Lab Members

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Composition of the Shiau Lab

Alison (Earley) Rojas

Postdoctoral Fellow

Who am I … I grew up in northern New Jersey and moved to Massachusetts to study biochemistry as an undergrad. I started grad school at Boston College where I met Celia.

I am most excited about … the ability to do in vivo imaging of zebrafish and observe the innate immune response.

I aspire to … use gene-editing technologies to help people with rare genetic disorders.

Besides science, I love … to go on motorcycle rides with my husband, hangout with my cats and do jigsaw puzzles.


Avery Benton

Research Assistant

Joining soon!

Who am I … I grew up in the suburbs of Philly most of my life and then went to western Massachusetts as an undergraduate to study biochemistry and neuroscience. 

I aspire to … after this research assistant position, I would like to go to graduate school and study neuropharmacology or some other similar field. 

I am most excited about…
I love confocal microscopy! I think it’s a great scientific medium that allows for data to be represented in a really beautiful way. I am excited to work with zebrafish using this technology.

Besides science, I love … cooking and baking and riding my bike. I also like drawing portraits of my friends. I have been getting into rock climbing as well.

Andrew Burciu

Undergraduate Researcher

Who am I … Everyone comes closer and closer everyday to discovering their true identity, but at the core, I’m just a someone who loves science!

I aspire to … learn more about how, at its most stripped down principle, some cells were given signals to become immune cells and how such a collection of cells interacting give rise to such a complex immune system!!

I am most excited … to learn more about macrophages. I love learning about the immune system because of all the crazy interactions between cells to defend the host. How this came about is just astounding, and learning more about the instructions of how these cells came about is super exciting.

Besides science, I love … to read, cook, and see my friends.

Celine Rey

Undergraduate Researcher

Who am I … from Miami FL and currently a junior at UNC.

I am most excited about … the possibility of finding new novel mutations that no one has studied before.

I aspire to … continue with research throughout the rest of my undergraduate career and later apply to graduate school.

Besides science, I love … watching movies, going out with friends and traveling.


Matt Hamilton

Graduate Student

Who am I… I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and lived in Basel, Switzerland for high school.  I received my baccalaureate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and master’s degree in the Environmental Toxicology program at Clemson University.

I am most excited about… using advanced techniques in our lab, such as genetic screens, genome editing, and in vivo imaging, to characterize new pathways that could provide insights to innate immune dysregulation.

I aspire to… use what I have learned in graduate school and will learn in the Shiau lab to conduct biomedical research.

Besides science, I love… hanging out with friends, being outside, travelling, and going to the beach.

Victoria Hamlin

Research Assistant

Who am I … I grew up in New Jersey but have lived in South Carolina, Japan, Missouri over the past 6 years.

I am most excited about … our Neuroimmune project. I think it is really interesting to see how the immune system can influence neural circuitry and behavioral outcomes in zebrafish. 

I aspire to … continue my research in developmental neurobiology. I am interested in how neural circuits develop and how the neurons maintain their specific cell function over time.

Besides science, I love … I am also an Irish Dance Teacher! 

Victoria Kwon

Research Assistant

Who am I … a true Tar Heel born and bred, I was born at UNC Hospitals and grew up in Cary, NC. I graduated from UNC in 2019 with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I decided to join The Shiau Lab during my gap years before choosing my next education path. 

Besides science, I love … cooking and baking. I love testing new recipes and learning how to cook with different ingredients. 

I am most excited … knowing that we are constantly discovering novel genes involved in innate immune functions in vertebrate development. Unexpected setbacks and challenges are to be expected in any research lab but through the process of problem solving, I am constantly learning and growing as a scientist. It makes any level of success so rewarding knowing your efforts were not wasted. 

I aspire to … while I am still unsure what the future looks like for me, I am excited to have found a love for research and wish to continue a path in science.