The following is a list and profiles for the recent BRASS Scholars.

Oluwatoyosi Adewunmi

Oluwatoyosi Adewunmi (320x240)
Oluwatoyosi Adewunmi

Toyosi Adewunmi grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA but has been a resident of Houston for over ten years. She graduated from McMurry University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, and received her Master’s from Texas State University in Biochemistry. It was during her time at Texas State that Toyosi fell in love with biomedical research, and knew she wanted to continue asking questions about improving human health.

Toyosi is now a first-year graduate student in the Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine, and has an interest in cancer biology. She has an interest in understanding mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis. She hopes to focus on breast cancer research and develop targeted therapy that can improve patient outcomes.

When not in lab Toyosi enjoys baking, arts and crafts, reading, and spending time with family. Her brief time in the hill country of Texas has given her a new-found appreciation of the outdoors and enjoying all the beauty that nature has to offer. Toyosi is excited to join the BRASS family and is happy to advocate for the importance of scientific research. She looks forward to making lasting connections through BRASS while giving back to the Houston community.

Dominique Armstrong

Dominique Armstrong (320x240)
Dominique Armstrong

Dominique Armstrong grew up in Spokane, Washington. She graduated from Whitworth University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Music. During her time in college, she obtained research experience at Whitworth and UC Berkeley in environmental microbiology, as well as at the Washington State University College of Pharmacy investigating an aspect of herbal product-drug interactions.

After graduating, she worked for two years in a clinical pathology laboratory where her interest in cancer research was furthered by the prevalence and severity of cancer cases she encountered every day. Currently, Dominique is a first-year graduate student in the program for Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine. Her plan is to study basic mechanisms of immune cell functions and/or the immune system response in the context of solid tumors or hematological malignancies, with the ultimate goal of developing immunotherapies for cancer.

Dominique especially enjoys being outdoors - camping, hiking, swimming, biking, and kayaking. She is eager to explore what the outdoors in Houston and Texas has to offer during her time here. She also enjoys playing piano and guitar, and trying new recipes. Dominique is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the BRASS family, and excited to volunteer at future BRASS events.

Andrea Ortiz

Andrea Ortiz (320x240)
Andrea Ortiz

A native Texan, Andrea Ortiz was born and raised in the far west Texas city of El Paso. From an early age she expressed a love of nature and a knack for science that has continued with her well into adulthood. She graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and is the proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ‘08. After graduation, she made the conscious decision to move back home and took up a job teaching science at a local high school. She spent several years as an educator before deciding to pursue her postgraduate degree and get back into the research field. Two years ago, she was fortunate enough to land positions as a research technician at her local community college and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, working under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Alvarez and Dr. Brad Bryan.

Andrea is currently a first-year graduate student in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her previous work and life experiences have concentrated her scientific interests into the areas of cancer biology, particularly tumorigenesis and metastatic progression of pediatric cancers, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegeneration. Her hope is to make strides in the field of translational research and aid in the development of effectual therapeutics.

Outside of school, Andrea is an avid sports fan and loves to support her favorite teams throughout the year. She also enjoys the outdoors, attending music festivals, and traveling when she can. Rescuing animals is also a passion of hers, and she currently volunteers with the Houston Pets Alive! organization. Andrea is both thrilled and honored to have been chosen as a member of this year’s BRASS class. She looks forward to participating in the many BRASS events, and is excited about getting to know all the wonderful individuals within the BRASS community.

Arielle Raugh

Arielle Raugh (320x240)
Arielle Raugh

Arielle Raugh grew up in the small town of Palmyra, Pennsylvania right next to where Hershey’s Chocolate was founded. In December 2016, she graduated summa cum laude from Messiah College in central Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Molecular Biology, and a passion to pursue translational research. This enthusiasm stemmed from her research experiences, which include work to discern the role of CD4 Lymphocytes in cancer, studies for a new therapeutic against CMV, and experiments to better understand Zika virus.

Arielle is currently a first-year graduate student in the Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program at Baylor College of Medicine. She is actively interested in research regarding neuroimmunology and autoimmune diseases. Her hope is that this research may one day create more reliable treatments for patients battling these diseases.

When she is not in the lab, Arielle can be found enjoying a variety of activities. Some of her favorites include biking, experiencing the cultural life around Houston, baking, crafting and reading. Arielle is extremely excited to join the BRASS community and share her love of research with others who are just as inspired to discover new therapeutics against human disease.

Previous BRASS Scholars

Kristyn Hoffman
Patrick Hunt
Zachary Kadow
Michael Lam

Wanderson Cabral Rezende
Elizabeth Campbell
Carli Domenico
Joanne Hsu

Zachary Criss
Paul Fahey
Larissa Nitschke
Jarey Wang

Derrick Chu
Amanda Koire
Michael Gundry
Lin Zhu

Charlene Emerson, Ph.D.
Kathleen Manning, Ph.D.
Emily Packard
Amy Pohodich

Meagan Barry, Ph.D.
Mark Hamilton, Ph.D.
Rob Seilheimer, Ph.D.

Erol Bakkalbasi, M.S.
Sarah Ciupek, Ph.D.

Philip Boone, Ph.D.
Cathryn Cadwell, Ph.D.
Nya Nelson, Ph.D.

Mathew Burstein, Ph.D.
Minhtran Ngo, Ph.D.
Beatriz A. Santillan, Ph.D.

Chris McGraw, Ph.D.
Shelly Buffington, Ph.D.
Matthew Bainbridge, Ph.D.

Heather Franco, Ph.D.
Geoff Preidis, Ph.D.
Molly Schroeder, Ph.D.

Chris Bland, Ph.D.
Mark Edson, Ph.D.
Misha Koshelev, Ph.D.

Hsia-Tuan Chao, Ph.D.
Shannon Griswold, Ph.D.
Ankur Nagaraja, Ph.D.

Eric Hyun, Ph.D.
Verena Kallhoff-Munoz, Ph.D.

Matthew Rose, M.D., Ph.D.

Brenda Bohnsack, M.D., Ph.D.
Michiya Nishino, Ph.D.
Sara Copeland Shalin, Ph.D.

Michael Greenbaum, Ph.D.
Stacy Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.

Lynnette Burks Nance, Ph.D.
Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D.

Vincent Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D.
Sergy Lemeshko, M.D., Ph.D.

Matthew Baker, Ph.D.
Laura Mackey Lorentzen, Ph.D.

Julia Elvin, M.D., Ph.D.