Positions Available

  Yanowitz Lab Photo
Dr. Judith Yanowitz

Judth Yanowitz, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Dr. Yanowitz received her B.S. in biology with a minor in literature from MIT in 1991, worked for two years in Titia de Lange’s laboratory at Rockefeller University studying telomere biology. Judy received her Ph.D. from Princeton University where she worked on Drosophila melanogaster  sex determination and dosage compensation in Paul Schedl’s lab. In 1999, she joined Andy Fire’s lab in the Department of Embryology at the Carnegie Institution where she identified genes requiring for mesodermal tissue patterning in the nematode,  Caenorhabditis elegans. Judy started her own lab at the Carnegie Institution in 2004 to study the effect of chromatin on meiotic crossover formation. She joined MWRI and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in November 2009 where she has continued to study meiosis, DNA damage repair, chromatin structure and epigenetics. View CV

Favorite Phenotype: Muv (multi-vulva)


Marilina Raices
Post-doctoral Fellow

Marilina received her Ph.D. from the University of Buenos Aires in July 2018 for analysis of alarmosome functions is injured fish. Her project involved the genetic analysis of crossover surveillance.

Favorite Phenotype: ???


Logan Russell
Lab Manager

Logan received his B.S. in Molecular Biology in 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh biology department. He is characterizing several DNA repair mutants and novel meiotic factors which he has mutated using CRISPR/Cas9.

Favorite Phenotype: Roller


Dane Hoffman
Research Assistant

Dane caught the research bug during a summer research experience at the Mayo Clinic in 2015. He immediately transferred into the University of Pittsburgh to major in Biology and engage in research in the Yanowitz lab, where he now works full time. He is working on collaborative project with Dr. Dani Hochbaum at the University of Buenos Aires to characterize the worm homolog of the CHARGE associated gene, chd-7. He aspires to go to medical school.

Favorite Phenotype: Roller-- when they actually roll!


Molly Hess
Research Assistant

Molly was a biology major at U. Pittsburgh who joined the lab in July 2018. She is interested in a career in genetic counseling. She is working with undergrad Elena Stains to develop a genetic screen for new recombination genes.

Favorite Phenotype: ???


Kelli Lazar
Administrative Support

Kelli serves as our administrative assistant extraordinaire.


Zach Picciarelli
Undergraduate Researcher

Zach is a senior premed at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Biology. Zach is interested in the evolution and functional conservation of HIM-5 and REC-1 proteins. He is also helping to characterize the aneuploidy arising in gcna-1 mutants.

Favorite Phenotype: Him


Elena Stains
Undergraduate Researcher

Elena is a senior premed at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Biology. She is working to develop a new screen for recombination defective mutants.

Favorite Phenotype: Body Wall Muscle GFP!




Elena Swecker
High School Intern (2017 - 2018)

Elena is screening for novel infertility genes by performing a suppressor screen of an uncharacterized sterile mutation.

Favorite Phenotype: Pharyngeal GFP transgenes!


Joelle Schneiderman
High School Intern

Joelle is a rising senior at Taylor Allderdice High School who is interning in the lab as part of her AP Research class. She is analyzing recombination rates in a putative new crossover factor.

Favorite Phenotype: Him


Ishika Saxena
Summer High School Intern

A rising senior at Sewickly Academy, Ishika continued the screen to identify suppressors of a novel male sterile mutation.

Favorite Phenotype: Him

  Lab Alumni

Post-doctoral Fellows

  • Nicolas Macaisne, Ph.D. (2014-2017): Post-doctoral fellow, lab of Jean-René Huynh, Paris, France
  • Mainpal Rana, PhD. (2011-2017):  Post-doctoral fellow, lab of Aleks Rajkovic, MWRI, Pittsburgh

Graduate Students

  • T. Brooke McClendon, Ph.D. (2013-2016): visiting instructor, U. Pittsburgh- Greensburg Campus

Research Scientists

  • Fabiola Balmir, M.D. (2015-2017): Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at U. Pittsburgh School of Medicine; currently physician at Allegheny Health Network
  • Jennifer Salati, M.D. (2011-2013):  REI resident; currently, Fellow in Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Cynthia Wagner, Ph.D. (2004-2009): Faculty, UMBC

Research Assistants

  • Ben Swaby (2017-2018): B.S. Allegheny College; Pre-baccalaureate program, Georgetown
  • Tyler Machovina (2010-2012): B.A. IUPLeica representative, Pittsburgh area
  • Zebulin Kessler (2012-2014): B.A., U. Pittsburgh; Analyst, Acumen, LLC
  • Olivia McGovern (2010-2012): B.A., IUP; Ph.D., U. Michigan; post-doc Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Michael Welch (2004-2006): Faculty training developer, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions


  • Mariam Shalaby (2017-2018); B.Phil, University of Pittsburgh; CDC
  • Anthony James (summer 2017): B.A. Brooklyn College; grad student Albert Einstein Sch. Medicine
  • Muhammad Sajjad (spring, 2017): B.A., University of Pittsburgh
  • Dane Hoffman (2016-2017): B.A. University of Pittsburgh: Technician, Yanowitz lab
  • Kellyn Wilkes (2015-2017): B.A. University of Pittsburgh: LECOM medical school
  • Jamie Goldman (2014-2015): B.A. University of Pittsburgh: Technician, Magee-Womens Research Inst.
  • Sophia Chow (2013-2015): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • Naiga Cottingham (2013-2015): B.A. University of Pittsburgh: Technician U. Penn, now enrolled in medical school, Fall 2016.
  • Denise Monti (Summer 2014, high school intern Summer 2011): B.S. Washington University, St. Louis; 2nd year medical student, Northwestern University
  • Yiying Kim (2010-2012): B.A. University of Pittsburgh, Research staff University of Pittsburgh Learning Research Center
  • Teja Badami (Summer 2013): Case Western Reserve University
  • Zachary Smith (Spring 2010)
  • Amanda Ryan (Spring 2010)
  • Joan Pulupa (2008-2009): B.A. Goucher College, Ph.D. candidate at Rockefeller University
  • Frazer Heinis (2008-2009): B.S. Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D., U Minnesota; post-doc Miller lab UWashington
  • Jeremy Gao (Summer, 2008)
  • Derek Nnuro (Fall 2008): JHU, 2008Self-employed consultant, Romulus Advisory
  • Jaclyn Lim (2006-2008): B.S. Johns Hopkins University, earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2013, currently working at McKinsey and Company
  • Holly Caten (2007-2008): B.S. Johns Hopkins University, currently a medical student at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, NJ 
  • Gabrielle Howard (2006-2007): B.S. Johns Hopkins University. M.D., George Washington School of Med.
  • Rachel Webster (2005-2006): B.A. Goucher College, earned her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2013, currently a post-doctoral fellow, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dana Hubbard (2004-2005):  B.A. Goucher College, currently teacher, Western Pennsylvania

High School Students

  • Eitan Perlin (2016-2017), Taylor-Allderdice, Pittsburgh; currently Schreyer Honors College, Penn State
  • Alexa Narayan (Summer 2016): senior, Maui Preparatory Academy, Hawaii; currently Duke undergrad
  • Jakob Pollock (Summer 2016): senior, Los Angeles, CA, currently Johns Hopkins undergrad
  • Morgan Crist (Fall 2014): City High School, Pittsburgh, PA, currently undergraduate, Barnard College
  • Geethika Reddy (Summer 2010): Upper St. Clair High School, PA

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