Lab members

Current Lab Members (in order of appearance):

Jan LaRocque, PhD
Principal Investigator



Noori Srivastava
NHS, Human Science ’18
Noori is also working on the DmBlm project and investigating the role of DmBlm in repairing simple DSBs that are constitutively being made in the male germline.


Carolyn 2016
Carolyn Hofley
NHS, Human Science ’19
Carolyn is  determining whether human RECQL helicase could functionally substitute for a Drosophila RECQ helicase called Blm.


Hanan Bloomer
NHS, Human Science ’18
Hanan is utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 techniques to make a complete deletion of the white gene in Drosophila. This new allele will be instrumental in genetic assays that measure outcomes of double-strand break repair events.


Joel Fernandez
Yale, Bachelor of Arts, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (’17)
Research Assistant
Joel is working on understanding the mechanisms of homologous recombination, including interhomolog recombination and DNA end resection. He also keeps our lab clean and organized and provides the key ingredients for all our Drosophila cultures.

Becky Cox
NHS, Human Science ’19
Becky is interested in determining if human BLM protein can functionally substitute for Drosophila Blm (DmBlm). This will provide insight about the functional conservation of the RecQ helicases.


Ian Yannuzzi
COL, Biology ’21
Ian is utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 techniques to create a mutant of the fly ortholog of CtIP. He will characterize this mutant in homologous recombination, and in particular, determine if it drives rates of end resection.

Former lab members (in order of “disappearance”):

Margot Le Neveu (NHS, Human Science ’14)
Margot developed her Senior Capstone project focusing on her work with HIPS. She worked for Erst and Young in Chicago, IL and is currently attending medical school at Dartmouth College.

Anthony Do (NHS, Human Science ’15)
Anthony developed his Senior Capstone project and Honors thesis work addressing how the cell suppresses recombination between diverged sequences (and was published)! He spent two years working in the lab of Dr. Gladden at M.D. Anderson, and completed his M.P.H degree at the UT School of Public Health (MPH’17). He is currently attending medical school at Texas Tech- El Paso in Fall 2017 (M’21).

Joe Brooks (NHS, Human Science ’15)
Joe ended his career in the LaRocque Lab developing his Senior Capstone project, which focused on DSB repair in BLM mutants. He also determined the molecular structures of DSB repair events from single male flies and analyzed DSB repair in Rad51 mutants. Joe is attending the University of Toledo for medical school (M ’19).

Faraz Sohail (Research Assistant 2013-2015)
Faraz worked on a project funded by the American Federal on Aging Research (AFAR). He studied how DSBs are repaired in aged animals, as well as the role of WRNexo in on double-strand break repair. WRNexo is the Drosophila homolog of the WRN exonuclease, which is mutated in some cases of Werner’s Syndrome, a premature aging disorder. Faraz recently moved to Chicago where he will attend medical school.

Neil Sarna (NHS, Human Science ’17)
Neil previously worked with Faraz Sohail to analyze if WRNexo plays a direct role in double-strand break repair. He also did some pilot studies investigating if DmBLM has a role in repairing simple DSBs. He is attending Georgetown School of Medicine (M ’21).

Nina Eng (NHS, Global Health ’16)
Nina analyzed gene conversion tracts that occur during homologous recombination from a spontaneous DSB. She screened through thousands of events to find the rare spontaneous DSB repair events and determined that their gene conversion tract lengths were similar to when they were induced by heat shock and I-SceI endonuclease expression. Her findings were published in the Georgetown Journal of Health Sciences. Nina is now studying medicine at Emory University (M ’20).

Pallavi Tatapudy (NHS, Human Science ’16)
Pallavi completed her Honors Thesis work determining whether human RECQL helicase could functionally substitute for a Drosophila RECQ helicase called BLM. She is currently studying medicine at SUNY-Stoneybrook (M’20).

Dashiell Massey (Research assistant 2015-2016)
Dashiell was the Lab Coordinator for the entire Human Science Discovery Center, but also worked on the aging project in our lab. He is currently a graduate student at Cornell University.

Thu Do (NHS, Global Health ’17)
Thu worked on a project focusing on the proteins that suppress recombination between diverged sequences. She investigated whether or not DmBLM functions in this process. She spent a few semesters studying abroad and looks forward to attending medical school after graduation.

Madison Suh (NHS, Health Care Management and Policy ’19)
Madison also worked on the BLM project, and investigated if BLM mutant flies are sensitive to killing by I-SceI-induced DSBs compared to control flies.

Daniel Russo (NHS, Health Care Management and Policy ’17)
Danny worked on understanding the role of DmBlm in repairing simple DSBs and then started his own project looking at the role of DmDNA2 in homologous recombination repair. He is attending medical school at Hofstra in the fall (M ’21).

Henry Ertl (Research Assistant 2015-2017)
Henry played an integral role in maintaining the functional status of every project in the lab!  He also has his own independent research projects that focuses on DSB repair in Drosophila as well as aging. He is currently in graduate school at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Nishtha Raval (NHS, Health Care Management and Policy ’19)
Nishtha is working on a project to determine if our DSB repair system can detect differences between canonical non-homologous end joining and alternative end joining using Ku70 mutants. Nishtha will be attending medical school at Georgetown University School of Medicine after graduation (M ’23).

Photos above (L to R): Gregor Mendel, Francis Crick and James Watson, Rosalind Franklin, James P. Morgan, Charles Darwin.