Chloé Lahondère (Principal Investigator) (She/Elle)
I am a biologist interested in blood-sucking insects' thermal biology, physiology and neuro-ethology. I obtained my Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Tours (France) and pursued a PhD at the same university under the supervision of Prof. Claudio Lazzari. I then moved to Seattle to join the lab of Prof. Jeff Riffell in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. I joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech as a Research Assistant Professor in October 2017.
Link to my CV
Louna Abdalla (Undergraduate Researcher)
Louna is a freshman at Virginia Tech, and she is currently pursuing a dual degree in Biological Sciences and Neuroscience. She is from Washington, DC, and is an active member of the VT Running Club. She is fascinated by the interactions of organisms, and works to research the evidence behind it. Upon graduation, Louna will pursue a career in medicine or research. For fun, she likes to read and spend time with her friends and family.
Louna joined the lab in fall 2021 and is working primarily with Joanna.
Danielle David (Undergraduate Researcher)
Danielle is a sophomore at Virginia Tech pursuing a dual degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry with a minor in Spanish. She is from Richmond, Virginia. After graduation she would like to pursue a career in medicine or research. In her free time, Danielle likes to play soccer, hike, read, and paddle board.
Danielle joined the lab in Spring 2022 and is working primarily with Helen.
Katelyn Domke (Undergraduate Researcher)
Katelyn is a sophomore at Virginia Tech pursuing a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Animal and Poultry Sciences. She is from Richmond, Virginia. After graduation she plans to pursue a career in veterinary science. Outside of classes, Katelyn likes to hike, run, read, and attempt to knit.
Katelyn joined the lab in Fall 2022 and is working primarily with Joanna.
Seyed Jalil Pasha (JP) Mirlohi (Laboratory Specialist)
JP obtained his degree from technical school in Vienna, Austria. He moved to the US in 2000. He joined Virginia Tech in 2019 and started working as a team member in Dr. Tu's lab in the biochemistry department. When not in the lab, JP likes traveling and hiking.
JP joined the lab in June 2022.
Helen Oker (BS/MS student - Ut prosim Fellow)
Helen is currently pursuing a degree in Biochemistry with minors in Entomology and Chemistry. She has been involved in undergraduate research throughout her education at Virginia Tech, working with Dr. Carla Finkielstein in the Biological Sciences department and Dr. Samantha Harden in the HNFE department. In the future, she hopes to further her education and continue to work in disease vector and invasive species research. Outside of the lab, Helen enjoys getting outside, doing yoga, and baking.
Helen joined the lab in Spring 2021 as an undergraduate researcher, worked at a lab tech over the Summer and started the BS/MS program in Fall 2021. She is the recipient of a FURF and a GCC undergraduate research award. In 2022, Helen receives the inaugural Ut prosim fellowship.
Joanna Reinhold (PhD student)
Joanna is a fourth year Biochemistry Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2014 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Joanna did undergraduate research in parasitology, surveying parasite load in centrarchid fishes under the supervision of Dr. Esch. She is interested in host-seeking behavior and potential pathogen transmission in certain species of mosquitoes that feed on ectothermic animals. Joanna is from Charleston, SC and moved to Virginia a few years ago.
Joanna volunteered in the lab during Summer 2018 before joining the PhD program in August 2018.
Forde Upshur, MS (PhD student - GCC IGC Fellow)
Forde Upshur obtained his Master's degree in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. He graduated from Virginia Tech in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and a minor in Chemistry. He did his undergraduate research at UVa under the supervision of Dr. Brown, working to develop a promoter database for the entire human genome. Forde is looking to gain a diverse array of experience and knowledge during his time as a graduate student, particularly in the fields of biochemistry, chemistry, and behavioral ecology. He also plays guitar and sings and is currently in the process of starting a band.
Forde joined the program in August 2018, rotated in the lab and officially joined in November 2018 as a Master's student. He graduated in May 2020 and is pursuing his PhD in the lab. Forde is a GCC IGC Fellow.
Taj Valliani (Undergraduate researcher)
Taj is a junior majoring in Biochemistry, and minoring in Chemistry and Adaptive Brain and Behavior. He is from Richmond, VA, pursuing a career in medicine. More specifically he is interested in dermatology/immunology. In his free time, he likes to hang out with friends, read, play volleyball, and practice martial arts.
Taj joined the lab in Fall 2022 and work primarily with Helen.
Martina Carlassara, PhD Student - University of Pavia, Dr. Mariangela Bonizzoni's lab - Travelling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists - Fall/Winter 2021
Aqsa Fazal, SURF / GCC Student - Hollins College - Summer 2022
Mik Fehlman, REU VT REEL - Penn State University - Summer 2021
Ella Halbert, REU MLBS - Oberlin College - Summer 2022
Megan Roark, REU MLBS - UV wise - Summer 2021
Dimitri Wangrawa, Assistant Professor - Fullbright Scholar - University Norbert Zongo - Bukina Faso - 2021
Zach Baker, Summer Lab and Field Assistant - 2020
Elizabeth Bose, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019
Ross Choate, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2020
Shajaesza Diggs, Lab tech - 2021-2022
Darren Dougharty, Lab tech - 2020-2021
Lauren Fryzlewicz, Master Student and Technician (Biochemistry) - 2019-2021
Cameron Hart, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019
Sydney Fogleman, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2021-2022
Chris Logan, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2021-2022
Vansh Parikh, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2021-2022
Rachel Porter, Undergraduate researcher (BSI / Entomology) - 2022
Aley Savory, Undergraduate researcher (Chemical Engineering) - 2019-2020
Ryan Shaw, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2019-2020
Anaïs Tallon, Post-doctoral associate - 2021-2022
Sarah Tartabini, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2020
Morgen VanderGiessen, Lab Tech and MSc student (Biochemistry) - co-mentored with Clément Vinauger - 2018-2021
Ashlynn VanWinkle, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry / Chemistry) - 2020-2021