Current Members

Anthony S. Zannas, MD, MSc, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics

Anthony received his medical degree and worked as primary care physician in Greece. He also completed a master’s on the Science of Stress at the University of Athens, supervised by Dr. George P. Chrousos. He then trained as a psychiatrist at Duke University in the US, where he worked on both clinical and basic research projects in Psychiatry with Dr. Warren D. Taylor and Neurobiology with Dr. Anne E. West. After completing residency, he did a PhD and postdoc in Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, supervised by Dr. Elisabeth B. Binder. Anthony's passion is to uncover how lasting epigenetic changes result from stressful experiences and shape health or disease trajectories as individuals age. He is also a practicing psychiatrist at UNC. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling the world, swimming, and reading and writing fiction.

Oksana Kosyk, BSc

Lab Manager

After obtaining her bachelor's in Ukraine, Oksana relocated to the US and gathered extensive experience across diverse lab settings, working both with cells and rodents. Oksana is particularly interested in learning and utilizing novel, cutting-edge molecular biology and other lab techniques. Her current role as lab manager is to oversee all wet lab operations and to facilitate ongoing projects that examine how epigenetic mechanisms may link psychosocial stress with accelerated aging and increased disease risk. Outside of the lab, she loves spending time with her family, going to local coffee shops and produce farms, and exploring state and national parks.

Helena Palma-Gudiel, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

After completing her bachelor's in Human Biology at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and her master's on Mental Health Research at the University of Barcelona, Helena did her PhD at the University of Barcelona under the supervision of Dr. Lourdes Fañanás. During her PhD, she studied the epigenetic underpinnings of psychiatric disorders in cohorts of twins differentially exposed to adverse environment. Currently, she conducts large-scale analyses in human cohorts, specializing on the use of DNA methylation array data. Her goal is to disentangle how stress-induced DNA methylation changes may increase risk for aging-related outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. In her free time, she loves to travel, read comics of all sorts, and cuddle cats.

Calvin Siu Leung, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Calvin obtained his bachelor's in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied the structure and function of the ribosome in E. coli. He then went to the University of California, Los Angeles to complete a PhD in Molecular Biology. During his PhD, he studied the role of histone modifications in regulating co-transcriptional RNA splicing in S. cerevisiae. Currently, Calvin's work focuses on cell and molecular experiments that aim to uncover how chronic stress and the consequent epigenetic memories may contribute to aberrant inflammatory responses and disease states. Outside of lab, Calvin enjoys running, going to the gym, and reading historical fiction books.

Jake Daniel Oxendine

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jake is a quantitative biology major with a minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. He is interested in bioinformatics, specifically focusing on sequencing technology, and in population genetics. Currently, he is working on bioinformatics algorithms that will enhance implementation of cutting-edge sequencing and machine learning approaches for detailed measurement of DNA methylation landscapes across the human genome. He is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and enjoys playing Spikeball.

Emma Maley Welter

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Biology and Philosophy, with a minor in Chemistry. She received her diploma from the International Baccalaureate program at High Point Central High School. Currently, she is working on optimizing wet lab protocols for assessing DNA methylation with the use of cutting-edge sequencing approaches. She is interested in everything related to DNA and sequencing, and she also loves running Western blots. One day, she aspires to precisely chart and modify DNA methylation patterns of stress-related genes, and to obtain a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology.

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