Positions Available

  Yanowitz Lab Photo
Dr. Judith Yanowitz

Judith 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, and germ cell development. View CV

Favorite Phenotype: Sqt: dumpy and roller all in one


Cristina Quesada Candela, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Cristina received her Ph.D. from the Miguel Hernandez University (Spain) for studying the morphological and functional adaptations of the pancreatic alpha cell during pregnancy in mice, as well as, studying the role of pregnancy hormones in the regulation of this process. She studies the proteasome and its role during pairing and synapsis in C. elegans and how it is impacted by maternal age.

Favorite Phenotype: Dumpy --- Little, chubby, cute worms!


T. Brooke McClendon, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Brooke received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 for the analysis of genome integrity pathways in the C. elegans germ line. She is expanding on her graduate studies to focus on the role of SWS-1 in meiosis. She is also deeply involved in mentoring in the lab.

Favorite Phenotype: Roll


Marilina Raices, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Marilina received her Ph.D. from the University of Buenos Aires in July 2018 for the analysis of alarm cues functions in injured tadpoles. Her current project involves the study of the meiotic double-strand break machinery as well as the complexes and sub-complexes they comprise.

Favorite Phenotype: Dumpy


Victoria Veroli Nogueram M.Sc.
MGDB Graduate Student

Victoria received her B.S. in Biochemistry and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Universidad de la República (Uruguay). She is currently a PhD student in the Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology (MGDB) program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work focuses on the characterization of GCNA-1 domains and the study of their roles in genomic stability. Despite her love for protein and structures, worms made her discover the charm of genetics. Now she doesn’t see herself working in other model organism than C. elegans.

Favorite Phenotype: Egl


McKenzie Grundy
Research Assistant

McKenzie  is a 2018 graduate  of the Chatham biology department. She is working on characterizing several intrinsically disordered proteins in C. elegans

Favorite Phenotype: Rol


Kelli Lazar
Administrative Support

Kelli serves as administrative support for the Yanowitz laboratory.


Michelle Scuzzarella
Undergraduate Researcher

Michelle is a rising senior at Bryn Mawr College who has joined the lab for the second summer to work on the evolution of DSB proteins.

Favorite Phenotype: Muv


Zachary Leydig
Undergraduate Researcher

Zach is a Junior at Pitt who recently transfer to the Oakland campus from Pitt Greensburgh. He is working on understanding aspects of germ line DNA repair by following up on interaction between the Shu complex and putative meiotic regulators.

Favorite Phenotype: Unc

  Lab Alumni

Research Scientists and Post-doctoral Fellows

  • Fabiola Balmir, M.D.. (2015-2017): Currently: OB/GYN at AMH, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Nicolas Macaisne, Ph.D. (2014-2017): Currently: post-doctoral fellow, Paris, France
  • Mainpal Rana, Ph.D. (2011-2017): Currently: Research Staff, Magee-Womens Research Institute
  • Jennifer Salati, M.D. (2011-2013)
  • Cynthia Wagner, Ph.D. (2004-2009):Currently faculty, UMBC

Graduate Students

  • Wei Li, M.D. (2015-2017): Tsinghua University Medical School
  • T. Brooke McClendon, Ph.D. (2013-2017) Currently, Research Asst. Professor, U. Pittsburgh

Research Assistants

  • Dane Hoffman (2017-2020):Currently, entering Ph.D. student, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Ben Swaby (2017-2018):Currently, medical student, Georgetown
  • Logan Russell (2015-2018):Currently, Technical Staff, Magee-Womens Hospital, Genetics Core
  • Tyler Machovina (2012-2015):Currently, Sales representative, Leica Microsystem
  • Zebulin Kessler (2012-2014):Currently, independent consultant
  • Olivia McGovern, Ph.D. (2010-2012):Currently, Center for Disease Control
  • Michael Welch (2004-2006):Faculty training developer, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions


  • Lucretia Shumate (Fall 2019): RPI
  • Michelle Scuzzarella (Summer 2019): Bryn Mawr College
  • Elena Stains (2018-2019): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • Mariam Shalaby (2017-2018): B.Phil. University of Pittsburgh
  • Dane Hoffman (2015-2017): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • Zachary Picciarelli (2015-2019): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • Kellyn Wilkes (2015-2017): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • Jamie Goldman (2015-2017): B.A. University of Pittsburgh
  • 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, 2008Current self-employed consultant at 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.
  • 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

  • Mia Perez (2019-2020 school year): SciTech Academy, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Joelle Schneiderman (2018-2019 school year): Taylor-Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Eitan Perlin (2017-2018 school year): Taylor-Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Ishika Saxena (Summer 2018): Seqickly Academy
  • Elena Swecker (2017-2018 school year): Franklin Regional High School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Alexa Narayan (Summer 2016): Maui Preparatory Academy, Hawaii
  • Jakob Pollock (Summer 2016): Los Angeles, CA
  • Morgan Crist (Fall 2014): City High School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Geethika Reddy (Summer 2010): Upper St. Clair High School, PA

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