Alumni Spotlight | UNCG Biology

Biology Alumni Spotlight

Graduates of the Biology Department at UNCG are uniquely qualified for a variety of professional avenues and opportunities. The training and education students receive in the Biology Department includes hands on research and field experience as well as diverse areas of study within the biology curriculum.



David Gifondorwa

UNCG Biology Alumnus, David GifondorwaAfter completing his BS in Biology at UNCG in 1998, David returned to UNCG to pursue his master's degree in Biology under the direction of Dr. Esther Leise. His master's thesis was titled "Programmed Cell Death during the Metamorphosis of Ilyanassa obsoleta." After his master's degree, David pursued his doctoral degree in the Program in Neuroscience at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. His dissertation research was focused on a mouse model for Lou Gehrig's Disease. While a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, David worked as a lecturer for our Biology Department teaching cell biology and introductory biology labs . Currently, David is a postdoctoral research scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is pursuing research in muscle atrophy to identify novel targets relevant to human diseases, and performing research to explore the integration of muscle, bone, and/or cartilage molecular pathways as they relate to mobility impairments.





Melissa Kimes

UNCG Biology Alumnus, Melissa KimnesI have been working at the DNA Identification Testing department of Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) since July 2007. I started out as a DNA Technologist Trainee and am now a Senior DNA Technologist. On a day to day basis I extract DNA from buccal swabs, blood, or spot cards and run Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) to yield a large amount of DNA, focusing on specific exons in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA). Then I do Sequence Based Typing (SBT) and load the specimens on an DNA analyzer that reproduces the sequences as data, colorful wavelengths representing the nucleotides, that can easily be read on a computer screen. I go over each exon visually to make sure that the analyzer and computer program interpreted the data correctly. The data are reviewed by another technologist and a supervisor before being released by a Ph.D. to a medical doctor or registry. Many of our specimens are for typing donors and recipients in bone marrow transplant registries. My favorite part of my job is the thought that I'm helping to save people's lives. I also really enjoy working with my coworkers.



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