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Hyejung Won, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the Department of Genetics and the Neuroscience Center. I completed my Ph.D. in Dr. Eunjoon Kim's lab at KAIST, where I investigated the underlying mechanism of neurodevelopmental disorders using genetically modified mouse models. I then did my postdoctoral studies at UCLA in Dr. Dan Geschwind's lab, where I performed genome-wide analyses of chromosome conformation in human brain. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Won Ma, PhD

I got my Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Eunjoon Kim at KAIST. During my PhD, I studied molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD and ASD, by generating and characterizing genetically modified animal models. After I completed my PhD, I became an Assistant Professor at the Dentistry Department of Kyungpook National University. There, I studied synaptic structures in the trigeminal nerve using an electron microscope based technique.

I joined the Won lab as I wanted to expand my horizon by tackling important questions in Neurogenetics. 

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Nana Matoba, PhD

I earned my B.S. from Kyushu Institute of Technology (Dept. Biochemical Science and Engineering). After five years of experience as a system administrator/software engineer at Mitsubishi Space Software Co., Ltd, I earned M.S. in Medical Science from Saitama Medical University. I completed PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Tokyo under Dr. Tadafumi Kato, where I studied genetics of bipolar disorder through whole exome sequencing of trio families. Then, I studied GWASs of lifestyle related phenotypes in BioBank Japan Project at the Lab for Statistical Analysis, RIKEN under Dr. Yoichiro Kamatani. I will be jointly advised by Dr. Jason Stein at UNC. I am interested in studying the genetic components of human behaviors. 

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Jiseok Lee, PhD

I got my Ph.D. in Dr. Eunjoon Kim’s lab in KAIST, where I studied the molecular and physiological mechanisms altered in autism mouse models. I then joined Dr. Alison Barth’s lab in Carnegie Mellon University, where I studied how neocortical circuits change during sensory learning in mice. Over the course, I developed an interest in functional genomics and bioinformatics, and I joined the Won lab to expand my expertise. In the Won lab, I will be studying how genetic perturbation of disease-risk genes affects gene expression networks. Outside work, I like to go birdwatching, swimming, and ice skating. 

Graduate Student

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Nancy Sey

I am a graduate student in the Neuroscience Curriculum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I obtained my B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Va. My undergraduate research focused on understanding the effects of racial discrimination on health of African Americans. With an interest in furthering my scientific training, I joined UNC’s Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and studied the effects of adolescent alcohol use on behavior flexibility. I plan to further my interest in substance use studies in the Won Lab by investigating the comorbidity between neuropsychiatric disorders and substance use. I enjoy participating in science outreach programs outside of the lab.

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Marielle Bond

I am a graduate student in the Genetics and Molecular Biology Curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill, jointly advised by Dr. Doug Phanstiel. I also attended UNC Chapel Hill as an undergraduate student, graduating in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology. My undergraduate research was with Dr. Adrienne Cox in the Pharmacology Department, investigating the role of oncogenic RAS in melanoma. I went on to work as the Phanstiel Lab manager and technician for 2 years before applying to graduate school, where I studied the timing of regulatory events such as chromatin looping, gene expression, and chromatin accessibility during megakaryocyte development. In the Won lab I will work towards identifying genes contributing to Alzheimer’s Disease risk.

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Sool Lee

I am a graduate student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill. I have obtained my B.S. in Molecular Biology - Biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and obtained my M.S. in Bioinformatics at the Northeastern University. Prior to attending UNC, I have worked with Drs. Pete Castaldi and Craig Hersh on COPDGene Study at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital using GWAS and RNA-sequencing data to investigate the underlying genetic factors of  COPD. This experience made me appreciate the complexity of our biological systems and realize how difficult it is to pinpoint causal alleles, particularly for non-coding variants. In the Won lab, I will use Massively Parallel Reporter Assay (MPRA) to identify variants directly modulating the gene expression and to improve our understanding of the regulatory relationships between the non-coding genome and psychiatric illnesses. 

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Jessica McAfee

I am a graduate student under the Genetics and Molecular Biology program (GMB). I earned my B.S. in Biology at UNC Chapel Hill in 2017. My undergraduate research focused on using CRISPR/Cas9 on Arabidopsis thaliana. I went on to work at a plant pathology lab at NC State University, and then lived in Japan for a year. I was then a lab manager and research associate for Drs. Hyejung Won and Jason Stein UNC-CH for a few years. I am continuing my research in the Won lab as a graduate student to decipher the noncoding genome and the role it plays in brain disorders such as psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Rachel Sharp

I am a graduate student in the Neuroscience Curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill, pursuing a certificate in Computational Biology, and jointly advised by Dr. Michael Love. I obtained a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma where I was a lab manager in an EEG lab studying the effects of iron deficiency on dopaminergic reward learning. I then worked as a bioinformatician at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Core Facilities, where I performed computational analysis of sequencing studies for PIs across the campus, primarily in fields related to diabetes and oncology. In the Won lab, I will study genetic mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders using GWAS, MPRA, and QTL datasets.

Lab Manager

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Jessica Bell

I joined the Won Lab in 2021 as a Research Technician. In 2018, I graduated from Dickinson College with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Biology. My undergraduate research focused on the development and activation of central respiratory chemoreceptors and the onset of respiratory related behaviors in embryonic mice. After graduation, I worked for two years as a Research Assistant for Dr. Mary Whitman and Dr. Elizabeth Engle at Boston Children’s Hospital studying genetic and environmental factors driving axon guidance in the developing oculomotor system. I joined the Won Lab to contribute to research focused on understanding the genetic basis of various neurological disorders.

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Tatiana Ulloa

I joined the Won Lab as a Research Technician in April of 2022 upon graduating from Dickinson College in February of 2022 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During the summer of 2021, I interned at Dr. Arturo Alvarez-Buylla’s lab in UCSF, where I helped a postdoc in a project that aimed to characterize a novel population of neural stem cells that are thought to be capable of neurogenesis in the adult mouse brain. The classes I took while earning my undergraduate degree, along with the wet lab experience that I gained at Dr. Alvarez-Buylla’s lab, helped me find my passion for human genetics and epigenetics. In the future, I hope to be able to enroll in a graduate program that allows me to further explore my interests and become a more knowledgeable and well-rounded researcher.

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Trent Ledford

I joined the lab before my graduation from the UNC Chapel Hill in the spring of 2022 as a student assistant before being converted to the position of research technician. My B.S. degree is in biology (quantitative track) with a minor in chemistry and I was part of the Honors Carolina program. I joined the lab in order to gain more research experience and learn more about various molecular biology techniques while also learning more about the genetic basis of neurological disorders.  Ultimately, I want to pursue a PhD in genetics or an adjacent field.

Undergraduate Researcher

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Ellen Hu

I’m a junior from Cary, NC, majoring in Biostatistics and minoring in Chem and Math. I hope to enter the Biostats industry as a statistician for clinical research, Quantitative Pharma, or Epidemiology. I joined the Won lab to experience the research process firsthand and expand my computational skills to genetics. In my free time, I love experimenting with all 2D art mediums, especially painting.

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Elisa Ma

I am a junior majoring in Biostatistics and Applied Mathematics and minoring in Biology at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Through my studies in public health and biostatistics, I developed an interest in genetics and biological sciences. I joined the Won Lab to gain wet lab experience and use my computational skills to better understand the genetic basis of neurological disorders. After graduation, I hope to go to medical school and continue my studies in Computational Biology.

Alumni

Postdoctoral Researcher
Benxia Hu
Yanqiong Zhang

Postbaccalaureate Researcher
Zipporiah Bush
Research Technicians
Mary Patrucco
Undergraduate Researcher
Huaigu Sun
Alice Yu
David Peery