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PI: Dr. Michael J. Layden


Dr. Jamie Havrilak
Dr. Layla Al-Shaer

Graduate Students


Past lab members: Where are they now

Former Graduate Students

Former Undergraduates

Courtney Touriano

I graduated from Lehigh University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Health, Medicine and Society.  I worked in the Layden Lab for a year and a half, studying the Delta-Notch Signaling pathway in the Nematostella Vectensis.  Currently, I am working at Advaxis, Inc as an associate research scientist.  Advaxis is a biotechnology company based in Princeton, New Jersey that focuses on Cancer Immunotherapies.  As a member of the microbiology group in the research and development department, my work supports the various projects devoted to the development of cancer immunotherapies to fight many kinds of cancer. 

Daniella Fodera

I am currently a senior bioengineering student at Lehigh University concentrating in biomaterials and biomechanics and minoring in mechanical engineering.  Since leaving Dr. Layden’s lab at the end of my junior year, I am now pursuing interdisciplinary research in both the Material Science and Biological Sciences Departments.  My research is focused on determining if porous bioactive glass scaffolds induce uterine epithelial cell polarization and thereby improve the efficiency of in vitro fertilization (IVF) co-culture techniques.  Following my graduation from Lehigh, I plan to pursue my passion for research by obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.

Suraj Pursnani

After completing my B.S. in Molecular Biology at Lehigh, I enrolled at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City to pursue my M.D. Although I am undecided about which field of medicine I would like to be a part of, I do know that I would like to incorporate research into my everyday work. I believe that medicine treats patients of the present, but research treats patients of the future. Working in Dr. Layden’s Neural Development and Regeneration Lab at Lehigh University has provided me with the necessary foundation and skills to perform medical research under a research physician at Einstein and eventually, I would like to lead a medical research project on my own. 

Nisha Singh

As an undergraduate majoring in Molecular Biology at Lehigh, I spent two years in Dr. Layden’s lab studying the roles of achaete-scute homolog (ash) genes in neural regeneration of Nematostella.  The experience that I gained from conducting research and writing my senior honors thesis has been invaluable in preparing me for graduate school and a future career as a principal investigator.  As an aspiring biomedical researcher, I am interested in bridging the gap between basic research and applications that improve the quality of life.  Since graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in May 2017, I enrolled in the Graduate Program in Molecular Biosciences at Rutgers University to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences.  I am excited to further my education and hope to contribute meaningful research to this field in the future.

Casey Field

Since graduating from Lehigh in May of 2017, and unfortunately having to say goodbye to the Layden lab, I have been keeping very busy. I was recently hired as a research assistant in Dr. Iovine’s lab here at Lehigh, working on a collaborative project studying angiogenesis in Zebrafish. For this new project I will be able to use many of the skills and knowledge that I gained in the Layden lab, just in a slightly different model system. Aside from my research, I am also working for the company ScribeAmerica, where I am an emergency department scribe for Lehigh Valley Health Network. After graduation I was promoted to a regional manager, as which I will have the opportunity to oversee many different sites and train new scribes. This opportunity has exposed me to a vast amount of medical knowledge as well as leadership skills, which have gone hand in hand with my research. Looking towards the future, I am hoping to attend graduate school in fall of 2018 where I will pursue a PhD in infectious disease.

Becca Muller 



Alex Mease



Caitlin Tedeschi



Eric Mintz 


Caroline Jennings



Rachel Swope


Nesli Akinci

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