Born in the subterranean jungle of Washington, DC on the eve of the Uganda-Tanzania war. At the fragile age of 3,
he was relocated to Athens, Greece where he was raised to adulthood on a steady diet of European football,
garage-punk music, and feta cheese. Following various stints as radio dj and DIY punker, Elias settled in West
Philadelphia, PA, where he currently leads a monastic life centered around experimental philosophy and the septin
PhD Graduate Student
Reared in the woods of northwestern New Jersey, Megan spent her childhood hunting down tiny squirming creatures,
with whom she was intensely fascinated. Driven by an obsession with everything small, she was floored to learn all
tiny animals were made up of even littler subunits called cells, filled with even more minute molecules. Her
passion for small stuff led her to Rutgers, where she studied Genetics and worked in a lab for the first time.
This is was the moment the stars aligned, she realized that all she had to do to legitimize her obsession with
tiny stuff was to become a Biologist and study cells. When she isn’t in lab enjoying scientific pursuits, you can
find her puttering around her garden, hiking in the nearest forest, or enjoying a good book with a cat on her lap.
PhD Graduate Student (Part-time)
Lou was born in the bustling metropolis that is Kingston, Pennsylvania, at the age of zero before landing in the
Pocono Mountains. He was raised on the mean streets of Wooddale Country Acres, where he developed a keen eye for
poison ivy and honed his survival skills through a blend of playing capture-the-flag and racing his bicycle
against the natives. He now enjoys portraying an image of class while dining at chain restaurants and sipping
mid-level wines. When he’s not pursuing his career as Brad Pitt’s stand-in, Lou can be found hiking with his wife
or tinkering on projects around their house at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in the glorious Lehigh
PhD Graduate Student
Yani was originally born in Lancaster, PA, a fast-paced farm county, where she learned to distinguish between cow
manure and horse dung at an early age. In need of less fresh air, she grew up in Wilmington, DE and worked
tirelessly to answer the question "Delawhere?" After moving to Amherst, MA and obtaining a master's in cell
biology she did a brief stint as a technician in New York, NY also known as the city that never sleeps. Now,
prepared for even less sleep, she's returned to her homeland (well sort of) to shed some light on the secret world
PhD Graduate Student
Upon his birth in Pittsburgh, Ben's first act in this world caused the Pittsburgh Pirates to lose their playoff
series; he did not allow them to have a winning season until reaching the legal drinking age 20 years later.
Growing up in the rain-soaked hills of western PA, Ben quickly found a passion for exploring how the world around
him worked. After wandering through 20 national parks, he found his true calling in the mysteries of molecular
biology at the University of Pittsburgh. After completing several science side-quests as a lab technician, he now
continues his main quest to understand how the small world makes the big one work here in this new land of
Philadelphia, where he intends to level up his scientific understanding by probing the wide world of septins.
Born in Gwalior, a historical city in central India built around the fort and palace. Priyanka grew up in an
industrial town Nagda, which lies in the region of Malwa in the state of Madhya Pradesh, watching Bollywood
movies, National Geographic, and exploring Natures’ creations in the surroundings at the bank of the river
Chambal. After being fascinated by the world of biology, she pursued her interest in the field of biotechnology in
different cities in India and obtained her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology and Fungal Pathogenesis from
Hyderabad, a famed city of Nizams’ and a biotechnology hub in India. Finally, her passion for research in cell
biology brings her
across the seas to Philadelphia to explore the thriller enigma of Septins.
Born in the aesthetically pleasing, gold-rich city of Accra, Josh spent his years exploring various cultures of
the world. The desire for exploration brought this multilingual "genius" to the small city of Rockille, MD, where
he ditched his interest in technology for a more interesting field in the Sciences, Cell and Molecular Biology. He
pursued this new-found interest in biology at Mount St. Mary's University, where he took on the daring task of
researching into the world of microRNAs, with promising outcomes. He now resides in the majestic city of
Philadelphia, using his passion to explore the new world of Septins.
Born and raised in Chicago, Naomi recognizes home by the sounds of ambulances at 2 am and smells of the subway.
Her love of the natural sciences began in middle school with yearly science fair projects about topics from
material science to biochemistry. She graduated high school with an International Baccalaureate diploma and a more
developed passion for biology. She found her way to Philadelphia, where the sounds and smells remind her of home,
for her undergraduate studies and plans to continue on a research track. Along with a passion for biology, Naomi
dabbles in various forms of visual art. She began in preschool with Crayola markers drawing potato head people,
had an obsession with coloring pages and colored pencils in her adolescent years, and now is experimenting with
acrylic paint and canvas. She carries this passion for both art and science into her first professional lab
experience in the Spiliotis Lab as a student in the STAR program in the summer of 2021.
Born in the farmlands of Ohio, Megan knows a thing or two about interesting landscapes. In her search for a more
dynamic scene, she’s hiked her way across numerous national parks and states only to find that she needed to think
small – on a cellular level. This led her to the field of biology and eventually Drexel University. Fueled by
coffee and a passion for cells, Megan is currently pursuing a major in Biological Sciences with a minor in Asian
Studies. Now that she’s finally found her dynamic landscapes in the world of cells, she’s excited to explore the
inner workings of cells and the unknowns of septins.