AMPEL Alumni

Sarah Heuer

Investigative Research Analyst

Sarah Heuer graduated from The University of Virginia in 2015 with a BS in Biochemistry, a certification from the American Chemical Society, and a minor in Sociology. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta. During her 2nd, 3rd and 4th years at UVA, she conducted an undergraduate research project in the laboratory of Dr. David Kashatus examining the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics in cancer. Specifically, Sarah studied how a protein downstream of the RAS pathway called

RalBP1 is stabilized by nutrient starvation. In the fall of 2014, Sarah was awarded a UVA College Council Scholars Grant for her research. Sarah joined AMPEL BioSolutions in 2015 as an Investigative Research Analyst to use her knowledge of protein pathways to analyze pathogenic pathways in SLE. Sarah is now pursuing her PhD at Tufts University.

Isabella Blanco

Investigative Research Analyst

Isabella Blanco is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Latin in the Classics department. Throughout her time at UVA, she has worked with Dr. John Lazo in the Fiske Drug Discovery Laboratory exploring the role of the PTP4A3 phosphatase in colorectal tumorigenesis and tumor angiogenesis. Every semester since 2014, Isabella has been an undergraduate teaching assistant for UVA’s advanced chemical structure lab course. She joined AMPEL in 2016 as an Investigative Research Analyst Intern to use her knowledge of signaling pathways to identify potential drug targets in lupus plasma cells.

Sean Rouffa

Bioinformatics of Pathogenic Pathways

Sean Rouffa is 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia pursuing a BS in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Materials Science and Engineering. Since September of 2015, he has been working with Dr. Mete Civelek at UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics to examine epigenetic, genomic and genetic contributions to metabolic diseases by studying smooth muscle cells. In the summer of 2016, Sean gained experience in GANNT while working for Dr. Steven Huybrechts at Applied Minds, LLC. Sean volunteers his time as a mathematics tutor and swim coach for kids. In addition, he is a Resident Advisor, a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the NeXT (Nano & Emerging Technologies) Club and a member of the water polo team at UVA. He writes in several computer languages inclulding R, MATLAB and Java. Sean joined AMPEL in 2017 as a Bioinformatics Analyst of Pathogenic Pathways to investigate the role of abnormal gene expression in lupus pathogenesis.

Sushma Madamanchi

Bioinformatics of Pathogenic Pathways

Sushma Madamanchi received her MS in Bioinformatics & Genomics from UNC Charlotte in 2015 where she mastered how to develop, evaluate and employ bioinformatics and computational biology applications. She is fluent in Telugu and Hindi. While at UNC, Sushma was a research assistant in Dr. Xiuxia Du’s proteomics and metabolomics laboratory analyzing mass spectrometry data. In addition, she worked with Dr. Ann in the WiNGS workshop to analyze RNAseq and ChIP-Seq datasets. Sushma is passionate about the statistical analysis of large biological data sets using R as well as probability, probability distributions and statistical inference concepts. In addition, she is interested in writing well-organized high-level programs in Perl and Python for analysis of DNA and protein files. Sushma joined AMPEL BioSolutions in the summer of 2015 as a Bioinformatician focused on analyzing the pathogenic genomic signature of lupus T cells.

Tristen Slamowitz

Bioinformatics of Pathogenic Pathways/Investigative Research Analyst

Tristen Slamowitz is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia pursuing a BS in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Engineering business through the McIntire School of Commerce. She is a University Achievement Award scholar and a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity. During the past year, she conducted an undergraduate research project in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Kester to determine the efficacy of the C6-Ceramide nanoliposome as a potential targeted cancer therapeutic. Specifically, she studied how sphingolipid met

abolism could affect breast cancer’s resistance to cell death. She volunteers her time working with uninsured and underinsured members in the local Charlottesville community through the Charlottesville Free Clinic.  Tristen joined AMPEL in the summer 2017 to examine genes abnormally expressed in lymphocytes circulating in the periphery of SLE patients compared to genomic profiles from patients with immunodeficiencies or immunological cancers.