Invited professional Speakers

Picture of Wendy Loughlin.

Wendy Loughlin
Director, UMD Health Professions Advising Office

Ms. Loughlin has been the Director of the HPAO since 2006 and has been with the University of Maryland since 1996. She and is a member of the National Association of Advisors in the Health Professions (NEAAHP), served a three year term as a NEAAHP Executive Committee member from 2008-2011, and co-Chaired the NEAAHP annual meeting in spring 2011. She is also the Local Area Network (LAN) Coordinator for health professions advisors in the Chesapeake region, serves as a member of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) AMCAS Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Northeast Medical School Group on Student Affairs (NEGSA)/NEAAHP Liaison Committee.

Before arriving at College Park, Ms. Loughlin worked as the undergraduate admissions coordinator for the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She received her B.A. from Union College in Schenectady, NY and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College in New York, NY.

Picture of Dr. Gerry Borgia.

Dr. Gerald Borgia
UMD Department of Biology

Dr. Borgia is interested in sexual selection and mate choice and uses bowerbirds as a model system for his studies. Mate choice is a fundamental, but still poorly understood, evolutionary process which is the focus of much debate in evolutionary and behavioral biology. Naturalists, including Darwin, have long been captivated by the unique courtship behaviors of bowerbirds that include construction of a bower, colorful bower decorations, and highly integrated and complex vocal and dancing displays. Developments in Dr. Borgia's lab have allowed the unique aspects of the bowerbird mating system to be used to address many important issues in the study of sexual selection. This work is combined with genetic studies to address a variety of important issues associated with the mate choice process. Recent and ongoing studies have focused on how males alter courtship displays in reaction to female signals during courtship, age-related differences in how females choose mates, how male intelligence affects his attraction to females, studies of the importance of UV and the visual system in the choice of bower decorations, vocal mimicry, and determining the role of MHC allele frequency in mate choice by females. Longer term work is focused on understanding lifetime patterns of female visitation and mate choice at male bowers and factors affecting lifetime male success. The larger goal of this work is to develop more realistic models of the mate choice process.

Picture of Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar.

Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar
Chief of Vascular Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine

In 2009, Rajabrata Sarkar, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in treating blood vessel disorders and a nationally known researcher in blood vessel growth and development, joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine as professor of surgery and Head of the Division of Vascular Surgery. He also became Chief of Vascular Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Sarkar came from the University of California, San Francisco, where he was an associate professor of surgery and a vascular surgeon since 1999. He received his medical degree and a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed his surgical training at UCLA and was trained in vascular surgery at the University of Michigan.  You can learn more about Dr. Sarkar in his physician profile here.

Picture of Dr. Steven Horrigan.

Dr. Horrigan is Chief Scientific Officer at Noble Life Sciences. He work has focused on the development of innovative approaches for using genomic profiles and biomarkers to enhance drug discovery and development. He is the consulting Chief Scientific Officer for BetCat Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage drug development company focused of cancer and inflammatory diseases.  Prior to joining Noble, Dr. Horrigan was the Vice President of Research at Avalon Pharmaceuticals. He played a key leadership role in the development of the company's unique genomic biomarker-driven R&D platform, and the use of biomarkers for the discovery and development of therapeutics. Prior to joining Avalon, Dr. Horrigan was Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center, and held positions at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine and the University of Chicago School of Medicine.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Picture of Dr. Louisa Wu.

Picture of Dr. Louisa Wu.

Dr. Louisa Wu (Ph.D. UC San Diego, 1995)
Associate Professor, UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Fellow, Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Wu is a molecular geneticist who studies innate immunity in Drospophila melanogaster.  She loves genetic screens and finding new genes important for any interesting biological process.  Recent work from the lab has uncovered a role for redox in regulating phagocytosis, and demonstrated that fly phagocytes can distinguish between different microbial cargoes during phagosome maturation.  At UMD, she teaches genetics and directs the undergraduate departmental honors program for Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics.   She lives with her husband, a naval hydrodynamicist and her pre-college younger daughter.

Student Seminar Speakers

Picture of Boyan Xia.

Boyan Xia - Designing Polymer Vaccines to Promote Immune Tolerance in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Boyan Xia is a senior neurobiology and physiology major, and she is also pursuing a minor in statistics.  She has been an undergraduate assistant in Dr. Christopher Jewell's bioengineering lab since her first year at Maryland.  Boyan's research focuses on the design of novel drug delivery platforms to promote immune tolerance in patients afflicted with autoimmune disorders, particularly multiple sclerosis.  She is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate fellow and Philip Merrill Scholar.


Picture of Aaron Solomon.

Aaron Solomon - Bioinformatic Analysis of Murine Models of Obesity in Breast Cancer

Aaron Solomon is a senior who is majoring in biological sciences with a specialization in cell biology and genetics, and minoring in computer science.  Aaron's research focuses on breast cancer, the most prevalent cancer in females worldwide, specifically in obese women.  He explores the genetic validation of a mouse model of obesity in breast cancer, which can be used to understand physiological processes, screen candidate drugs, and explore de novo mutations found in primary and recurrent breast tumors.  Aaron is a Marshall Scholar, and plans to use the scholarship toward a Master of Science degree in genomic medicine at Imperial College London followed by a Master of Philosophy degree in bioscience enterprise at the University of Cambridge. His long-term plans include earning his Ph.D. and pursuing a career in computational genomics. 

Picture of Emily DeBoy.

Emily DeBoy:  Novel alternatively spliced isoforms of lamin A in Progeria

Emily DeBoy is a senior earning dual degrees in Cell Biology & Genetics, and Statistics. She has worked in the lab of Tom Misteli at the National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH) for the past two years and previously worked in the lab of Dr. Kan Cao at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is generally interested in how defects in nuclear architecture and genomic organization lead to diseases such as cancer and aging, and her work involves the investigation of novel alternatively spliced RNA transcripts of lamin A in Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS). Next year, Emily plans to matriculate at the MD-PhD program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.