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People

Dr. Mahajan’s lab provides an immersive,  intensive training environment for students and fellows to discover the molecular mechanisms that cause blindness and develop therapies to prevent vision loss. Highly collaborative research teams are made up of scientists, surgeons, and engineers from around the world, interacting on a daily basis and using advanced scientific methods.

Graduate Students

Gabriel Velez B.S.

Gabe is an M.S.T.P. student who joined the lab in 2016. Gabe received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Winona State University in 2014. 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.

Lucy Evans B.S.

Lucy is an M.S.T.P. student who joined the lab in 2016 and is continuing in the Bassuk lab. Lucy received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Bowdoin College in 2012. She is currently exploring ocular trauma and inflammation after traumatic brain injury in mice (TBI). Utilizing the retina as an extension of the central nervous system, she hopes to establish ocular damage as a less-invasive approach to gauge TBI severity and response to treatment. By teasing out mechanisms of damage and repair caused by inflammation secondary to TBI, she aims to identify therapeutic targets to improve outcomes post-injury as well as enhancing the quality of life of those injured.  

Marcus Toral B.A.

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. 

Kellie Schaefer B.S.

Kellie joined the lab in 2014 to complete her Ph.D. in genetics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on genetics at the University of Iowa. Kellie’s research projects include dissecting the mechanisms underlying regulation of angiogenic factors in eye pathology as well as protease interactions and regulation. She was awarded an NIH F31 grant in 2015.