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Welcome new assistant professors!

August 21, 2019 9:04 AM

The Department of Biological Sciences is very excited to welcome our four new assistant professors: Drs. Tara LeGates, Achuth Padmanabhan, Laurie Sutton, and Fernando Vonhoff.

Dr. Tara LeGates

Tara is no stranger to the Baltimore area. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Rider University (Lawerenceville, NJ), she attended Johns Hopkins University for her Ph.D. in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology and Biophysics ,and has spent the last couple years as a post-doc at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Her research is interested in the neuronal circuits that regulate behavior and how this circuitry changes in disorders like depression.


Dr. Achuth Padmanabhan ’12

An alumni of UMBC’s graduate program, Achuth returns to UMBC after two post-docs at Yale University and Baylor College of Medicine. His lab will focus on understanding how ovarian cancer develops and progresses to a lethal metastatic disease, and work on understanding factors that contribute in this process. Another area of focus in the lab will be to identify new therapeutic targets and develop novel strategies to treat this deadly disease. 

Achuth just received a two-year grant from the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer, a private foundation that supports ovarian cancer research, and was named their 2019-2021 Skacel Family Scholar.


Dr. Laurie Sutton

Laurie obtained her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of Western Ontario. She traded the cold of Canada for the Florida sun during her postdoctoral studies in the Dr. Kirill Martemyanov Lab at The Scripps Research Institute. There, she continued her interest in cell signaling by identifying those events responsible for shaping mood and stress responses by tapping into the uncharted biology of orphan receptors. With over 100 orphan receptors whose cognate ligands are unknown and their physiological function remaining largely a mystery, there is a lot of discovery still to be made. Her lab will continue to study orphan receptors that are highly expressed in the brain to determine their physiological function, which may hold promise of therapeutic targets.


Dr. Fernando Vonhoff

Fernando has been with the Department of Biological Sciences since December 2017 as part of UMBC’s pre-professoriate fellowship program. He is now an assistant professor!

Fernando received his undergraduate degree from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) and Ph.D. from Arizona State University. His research is interested in brain development and function, using fruit flies as a model to study human neurological diseases. Since arriving at UMBC, Fernando has mentored several graduate students and more than 15 undergraduate students. 


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