Latest News

October 2021

Lab welcomes rotation student Caleb!

Caleb Hayes is the first IGP rotation student in the lab this year. Having done a Masters AND worked in a lab at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL, Caleb has one of the most extensive research experiences for an incoming graduate student. What is more, Caleb’s work at the Mayo was on mitochondria! We are excited to help add worm genetics to his already impressive repertoire of lab skills. Welcome Caleb!


July 2021

Nikita’s paper is on BioRxiv!

Nikita’s manuscript on tissue-specific heteroplasmy dynamics is on BioRxiv. Nikita had to overcome several technical hurdles over the years but the findings are well worth the effort. One of the coolest and surprising findings is that the somatic cells in C. elegans rapidly lose their mtDNA content during development and aging. Congrats Nikita!


July 2021

Lab welcomes Arlene Garcia!

Arlene is a rare MSTP student with interests in medicine and basic evolutionary processes. Arlene’s undergraduate research was on the evolution of mutation rates in experimentally evolved bacteria. For her rotation, Arlene is studying the importance of the mitochondrial genome on evolutionary processes. We are thrilled to have an evolution enthusiast in the lab. Welcome Arlene!


June 2021

James’s paper on BioRxiv!

Manuscript on a tRNA processing enzyme that plays a central role in the mitochondrial unfolded protein response is up on BioRxiv! It represents more than 3 years of work on a project initiated and executed by an extremely talented graduate student James Held in the lab. Congrats James!


May 2021

Congrats Maulik!

Nominated by the students in the lab and selected by the graduate student body in the department, Maulik receives an Excellence in Mentoring Award. This award recognizes the recipient’s deep commitment to the professional and personal development of their trainees. Keep up the good work Maulik!


April 2021

Lantana selected as predoctoral trainee!

Lantana is selected as a predoctoral trainee on the Training Program in Environmental Toxicology. This training program funds outstanding students whose research relates to toxicology. Congratulations Lantana!


March 2021

Lantana joins the lab!

We are excited to officially welcome graduate student Lantana to the lab. Lantana will continue to explore the nascent field of mitochondrial epigenetics in a project she started during her rotation. Welcome to the lab Lantana!


March 2021

Check out Cait’s paper!

Graduate student Cait Kirby’s manuscript is out in Mitochondrion! This work supports a role of protein CLK-1 in mtDNA copy number regulation. Congratulations Cait!


February 2021

Congrats Dr. Kirby!

Cait successfully defended! Becomes the first student to graduate from the Patel Lab – a milestone for Cait and the lab. Congratulations Dr. Kirby!


January 2021

Lab welcomes a new rotation student!

Big welcome to IGP student Alexandra (Alex) Mulligan. Alex comes in with plenty of worm experience so she is ready to hit the ground running. She will be testing an exciting new hypothesis that looks at the connection between mitochondrial stress and histones. Welcome Alex!


October 2020

The lab welcomes two rotation students!

The lab is super-excited to host Casey and Kaeli, two IGP students for their second rotation. Casey comes to us after having worked in a lab at University of Virginia. Kaeli is a recent graduate of Indiana University. Welcome Casey and Kaeli!


September 2020

Lab in the News

Check out a great news story about the lab’s most recent publication on Research News @ Vanderbilt.


Check-out Bryan’s publication!

More than 3 years in the making, graduate student Bryan Gitschlag’s manuscript on cheater mtDNA dynamics entitled, ‘Nutrient status shapes selfish mitochondrial genome dynamics across different levels of selection‘ is out in eLife! The manuscript is accompanied by a fantastic Insight piece entitled, ‘Multi-Level Selection: The perils of cheating‘ by Florencia Camus, as well as a great news piece in eLife entitled, ‘Cheater mitochondria may profit from cellular stress coping mechanisms‘. Congratulations Bryan!


August 2020

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year Biological Sciences student Lantana Grub will be doing her first rotation in the lab. Lantana received her B.S. from Tuskegee University and her Masters from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has great expertise in reproductive biology and came to Vanderbilt with broad interests in molecular and cellular biology. She will be working with James to boldly explore the uncharted waters of mitochondrial epigenetics. Welcome Lantana!


July 2020

Check-out James’ publication!

Graduate student James Held published work entitled, ‘Functional conservation of mitochondrial RNA levels despite divergent mtDNA organization‘ in BMC Research Notes that offers insight into mitochondrial RNA-level regulation in worms.


May 2020

Cassidy selected as MARC Scholar!

Undergraduate student Cassidy Johnson receives the prestigious Maximizing Access Research Careers (MARC) Scholarship. The goal of the MARC Scholars Program is to develop a diverse pool of undergraduates who go on to enroll in and complete biomedical, research-focused higher degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.). Congratulations on the well-deserved award Cassidy. We are proud of you!


February 2020

Maulik presents at U Washington

Maulik gave a seminar entitled, “Beyond the cellular powerhouse:
Biology of the mitochondrial genome” at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.


February 2020

Cassidy wins poster award!

Undergraduate researcher Cassidy Johnson won the second place award for Science Poster Presentation at the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP) 17th Annual Research Conference in Knoxville, TN. Congrats Cassidy!


February 2020

Welcome Claudia!

Claudia Pereira, PhD has joined the lab as a staff scientist. Claudia was most recently a post-doc in the lab of Carlos Moraes, PhD at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In the Moraes Lab Claudia primarily developed mitochondrial DNA editing strategies in effort to alter mutant mitochondrial DNA levels. We are excited to have Claudia join the lab and incorporate her expertise into our research program.


January 2020

Check-out Bryan’s pre-print!

Graduate student Bryan Gitschlag has uploaded a pre-print of his manuscript to bioRxiv entitiled, ‘Selfish mitochondria exploit nutrient status across different levels of selection.’ Bryan’s work provides insight into the selective pressures that act to regulate mutant mitochondrial genome frequency across multiple levels of selection.


January 2020

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year IGP Student Samika Joshi will be spending the next two months rotating in the lab. Samika received her B.S. from Emory in 2019 and came to Vanderbilt with broad interests in biomedical sciences. While in the lab Samika will be working to further characterize mitochondrial heteroplasmy dynamics and nuclear-mitochondrial genome conflicts. Welcome Samika!


December 2019

Check-out Bryan’s preview

Graduate student Bryan Gitschlag previews a Current Biology publication by Hansong Ma and colleagues entitled ‘A Genome-wide Screen Reveals that Reducing Mitochondrial DNA Polymerase Can Promote Elimination of Deleterious Mitochondrial Mutations.’ Bryan frames this work in a broader context by reviewing the impact of resource availability on the competitiveness of selfish genomes. The preview entitled Mitochondria: A Microcosm of Darwinian Competition is well worth the read!


November 2019

Rotation Student Welcome!

Biological Sciences graduate student, Dongsheng Han will be spending his second rotation in the Patel lab. Dongsheng’s interest in epigenetics has lead him to investigate epigenetic regulation of mitochondrial stress response mechanisms while in the lab. Welcome Dongsheng!


November 2019

Rotation Student Welcome!

Alex Mansueto is a Biological Sciences graduate student who will be spending his second rotation with us. Alex’s interests and past research experience center around physiology and muscle biology. Alex will be working on a project geared toward uncovering mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy dynamics in different tissue types. Welcome Alex!


August 2019

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year IGP student, Jordyn Sanner, will be spending her first rotation in the Patel Lab. While in the lab Jordyn will be working on a project aimed at better understanding mitochondrial copy number regulation. Currently a die-hard fly enthusiast, we hope to convince Jordyn that C. elegans is the superior system. Welcome Jordyn!


July 2019

Maulik travels across the pond

Maulik Patel attended the SMBE Meeting in Manchester, UK where he presented a talk entitled ‘Nuclear-encoded nutrition sensing pathways regulate transmission of ‘selfish’ mitochondrial mutations.’ Additionally, Maulik visited the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK where he gave a seminar on how a ‘Nutrient-sensing pathway regulates transmission of mutatant mitochondrial genomes.’


July 2019

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year IGP student, Baltazar Zuniga, will be rotating in the lab over the next month. Baltazar will be utilizing a novel genetic technique to better understand regulation of heteroplasmy dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans. Welcome Baltazar!


June 2019

Bryan presents at Evolution 2019

Bryan Gitschlag attended Evolution 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island where he presented his research in a talk entitled ‘Selfish mitochondrial genomes propagate by exploiting nutrient-sensing mechanisms.’


June 2019

Maulik and James present at Worm Meeting

Maulik Patel and James Held attended the International C. elegans Conference at UCLA. Maulik presented a talk entitled ‘Selfish mitochondrial genomes propagate by exploiting nutrient-sensing mechanisms.’ James presented his poster entitled ‘Mitochondrial RNA dysregulation drives novel retrograde stress response.’


June 2019

Summer Student Welcome!

Rising college freshman, Olivia Bruno, will be conducting research in the lab this summer through the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy and the Diabetes Research Training Center. Welcome Olivia!


June 2019

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year IGP student, Joe Benthal, will be rotating in the lab over the summer. Joe comes to us from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At UT, Joe worked in the lab of Joshua Bembenek investigating novel interactions of separase protein. Welcome Joe!


May 2019

Congrats Candidate James!

Congratulations to James Held on passing his qualifying exam!


May 2019

Bryan receives research award!

Congratulations to Bryan Gitschlag on receiving the 2019 Graduate Research Award in Biological Sciences.


April 2019

James named NSF-GRFP honorable mention!

Congratulations to second year graduate student James Held on being accorded an Honorable Mention for the 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in the discipline of Cell Biology.


December 2018

Cait receives teaching award!

Cait was awarded the College of Arts & Sciences Inaugural Outstanding Graduate Student Lab Instructor Award.


November 2018

Cait awarded an F31 Fellowship!

Congratulations to Cait Kirby for being awarded an NIGMS F31 Fellowship entitled “Mechanisms of mitochondrial DNA copy number regulation.”


October 2018

Rotation Student Welcome!

First year IGP student Gillian Fitz will be rotating in the lab until the end of December. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Gillian was a research technologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine where she studied cell adhesion in the lab of Dr. Kathleen Green. Gillian will employ advanced microscopy techniques for her project, allowing her to further pursue her interest in cell biology.


September 2018

Congrats Candidate Nikita!

Congratulations to our newest PhD Candidate, Nikita Tsyba, on passing his qualifying exam.


August 2018

Rotation Student Welcome!

Chunzhu Song will be spending her first rotation at Vanderbilt with us in the Patel Lab. Chunzhu is a first year Biological Sciences direct admit graduate student from China. As an undergraduate, Chunzhu worked in a microbiology lab but is excited to try her hand at molecular biology and genetics in her rotation.


August 2018

Lab receives DOD funding!

The Patel Lab was awarded a Discover Grant from the Department of Defense.


July 2018

Lab receives pilot grant!

The Patel Lab obtained the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research & Training Center Pilot and Feasibility Grant.


July 2018

Lab receives TIPs funding!

The Patel Lab was awarded funding from Vanderbilt Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPs) for Single Cell Biology.


May 2018

Congratulations Cait!

Cait Kirby won the Best Short Research in Progress Talk at the Department Retreat!


May 2018

Congrats on the Award Cait!

Cait Kirby received the Hickory Stick Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant at the Biological Sciences Department Retreat.


May 2018

James awarded spot on T32 Training Grant!

Congratulations to James Held for being selected for appointment to the NIH T32 Environmental Toxicology Training Grant (5T32ES007028-44).


April 2018

Welcome to the lab James!

We are pleased to have IGP PhD student James Held join the lab.


November 2017

Congratulations Bryan!

Bryan was named the Vanderbilt Graduate Student Scholar in Diabetes!


October 2017

Rotation Student Welcome!

James Held will be spending his second rotation with us. James is an IGP graduate student who, prior to Vanderbilt, received his B.S. in Genetics from Purdue University where he conducted research in the department of Biological Sciences and with the USDA.


August 2017

Rotation Student Welcome!

Biological Sciences PhD student Katrina Ngo will be spending her first rotation in the Patel Lab.


July 2017

Congratulations to Cait Kirby for passing her qualifying exam!


July 2017

Congrats on poster award Bryan!

Congratulations to Bryan on winning the Best Poster Award at the C. elegans International Meeting at UCLA.


June 2017

Bryan awarded fellowship!

Congratulations to Bryan on being awarded an NRSA pre-doctoral fellowship from NIGMS!


May 2017

Congrats on the award Bryan!

Congratulations to Bryan on winning the departmental Ann Bernard Martin Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.


April 2017

Welcome to the lab Nikita!

We are pleased to have graduate student Nikita Tysba join the lab.


March 2017

Rotation Student Welcome!

We are happy to have IGP student, Nikita Tysba spending his fourth rotation with us.


March 2017

Lab secures its first R01!

The lab has been awarded an NIGMS R01 entitled ‘Regulation of mitochondrial heteroplasmy dynamics.’


March 2017

Welcome to the lab Ben!

The lab is pleased to welcome Research Assistant, Ben Saunders.


September 2016

Congratulations to Bryan on passing his qualifying exam!


September 2016

Congrats to Cait on poster award!

Cait Kirby won the Best Poster Award at the Biological Sciences Department retreat.


August 2016

Maulik has paper published!

Maulik’s paper on ‘male-harming’ mitochondrial DNA is out in eLife.


July 2016

Congrats on poster award Bryan!

Congratulations to Bryan Gitschlag on winning Best Poster Award at the C. elegans conference at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


July 2016

First paper published!

Our first paper on ‘selfish’ mitochondria is out in Cell Metabolism.


May 2016

Bryan awarded spot on T32 Training Grant!

Congratulations to Bryan Gitschlag for being selected to the Cellular, Biochemical and Molecular Sciences (CBMS) Training Program.


April 2016

Welcome to the lab Cait!

We are happy to have Cait Kirby officially join the lab.


August 2015

Rotation Student Welcome!

We are excited to have Biological Sciences graduate student Cait Kirby join us for her first rotation.


May 2015

Welcome to the lab Bryan!

We are very pleased to announce that Bryan Gitschlag has joined the lab as our first PhD student.


March 2015

Rotation Student Welcome!

Bryan Gitschlag joins us as our first rotation student through IGP.


January 2015

The Patel Lab is officially open for science!