MARC scholars

Anna Avant

Anna Avant, environmental science

Anna was appointed to the MARC program in June 2022. Anna is a junior at Wayne State studying environmental science, and they are currently doing research in Dr. Zhang's lab.

Their research focuses on antimicrobial food safety, with their project centering around One Health, studying vancomycin resistance using Enterococcus. They are interested in researching many environmental health areas, including environmental racism and its effects on human health, soil studies, microbiology, and of course, antimicrobial resistance and One Health.

Autumn Hill

Autumn Harris, biology and neuroscience

Autumn was appointed to the MARC program in September 2021. She plans to pursue a career in neuroscience research. She is currently conducting research in Sokol Todi's lab, which investigates age-related diseases of the nervous system such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and ataxias, which are movement disorders.

The Todi lab is interested in understanding how these diseases arise and identifying therapeutic solutions for them. Autumn's project focuses on spinal cerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3). This is the most common dominant ataxia in the world, and there is no cure for it. She has been using fly genetics and morphology and has identified candidate genes that may improve SCA3 toxicity in the fruit fly. She has been using the fly eye as a readout of toxicity and a numerical system as well as statistics to find suppressors of SCA3. She is also in the process of publishing an extensive review article on polyglutamine diseases and will be expanding her work for understanding SCA3 biology.

Milan Rogan

Milan Rogan, biology, minor in history

Milan Rogan joined the MARC program in September of 2021 and is excited to pursue research with this program.

She is currently in the Meller lab, studying the chromosomes of fruit flies to find out the Y chromosome's function and how it communicates with the X chromosome.

Melissa Torres

Melissa Torres, biomedical engineering

Melissa was appointed to the MARC program in September 2021. Her major is biomedical engineering.

She is currently conducting research with Dr. Howard Matthew, and their research focuses on tissue engineering of cardiovascular, bone, and liver systems. Her project involves developing computer models and bioprinter files needed to control and implement the bioprinting of vessels within engineered tissues.

Elliot Widd

Elliot Widd, biomedical engineering

Elliot was appointed to the MARC program in September 2021. His major is biomedical engineering with a minor in Latino/a and Latin American studies. He is currently conducting research with Dr. Carolyn Harris. Their research broadly focuses on understanding hydrocephalus shunt obstruction and f, and hise. His research is focused on understanding fluid dynamics in the shunt system.

Elliot plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and have a career in academic research. He wants to focus on making life-saving medicines and procedures more economically accessible.

Jodi Protasiewicz

Jodi Protasiewicz, biology

Jodi Protasiewicz is a sophomore in the pre-MARC program at Wayne State University, majoring in biological sciences and minoring in biochemistry.

She possesses a particular interest in the field of astrobiology and wishes to be able to conduct research for NASA in the future.

Rei Fejzulla

Rei Fejzulla, biochemistry and chemical biology

Rei was appointed to the MARC program in May 2022. His major is biochemistry and chemical biology, with a minor in public health. He is currently conducting research in the Stockdill lab, which focuses on studying lanthanide binding peptides for applications in recycling electronic waste/rare earth metals.

Rei plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry, starting a career in academic research and teaching. He would like to continue focusing on peptides and total organic synthesis.

Sarah Haque

Sarah Haque, neuroscience

Sarah joined the pre-MARC program in April 2022. Her major is neuroscience, and her minor is in computer science. She is currently planning to continue to do research in the biomedical field. She hopes to progress on the pre-med track and combine her interests in both biomedical science and engineering to contribute to the public health industry and, more specifically, aid in mental health research.

She desires to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and computer science and understand the neuronal tracing process in AIs for utilization in biomedical research.

Thais Pichardo

Thais Pichardo, nutrition and food science

Thais Pichardo is a junior MARC scholar appointed to the program in May 2022. Her major is nutrition and food science with a minor in biology.

She is currently researching with Dr. Larry Ma, and their lab focuses on membrane transport of folates and folate analogs as a target for the development of tumor therapies. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology following graduation. She aims to conduct research that will lead to novel targeted therapy.

Kennedy Hunter Watson

Kennedy Hunter Watson, neuroscience

Kennedy is a senior at Wayne State University, and she is studying neuroscience and chemistry. She was accepted into the MARC program in April 2022. Within the MARC program, Kennedy participates in research in the lab of Dr. Steve Patrick. Her primary research interest links between autophagy and neurodegenerative diseases, along with understanding how autophagy can result in different forms of cancers.

Kennedy plans to apply to translational neuroscience Ph.D. programs so that she can accomplish her goal of understanding how the nervous system is affected when there is significant trauma created by glioblastomas and neurodegenerative diseases.

Lauryn Williams

Lauryn Williams, chemistry

Lauryn was appointed to the MARC program in April of 2022. Lauryn is a senior at Wayne State studying to receive a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in health care ethics.

Currently, she is in her second year of research in Dr. Tamara Hendrickson's Biochemistry Lab. Lauryn is interested in obtaining a Ph.D. and studying medicine.

Former MARC Scholars


Scholar Major Mentor
Nailah Bowman Psychology Dr. Lara Jones
Sydni Alexis Elebra Chemistry Dr. Charlie Fehl
Kailyn K. Fields Physics Dr. Matthew Allen
Anuri Mitchell Psychology Dr. Tricia Miranda-Hartsuff
Alexis Taylor Psychology Dr. Chris Trentacosta
Skye Taylor Psychology Dr. Emily Grekin