The Hurley Laboratory at


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

Zachary Chase
Zachary Chase is a Graduate Member of the Hurley Lab pursuing a major in Biochemistry and Biophysics, and a part of the School of Science Accelerated BS/PhD Program. He comes from New Jersey, graduating from Ridge High School with honors. His research in the Hurley lab focuses on the Interaction between the Circadian Protein FREQUENCY and a Kinase Ck1a. It is known that these two proteins interact but the exact mechanism of their interaction is unknown. In his free time he enjoys reading and writing Fantasy and Science Fiction.
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 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.

Masters Students

Samantha Keller
Samantha Keller is a graduate student in the Co-Terminal Program pursuing a masters in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Her work utilizes real-time imaging via a CCD luciferase-sensitive camera to capture frames and determine luminescence periods and clock function of lucifereace-tagged Neurospora crassa. Outside of class and research at RPI, Samantha was involved in Greek Life and held multiple leadership positions in her sorority, and enjoys hiking and painting.
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

Christopher Kirchhoff
Christopher Kirchhoff is an undergraduate student pursuing a dual major in Bioinformatics & Molecular Biology and Biochemistry & Biophysics as well as a minor in Psychology. He began working in the lab in Fall 2018 analyzing protein-protein interactions in the core clock. Outside of the lab, Chris is involved in RPI’s Outing Club and enjoys various outdoor activities. His future goals include completing a Master’s degree in Biology and working in biotechnology.
Nathan Buckley
Nathan Buckley is an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry & Biophysics with a minor in psychology. Prior to his undergraduate studies, Nathan competed internationally as a crew coxswain and worked for four years to change his high school’s start time, arguing that disruptions in the circadian rhythm negatively impact student’s health. Outside of class and research at RPI, he volunteers his time as an Emergency Medical Technician in the community and is the Vice President of RPI Ambulance. In the future, Nathan hopes to be a physician-scientist and to continue researching in the field of medicine.
Sam Altshuler
Sam Altshuler is an undergraduate student studying Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology. Outside of research and class, he is involved with RPI's ultimate frisbee team, is the president of RPI-Sage Hillel, and enjoys rock climbing and swimming. Sam hopes to attend graduate school with a long term goal of researching evolutionary biology.
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.
William Fall
William Fall is an undergraduate studying Biochemistry and Biophysics. He joined the Hurley lab in 2020 and is analyzing intrinsic disorder in the negative arm of the clock. In his free time, William is a musician and martial artist. He plays tenor saxophone in the Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra at RPI. He has also studied traditional Japanese jujutsu since the age of four and enjoys teaching younger students. William hopes to pursue graduate work at the intersection of biochemistry and disease pathogenesis.
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.


Sharleen Buel
Sharleen Buel is the Lab Technitian in the Hurley Lab. Formerly a lab technitian at SUNY Upstate Medical University studying zebrafish develoment, and at Syracuse University studying Drosophila comparitive evolution, she brings a wide variety of techniques and experiences to the Hurley lab. Outside of the lab she enjoys knitting, baking fancy cakes, and hiking.

Past Lab Members