PI: Maggie Panning Pearce, Ph.D.

B.S., Biochemistry, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY

Ph.D., Pharmacology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Postdoc, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. My PhD research in the lab of Richard Wojcikiewicz at SUNY Upstate focused on identifying proteins that mediate the proteasomal degradation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors in agonist-stimulated mammalian cells. After defending my PhD, I decided that I'd had enough of upstate NY's brutal winters and moved to the San Francisco Bay area to pursue a postdoc in the lab of Ron Kopito at Stanford University. There, I began to harness the power of Drosophila genetics to unravel pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases. In late 2015, I returned to the east coast to start my own lab at USciences, where we have continued these exciting studies. When not pushing flies or dissecting brains in the lab, I like to spend my time searching the Philadelphia area for the best local coffee shops, restaurants, and parks with my husband, Kevin, and our three young F1s, Molly, Ryan, and Sophie.


Kirby Donnelly, PhD student

B.S., Biology/Chemistry, 2016, Lock Haven University,

Lock Haven, PA

I’m a second year PhD student in the Cell & Molecular Biology Program. In the lab, I am currently studying the trans-synaptic transfer of mutant huntingtin aggregates and it’s related neurotoxicity. My favorite thing about working with flies is that I’m now no longer afraid of flying insects. Outside of lab, you’ll usually see me online shopping for sunglasses and handbags or reading for fun.

Graham Davis, PhD student

B.S., Biology, 2016, Susquehanna University,

 Selinsgrove, PA

During my time at Susquehanna, I was an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Jan Reichard-Brown’s lab studying the terotogenic effects of thalidomide treatment in sea urchins and resulting alterations in gene expression. After graduation, I worked for a year in the professional scientific services division of Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories as a research technician performing vaccine potency assays on mammalian cell cultures. I began my Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of the Sciences in fall 2017. In my free time, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, Long-distance running, reading and photography.


Kevin Chao, '20

I'm a third year Biomedical Sciences major and I plan on picking up a minor in Biochemistry. Fruit flies are amazing to work with because of all of their genetic tools that are available and you don't feel any wrong-doing when you rip their heads off for brain dissections. When I'm not in the research lab I enjoy spending my time by wasting it, and then stressing out about how much time I just wasted!

Gab Pisano, '20

I am currently a third year biochemistry major at USciences and I plan to go to medical or graduate school. Flies are great to work with because they produce data relatively fast and they have a vast array of genetic tools that allow us to get creative with our experiments. When I'm not in the lab working with fruit flies, I spend my free time thinking about fruit flies. All fruit flies, all the time.

Wint Thu, '20

I am a third year Biomedical Sciences major and Neuroscience minor. One of the many advantages of working with flies as our model organisms is how they allow us to easily manipulate their genes in order to make in depth observations of the effects of our experiments. My goal is to pursue an MD/PhD in the field of neuroscience. In my free time, I enjoy creating art and visiting gallery openings in the city


Olivia DeLorenzo, '20

I am a third year Neuroscience major at USciences, and I plan on attending medical school after graduation. I started shadowing in Dr. Pearce's lab during the Spring 2018 semester. I am currently working on my first research project and determining the effect of Rab11 in a Drosophila model of Huntington's Disease. In my free time, I enjoy running, volunteering as an EMT, eating a lot of food and humiliating myself by dancing to 80s music.

Hayden Sando, '20


I am a third year neuroscience major striving to become a physician-scientist. Its pretty cool to work with fruit flies because they are a well studied and highly tractable genetic model organism for gaining insight about the molecular mechanisms of human diseases. I spend most of my time studying, but I also work as a personal trainer. In my free time, I like to go on adventures with my dog or jam on the guitar.


Brian Temsamrit (undergrad researcher 2016-7, lab technician 2017-8) - Lab technician at CHOP/UPenn

Avani Bhavsar (undergrad researcher, 2016-7) - D.O. student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Shagun Dhanju (undergrad researcher, 2016-7) - USciences grad '18

Sandra Enriquez (intern, summer 2017) - Student in the Biomedical Technician Training Program at the Wistar Institute


Michael Warkala (lab technician, 2016-7) - Ph.D. student at Thomas Jefferson University

Donna McKeon (undergrad researcher, 2016-7) - USciences grad '18

Brittany Nghiem (undergrad researcher, 2016-7) - Pharm.D. student at USciences

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