Research Interns

Lillian Walton

Undergraduate Student

Research Intern (February 2018 – present)

Lillian Walton is currently attending the University of Cincinnati. She is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical Science and plans to attend medical school after graduation. She is a member and appointed officer of the Omega Xi chapter of Kappa Delta. She is on the Dean’s List as of Fall 2018. While volunteering in Dr. Sadayappan's lab, she is great support to all of the post- docs. Lillie is learning basic lab procedures such as casting acrylamide gels and polymerase chain reaction, and is excited to learn more.

Jacob Feldman

Undergraduate Student

Research Intern (December 2017 – Present)

Jacob Feldman is an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in chemistry, and he carries a vested interest in cardiology and general physiology. Jacob works alongside Mr. Mohit Kumar, who is a graduate student, learning fundamental lab techniques and advanced cardiomyocyte technologies to measure pCa-force relationship. His long-term goal is to attend medical school and become a doctor. Outside of the lab, Jacob is very passionate about music (plays drums and guitar) and greatly enjoys skiing and soccer.

Alex Beiersdorfer, MS

Master Student

February - December 2017

Alex Beiersdorfer received his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati in May 2016. He is currently in his first year of working on his Master of Science in Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology at the University of Cincinnati. He is working with both Dr. Sadayappan and Dr. Rosevear to complete his research for his thesis. Alex enjoys water skiing for the UC Waterski Club, snowboarding, reading, and spending time with friends and family

Matt Kasson

Second Year Medical Student, The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Summer Intern (January - June 2017)

Matt received the Medical Student Research Grant in 2016, with which he performed a summer of clinical research in the University Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine studying the prevalence of community opioid dependence. He now joins Dr. Sadayappan’s laboratory focusing on the prevalence of the sarcomeric gene variants, as well as its significance in the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Poonam Desai

Undergraduate Student, University of Cincinnati
Research Intern (Dec 2016 - May 2017)

Poonam is currently attending the University of Cincinnati where she is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in global studies and will be graduating in the spring of 2018. Her career goal is in the medical field and have been participating in various activities to help her achieve this goal. She currently volunteers at a local hospital in the cardiac cath lab. She is also an active member in various pre-medical campus organization. For the last couple of semesters, she has also been a learning assistant for a freshman biology class. During her time in the lab with Dr. Sadayappan she hopes to gain research experience.

Anne Tiaden, BS

First year medical student, Loyola University Chicago
Summer Intern (June 2014 – Aug 2014)

Anne performed bench research at Stowers Institute for Medical Research for two summers in Paul Trainor's lab, working primarily on developmental genetics and craniofacial abnormalities. In addition, she studied the regulation of titin expression in a mouse model displaying a phenotype similar to dilated cardiomyopathy. Her summer project in the Sadayappan lab was focused on determining the presence of known polymorphic variants that would be a risk factor for developing heart failure in subjects carrying MYBPC3 mutations.

Vishnu Kaverimanian

Senior, Metea Valley High School, Aurora, IL
Summer intern (June-Aug 2015)

Vishnu performed his research internship while still a senior at Metea Valley High School. He mainly studied the effects of MYBPC3 mutations in vitro in the context of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He consistently demonstrated his collegiality with other researchers. Vishnu learned about immunofluorescence, Western blotting, and heart muscle structures during his internship. He has expressed a desire to enter medical school.

Allison Giuffre

Undergraduate Student, University of Illinois at Chicago
Summer Intern (June 2015 – August 2015) supported by the American Physiological Society

Allison Giuffre currently attends the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is working towards a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in Spanish. Allison received an Undergraduate Research Research Fellowship from the American Physiological Society to work 10 weeks in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab. She studied the effect of three mutations in MYBPC3 known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy based on the kinetics of cardiac muscle contraction. Allison is hoping to advance her research training and, hopefully, enter medical school.

Cecelia Dygdon

Teacher, Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Summer Intern (June 2015 – August 2015) supported by the American Physiological Society

Cecelia received the 2015 Frontiers in Physiology Research Teacher Professional Development Fellowship from the American Physiological Society to work in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab for eight weeks. This program supports the education of school teachers who want to learn the latest scientific advances and technologies in physiology so that they can, in turn, pass on their knowledge in the secondary classroom. Cecelia will present a poster at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego in April, 2016.

Aravind Jagadeesan

Premedical graduate student at Loyola University Chicago
Research Intern (Dec 2014-Aug 2015)
Research Assistant Level I (Sep 2015-Aug 2016)

Aravind first started working in the Sadayappan lab as a summer intern in 2012, when he was a sophomore in college. In 2013, he received an APS Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship to initiate his own project. Aravind graduated in 2014 from Loyola University as a biophysics major and worked full-time in the lab as a Research Assistant focusing on population studies with the MYBPC3 gene. After graduation from med school, he wants to be a practitioner specializing in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Renata A. Kukla

Summer Intern (June 2014 – August 2014)

Renata graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2013 earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology (ecology emphasis), a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature, and a minor in bioethics. Between May 2011 and May 2012, she worked as a clinical research assistant in the Department of Orthopaedics at the Children’s Hospital of Chicago assisting with an investigation of the efficacy of a knee injury prevention program in grades 5-8 throughout CPS. She also volunteered in Dr. Freitas’s biochemistry lab, generating data on a specific G-protein coupled receptor implicated in bipolar disorder. During spring of 2013, Renata participated in an internship program in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. The focus of her project was to demonstrate the differential expression of antimicrobial peptides, specifically ANG-4 and REG3-3γ, in the intestinal mucosa of healthy mice and models of inflammatory bowel disease. Renata was a medical student at Loyola University Chicago-Stritch and worked on a project entailing cardiac MyBP-C under the mentorship of Dr. Sadayappan.

Hobbies : Renata is an avid cyclist and spends a lot of her free time biking in various places and absorbing the beauty of the surroundings. She enjoys spending time with hospitalized patients and serving as a Eucharistic minister. She also spends time gardening, cooking various ethnic dishes and reading. Renata loves to visit gardens, museums and art galleries with her friends and family.

Mark J. Wojdyla

Summer Intern (June 2014 – August 2014)

Mr. Wojdyla received his Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology in May 2013 from Loyola University Chicago. From the spring of 2011 until May 2013, he was awarded a Biology Research Fellowship from the Biology Department at Loyola University Chicago under which he conducted phylogenetic research analyzing the radiation of a species of a Philippine bird across the archipelago, the White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana). He is currently a medical student at the Stritch School of Medicine. While under the mentorship of Dr. Sadayappan, he conducted genetic analysis of a particular polymorphic mutation (25-bp deletion of intron 32) of the C10 domain of the cardiac myosin binding protein-C in individuals of South Asian descent. cMyBP-C is the second most frequent gene mutation observed in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.This mutation in particular is inherited in 1% of the world population (60 million), yet shows a prevalence as high as 4-6% in those from the southern states of India.

Hobbies : Mr. Wojdyla spends much of his free time playing the guitar, reading, studying astronomy and the universe, enjoying nature, playing sports, watching movies, and taking care of his energetic young dog.

Allison Giuffre

Summer Intern (June 2014 – August 2015)

Allison Giuffre attends the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is working towards a baccalaureate degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish. She has a career goal of medicine and has been participating in many activities to gain experience. In September 2013, she started volunteering for Peer Health Exchange, where she teaches health class to freshman students at Chicago Public High Schools. She also enjoys participating as a volunteer at The University of Illinois Hospital as a baby cuddler, where she holds, comforts, and cuddles premature babies. While working in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab, she hopes to gain experience on the research process.

Hobbies : Allison enjoys babysitting, shopping, participating in triathlons, crafting and exploring Chicago with her friends.


Aravind Jagadeesan

Premedical graduate student at Loyola University Chicago
Summer internship (June-Aug 2013)

Aravind received an Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship from the American Physiological Society to work in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab for 10-12 weeks. His project was to determine the release kinetics of cardiac myosin binding protein-C after myocardial injury with β-adrenergic agonists. He presented a poster at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego on April 26-30, 2014. He plans to attend medical school with a specialization in cardiology.

Anukool Vasudevan

Premedical graduate student at Loyola University Chicago
Summer internship (June-Aug 2013)

Anukool expects to graduate in May, 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Bioinformatics and Biology from Loyola University Chicago. He first gained interest in heart disease as a volunteer for Enas A. Enas, MD, FACC, during the summer of 2011. Dr. Enas was the first person to prove that South Asians have higher risk for and rates of heart disease than any other ethnic group. Anukool then interned for the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study conducted by Dr. Kandula at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine during the summer of 2012. For his summer project in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab, he worked on determining the exact amino acid sequences of cMyBP-C that interact with the myosin S2 region.

Tanvi Marketkar, BDS

Research Volunteer (October 2012 – February 2013)

Tanvi came to Dr. Sadayappan’s lab to gain the research skills required for doctoral studies in the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Surgery [BDS] from India, and with strong GRE scores, she has ambitions of pursuing biomedical research. In the lab, she learned basic molecular techniques such as PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, and cell culture experiments.


Aravind Jagadeesan

Premedical graduate student at Loyola University Chicago
Summer internship (June-Aug 2012)

This summer research training aimed to provide Aravind with general knowledge about heart attacks or myocardial infarction, diagnostic methods, and prevention programs. As an active researcher, Aravind focused on determining and developing a new biomarker assay to predict heart attacks. Specifically, Aravind established a diagnostic test that uses a sensitive sandwich ELISA. This project involved learning the statistical tools associated with interpreting the clinical data of myocardial infarction.

Premalatha Babu

Undergraduate student, University of Illinois at Springfield
Summer internship (June-Aug 2012)

At the time of Prema’s internship in the Sadayappan lab, she was a senior at the University of Illinois, Springfield, with a major in chemistry. She had prior research experience as a volunteer in the Pharmacology Department of the SIU School of Medicine, investigating whether glutamate increases the pro-survival genes in SCN cells or GT cells. In the Sadayappan lab, she gained experience with culturing, Western blots, PCR, ELISA, chromatography, and a few other wet chemistry techniques.

Arjun Kaverimanian

Senior, Metea Valley High School, Aurora, IL
Summer internship (June-Aug 2012)

Arjun was excited to come to Loyola for his summer internship because he had always wanted to study science; whether biology, chemistry or medicine. During his internship under the mentorship of Dr. Jody Martin, he learned how cardiomyocytes function in the heart. He was an honor student and did more than 100 hours of community service at Rush Copley Hospital in Aurora where he learned about medical science in a very practical way. He was a premedical undergraduate student at Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO.

Mahera Beidas

Teacher, Proviso Math & Science Academy, Forest Park, IL 60130
Summer internship (June-Aug 2012)

The American Physiological Society 2012 Frontiers in Physiology Research Teacher Professional Development Fellowship Program supported Mahera to spend 10-12 weeks in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab. This program supports the education of schoolteachers in the latest scientific advances and technologies associated with heart attack so that they can, in turn, pass on what they have learned in the secondary classroom. In the Sadayappan lab, Mrs. Beidas gained a better understanding of heart attacks, or myocardial infarction (MI), diagnostic methods and prevention programs, in addition to actively participating in the ongoing research program.


Anjeli Raheja

Undergraduate Student
Summer Internship : (June-August 2011)

Anjeli Raheja attended Loyola University Chicago and graduated in 2012. She majored in Biology with a double minor in Neuroscience and Psychology. Anjeli is a member of the Neuroscience Society. She is on the Executive Board of the South Asian Student Alliance and she is the Philanthropic Chairman of Alpha Sigma Alpha Gamma Lambda Chapter, as well as Student Ambassador. She was also on the Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance. While studying in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab, she worked closely with Dr. Xang Ji to learn more about culturing rat cardiomyocytes. Anjeli also performed experiments with the goal of further understanding the role of PKG in heart contraction.

James Crooks

Medical Student
Summer Internship (June-August 2011)

James Crooks, born and raised in La Grange Park, IL, was on the Premedicine track at Illinois State University. He graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Biology, along with a minor in Chemistry. Besides being a member of the Golden Key Honors Society and Phi Sigma Beta Lambda Chapter (Biology Honors Society), James was also on the Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance. While in Dr. Sadayappan’s lab, James worked closely with Dave Barefield, a doctoral candidate, assisting with cell and molecular experiments. He also worked with Dr. Suresh Govindan to determine biomarkers for myocardial infarction. James is currently a medical student at Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago, IL.


Raven Woodard

Research Volunteer (April – November 2010)
Summer Internship (June-August 2011)

Raven was an undergraduate at the time of her internship in the Sadayappan lab. She was particularly interested in working in the medical care field with an organization called Access Dupage. She spent 8 months in the Sadayappan lab learning about basic molecular and cell biology techniques.

For queries and opportunities, Please Contact :

Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, MBA
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Director of Heart Branch of the Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute
Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease, College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati
Cardiovascular Center, Rm 4935
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0542, USA
Phone : +1 513-558-7498
Email :

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