Baylor Research Advocates for Student Scientists

BRASS Scholars 2014-2015

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

Zachary Criss

2014-2015 BRASS Scholar

Zachary Criss is a proud native Texan raised in Arlington, Texas. He attended The University of Texas at Austin where he studied biomedical engineering. During that time he worked in a lab developing strategies to simultaneously visualize and ablate tumors using nanotechnology.

Zachary is a first year graduate student in the Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine Program, with a research interest in regenerative medicine. He hopes that one day his thesis work will be translated from the lab bench to the bedside and used into a clinical setting.

In his spare time, Zachary enjoys getting together with friends to play flag football and softball. When Zachary is not in an active mood, he also enjoys playing board games with friends and family. Zachary is excited about becoming a new addition to the BRASS family and getting an opportunity to share his passion for solving biomedical issues with the Houston community. 

Paul Fahey

2014-2015 BRASS Scholar

Paul Fahey was born and raised in Miamisburg, Ohio. He graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in Saint Louis with a major in Biology and Neuroscience. He started working in a neurobiology lab during his freshman semester, studying the role of intracellular receptors in a genetic model for autism. 

After graduation, Paul moved to Houston to join the M.D./Ph.D. program. He completed the first two years of medical school, and is currently a first year student in the neuroscience program. His research interests include classifying the components of microcircuits in the brain. 

Outside the lab, Paul enjoys amateur bookbinding and flying kites in Hermann Park. He is thrilled to become a member of the Brass family, and is looking forward to learning more about what this city has to offer. Paul is honored to serve as one of many ambassadors between the scientific and Houston communities.

Larissa Nitschke

2014-2015 BRASS Scholar

Larissa Nitschke grew up in a small town near Düsseldorf, Germany, where she discovered her passion for research and science early on while watching her father working in a microbiology lab. She decided to study Biology as her major at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf and wrote her undergraduate thesis on the regulation of the Notch Signaling Pathway, a pathway that is dysregulated in many forms of cancers. After completing her Bachelor Thesis with honors, she was awarded a prestigious fellowship for an international exchange program with Michigan State University, where she spent her last year of undergraduate education. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Biology International Plus Program as one of the first and highest ranked students of her class, and was able to coauthor two highly ranked articles from her research at Michigan State University.

Larissa first became interested in pursuing her graduate studies in biomedical sciences in the Texas Medical Center while she was working at Rice University for a summer research program. She was fascinated by the great opportunities that the TMC offers with all the clinics, hospitals and schools and got excited to hear about the biomedical research opportunities. Today, Larissa is proud to be a first year Ph.D. student in the Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Program at Baylor College of Medicine and she is especially interested in understanding the causes of human genetic diseases and developing potential therapies.

In her free time, Larissa enjoys reading, volunteering and going to restaurants and theaters. She is honored to become a BRASS scholar and a member of a community that thrives for excellence in biomedical research. Particularly, Larissa is looking forward to share her passion and excitement for science with the Houston community and to volunteer at the Squirrel Creek Ranch.

Jarey Wang

2014-2015 BRASS Scholar

Jarey Wang was born in Heishan, China, and grew up in West Chester, PA. He attended Duke University as an Angier B. Duke Scholar, and graduated magna cum laude in 2012 with a degree in biomedical engineering. During the summer after sophomore year, he discovered his passion for cancer genomics research, and has never looked back.

Jarey joined the M.D./Ph.D. program at Baylor College of Medicine, and is a McNair Student Scholar. Currently, he is a first year student in the Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine department, where he is exploring his interests in applying genomic data to discover driver mutations in cancer and understanding mechanisms of chemoresistance. He hopes to pursue a career in oncology, and hopes that research in the field will soon allow us to tailor therapies for each individual patient.

Outside of school, Jarey enjoys playing tennis and basketball, and is fond of a multitude of board games. He also enjoys working with kids at Texas Children’s Hospital as part of the Kidney Koach program. Jarey is excited to be part of BRASS, to volunteer at Squirrel Creek Ranch, and to share his passion for research and medicine with the greater Houston community.

Previous BRASS Scholars

Derrick Chu
Amanda Koire
Michael Gundry
Lin Zhu

Charlene Emerson
Kathleen Manning
Emily Packard
Amy Pohodich

Meagan Barry
Mark Hamilton
Rob Seilheimer

Erol Bakkalbasi, M.S.
Sarah Bourdon

Philip Boone, Ph.D.
Cathryn Hughes
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.

Micahel 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.

Isacc 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.