Yoder Lab: People

Yoder Lab 2015


Jeffrey A. Yoder, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Jeff graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Biotechnology and performed his graduate work with Tim Bestor receiving his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University's graduate program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences. He then did a post-doc with Gary Litman at the University of South Florida. Jeff joined the faculty at NCSU in 2004.


Ashley Fletcher

Research Associate

Ashley graduated with a B.A. from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri Kansas City in 2008 hoping to get into academic research. Shortly after graduation, she got a job as a laboratory technician at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Having lived in the Kansas City area for 13 years, she was ready for a change in scenery and started applying for research positions at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. She worked there as a Professional Research Assistant for 7 years before relocating to the Raleigh area. Over the past 7 years her research focused on molecular biology and immunology which greatly interest her. She began working as a Research Associate for the Yoder lab in February 2016. 

Jessica Romanet

Graduate Student

Jessica Romanet  graduated from Rutgers University and worked for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for five years, which sparked her passion for veterinary medicine and biomedical research.  Now, she is excited to have completed two years of the DVM curriculum at NCSU CVM and is lucky enough to be a DVM/PhD candidate working towards her PhD portion in the Yoder lab. Although born and raised in Southern New Jersey and a die hard Philadelphia sports fan, she is happy to call North Carolina her home.


Debra Tokarz, D.V.M.

Graduate Student

Debra Tokarz got her BS in cell and molecular biology at the University of Michigan, where she worked as a research assistant for several years.  She received her DVM in 2008 from Michigan State University, where she developed interest in pathology and infectious disease.  After her residency in anatomic pathology at University of California-Davis, she decided to turn back to her research roots and make yet another college town her home.  She is now working towards her PhD in the Yoder lab.

Dustin Wcisel

Graduate Student

Dustin graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2009 with a BS in Cell and Molecular biology. Following graduation, he moved to the coast of Lake Michigan to study the genetics of invasive aquatic plants at the Annis Water Resources Institute. Dustin came to NCSU in the fall of 2012 through the Genomic Sciences program to pursue a PhD.



Amanda Kortum

Graduate Student

Amanda is a Montana native that attended the University of Montana Western to earn a degree in biology with a cellular/molecular emphasis, with veterinary school as her next goal. However, through four years of work studying the cell biology of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans, she discovered a passion for research and after graduating in 2011, she worked for a year as a research scientist. At the University of Washington-Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, she studied the molecular mechanisms of the potential relationship between erythropoietin treatment and cancer. In 2012, Amanda joined the Yoder lab after accomplishing the long-time goal of being offered a position in the DVM/PhD program at NCSU.  She’s excited to see what life on the east coast is all about.



Katherine Cupo

Undergraduate Student


Gabbie Robbins

Undergraduate Student



Lab Alumni

Yoder Lab Members 2012

Postdoctoral Fellows


Ivan Rodriguez-Nunez, Ph.D. (2009-2015)

currently post-doc, Indiana University School of Medicine- Northwest


Liala Farzana, Ph.D. (2009-2011)


Graduate Students


Amyn Murji, M.S. (2014-2015)

currently graduate student

Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University


Hayley Dirscherl, Ph.D. (2009-2015)

currently post-doc, Temple University School of Medicine


Amy Heffelfinger, M.S. (2007-2010)


Jibing Yang, Ph.D. (2005-2009)

currently Research Fellow, University of Michigan Medical School


Radhika (Shah) Patel, Ph.D. (2004-2009)


Kim Dobrinski, USF (2003-2004)


Veterinary Students


Jamie Gerlach, NCSU (summer 2015)

Shaina Stewart, NCSU (summer 2014)

Carolyn Collier, NCSU (summer 2011)

Amanda Lehnberg, NCSU (summer 2010)

Shannon Burroughs, NCSU (summer 2007)


Lab Technicians/Managers and Research Associates


Poem Turner, M.S. (2008-2011)

Tim Orcutt, M.S. (2006-2008)

Dereje Jima, M.S. (2005-2007)

currently Senior Bioinfomatician, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Amanda Grant (2004-2006)


Undergraduate Students


Marcos Castro, (NCSU 2015)

Hannah Jones, (NCSU 2012-2014)

Jessica Powell, University of Surrey (summer research at NCSU 2013)

Fiona Ryrie, University of Surrey (summer research at NCSU 2012)

Austin Anzivino, (NCSU 2011-2012)

Abby Reif, (NCSU 2010-2012)

Philip Wright, (NCSU 2009-2010)

David "Quint" Reid, (NCSU 2008-2011)

Kendall Smith, (NCSU 2008)

Salili Desai, Rice University (summer research at NCSU 2008)

Ronald "Aaron" Garner, (NCSU 2006-2008)

Myra Fulp, (NCSU 2005-2009)

Kolin Griffin, (NCSU 2004-2005)

Patoula Panangos, (USF 2003-2003)

Jeff Buidens, (USF 2003)

Kathryn Heal, (USF 2002-2003)

Robert Buzzeo, (USF 2002-2003)

Matthew Buzzeo, (USF 2003-2004)


High School Students

Carlos Rivera, Millbrook High School, Raleigh, NC (summer 2012)