Undergraduates @ Corthals Lab

 

Erica ‘Scrofa’ Klafehn

Margaret Farmer

Undergraduate monsters illustrations by the Oatmeal

Margarita ‘OLFR 78’ Bartasunaite

With the Davalos Lab

Sanah ‘TAS1 R2’ Afzal

With the Davalos Lab

My name is Erica Klafehn and I am a senior majoring in Forensic Science-Molecular biology and double minoring in Psychology and Anthropology.  I moved from a suburb of Rochester, NY to Manhattan in the fall of 2012 to begin my academic journey at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Growing up, I always had a passion for science and was captured by the fascinating field of forensics during my sophomore year of high school; it was then that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in Forensic Science, specifically Forensic Anthropology.  

At John Jay, I work as a Peer Advisor in the Academic Advisement Center, as a Peer Counselor in the Department of Counseling and as a Peer Ambassador in the Office of Student Transition Programs.  In addition, I am also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Research Assistant for the Program for Research Initiatives for Science and Math (PRISM); my research for these two programs, under the mentorship of Dr. Angelique Corthals, focuses on the post-mortem analysis of the histomorphology of trauma in sus scrofa (swine).  I hope to continue my research in this field of study in graduate school.  

Live long and prosper!

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Hello I'm Margarita, a senior at John Jay College majoring in Forensic Science in the Molecular Biology field and minoring in Art, because I'm awesome and can draw cool organs. 

I plan to become a doctor when I get older, hopefully either a Nephrologist, or Dermatologist; 2 completely different fields but both equally as enjoyable. 

I find research to be very exciting but I am more of a social person, so working in an environment with lots of people is ideal for me. No lonely lab days for me, only adventures, but research too, just not alone.

Anyways, I am applying for Medical schools in the next year and hope to really make a contribution in the medical field and ultimately help people. Working on the Olfr78 gene is the first step to something big, I can feel it. 

Hello my name is Sanah Afzal and I am currently a junior at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I am majoring in forensic science-criminalistics with a physical education minor but eagerly waiting for a new biology major. All throughout grade school, math was my favorite subject, but in high school, I would receive awards for excellence in science. I always found science interesting as well but when I received an award stating that I was “most likely to become a scientist”, it truly served as a motivation to pursue a career in the sciences. Genetics was always my favorite topic in my biology courses because it combines skills from my two favorite subjects, math and science. This helped to shape my future aspirations of wanting to pursue a career in molecular genetics.

At John Jay, I get to explore other passions of mine as well. I am a part of the National Alliance of Mental Illness club, which helps to eliminate the stigma surrounding individuals with mental illness. I also plan to join the Sustainability and Environmental Justice club to help create a better environment for everything and everyone that inhabits the Earth. My interests have led me to become an REU student (Research Experience for Undergraduates) and join a lab that is led by Dr. Liliana Davalos and Dr. Angelique Corthals. My research is hosted at Stony Brook University and I am looking for amplifications within a taste receptor called TAS1R2 across various bat species.

Daz

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My story begins way back at the very moment of conception when I was fertilized and became a zygote just floating around awaiting the day that I would finally reveal myself to the world. At the very moment in which I was able to out compete the billions of others who were racing and trying to breach their way through the membrane so that they would merge their chromosomes with my host organism; it was at that very moment that I knew that I was destined for minionship and that world dominance would be my ulimate goal. After nine months of plotting I finally decided that I would implant myself in the darkest corner of the globe, at the time located in a borough in New York City known as the Bronx. It would be here in which I would hatch and devise my path of total destruction. After years of reconnaissance I discovered places in which I would use in order to launch my most despicable evil plan. The Bronx Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History had immediately captivated me and quickly became my staging grounds. These places motivated me towards an all out dedication to the sciences. Very early in the scheme I had set myself in a trajectory that would elevate me high up into the heavens amongst the gods. The plan was almost perfect except that there was a piece missing which rendered my evil plot useless. I had reached a point of eternal imbalance and in order to re-stabilize myself I would have to submit myself into a life of servitude so that I may make myself complete and well rounded. Hence I lived a life of devotion to the government where I traded the comforts and luxuries of the world for the pain and suffering of hell as an indentured servant in the military so that I would morph into a person of greater character. This Journey finally led me into rediscovering my life's passion in which a renewed interest in the sciences was ignited. In order to fulfill this goal I would have to go into a life of seclusion and complete loneliness, that meant distancing myself from friends and family. The challenge was great and almost insurmountable if only I hadn't been so determined. Failure was not an option and I found my way into one of the most rigorous science programs ever known to mankind at John Jay college of Criminal Justice. Yes the mountain was enormous and the mere site of the curriculum daunting but this would be the only way in which glory could be attained. So I embraced the challenge and accepted my life of total detachment. So the years went by and one by one I began my full out assault on the forensic science program and discovered a jewel in the middle of the chaos known as PRISM (Program for research initiatives in the Sciences and Math). As a member of this elite secret society I quickly moved up the ranks in the research world. For a year and a half I dedicated myself to the ancient mystery schools of the liquid metal known as mercury. Then it was time to move on to the next phase of my metamorphoses . The fulfillment of all of my life's work would finally be realized and the full implementation of the master plan would be initiated upon my contact with the most highest, Dr. Corthals the leader of all minions. It was time to embark upon the deepest parts of the fields of archaeology in search of the lost ancient wisdom of all humanity.To conquer the future I would have to conquer the past so now I find myself here at this present moment honing my knowledge in search of a worthy Ph.D program from where I would set into motion what initially was birthed way back when in the form of a single celled entity.

Carlos ‘Noon Whistle’ Texeira, BSc ’15


Corthals Lab Manager

Dee-Anne Cush

As an aspiring Forensic Pathologist, I came to John Jay College of Criminal Justice to achieve one goal: a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science. This would be the first step in my career to becoming a Medical Examiner. My desire to become a forensic doctor started in my early teen years and stemmed from too many unlawful hours of N.C.I.S., C.S.I. Miami, and my recent favorite, Castle. For me, becoming a pathologist is not just about dissecting cadavers. It is about being able to uncover the cause of death while bringing justice to civilians who have been wrongfully accused and sentencing criminals who have been exonerated. Moreover, in this field of forensics it would be absolutely impossible to harm my “patients” any further. My love for this division of pathology has placed me under the care and influence of Dr. Angelique Corthals, and together with her, I hope to be able to acquire a more extensive knowledge of pathology, all the while having fun doing something I love.

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Nicole Komissarenko

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Urte Palilionyte

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Mayra Saldana

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Karina Sanchez

With the Davalos Lab

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Shirley Lo

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Leah Yoo-Sing

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