The Hurley Laboratory at

RPI

PI: Jennifer Hurley

Dr. Jennifer Hurley
Dr. Jennifer Hurley received her B.S. from Juniata College in 2004 in molecular biology. She earned her Ph.D. at Rutgers/UMDNJ with Drs. Nancy Woychik and Masayori Inouye, studying the function of Toxin-Antitoxin modules in bacteria. Jennifer worked with Drs. Jay Dunlap and Jennifer Loros during her postdoctoral fellowship, investigating the relationship between the core proteins and the output of the circadian clock in Neurospora. Jennifer's research focuses both on the fundamental mechanisms as well as the output of the circadian clock.

Graduate Students

Jackie Pelham
Jackie Pelham is a graduate student pursuing a PhD Biochemistry and Biophysics. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from RPI in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. She transferred to RPI as a junior from Hudson Valley Community College where she majored in Math and Science. There she was awarded for academic excellence in Biology and Chemistry. She also received the Who's Who Among College and University students for academic performance as well as leadership. During her undergraduate studies at RPI she received the Founders Award for Excellence. In addition, she was selected to participate in a summer undergraduate research fellowship supported the Marsh, Prince and Wait endowments by the School of Science to continue her investigations into the intrinsically disordered protein FREQUENCY. Her research in the Hurley Lab focuses on the conformational changes of the core clock proteins over the circadian day. She spends her spare time outdoors and tutoring students in science and mathematics.
Meaghan Jankowski
Meaghan Jankowski is a former Lab Technician for the Hurley Lab, now pursuing a PhD in Biology at RPI with the support of an NIH Training Fellowship. Originally trained in Canada, she completed a Bachelor of Science at Mount Allison University and a Master of Science at Dalhousie University, studying whale social networks. Here at RPI, she is now focused on how the circadian clock regulates the cellular output of the model organism, Neurospora crassa. Meaghan enjoys collaborating with other Hurley Lab members, as well as with scientists at Dartmouth College and the Pacific Northwest National Labs, as they pursue new ways of analyzing multi-omics data to better understand clock regulation.
Gretchen Clark
Gretchen Clark is a Ph.D. candidate in the Hurley Lab. Her work focuses on investigating the link between circadian regulation and disruption of the immune system and Alzheimer’s disease. She is supported by RPI’s NIH-NIA training program in Alzheimer’s Disease research. Prior to attending RPI, she received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of North Texas. There, she studied the synergistic antibacterial effect of high intensity blue light and hydrogen peroxide, and was awarded the Davidson Honors Scholar award for outstanding research in the physical sciences. Outside of the lab, Gretchen enjoys hiking, planning parties, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Iswarya
Iswarya Muthukumarasamy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Hurley Lab. She joined RPI in January 2019 to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She earned her bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. Her undergraduate research focused on utilization of ceramic membranes to remove dye particles from textile industry waste effluents. During the later phase of her undergraduate, her focus shifted towards the field of biotechnology, which led her to be a part of my institute’s iGEM team where they worked on engineering E. coli to help reduce odor in public urinals. At RPI, her research is focused on understanding the influence of the circadian clock on the activation of NADPH oxidase enzyme in microglial cells. This might shed some light on the influence of immune cell response in the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Carmalena Cordi
Carmalena Cordi is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology as a member of the Hurley lab. Her research focuses on exploring the relationship between circadian regulation, the immune system, and Alzheimer’s disease. Before attending RPI, she earned her A.S. in Biology from Hudson Valley Community College then transferred to the University at Albany where she graduated with a B.S. in Biology. There, she worked to characterize the angiocrine factor profile in salivary gland regeneration and was awarded the Sorrell Chesin Award for impactful research. In her spare time, Carm enjoys drift cars, video games, and horror movies.
Lucas Sutton
Lucas Sutton is a graduate student in the Hurley lab pursuing a PhD in Biology. During his undergraduate program at the State University of New York at Geneseo, he earned a BS in Biology and a minor in Economics. Lucas was awarded the Edward Pettinella '73 Endowed Ambassadorship in Business to support researching a biological control for schistosomiasis at the University of Ghana, Legon. While attending Geneseo, he was a member of the varsity Cross Country and Track and Field programs, earning a spot in the SUNYAC Cross Country hall of fame. While at Rensselaer, he is interested in studying helicase characteristics in FRH. Lucas enjoys running, cycling, and watching Star Wars in his free time.
Sharleen Buel
Sharleen Buel, formerly a lab technician in the Hurley Lab, is now pursuing a PhD in Biology at RPI. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY and worked as a research technician at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University before coming to work at RPI. She is interested not only in how macrophages respond to antigens over the course of the circadian day, but also how differences in sex (female vs. male) affect macrophage circadian activities. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking elaborate cakes, creating science-themed art, and knitting stuffed animals for her two children.
Noah Allen
Noah Allen is a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and is co-advised by Dr. Jennifer Hurley and Dr. Elizabeth Blaber. He attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in Biochemistry and a minor in Physics. An interest in biology and engineering lead him to RPI in the fall of 2020. His studies at RPI are supported by the NIH-NIGMS Biomolecular Science and Engineering Training fellowship. Noah’s research focuses on understanding how spaceflight risk factors such as microgravity, radiation, and circadian disruption induce liver injury. Outside of the lab Noah enjoys spending time in the Adirondack’s where he hikes and camps in the summer and skis in the winter.

Masters Students

Cara Bartlett
Cara Bartlett is Co-Terminal student pursuing both a B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Her work utilizes CRISPR gene-editing technology to attach green fluorescent protein to clock proteins so that their movements in the cell may be tracked throughout the circadian day. Before joining the Hurley Lab, she worked with Professors Walf and Hahn in the Cognitive Science and Arts departments on their Well-Being Toolbox Project, studying techniques that aid in the mental well-being of undergraduate college students. Outside of academics, she is involved in a cappella and Greek Life at RPI and enjoys baking and gardening in her limited spare time.

Undergraduate Students

Cooper Urban
Cooper Urban is an undergraduate student pursuing a dual major in Biology and Economics.He began work in the Hurley Lab in the spring of 2020 with activities that included supporting research on Amyloid Beta and Alzheimer’s pathology.Outside the lab Cooper is a Chemistry Tutor and Mentor, a Reading / Literacy Mentor for Troy Public Schools, and a volunteer at the Wyoming County Community Health Center.A member of RPI’s Men’s Lacrosse Team, he was named the Liberty League’s Rookie of the Year in 2019 and was selected as theRPI Male Freshman Athlete of the Year for 2018-2019. Cooper plans to pursue post-graduate work in the medical / healthcare area.
Sandhya Vellayappan
Sandhya Vellayappan is an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry and Biophysics. She joined the lab in 2020 supporting research on the circadian rhythm protein FREQUENCY and its interactions with DEAD-box helicase FRH. Outside the lab, she volunteers as an EMT with RPI Ambulance and enjoys classical Indian dance. In the future, Sandhya hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.
Sowmya Srinivasan
Sowmya Srinivasan is an undergraduate student studying Computational Biology. She began working in Dr. Hurley’s lab in 2020 and specializes in analyzing the circadian clock protein FREQUENCY utilizing various computational methods. In her free time, Sowmya plays flute as part of the Symphonic Band at RPI, is trained in classical piano, and enjoys playing intramural volleyball. She hopes to pursue graduate work in the field of epigenetics or epidemiology.
Shayom Debopadhaya
Shayom Debopadhaya is an undergraduate in the Accelerated Physician-Scientist Program (B.S.-M.D.), who is passionate about blending data science with medicine. At the Hurley Lab, he is interested in using ontological analysis to discover how circadian rhythms influence coding and non-coding genes in macrophages.
Steven Hepensteil
Steven Hepensteil is an undergraduate student majoring in biology. Steven hopes to pursue a higher degree at either graduate or medical school with the ultimate goal to conduct research of his own. Steven is eager to explore what a long-term career related to research could look like for him as he continues his undergraduate studies. Outside the classroom Steven enjoys playing golf and is a member of the RPI club ice hockey team.

Technician

Morgan Rhodes
Morgan Rhodes is the lab technician in the Hurley Lab. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2017 and her M.S. in Biology from James Madison University in 2020. For her Masters thesis she studied how gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) song varies along a rural-to-urban gradient and if these song differences elicit distinct territorial reactions from males in playback experiments. Outside of the lab, she enjoys the outdoors, birding, and hanging out with her ever-growing menagerie of animals.

Past Lab Members