Lab Members

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Composition of the Shiau Lab

Caroline Spencer, BS

Research Assistant

Who am I … I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I received my B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Linguistics from UNC Chapel Hill.

I aspire to … develop new research skills, grow as a scientist, and later continue onto graduate school and a future career in science.

I am most excited … learning more about the immune system, discovering and studying novel genes involved, and observing the innate immune response in zebrafish.

Besides science, I love … running, ultimate frisbee, going to the beach, and playing with my dog.

Ethan Bedsole, MS

PhD student

Who am I… I grew up for most of my life in Kernersville, North Carolina. I received both my bachelor’s in Biology and a master’s degree in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology from East Carolina University. 

I aspire to … use the techniques and knowledge gained from working in the lab to enter academia to show students the joy and excitement of research.

I am most excited … about learning new experimental techniques and further developing techniques to better understand biological issues related to the immune system and neuronal health. 

Besides science, I love …playing tennis and spending time with family.

Kate Guittari

Undergraduate Researcher

Who am I… I am from a small suburb in northern New Jersey, just a little outside of New York City. I am currently majoring in Neuroscience at UNC.

I aspire to… challenge myself to learn and grow as much as possible, and hopefully pursue a career in medicine one day.

I am most excited about… to contribute to the hands-on research of an advanced laboratory setting, while studying topics that I am continuously curious about! In the past, I have been especially intrigued by the connections between the brain and gut microbiome and how they influence development and behavior.

Besides science, I love… drinking coffee, playing club field hockey, and singing with the UNC Loreleis!

Keith Sabin, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Who am I… I am postdoc and proud dog dad to two “pawsome” pittie fur babies. Originally, I’m from Grand Rapids, MI but I did my PhD at the University of Minnesota in Dr. Karen Echeverri’s lab. In the Echeverri lab, I leveraged the amazing and natural regenerative capabilities of the axolotl salamander to study how spinal cords functionally repair themselves after injury. I continued that research with Dr. Echeverri after she moved her lab to the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA before I moved to the Stowers Institute in Kansas City, MO to work in the lab of Dr. Matt Gibson as a postdoc. In Dr. Gibson’s lab, I used a larval sensory organ in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as a model to understand how genes specify unique cell types and how unique cell types coalesce to build organs.

I aspire to …utilize the molecular genetic toolkit and amazing live cell imaging capabilities of zebrafish to get a glimpse into the Secret Life of the Teleost Macrophage. I’m specifically interested to observe macrophage behavior during homeostasis and after injury and then identify the signaling pathways and genes that regulate those behaviors.

I am most excited … to learn about tissue resident macrophages and the innate immune system. I am also excited to learn the the zebrafish system and join the vibrant fish community.

Besides science, I love … spending time with my wife and fur babies, trying new foods, and cooking new recipes.

Matt Hamilton, MS

PhD 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, traveling, and going to the beach.

Nate Vorhees, BS

PhD Student

Starting Fall 2023

Who am I… I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and will be receiving my Bachelors degree in Neuroscience from Hope College in West Michigan. 

I am most excited about… to dive into the wonders of the zebrafish immune system and be able to investigate complex neuroimmune interactions in vivo.

I aspire to… be a continuous student and share the joy of learning with the people around me! 

Besides science, I love… running, hiking, and cooking new foods! 

Pete Kekenes-Huskey, PhD

Visiting Faculty Scholar (Associate Professor at Loyola University)

Summer 2023- 2024

We are working on a collaborative project funded by the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Loyola (CVRI) Innovation & Exchange Scholarship.

Joining this summer!

Asia Walter, NC A&T, M&I SROP Summer Scholar May-August 2023

Gone but not forgotten … special mentions

John Zhu UR and Research Assistant 2021 Oct-2023 Feb –> current position: Masters student, NC State Fall 2023

Andrew Burciu UR and Research Assistant 2020 Feb-2023 Jan –> current position: UMass Medical School Fall 2023

Victoria Kwon Research Assistant 2019-2021 –> current position: researcher at Cellectis

Alison (Earley) Rojas PhD student and Postdoctoral Fellow 2015-2021 –> current position: Scientist at Sio Gene Therapies

Victoria Hamlin Research Assistant 2019-2020 –> current position: PhD student, University of Missouri

Cameron Dixon Research Assistant 2017-2019- –> current position: PhD student, Boston University

Linlin Yang Undergraduate researcher 2017-2019- –> current position: PhD student, UPenn

Maggie Cai Undergraduate researcher 2016-2019- –> current position: PhD student, Columbia University

Oliver Yan Undergraduate researcher/RA 2015-2016- –> current position: MD student, Boston University School of Medicine