Lab Members | Department of Biological Sciences

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Lab Members

The Padilla lab is housed on the second floor in the Life Sciences Building Complex B on the UNT main campus in Denton, TX.

Current Padilla Lab Members

Graduate Students:

Skylar King (Ph.D. Student)

Skylar joined the Padilla lab in 2014. Her interests include mitochondrial function and stress responses. After completion of her Ph.D., Skylar plans to continue her career in academia, complete a post-doctoral position, obtain her own independent research lab, teach and mentor students at the university level. Skylar has won several travel awards, is passionate about scientific research and is an excellent and enthusiastic teaching assistant for the undergradute Genetics students.



Saifun (Ripa) Nahar (Ph.D. Student)

Saifun Nahar joined the lab in 2016. She has an interest in mitochondrial functions, stress responses and lipid metabolism. She has a background in plant biology and teaching freshman biology. After completing a Ph.D. she plans on working as post-doctoral fellow to use animal models to futher understand human diseases and identify treatments. Her ultimate career goal is to continue research in her independent lab and teach as a professor.


Chipo Mungwira (M.S. Student)

Chipo joined the Padilla lab in the fall of 2016. Her interests include the study of proteins involed with apoptosis and stress response pathways that play a role in human health issues such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.


Jose Robledo (M.S. Student)

Jose joined the Padilla lab in the fall of 2016. His interest include mitochondrial function, protein function, and stress responses that play a role in cardiovascular disease. He plans on working towards the completion of a Ph.D. and make a significant contribution in biology. Most of all, he wants to make his family proud.


Manuel Ruiz (Ph.D. Student)

Manuel from Houston TX, is interested in epigenetics and how parental exposure to stress can impact the physiology and gene expression of offspring- transgenerational studies are his interests.



Kevin Schmitt (Ph.D. Student)

Kevin arrived to UNT from Michigan. He has an interest in lipid biochemical pathways and their role in stress reponses. He is curently working on understanding how ceramide molecules modify proteins involved with germline development.


Sujata Agarwal (Ph.D. Student)

Sujata is interested in further understanding the role of the cyp and ugt gene family in C. elegans and examining their funcitonal role relative to stress responses.


Research Technician

Luhua Song

Luhua works with both the Padilla and Mittler Lab. She is an expert molecular biologist and is currently developing CRISPR strains for the Padilla lab.


Undergraduate, TAMS & High School Students:

Kevin Rivera (B.S.)

Kevin is a double major in Biology and Psychology, minoring in Chemistry and Human Development and Family Studies. After graduation Kevin is interested in entering an MD/Ph.D. or MD program. Kevin will work with Dr. Padilla to develop science education outreach activities in addition to conducting research.



Abishek Shah (Guyer High School)

Abishek is a high school senior particularly interested in neurobiology and neurodegeration, especially when involved with human disease. He plans to pursue a Bachelors and eventually a Ph.D. in either Biology or Neuroscience, and to pursue research on the pathways involved with neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently researching the effects of glucose on the behavior and the nervous system of C. elegans, in order to better understand how hyperglycemia affects biological systems. In his free time, he enjoys playing the violin and trombone, traveling with family, and learning more about the world around him.



Previous Padilla Lab Members

Padilla lab members have went on to educate, invent, create and research!!!

Former Graduate Students

  1. Vinita Hajeri, Ph.D. (Lecturer, UT Dallas)
  2. Alex Mendenhall, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Univ Washington)
  3. Bobby Larue, Ph.D. (Research Assistant Professor, UNTHSC)
  4. Brent Little, Ph.D. (Research Associate, Boston Medical Center)
  5. Jo Goy, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Harding Univ)
  6. Anastacia (Tasha) Garcia, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Univ of Colorado Denver- Anschutz Medical Campus)
  7. Lee Toni, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow, Univ of Colorado Denver- Anschutz Medical Campus)
  8. Sophie Kiyanjui, Ph.D. (Lecturer)
  9. Mary Ladage, Ph.D. (Maternity Leave)
  10. Neil Stewart, M.S, (Research Technician, UT Southwestern)
  11. Daniel Quan, M.S. (Biomedical Science Program, Kansas City University)
  12. Dennis Demesnil (Research Technician, UT Southwestern)

Former Undergraduate/TAMS/High School Students Mentored:

Undergraduate Students:

  1. Olivia Tuell (Iowa, 2016)
  2. San Nguyan (McNair Fellow, 2014-15)
  3. Caroline Furrh (2015)
  4. Megan Crowder (2014, HHMI Student)
  5. Gwen Telgenhoff (2013-2015)
  6. Iran Roman (Fall 2012-2014), HHMI Undergrad research, PhD program Stanford
  7. Adelaide Tovar (2013), MIT undergraduate student
  8. Jennifer Dennis (2011-2013), Awarded the UNT Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  9. Mark Leuke (2012-2013), HHMI Undergrad research (Epidemiology Program UNTHSC)
  10. Alana Stanton (2012-2013)
  11. Laila Small, HHMI Undergrad Research
  12. Michelle LeBlanc (1 publication, 3 presentations) (McNair Scholar, Honors Thesis, Ph.D. program NYU)
  13. Sabrina Pojar (MD program in Arizona)
  14. Nicole Parker (Ph.D. program Mt. Sinai)
  15. Courtney Burggren (B.S. Oklahoma University)
  16. Jesus Trejo (Family Physician)
  17. Tammy Chan (Ph.D. Baylor Medical School, Currently in industry)
  18. Arman Froush, M.D. (Physician)
  19. Sara Anvari, M.D. (Physician)
  20. Michael Villareal (Industry and Federal Government Positions)
  21. Jeremy Holman (Honors Thesis, Currently a High School Science Teacher)
  22. Randala Hamdan (Ph.D. Program M.D. Anderson, Post-doc U of Chicago)
  23. Neil Stewart (Completed M.S.)

TAMS and High School Students (Current Academic Program):

  1. Jemma Alarcorn (Regional Siemens Scholar, Graduated from Johns Hopkins, G. Seydoux Lab, currently at UC Irvine)
  2. Desh Mohan (National Siemens Scholar, 1 publication, Undergraduate Student at MIT, R. Horvitz Lab (Nobel Laureate)), Med School at UTSW
  3. Jack Wang (Goldwater Scholar, Undergraduate, Dartmouth; NIH Summer Research Scholarship, Berkeley Ph.D. program)
  4. Uneeb Rahman (Undergraduate at Emory)
  5. Brandon Roberts (Air Force Academy, Captain in USAF)
  6. Mark Pavlyukovskyy (Princeton), CEO of PIPER a computer and invention kit to inspire kids to invent and be creative.
  7. Sophia Petrichenko (Rice)
  8. Henry Griener (Johns Hopkins)
  9. Ester Lee
  10. Kathryn Modrow (Texas A&M)
  11. Emma Besier (Denton High School, UC Berkeley)
  12. Gabriella Webster (Texas A&M)

Lab Group Photos


Out to lunch to celebrate gradutations in 2017.


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