and join an organization like doctors without borders. In that way she will be able to travel and put into use her medical knowledge as well as her language skills.

Lesley Summerville

lesleyLesley Summerville was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She recently graduated from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where she majored in Cellular, Molecular, and Physiological Biology with a minor in Leadership Studies.

   Lesley has been an equestrian for her entire life and rode competitively for many years. Now that she’s in a more urban area, she spends more of her free time doing yoga, reading, crafting, and cooking. Lesley spent the entire summer before beginning classes at JHSPH working full time as a volunteer in Dr. Coulombe’s lab. She is thrilled to attend Johns Hopkins because of their incredibly accomplished faculty, advanced facilities, and world-renowned reputation. Her ultimate goal is to attend medical school and to focus on cancer research and treatment in the future. 

Ravi Thombre

raviRavi Thombre was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Miami and majored in biology with minors in chemistry and German. At the University of Miami, he had the chance to participate on the varsity cross-country team, as well as partake in various different service organizations and initiatives. He received several awards such as the ACC scholar-athlete award, as well as deans & provost list honors, and was named a German student of the year his senior year of college.

   In his free time he enjoys playing and watching sports with friends, running, biking and hiking, as well as reading and watching movies. Peculiarly, he has seen almost every episode of the show South Park over three times. His reasons for choosing BMB are to broaden the foundation of his scientific knowledge, have the opportunity to continue to do research and learn under the guidance of world-renowned Johns Hopkins staff, as well as seek out avenues to perform service in the Baltimore community. He hopes to one day attend medical school and work with underserved communities. 

Xueqi Zhao

xuXueqi Zhao was born in China and grew up there. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 with a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry. She has conducted research in many areas including cancer and metabolic disorder.

   In her free time, she likes watching TV dramas and travelling. She chose BMB at John Hopkins because it is dedicated to provide students innovative thoughts and technologies to prepare them to become research scientists. In the future, she hopes to work in a clinical research institute or lab.