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: Sqt: dumpy and roller all in one


Nicolas Macaisne, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Macaisne earned his Ph.D. from the University Paris-Sud in France, conducting his research in the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (Versailles, France) where he discovered genes involved in the formation of crossovers during meiosis in plants. He joined Dr. Yanowitz’ research team to pursue his project of understanding the regulation of meiotic DNA damages and how they affect chromosome structure and behavior. More specifically, his current work examines how and where breaks occur in the DNA, and what controls repair pathway choice, taking advantages of C. elegans as a powerful model system for genetics and cytology.

Favorite Phenotype: Roller, because it rocks!


Mainpal Rana, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Rana earned his Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India where he worked on early germ cell development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Encountering several mutants having chromosomal defects during meiosis raised his interest in studying the role of meiotic crossover genes and how they lead to chromosomal abnormalities. He is currently trying to decipher the roles of xnd-1 and him-5 in crossover formation by identifying their interaction partners. He is also leveraging his knowledge of germ cell development to uncover the role of xnd-1 in primordial germ cell development.

Favorite Phenotype: Tumorous germline


Fabiola Balmir, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology Fellow

Dr. Balmir is an REI fellow in the Department of OB/GYN/Reproductive Science who is doing her 18 month research intensive in the Yanowitz lab studying the genes that regulate the formation of double-strand breaks.

Favorite Phenotype: Egl


Wei Li
Graduate Student, Tsinghua Scholar

Wei is a medical school student from Tsinghua University in China, being a visiting scholar in Pittsburgh for two years. She is interested in the feedback regulation in the formation of double-strand breaks and crossovers.

Favorite Phenotype: GFP: transgenes are beautiful


Logan Russell
Research Assistant

Logan received his B.S. in Molecular Biology in 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh biology department. He is using CRISPR.Cas9 to create mutations in novel meiotic mutants in C. elegans

Favorite Phenotype: Roller


Kelli Lazar
Administrative Support

Kelli serves as our administrative assistance extraordinaire.


Dane Hoffman
Undergraduate Researcher

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. 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 graduate school.

Favorite Phenotype: Muv


Kellyn Wilkes
Undergraduate Researcher

Kellyn is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Biology and aspiring to go to medical school. She is working on characterizing the epigenetic inheritance of heat stress tolerance. She received a prestigious Brackenridge Fellowship in the summer of 2016 to work in the lab. <

Favorite Phenotype: Him


Eitan Perlin
High School Internr

Eitan is a senior at Taylor Allderdice High in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. He doing his AP Research studies examining the role of him-5 in DNA repair during meiosis. <

Favorite Phenotype: Him

  Lab Alumni

Research Scientists

  • Jennifer Salati, M.D. (2011-2013):  Fellow in Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Cynthia Wagner, Ph.D. (2004-2009): Faculty, UMBC

Research Assistants

  • Tyler Machovina (2010-2012): Confocal microscope service technician, Leica Microsystem
  • Zebulin Kessler (2012-2014): Analyst at Acumen, LLC
  • Olivia McGovern (2010-2012): Ph.D. candidate at U. Michigan
  • Michael Welch (2004-2006): Faculty training developer, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions


  • 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; Technician Washington 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, currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Rockefeller University
  • Frazer Heinis (2008-2009): B.S. Johns Hopkins University, currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at University of Minnesota
  • 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

  • Alexa Narayan (Summer 2016): senior, Maui Preparatory Academy, Hawaii
  • Jakob Pollock (Summer 2016): senior, Los Angeles, CA
  • 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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