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Postdoctoral Fellows

Young Joo Sun Ph.D.

Young Joo joined the lab in 2019. He received his bachelor’s degree in systems biology from the Yonsei University, Republic of Korea, in 2013 and completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Iowa in 2019. Young Joo’s research interests are proteomics, structural biology, high-throughput screening, and protein-protein interaction engineering. He is currently working on structural biology of eye disease proteins.

Cassie Ludwig M.D., M.S.

Cassie joined the lab in 2018. She completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University and then her medical school training, a Masters in Epidemiology and ophthalmology residency at Stanford University Medical School. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms of myopia and improving treatment and prevention of the resulting pathology. She worked with Dr Mahajan as a resident and will complete her surgical fellowship at Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute. She continues to work with Dr. Mahajan on the molecular genetics of myopia and biomarkers of vitreoretinal disease. 

Gabriel Velez M.D., Ph.D.

Gabe joined the lab in 2016. He received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Winona State University in 2014 and his M.D., Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2021. He is currently atttending an ophthalmology residency at Stanford University. Gabe is studying the structure of the calpain-5 (CAPN5) protein and its role in the development of Autosomal Dominant Neovascular Inflammatory Vitreoretinopathy (ADNIV), a rare blinding eye disease. His research interests include translational proteomics, structural biology, biophysical chemistry, enzymology, drug design, molecular modeling, and bioinformatics. He was awarded a NIH F30 grant in 2017.

Marcus Toral M.D., Ph.D.

Marc is an M.S.T.P. student who joined the lab in 2015. Marc received his bachelor's degree in Zoology and Neuroscience from Miami University in 2013. Marc’s research uses biochemistry, genomics, and proteomics to investigate blinding eye diseases. His work is specifically focused on elucidating gene transcriptional networks involved in Autosomal Dominant Neovascular Inflammatory Vitreoretinopathy (ADNIV) with the aim of identifying pathways that could be targeted for the development of new treatments and therapeutics. Marc is also involved in microsurgery projects and the characterization of genetic mutations that lead to eye disease. He is pursuing a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Washington.

Ahmad Al-Moujahed M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Ahmad joined the lab in 2019. He graduated from Damascus Medical School, Syria. He then completed a research fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute, followed by a PhD in experiment pathology from Boston University School of Medicine. Ahmad also holds a master’s degree in public health from Northeastern University. Ahmad is working with data scientists in lab to identify molecular pathways in human retinal and inflammatory eye disease.

David Dennis Ph.D.

David Dennis joined the Mahajan lab in February 2022 after a postdoc at the University of Pavia in Italy where he worked on the synthesis of type-II polyketide natural products. He completed his doctoral studies under the advisement of Prof. David Sarlah at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. There his research focused on the total synthesis of anthracycline and cannabinoid natural products. In his current role, David works closely with the MCKC in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery.