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.



Iván Rodriguez, Ph.D.

 Postdoctoral Research Associate

Iván started his Biology career at the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas in Vigo, a large fishing village in northern Spain with the best beach in the world. He completied his PhD in the lab of Antonio Fiqueros and currently has a scholarship to complete research in the Yoder Lab at NCSU. He hopes to make the most of this experience in work and personally.


Hayley Dirscherl

Graduate Student

Hayley Dirscherl graduated from Columbia University in May 2009 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering. In Fall 2009 she joined the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC and NCSU as a Royster Fellow. She is working toward her PhD in the Yoder Lab at NC State. After growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, she joined the lab to stay close to her fishy roots.


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.


Amyn Murji

Graduate Student

Amyn Murji first cultivated his interest in pharmacogenetics shortly before graduating with a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the hopes of expanding his knowledge in biology, he became a research assistant at Vascular Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his spare time, Amyn enjoys shadowing in the surgical trauma department at CMC Main in Charlotte, reading, and refining his palate.



Katherine Cupo

Undergraduate Student


Gabbie Robbins

Undergraduate Student

Lab Alumni

Yoder Lab Members 2012

Postdoctoral Fellows

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

Graduate Students

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

Jibing Yang, Ph.D. (2005-2009) currently Research Fellow, University of Michigan

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

Kim Dobrinski, USF (2003-2004)

Veterinary Students

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

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)