Lab Members | Department of Biological Sciences

Covid-19 —UNT is offering a mix of in-person, partially in-person, and online/remote course deliveries for Fall 2020. Stay up to date on UNT's response, including return to campus plans.

UNT Banner

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:

Manuel Ruiz (Ph.D. Student)

Manuel joined the Padilla lab in 2017. His interests includes modeling hyperglycemia in C. elegans. He is particularly interested in neuronal responses. After completion of his Ph.D., Manuel plans to continue her career in academia, complete a post-doctoral position, obtain his own independent research lab, teach and mentor students at the university level. Manuel has won several awards including one from ASCB.



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.



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.





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 is an expert molecular biologist and is currently developing CRISPR strains for the Padilla lab. She is key to the day-to-day activities within the Padilla lab and greatly apprecited by the entire group!


Undergraduate, TAMS & High School Students:

Ethan Neumann (B.S.)

Ethan is a major in Biology and is interested in entering a Ph.D. program after graduation. Ethan works on understanding how diet may impact subsequent generations.



Padilla, Gabriella Webster (Former TAMS student who is now at TX A&M medical school program, Dennis Dumesnil (former graduate student, currently researcher at UTSW).



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)
  13. Chip Gray, Teaching faculty
  14. Skylar King, Postdoctoral Fellow

Former Undergraduate/TAMS/High School Students Mentored:

Undergraduate Students:

  1. Kevin Rivera (TCU Medical School, 2019)
  2. Abishek Shah, (Columbia, 2018)
  3. Olivia Tuell (Iowa, 2016)
  4. San Nguyan (McNair Fellow, 2014-15)
  5. Caroline Furrh (2015)
  6. Megan Crowder (2014, HHMI Student)
  7. Gwen Telgenhoff (2013-2015)
  8. Iran Roman (Fall 2012-2014), HHMI Undergrad research, PhD program Stanford
  9. Adelaide Tovar (2013), MIT undergraduate student
  10. Jennifer Dennis (2011-2013), Awarded the UNT Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  11. Mark Leuke (2012-2013), HHMI Undergrad research (Epidemiology Program UNTHSC)
  12. Alana Stanton (2012-2013)
  13. Laila Small, HHMI Undergrad Research
  14. Michelle LeBlanc (1 publication, 3 presentations) (McNair Scholar, Honors Thesis, Ph.D. program NYU)
  15. Sabrina Pojar (MD program in Arizona)
  16. Nicole Parker (Ph.D. program Mt. Sinai)
  17. Courtney Burggren (B.S. Oklahoma University)
  18. Jesus Trejo (Family Physician)
  19. Tammy Chan (Ph.D. Baylor Medical School, Currently in industry)
  20. Arman Froush, M.D. (Physician)
  21. Sara Anvari, M.D. (Physician)
  22. Michael Villareal (Industry and Federal Government Positions)
  23. Jeremy Holman (Honors Thesis, Currently a High School Science Teacher)
  24. Randala Hamdan (Ph.D. Program M.D. Anderson, Post-doc U of Chicago)
  25. 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.


Thinking about UNT?

It's easy to apply online. Join us and discover why we're the choice of over 38,000 students.

Apply now