People

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ARIC ROGERS is Associate Professor in the Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Aging at the MDI Biological Laboratory. Research in the lab uses powerful genetic tools and physiological assays available in the tiny roundworm, C. elegans, to learn how interventions involving dietary restriction change gene activity, particularly protein synthesis, to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases. In order to study how genetic interventions in aging found in the worm apply to a vertebrate system, he has recently begun working with the African turquoise killifish. This fish is well-suited for genetic manipulation and has one of the shortest lifespans of any vertebrate, making it perfect for aging research.

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Current lab members


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Jordan Horrocks is a research assistant who joined the lab in the March of 2018. She received her Bachelors in Biology at the University of Maine at Farmington in 2016. While at UMF, she worked as a research assistant, designing a DNA barcode for medicinal Cannabis chemotypes. Also at UMF, she spent a year working as a research intern for the Maine Bumblebee Atlas, and as a teaching assistant for a pilot SEA-PHAGE course. Since entering the Rogers Lab, Jordan has assisted in deciphering how changes in gene activity associated with low translation/nutrient sensing conditions increase lifespan and stress resilience in C. elegans. She hopes to further investigating these effects, both in C. elegans and other model organisms.

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Hussein Sayed joined the Rogers lab as a research assistant in February 2019 after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Maine. During his undergrad, Hussein conducted research in the Organic Synthesis lab of Dr. Michael Kienzler. He secured a grant from the MSGC to fund his research designing novel organic compounds and using photopharmacology to investigate the gating mechanisms of two pore domain potassium channels (K2P). Hussein is very excited to continue his career at MDI Biological Laboratory where he wants to expand his knowledge of aging research in C. elegans and become a more effective scientific communicator.

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Dr. Dilawar Mir joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher in August of 2020 to understand molecular mechanisms of aging and translation regulation. Dilawar was born and raised in Kashmir valley, a Himalayan belt, a land of great saints and mystics. Kashmir is usually known to be paradise on earth. He received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Alagappa University, India in October 2019. Dilawar’s PhD research was to evaluate host pathogen interactions using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model host by employing a proteomics approach. He has also deciphered the role of Mitochondria during bacterial pathogenesis. His long-term research interest is to understand complex biological mechanisms. 

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is profilepic_lower_resolution.jpgDr. Zhengxin Ma joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher in June of 2020. She received her PhD in Animal Sciences from University of Florida under the guidance of Dr. Kwangcheol Casey Jeong. In her PhD, she focused on understanding antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the animal industry and developing nanomaterials as alternatives to antibiotics. Zhengxin is very interested in understanding how nonsense mediated mRNA decay, a conserved pathway in eukaryotes, regulates translation and plays a critical role in stress response and longevity. She is also hoping to expand her knowledge and techniques on C. elegans at the Bio Lab.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is profilepic-1024x967.jpegAudrie Langlais is a graduate student in the GSBSE program at the University of Maine who joined the lab in November 2020 and is completing her lab rotation. This is Audrie’s first time working with the animal model C.elegans (which she is really enjoying) and is researching a neural mechanism of muscle maintenance in an ifg-1 mutant strain with enhanced longevityAudrie earned her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of New England in 2018 where she worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant and research assistant studying animal behavior and Jagged-Notch signaling in adipogenesis. Prior to entering graduate school, Audrie worked as a research assistant in the Motyl Lab at Maine Medical Center Research Institute using mouse models to study various mechanisms of sympathetic nervous system signaling in bone remodeling. Audrie plans to continue a career in biomedical research.

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Past lab members


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Dr. Amber Howard received her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia in 2011 and was a postdoc in the lab from March 2013 to August 2015. Her graduate research investigated the impact of diabetes and oxidative stress on cell membrane repair kinetics. In our lab, Amber investigated the impact of modulating mRNA translation through eIF4G on stress responses. She also investigated the effect of modulating eIF4G expression in specific tissues. In 2015, she took the next great step in her career and accepted an assistant professor position at The University of Maine Augusta. Way to go!

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Matthew Newsom was a research assistant and member of the lab from March 2013 to August 2014. He received his bachelors degree in Biology and M.S. in Biological Engineering from the University of Maine. His Master’s-related research consisted of fluid flow modeling of the porous membranes in “Point of Care” medical devices.  As a research assistant with the Rogers Lab, Matthew hoped to enhance his knowledge of microbiology and aging research. Since leaving the lab, he has worked as an instructor and in Biotech.


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Dmitriy Skoog graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and joined the Rogers lab as a Research Assistant from October of 2013 until July of 2015. He is very interested in efforts to develop longevity-extending technology because he realized that, for the first time in human history, such advances may be possible thanks to modern science. He is also fascinated by the complexity of biological systems and how aging seems to involve multiple interactions in diverse cells and tissues within an organism. Like many geniuses, Dmitriy has been a jack-of-all-trades. We wish him the best!

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Dr. Jarod Rollins was a post-doctoral research scientist in the Rogers Lab at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Jarod is interested in the molecular mechanisms that occur post-translationally to regulate lifespan in C. elegans. To better understand these mechanisms, he is characterizing the effect of ribosome composition on mRNA translation.

A Maine native, Jarod returned to his home state after receiving a Ph.D in Genetics while studying at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. During his career in science, Jarod been fortunate to study the genetics of sea slugs, mice, apple, human cell lines, barley and now C. elegans. He is currently a faculty member at MDIBL running his own lab.

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Santina

Santina Snow was a research assistant in the lab. She received her Bachelor’s in Biological Chemistry in 2014 from Bates College. While an undergraduate, she received two INBRE research fellowships; one at MDI Biological Laboratories and one at Bates College researching post-transcriptional gene regulation in the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Santina also spent a semester studying molecular genetics abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. After joining the lab in the Fall of 2014, Santina developed a keen interest in understanding how environmental and genetic manipulations may be used to delay the onset of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. She played an instrumental role in findings related to the roles of major tissues in organismal adaptation to conditions characterized by low translation, such as dietary restriction and acute stress. In the Fall of 2018, Santina was accepted into graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin.

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Juyoung Shim

Dr. Juyoung Katherine Shim joined the Rogers lab as a post-doctoral research fellow at the MDI Biological Laboratory in late summer of 2018. She received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Maine in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Gosse, focused on investigating molecular mechanisms underlying effects of environmental toxicants on mast cell and mitochondrial function. Since she and her husband landed in Presque Isle as international students from Seoul Korea 25 years ago, they have enjoyed Maine’s outdoor activities and friendly communities. She is very excited to be at the Bio Lab where Juyoung is expanding her understanding of aging biology and building on the research aimed at understanding how adaptive responses and associated gene regulation maintain healthy tissue function. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking and traveling and she is a licensed hand-acupuncturist from Korea.

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