Illustrations by Lindsey Leigh


Sydney Popsuj

Sydney is a Biology PhD student interested in evolutionary-developmental biology (Evo-Devo). She is looking forward to studying the nuances and impacts of evolutionary loss on development in tailed and tailless tunicates. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Biology at Agnes Scott College. During her time as an undergraduate, she focused on the development of marine invertebrates and specifically looked into regeneration ability in annelids. In her spare time Sydney enjoys playing cello, thrifting, and cooking. 


Kwantae Kim

Kwantae was born in Seoul and raised in Cheonan, Korea. He discovered his interest in Biology while studying at Chungnam Science High School. After getting his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Seoul National University, he pursued a career in biological research by working at government research institutes, including the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). After 5 years of research focusing on protein signaling pathways in aging and cancer, he decided to start a new journey in neuroscience, joining the Biology PhD program at Georgia Tech. During his free time, he enjoys listening to music, reading, traveling, and cooking.


Jiachen “Nicole” Duan

Nicole is originally from Dalian, China. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Trinity College. After some intensive in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry during her undergraduate research on arthropod segmentation (see paper here and thesis here), she has now switched gears and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics at Georgia Tech. Nicole’s current project, supported by a GRA award from the School of Biological Sciences, looks for transcriptome changes in the tunicate nervous system by comparing single-cell RNAseq data from different embryonic stages. She is also an amateur boxer.


C.J. Johnson

C.J. is a Biology PhD student studying cell type identity and function in the papillae that are required for settlement and metamorphosis of Ciona larvae.


Florian Razy-Krajka

Florian is a postdoc interested in the evolution and post-metamorphic development of neurectoderm derivatives.


Susanne Gibboney

Susanne graduated in 1992 from Georgia State University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She did research there in Walter Walthall's lab, working to map genes important for neuromuscular control in nematode worms. After managing a retail store for thirty years, she is excited to be back in biology and working on tunicates. When she is not working she enjoys traveling, playing music, and collecting sea shells.


Elijah Lowe

Elijah is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Morehouse College. Through his participation in summer research programs he discovered his interest in combining his computational skillset with biology. He then went on to receive a PhD from Michigan State University in Computer Science focusing on computational biology and evolution and development. Following the PhD, Elijah worked for 3 years in Naples, Italy as postdoctoral researcher at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn. Outside of research Elijah enjoys traveling, watching/quoting movies, and loves food.

Alberto Stolfi

Alberto was born in California, where he spent his childhood before moving to Brazil. He did his undergrad at Cornell University and his PhD in molecular and cell biology at Berkeley under the supervision of Mike Levine. He comes to Tech from New York University, where he was a postdoc in Lionel Christiaen's lab. Alberto enjoys spending time with family, writing and playing music, and suffering with his hometown Oakland A's baseball team.

Undergraduate researchers:

Jameson Orvis (PURA recipient)

Celine Jarvis (CoS Dean’s Internship recipient)

Nefatiti Anderson (Spelman College)

Leslie Cohen (ECSEL student)

Former members:

Sarthak Sharma


Sarthak did research in the lab from 2017-2018 while pursuing the MS in Bioinformatics, using Machine Learning applications to analyze large datasets of gene expression in single cells from the Tunicate nervous system (see papers). During this time, he earned various honors including the MS Bioinformatics Graduate Research Assistantship (twice) and the J. Leland Jackson Outstanding Bioinformatic Master’s Student Fellowship. Upon graduating, he accepted a software engineer position in the biotech industry. To know more about his past projects and experiences, head over to his personal website.

How to join

Although we do not have current funding for postdocs at the moment, if you are interested in potential future postdoctoral opportunities with our group, please send us an e-mail to discuss ideas and plans. We are open to working together with recent or near graduates to craft relevant postdoctoral fellowship proposals, such as those from NSF. We’d love to hear from you!

We are also no longer recruiting graduate students, sorry! If you are interest in Georgia Tech graduate programs, check out:

Ph.D in Biology

Ph.D in Quantitative Biosciences

Ph.D in Bioinformatics

MS in Bioinformatics

If you’d like, send us an e-mail if you have any questions or just want to know about the latest updates to our various projects.

We are not actively seeking support staff or undergraduate researchers at this moment. Sorry! Please check back for future openings.

email us at: hi “at” tunicates “dot” org