Guide the next generation of biomedical scientists

The Office of Research and Graduate Education recently launched the Alumni Ambassador Academy to ensure current and prospective graduate students build relationships with alumni currently working in the field of biomedical science.

Each alumni is asked to engage in a one-year, six hour time commitment that aims to foster a positive relationship between the current Biomedical Sciences students and alumni.

The flexibility of the program allows the alumni to interact on their own schedules and based on their interests. Ambassador activities include career development sessions, one-on-one meetings with students, being an admissions committee member or a representative at a conference or graduate fair.

  • Danielle Doll, PhD

    Headshot of Danielle Doll
    Current Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Home Town
    West Union, WV
    Award or Recognition
    Sanofi Genzyme - Fast Start Award
    Fun Fact
    In my free time I enjoy surfing on Cheat Lake and playing with my new puppy Balboa.

    Danielle Doll received her PhD in Neuroscience from WVU in 2015. Danielle worked in Dr. Jim Simpkins lab and her work focused on the role of mitochondria in TNF-alpha neurotoxicity in stroke. After graduating, she worked at Mylan Pharmaceuticals for 2 years as a research and development scientist, where she developed cell-based assays and release test methods. Then she transitioned into her current role as a medical science liaison. She currently lives in West Virginia and covers the northern part of West Virginia and western part of the Pennsylvania as an MSL with Sanofi Genzyme. Her therapeutic area of interest is neurology.

  • Bryan Gall, PhD

    Headshot of Bryan Gall
    Current Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Home Town
    Cleveland, OH
    Organization or Affilation
    American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP)
    Fun Fact
    In 2019, I lived in all 4 US time zones within the lower 48 states in one year.

    I’m a 2016 graduate of the Cellular and Integrative Physiology program with a focus in immunogenetics, and completed my post-doc at Oregon Health & Sciences University with a focus on the genetics of vaccine responses and developing vaccines to emerging alphaviruses like Zika and Dengue viruses. I currently work as a variant curator for Natera, which involves evaluating genetic variants and reporting their clinical significance to genetic counselors and their patients.

  • Carey Hwang, MD / PhD

    Current Location
    Skillman, NJ
    Home Town
    Morgantown, WV
    Organizations or Affilations
    Member of Infectious Disease Society of America
    Board Member of the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra
    Awards or Recognition
    Tinsley Randolph Harrison Society Scholar (Vanderbilt University)
    Guest speaker for 2019 WVU Research Induction Ceremony
    Fun Fact
    Sight read Beethoven's Sixth Symphony with my daughter under the direction of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel at the Princeton University Chamber Jam

    Carey is currently executive director and product development team lead in the Global Clinical Development - Infectious Diseases group at Merck Research Laboratories. He is responsible for leading the development of new antiretroviral therapies for the treatment of HIV-1. Carey earned his bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology at Princeton University in 1995 studying protein transport with Dr. Elizabeth Sztul. He matriculated in the MD/PhD program at West Virginia University and performed his graduate work under the guidance of Dr. Vinay Pathak studying retroviral recombination in a murine leukemia virus system. Following completion of his MD/PhD in 2003, Carey trained in the physician scientist training program (internal medicine and infectious diseases) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, studying the latent reservoir of HIV under the mentorship of Dr. Richard D’Aquila . In 2009, Carey joined the Exploratory Clinical and Translational Medicine -Virology group at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He was involved in the Phase 1 and 2 development of HIV and HCV compounds including fostemsavir (HIV attachment inhibitor) and daclatasvir (HCV NS5A inhibitor) that later became approved. In 2016, Carey joined Merck Research Laboratories, leading the clinical development and subsequent approval of doravirine (HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor) and is currently the development team lead for the combination of doravirine and islatravir that is currently in Phase 3 trials for the treatment of HIV-1.

  • Carrie Long, PhD

    Headshot of Carrie Long
    Current Location
    Corvallis, MT
    Home Town
    Franklin, NC
    Organizations or Affilations
    American Society for Rickettsiology
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Society for Microbiology
    Society of Toxicology
    Awards or Recognition
    Independent Research Scholar Award (NIH
    NIH Merit Award
    Fun Fact
    I was a pole vaulter for WVU’s track and field team in my first year of graduate school.

    Dr. Long graduated summa cum laude from Gardner-Webb University with a B.S. in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in immunology and microbial pathogenesis from West Virginia University in 2016. Here, she studied the role of regulatory T cells and microRNAs in chemical allergy at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC). After earning her doctorate, Dr. Long moved to Hamilton, Montana, to join Dr. Robert Heinzen’s group at the National Institutes of Health to work as an Intramural Research Training Award postdoctoral fellow. During this time, Dr. Long worked in the biosafety level (BSL)-3 laboratory researching the causative agent of Q fever, Coxiella burnetii. In 2019, Dr. Long received an Independent Research Scholar Award from NIH, allowing her to form an autonomous research group to continue her work on Coxiella burnetii.

  • Kelly Miller, PhD

    Headshot of Kelly Miller
    Current Location
    Magnolia, DE
    Home Town
    Middleburg, PA
    Organizations or Affilations
    ASM
    Phi Kappa Phi

    After graduating from WVU, I completed a postdoc at UB SUNY. I worked in the lab of Chunhao (Chris) Li in the dental school. In addition to working on 3 research projects, I taught medical microbiology and trained the technician in our lab as well as served as her research mentor. After my postdoc, I spent 6 years as a faculty member first as a lecturer and later on the tenure track. As a faculty member I taught a variety of undergraduate courses and supervised undergraduate research. In January 2020, I joined the FDA as a product quality microbiology reviewer in CDER, OPQ (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Pharmaceutical Quality). As a reviewer, I play a key role in ensuring drugs are safe from microbiological quality standpoint. We presently live in Dover, DE, which is approximately 45 minutes from DE beaches. We enjoy taking our kids to the beach and state parks. Our son Kodiak is 9, and our daughter Eden is 22 months.

  • Cody Peer, PhD

    Headshot of Cody Peer
    Current Location
    Bethesda, MD
    Home Town
    North Huntingdon, PA
    Organizations or Affilations
    American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP)
    American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT)
    American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)
    National Cancer Institute (NCI) Drug Development Collaborative
    NCI Molecular Targets Steering Committee
    Awards or Recognition
    Sept 2019: NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Clinical Excellence Award
    Oct 2017: NCI Drug Development Collaborative Recognition of Contribution

    Cody Peer is a Staff Scientist within the Clinical Pharmacology Program of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Peer earned his BS in Chemistry in 2005 from Dickinson College, a PhD in Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2009 from West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, and a MS in Pharmacometrics in 2015 from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. His specialties include pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling and simulation of anticancer agents, as well as the bioanalysis involving mass spectrometry. Within the NCI Clinical Pharmacology Program, Dr. Peer manages a team of chemists and a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry facility as well as modeling capabilities involving classic noncompartmental analyses, population PK/PD analyses, exposure-response analyses, and clinical trial design and simulation.

  • Ashley Russell, PhD

    Headshot of Ashley Russell
    Current Location
    Erie, PA
    Home Town
    Erie, PA
    Organizations or Affilations
    2010 – 2012 Penn State Behrend Psi Chi National Honors Society in Psychology
    2010 – 2012 National Society for Leadership and Success
    2010 – 2012 American Psychological Association
    2010 – 2012 Association for Psychological Science
    2011 – 2012 Omicron Delta Kappa National Honors Society
    2012 – 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research
    2014 – 2015 Society of Toxicology
    2014 – 2018 Society for Neuroscience
    2016 – 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science
    2017 – 2018 American Society for Exosomes and Microvesicles
    2017 – 2020 International Society for Extracellular Vesicles
    2019 – 2020 International Society for NeuroVirology
    Awards or Recognition
    2012—First Place Award, out of eight undergraduate oral presentations at the Penn State Behrend Sigma Xi Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference
    2013—First Runner-up Award, out of undergraduate poster session at the Penn State Behrend Sigma Xi Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference
    2016—American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of six students awarded a one-year student membership awarded for excellence within the Biomedical Sciences/Neuroscience program
    2017—First Place Award, out of four graduate student/post-doc oral presentations at the 2017 Appalachian Regional Cell Conference
    2018—Second Place Award, out of six graduate student oral presentations at the 2018 E.J. Van Liere Memorial Convocation & HSC Research Day
    2018—Travel Award Recipient, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) Trainee Travel Grant, one of five graduate students awarded $1000 to help offset conference travel costs
    2018—First Place Award, out of six graduate student oral presentations at the 2018 Stroke & Comorbidities 1st Annual Symposium
    2018—First Place Award, for graduate poster session at the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Annual Meeting
    2019—Travel Award Recipient, Johns Hopkins IBBS Turock Travel Award, one of four trainees awarded $750 to help offset conference travel costs
    Fun Fact
    Several years ago, one of my best friends convinced me to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon with her. Neither of us even remotely tried to train for the event, but we made it through the entire 13.1 miles, despite finishing at about the same time as full marathon runners!

    Ashley Russell obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology from Penn State Behrend. As an undergraduate, she became heavily involved in cognitive neuroscience faculty research projects, examining the electrophysiological responses of the brain to non-literal language (e.g. sarcasm and metaphor). Through these experiences, she realized she wanted to continue conducting research to better understand the brain. Ashley then went on to join the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at West Virginia University to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Jim Simpkins. Here, her research focused on the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and non-coding RNAs in the neuropathology of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. After earning her PhD, she then went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she studied how cigarette smoke affects EV release and extracellular RNA expression within the central nervous system. Ashley is currently preparing to begin her first faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at her alma mater, Penn State Behrend. Here, she will have dual responsibilities for teaching undergraduates, and conducting research. Ashley’s work will examine the effects of chronic psychological stress during pregnancy on EVs and non-coding RNAs, and how changes in these biomolecules may influence prenatal development.

  • Stephanie Shumar, PhD

    Headshot of Stephanie Shumar
    Current Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Home Town
    Uniontown, PA
    Organization or Affilation
    Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society
    Award or Recognition
    Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship
    Fun Fact
    During her time at WVU, Stephanie was a member of the Morgantown Roller Vixens, WVU’s roller derby team. Stephanie is currently a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Passion women’s tackle football team.

    As a regulatory scientist with R&Q Solutions, Stephanie helps to provide clients in the medical device industry with industry-leading regulatory and quality consulting and engineering services. Stephanie authors clinical evaluation reports, develops search strategies, and analyzes, weighs, and summarizes data from literature searches. Stephanie, a first-generation college student, obtained her B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry at California University of Pennsylvania. During her senior year of undergraduate studies, she completed a semester-long independent research project as part of the requirement of being a member of university’s Beta Beta Beta biology honor society. Completing this project introduced the enjoyment of conducting scientific research and motivated her to pursue a Ph.D. She was accepted into the Biomedical Sciences graduate program in 2013 and joined the lab of Dr. Roberta Leonardi in the biochemistry department. During her time in Dr. Leonardi’s lab, Stephanie was awarded an F31 predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Health and authored four publications (three first author and one second author). Stephanie completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the spring of 2019 and accepted her position at R&Q Solutions soon after defending her dissertation.

  • Anton Sobinov, PhD

    Headshot of Anton Sobinov
    Current Location
    Chicago, IL
    Home Town
    Volgograd, Russia
    Organization or Affilation
    2015-Present: Society for Neuroscience
    Awards or Recognition
    2012 - 2013: Alexandrov Scholarship, Kurchatov Institute. $300/mo
    2014: February: Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov Student Award. $600
    2016, 2017: West Virginia University Health Sciences Center Research and Graduate Education Office Travel Award. $400
    2018: WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Trainee Travel Award. $1000
    2018: Neuroscience Graduate Student Research Award, WVU RNI. $500
    Fun Fact
    When I was in college, I had to take a required course on web network programming, which I tried to get out of, because I thought that I would never need to write a server myself - I was going to be a researcher! During grad school and postdoc I have written numerous programs for communication between computers, servers, clients and sockets, because no one else knows how to do it.

    I was born in 1992 in Volgograd in Russian steppes, where temperature ranges from -30 C in winter to 40 C in summer. In high school I became interested in understanding how people think, so I decided to study mathematics as it represents the logical thought process. After a few years of studies at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, I lost interest in pure theoretical math, and my bachelor’s research project was in modelling of biological neural networks. In 2015 I got a MSc in Applied Mathematics and Informatics from the same university. A year before that, in 2014, I joined the graduate school at WVU, and started studying neuroscience of motor control and biomechanics. In Dr. Yakovenko’s lab I worked on DARPA HAPTIX project, which focused on development of next-gen controllers for hand prosthetics. Working for DARPA is fun and challenging, because you need to report on progress every week or two, and the funding can be cut at any moment. After five years and many sleepless nights, I defended my dissertation and moved on to become a postdoc at UChicago. Here I study stereognosis – perception of shape, that integrates tactile and proprioceptive information to give rise to a vivid understanding of the object that you are interacting with. I am also helping with the brain-computer interface project that aims to provide such sense to a paralyzed human participant.