Meet The Team

Prashanth Rangan

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Office: LS 2033D
Telephone: 518-442-3485
Fax: (518) 442-4767
Email: prangan@albany.edu

Prash got his undergraduate engeneering degree in Industrial Biotechnology in India. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he spent a summer rotation working in a virology lab which left an indelible mark. His work that summer focused on understanding the contribution of RNA structures to retroviral infections. He decided to pursue graduate studies working on viruses and RNA. But while attending graduate school, he was introduced to the book "The RNA World." Reading that book completely opened his eyes to the role of RNA in the origin of life and broadened his perspective. For his PhD., he studied how RNA folds to attain its final structure an important determinant for its function. For his Post-Doctorate fellowship, he chose to work on the germline, where it is known that RNA regulation plays a pivotal role. Prash's long-term goal for his lab is to bring together the two fields of RNA structural biology and developmental genetics. In his free time he love to cook elaborate dinners. One day he hopes to write a cookbook or open a small 5 table restaurant.


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Jennifer Wong-Deyrup

Lab Manager

Ph.D., University of Iowa
Email: swong-deyrup@albany.edu

Jen is responsible for laboratory upkeep, facilitating the research of others, and performing molecular biology experiments. She is currently a member of the Steering Committee and a postdoctoral coordinator for the RNA café to promote networking and alternate career paths for the community. She is also interested in teaching in laboratory settings. Jen graduated as a biophysical chemist from the University of Iowa and was a postdoctoral associate at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University. When she is not in lab, she enjoys outdoor activities, such as disc golfing, ice skating, hiking and traveling.


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Katarina Tlučková

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice, Slovakia
Email: katarina.tluckova@gmail.com

Katarina Tlučková received her PhD. in field of biochemistry from the Pavol Jozef Safarik University, Kosice, Slovakia in 2011. During her PhD. she studied alternative DNA structures called G-quadruplex. Katarina joined the lab as a postdoc in September 2014 and her role is to study secondary structure of 3'UTR RNA and determine if this structure is important for binding of RNA binding proteins.


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Pooja Flora

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biology from SUNY Plattsburgh
Email: pflora@albany.edu

Pooja joined the Rangan Lab in May, 2013 and started working on understanding how a transcriptional repressor, polar granule component (pgc), plays a role in promoting germ line stem cell differentiation in a cell cycle dependent manner. Her research experience so far has highly interested her in dissecting the spatio-temporal regulation of RNA-protein networks during cellular differentiation using new and unconventional resources available to researchers. If she were not getting her PhD, she would have pursued a career in styling! Other than shopping, she is passionate about body art, post-hardcore music, food and equal rights. Tolkien, Rowling and Coelho, among many other authors, changed her life.


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Alicia McCarthy

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biology from SUNY Albany
Email: amccarthy2@albany.edu

For her undergraduate education she attended SUNY Albany. She joined the Rangan Lab as a first year graduate student in 2014. Currently her research focus is on the influence of the environment on the germ line and the expression patterns of subsequent generations in Drosophila. Aside from her dedication to science, she enjoys running and is a passionate vegan.


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Maitreyi Upadhyay

Graduate Student

M.S. in Biotechnology from Hislop College, India
Email: mupadhyay@albany.edu

Maitreyi is a second year graduate student and joined the Rangan Lab in Spring 2013. She acquired her Masters in Biotechnology from Hislop School of Biotechnology, India. She is identifying the role of extrinsic factors in stem cell differentiation. Apart from her interest in science, she finds peace in dancing to Bollywood music, loves traveling to places which look mysterious, enjoys the horror genre, medical dramas and does not like metal music.


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Patrick Blatt

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biology from SUNY Geneseo
Email: pblatt@albany.edu

Patrick Blatt is a graduate student in the MCDN program who joined the Rangan lab in 2015. He completed his undergraduate Biology Bachelor's Degree at SUNY Geneseo. His research focuses primarily on the 3' UTR of the pgc gene and the implications of secondary structural characteristics as well as RNA binding proteins. Patrick also enjoys movies and basketball.


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Elliot Martin

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY Geneseo
Email: etmartin@albany.edu

Elliot Martin is a graduate student in the MCDN program who joined the Rangan lab and the Fuchs lab in 2016. He completed his undergraduate Biochemisty Bachelor's Degree at SUNY Geneseo. He is working to understand the relationship between protein modifications and translation control. Elliot is passionate about roasting coffee, cooking, and computers.​


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Shane Breznak

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biology from St. John Fisher College
Email: sbreznak@albany.edu

Shane is a graduate student in the MCDN program who joined the Rangan lab in 2017. He completed his undergraduate Biology Bachelor's Degree at St. John Fisher College. He is currently working to understand the role of KDM5 in the germarium. Shane enjoys running half marathons, playing soccer, and watching the Red Sox.​




Alumni

Dhruv Patel Picture

Dhruv Patel

Undergraduate

Email: dspatel@albany.edu

Dhruv is an undergraduate in the Biology Department at the University at Albany. Currently he is pursing a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with a minor in Mathematics. He joined the Rangan Lab during the summer of 2014, with the desire to expand his knowledge of the biological sciences. In the lab, he works on cell cycle regulation of pgc during embryogenesis. After graduating with his B.S. he intends on pursuing an M.D. with a focus on translational research. Aside from science, he enjoys watching movies, playing frisbee with friends, and keeping current with politics.


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Mohamad Ali Nasrallah

Undergraduate

Email: mnasrallah@albany.edu

Mohamad Nasrallah graduated with a major in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. He is pursuing an MD-PhD at UMass Medical School. Mohamad joined the Rangan lab in the fall of 2013 as a pre-medical student. His research focused primarily on the role of cell cycle regulation in stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Mohamad's ultimate goal is to become a physician-scientist, where he may perform an amalgamation of clinical work and basic science research. Besides his interest in science, Mohammed enjoys writing and reading fiction and non-fiction, dancing to Spanish music, and playing his guitar.


Micheal Kuna

Micheal Kuna

Undergraduate

Email: mkuna@albany.edu

Michael graduated from the University at Albany in 2016 with a major in Biological sciences. He joined the Rangan lab in the 2015 spring semester with the hopes of developing valuable laboratory knowledge and skills. Micheal is continuing his education, pursuing an MD at Albany Med. His research focused on the role of calcium as a possible signaling cue passed along gap junctions from somatic cells to the germline. In his free time, he enjoys working out, playing sports and traveling to new places.


Annie Baxter

Annie Baxter

Undergraduate

Email: abbaxter@albany.edu

Annie graduated from UAlbany with a bachelor in biology from the University at Albany. She joined the Rangan Lab in the fall of 2015 with hopes of expanding her knowledge of stem cell biology. Her research focused on the role of the ATAC complex in the germ line and soma. Annie plans to attend medical school and work as a neonatologist or a pediatrician. In her free time, she volunteers at the Capital City Rescue Mission Free Clinic, and enjoys running, reading, coffee, and anything related to Disney.





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Sean Schowalter

Undergraduate

Sean graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor in Graphic Design. He joined the Rangan Lab after graduation and worked on expression of pgc in Drosophila. In the summer of 2014, he began his first year of medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, where he recieved the prestigous Dean's Scholarship. Aside from his interest in medicine, Sean likes skiing and photography.





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Leticia Camargo Tavares

Undergraduate

Leticia was an undergraduate student of Physics and Biomolecular Science from Brazil. She studied in the United States at the University at Albany until December 2014 and performed Academic Training at the Rangan Lab of the RNA Institute. She participated in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which consists of a scholarship financed for academically excelling students by the auspices of the government of Brazil (CAPES).





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Yesenia Martino-Cortez

Undergraduate

Email: ymartino-cortez@albany.edu

Yesenia Martino-Cortez graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University at Albany. She worked in the Rangan lab since the fall of 2013 and on the molecular biology of germline stem-cell differentiation in the Drosophila melanogaster. She received the Undergraduate Research Symposium Award for her research in the spring of 2014 and also received the Initiatives for Women (IFW) Award for promoting the academic endeavors of women in the field of science. She plans to attend medical school after graduating and her outside interests include playing chess and running.​​





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Zizawah Hla

Undergraduate

Email: zhla@albany.edu

Zizawah Hla graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. She joined the Rangan lab since Fall 2013. She conducted research on the effects of chemicals on stem cell differentiation in Drosophila files. Her life goal since childhood is to be a doctor and she is especially interested in becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. She likes to help people and has a very huge affection for big dogs. In addition to becoming a doctor, her another life goal is to travel around the world with the sole purpose to try varieties of food.





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Dina Gianchandani

Undergraduate

Dina graduated from Cornell with a degree in fashion, and decided to purse dentistry. After grduation, she joined the Rangan Lab and simultaneously completed her required courses for dental school. While in the lab she worked on the characterization of signaling pathway mutant during germ line stem cell differentiation. In the fall of 2013, she started dental school at NYU. She enjoyed socalizing with friends and still holds a passion for fashion.





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Giuseppe Costabile

Undergraduate

Email: gcostabile@albany.edu

Giuseppe graduated from the University at Albany in May of 2016. He was a member of the Honors College with a major in biology, with the intentions of one day going to medical school. Guiseppe was a part of the Rangan Lab since the Spring of his sophomore year. In the lab he is researched the role of RNA structure in protein expression. He also enjoys swimming, hiking and cooking.





Sara Tudor

Sara Tudor

Undergraduate

Email: studor@albany.edu

Sara Tudor graduated from the University at Albany with a major of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in May 2016. While in the Rangan Lab, Sara studied the effect of signaling pathways on stem cell differentiation within the germ line of model organism, Drosophila melanogaster. With her desire to learn, Sara hopes to continue onto graduate school for her PhD working with stem cells. After being inspired by a few enthusiastic professors and the love for helping others, she hopes to eventually pass on her knowledge to other ambitious students of the next generation. Outside of science, Sara also loves to swim competitively, dance, travel, and do anything that involves being outdoors.





Andrew Oligney

Andrew Oligney

Undergraduate

Email: aoligney@albany.edu

Andrew graduated from the University at Albany with a B.S. Biological Sciences in May 2016. Andrew joined the Rangan Lab in the summer of 2015 as a premedical student interested in increasing his knowledge in biological sciences and research in preparation for medical school. In the lab, his research focused on how RNA binding proteins effect translational control of germline stem cells in Drosophila melanogastor during oogenesis. His goal in life is to earn a MD-PhD to help treat the people in his community as an Emergency physician. Outside of his studies, Andrew enjoys sports and the company of family and friends.





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Ryan Palumbo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from University at Albany, SUNY
Email: rpalumbo@albany.edu

Ryan obtained a PhD in Biomedical Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. His doctoral work focused primarily on mRNA localization and translational regulation, which are also the focus of his postdoctoral work in the Rangan Lab. Additionally, he is interested in P-body and Stress Granule dynamics, and how they contribute to the spatial and temporal regulation of mRNA translation. His extracurricular interests include playing guitar, singing, writing, recording, and working out.