O'Donnell Lab Undergraduate Students
Ceara McAtee (Senior)
Originally from: State College, PA
Currently pursing a degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh
Joined the lab: August 2018
Ceara will be working with Natalie Hager in the lab, defining how ROMK, a mammalian renal potassium channel, is regulated by alpha-arrestins. The O'Donnell lab has show that alpha-arrestins regulate another mammalian potassium channel (Kir2.1) expressed in yeast. Alpha-arrestins promote intracellular sorting of Kir2.1 to the cell surface, which is important in cardiac function. ROMK maintains potassium homeostasis in the kidneys. Understanding how alpha arrestins regulate intracellular sorting and endosomal recycling of ROMK has important biomedical implications. Ceara will be working on defining the role of alpha arrestins in controlling ROMK, determining other molecular players involved in alpha-arrestin related sorting pathways, and developing tools for imaging potassium channels and other transmembrane proteins at the cell surface.
Ceara plans to go to graduate school after Pitt. When she's not in lab, she loves the fiber arts -- knitting, crocheting, spinning yarn, lucetting, and felting. Ceara also enjoys reading, baking, and learning Irish.
Kenny Callahan (Senior)
Originally from: East Granby, CT
Joined the lab: May 2018
He is currently pursing a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics at Marlboro College. He enjoys playing pool, spending time in the woods, and listening to 90's rap. Kenny currently works with David and Dr. O'Donnell on elucidating the function of the alpha arrestin Rog3 in the hexose transporter 4 pathway. In the future he would like to pursue a PhD in biology and bioinformatics so that he can approach problems from both a wet-lab and mathematical modeling standpoint.
Eric Jordahl (Sophomore)
Originally from: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Currently pursuing a degree in Molecular Biology, and a degree in Classic Civilizations at the University of Pittsburgh
Joined the lab: November 2018
Eric joined the lab in November of 2018 in his freshman fall semester and is currently working with David Augustine with a current focus on the Evolutionary Rate Covariation (ERC) project to validate new α – arrestin cargos by analyzing the localization and saturation of GFP-tagged cargo proteins lacking specific α – arrestins. In the future, he intends to enroll in medical school after completing his undergraduate studies. In his time out of lab, Eric enjoys reading Greek plays, swimming, and juggling
Joseph Crooks (Junior)
Originally from: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Currently pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences and a Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine
Joined the lab: January 2019
Joseph joined the lab in January 2019 during his sophomore year after spending a year as a Research Assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital and attending Northeastern University. He has not yet been assigned to a research project in the O’Donnell lab but has been assisting on many, and he will soon be paired with a graduate student based on his research interests. In the future, he plans to attend medical school after completing his undergraduate studies. In his free time, he is training to become an EMT and plays intramural soccer at the University of Pittsburgh. Joseph also loves the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine and enjoys reading books on astrophysics when he is not working in the lab.
Sydnie Davis (Sophomore)
Originally from: Sylvania, Ohio
Currently pursuing a degree in biology and chemistry with a minor in Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh
Joined the lab: January 2019
Sydnie joined the lab in January of 2019 during her freshman spring semester at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is assisting Ray Bowman in helping to procure quantitative assays of autophagy using the Pho8Δ60 assay in yeast. In the lab, Sydnie enjoys learning new procedures and how to research using yeast cultures! After completing her undergraduate studies, Sydnie intends to attend medical school. When not in the lab, you could find Sydnie participating in various clubs around campus, or curled up with a book in her dorm.
Oscar Chen (Sophomore)
Originally from: Edison, NJ
Currently pursuing a degree in biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Joined the lab: May 2019
Oscar joined the lab in the summer of 2019 as part of the HHMI Mentor/Mentee Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. He has been working on the Evolutionary Rate Covariation (ERC) project. His current focus is on defining the relationship between α-Arrestins and the protein cargo they regulate by assessing phenotypic changes via spot assays and fluorescence microscopy. After his undergraduate studies, Oscar intends to attend medical school. Outside of the laboratory, Oscar is an avid sports fan and proudly supports the New York Knicks. He loves to play basketball and bowling in his free time, and currently plays clarinet for the Pitt Orchestra.