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Learn more about our new entering class of students and help us welcome them to the department.

Britney G. Alcira

Britney Alcira
Britney Alcira

Why did you join the department? Interested in learning about how molecular interactions such as protein-protein interactions contribute to tumor progression. Also, the leadership, I have had the opportunity to see how passionate Dr. Cook is about the training of a scientist which makes me hopeful for the scientist I will become.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Undergrad Degree: B.S. Degree in Biology, minor in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Research Advisor: Rihe Liu
Research Interest: Health Disparities in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Why did you choose UNC? Community, and the abundance and support of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Research
Interesting fact: I am interested in improving the rate of change in Diversity and Inclusion, Student development and success, and science policy.

Victoria Augoustides

Victoria Augoustides
Victoria Augoustides

Why did you join the department? Exciting research projects, and a supportive training environment! I really like the people and science here.
Hometown: Winston Salem, NC
Undergrad Degree: B.S. Biological Engineering/Biomanufacturing
Research Advisor: Wesley Legant
Research Interest: Pushing the limits of light microscopy with Machine Learning and AI.
Why did you choose UNC? It is close to home and has incredible research going on here.
Interesting fact: I like to make a wide array of things – art, sewing, crochet, welding, Arduino and RPI, 3D printing, etc.

Emily “Gracie” Clark

Emily "gracie" Clark
Emily “Gracie” Clark

Why did you join the department? I love the wide variety of research interests in the department that are all united by a want to understand the amazing biochemical and molecular processes that somehow come together to constitute a living organism!
Hometown: Mocksville, NC
Undergrad Degree: B.S. in Biology, B.S. in Chemistry (Concentration in Biochemistry), and Minor in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Advisor: Matthew Flick
Research Interest: I am interested in interactions between Staphylococcus aureus virulence factors and the host coagulation system, primarily fibrin(ogen), and how these interactions may contribute to both microbial pathogenicity and host coagulopathy during infections of the bloodstream.
Why did you choose UNC? I loved my time spent here as an undergraduate and research technician, and with it being such an excellent research institution with so many experts and exciting research around, it just felt right to stay for my Ph.D.!
Interesting fact: I really enjoy gardening and spending time outside!

Quentin Hahn

Quentin Hahn
Quentin Hahn

Why did you join the department? It is the field of research that has the techniques that I find the most interesting and useful for answering today’s scientific questions.
Hometown: Portland, OR
Undergrad Degree: B.Sc. in Biochemistry & Biophysics from Oregon State University
Research Advisor: Qi Zhang & Pengda Liu
Research Interest: Protein-Nucleic Acid Complexes and their role in Diseases, especially RNAs.
Why did you choose UNC? I chose UNC as I was drawn to the work done by Dr. Qi Zhang. Chapel Hill is also a quaint town.
Interesting fact: I played hockey for 12 years, many of which were on an international traveling team.

Olivia Maurer

Olivia Maurer
Olivia Maurer

Why did you join the department? The faculty and students have been super welcoming and helpful.
Hometown: Frankenmuth, MI
Undergrad Degree: B.S. in Biochemistry from Grand Valley State University
Research Advisor: Matthew Redibo
Research Interest: Structure/function relationship of gut microbial enzymes
Why did you choose UNC? I loved the collaborative environment and the diversity of research interests.
Interesting fact: I’m an avid reader and am always looking for book suggestions!

Tomiris Mulikova

Tomiris Mulikova
Tomiris Mulikova

Why did you join the department? I enjoyed interacting with many people here and my interests align perfectly.
Hometown: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Undergrad degree: B.S in Chemistry from Nazarbayev University
Research Advisor: Brian Kuhlman
Research interest: Protein design and conformational switches
Why did you choose UNC? I chose UNC because of the great variety of research and community-like program.
Interesting fact: I did my undergrad in the second coldest capital in the world and still do not know how did I manage to survive there!

Giselle Prida

Gisselle Prida standing outside by building
Giselle Prida

Why did you join the department? The interdisciplinary research and supportive community
Hometown: Habana, Cuba
Undergrad Degree: BS in Biological Sciences/Natural and Applied Sciences from Florida International University
Research Advisor: Brian Kuhlman
Research Interest: Protein Engineering/Vaccine Design
Why did you choose UNC? The scientific community and outdoors
Interesting fact: I started a carnivorous plant collection after moving to NC

Emily Spiko

Emily Sipko
Emily Sipko

Why did you join the department? The friendly people and this department best fit my interests.
Hometown: Newark, DE
Undergrad Degree: B.S. in Biochemistry from Duquesne University
Research Advisor: Rebecca Berlow
Research Interest: Structure-function relationships of disease-associated proteins
Why did you choose UNC? UNC struck me as a very welcoming and collaborative institution, as well as one that cares about student wellness.
Interesting fact: I played the piano from kindergarten through my senior year of high school.

Dillion Sloan

Dillon Sloan
Dillon Sloan

Why did you join the department? The content and scale of my own biological interests best aligns with that of BCBP.
Hometown: Loudon, TN
Undergrad Degree: BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harding University
Research Advisor: Rick Baker
Research Interest: A prevailing theme in my interest is understanding how the primary sequence of proteins relates to their function, and more recently their structure as well.
Why did you choose UNC? I had gone to the Triangle Cytoskeleton Meeting in the past and was generally impressed with the research community at UNC.
Interesting fact: “I can ride my bike with no handlebars. [No handlebars. No handlebars.] ”

Originally published on May 24, 2023