Undergraduate Research

More than 70 undergraduates and postbac students have done research in the Peifer lab since 1992. Most were UNC undergraduates enrolled in our honors research program through Bio 395/396 or Chem 395. Others were students from other institutions who carried out summer research here through SURE, SPGRE, or other programs. These undergraduates have been an intergral part of our research team and have made significant contributions to our work. A list of scientific publications from our lab that have been co-authored by undergraduates can be viewed here. A subset of these students are profiled below.

John Cuningham


Hometown: Fayetteville NC
Currently: Medical Student at UNC

Honors: UNC SURF Fellow
Project: Defining how centrosomes and the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint modulate genome stability and creating a Drosophila model of microcephaly


Natalie Deuitch


Hometown: Boone NC

Currently:  MS Program  in Genetic Counseling, Stanford University School of Medicine

Honors: Taylor SURF Fellowship, IRTA Postbaccalaureate Research Fellow at NIH

Project: Defining the mechanism by which APC and Axin regulate Wnt signaling


Frank Mu

Frank Mu


Hometown: Charlotte NC

MD, Wake Forest SOM 2016
Currently: Emergency Medicine Resident, Wake Forest SOM

Honors:  SURF Fellowship
Project: Regulation of genome stability by the tumor suppressor APC

Elise Stephenson

Hometown: Durham NC

MD  UNC-CH, 2017

Currently: Resident in Psychiatry, Vanderbilt
Project: Mechanism of action of the tumor suppressor APC


Jon Waldmann

Hometown: Centennial, Colorado

Education:  MD, University of Michigan
Currently: Resident in Family Medicine, UNC-CH
Project: Mechanism of action of the tumor suppressor APC

Jamie Mahaffey

Hometown: Raleigh NC
Education: Ph.D, 2013 with Kathryn Anderson’s lab, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Currently: Postdoc, Mark Philips Lab, NYU
Honors: Goldwater Scholarship
Project: Ena function during oogenesis and embryogenesis

Meredith Price

Hometown: Wake Forest, NC
MS, Bruce Bowerman’s lab, University of Oregon
Currently:  Imaris Product Manager at Bitplane Scientific Software
Project: Planar cell polarity

Charlie Anderson

1998-2002; Hometown: Lancaster PA
Ph.D.: Stanford University 2008; Postdoc Fellow, Energy Biosciences Institute, UC Berkeley
Currently: Associate Professor, Penn State
Honors: NSF Grad Fellowship; Wilson Award for Cell & Molecular Biology
Project: p120’s role in cell adhesion

Mark Dodson

Hometown: Clearwater FL
MD/Ph.D: Guo lab, UCLA, 2013, Resident at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Currently: Pulmonary Medicine Fellow, University of Utah
Honors: Goldwater Schlarship
Project: Integrin function during dorsal closure

Gene Bain

Sanford NC
MD: UNC-Chapel Hill 2009; Dermatology Resident, Univ. of Buffalo
Currently: Bain Dermatology, Raleigh
Honors: Morehead Scholar
Project: Rho regulation of cadherin function


Laura Koontz

Hometown: Raleigh NC
Currently: Ph.D. 2011.  Postdoc, Duojia D.J. Pan’s lab, Johns Hopkins,  Currently Genetics and Public Policy Fellow, US Rep. Louise M. Slaughter
Honors: Wilson Award for research in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Project: The effects of the oncogene Bcr-Abl

Tina Tuskey Lockwood

Hometown: Chapel Hill NC
Ph.D.: 2007 University of Wisconsin
Currently: Assoc. Professor, Pathology, Washington University
Project: The role of the MAPK Phosphatase Puckered

Joel Stein

Hometown: Chapel Hill NC
MD/Ph.D: U Penn, PhD. with Ted Abel; Radiology Resident, U Penn & member of Tsourkas Lab
Currently: Assistant Professor of Radiology, U Penn
Honors: Wilson Award for research in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Project: The structure and function of Armadillo in signaling and adhesion

Michael Casey

Hometown: Rocky Mount, NC
MD: UNC 1997
Currently: MD, Wake Nephrology, Duke Raleigh Hospital
Project: How do Wnt signals regulate Armadillo?

Kathy Smith

Ph.D.: Univ. of Virginia 2002
Currently: Senior Scientist, Arbovax
Project: the role of Exd in segment identity

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