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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. 

I am affiliated with the Fralin Life Science Institute, the Global Change Center, the BIOTRANS program, the CeZAP program and the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech.

Link to my CV

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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. 

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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. 


Shajaesza Diggs     (Lab tech)

Shajaesza is a lab technician who obtained her bachelor's in Biochemistry degree Virginia Tech in 2021. She will be conducting research in Dr. Vinauger's lab working with the molecular biology and time dependent behaviors of mosquitoes. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Microbiology, Pathology, or Biology. In the future, she also hopes to continue research in drug chemistry or pathology of infectious diseases. Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching documentaries and being outdoors. 


Shajaesza joined the lab in Summer 2021 and is co-mentored with Clément Vinauger. 


Aqsa Fazal    (Summer Undergraduate researcher)

Aqsa is an undergraduate student obtaining her B.S. in Chemistry with a Concentration in Biochemistry from Hollins University. She is originally from Pakistan, but has been living in the USA for over 12 years in Fredericksburg, VA. After graduating, she wants to attend medical school and do research. She likes to adventure by traveling and having thriller experiences. 

Aqsa is supported by the SURF program through the GCC at Virginia Tech. She joined the lab in May 2022. 

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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. 

Ella Halbert     (Summer Undergraduate researcher)

Ella is a rising junior at Oberlin College majoring in Biology and Hispanic Studies. She is from Nashville, TN. Ella is interested in ecological interactions, specifically those that lead to diseases in humans. After graduating, Ella plans to attend medical school. She enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, playing piano, and reading.

Ella is supported by a MLBS REU fellowship. She joined the lab in May 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.

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Vansh Parikh     (Undergraduate researcher)

Vansh is a current freshman at Virginia Tech studying Biochemistry with minors in Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry. He is originally from Blacksburg, VA, so Virginia Tech has always been home for him. After graduation, he plans to go to medical school and eventually specialize in hematology-oncology or ophthalmology. In the future, he also hopes to conduct his own research in cancer cell metastasis or drug chemistry. In his free time, Vansh loves being outdoors going rock climbing and hiking!


Vansh joined the lab in Fall 2021 and is working primarily with Forde. 

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Rachel Porter     (Undergraduate researcher)

Rachel is a junior at Virginia Tech and is pursuing a degree in Biological Systems Engineering with minors in Entomology and Green Engineering. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Engineering with a focus on Entomology. Rachel also currently works in Dr. Entrekin's aquatic entomology lab as a lab technician. She is particularly interested in exploring the application of biotechnology to insects and the environment. Outside of school, she is a figure skater and enjoys being outdoors.


Rachel joined the lab in Spring 2022 and is working primarily with Forde and 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. 


Martina Carlassara, PhD Student - University of Pavia, Dr. Mariangela Bonizzoni's lab - Travelling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists - Fall/Winter 2021

Mik Fehlman, REU VT REEL - Penn State University - Summer 2021

Megan Roark, REU MLBS - UV wise - Summer 2021

Dimitri Wangrawa, Assistant Professor - Fullbright Scholar - University Norbert Zongo - Bukina Faso - 2021

Lab Alumni

Zach Baker, Summer Lab and Field Assistant - 2020

Elizabeth Bose , Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019

Ross Choate, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2020

Darren Dougharty, Lab tech - 2020-2021

Lauren Fryzlewicz, Master Student and Technician (Biochemistry) - 2019-2021

Cameron Hart, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019

Sydney FoglemanUndergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2021-2022

Chris Logan, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2021-2022

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

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