People

Nick Pannunzio, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Nick received his Ph.D. from the City of Hope in Genetics and Molecular Biology studying mechanisms of homologous recombination. His post-doctoral training was performed at the University of Southern California where he contributed to the understanding of several biochemical aspects of the non-homologous end-joining DNA repair pathway and how DNA breaks in human B cells can result in chromosomal translocations common in many B cell malignancies. The current focus of the Pannunzio Lab is to understand how DNA sequence and torsional stress combine with endogenous sources of DNA damage to lead to these translocations. This research has direct implications for preventing and treating several human cancers.

Valeria Rangel – Lab Manager & Assistant

Valeria received her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Arizona State University and is currently the lab manager and assistant for the Pannunzio Lab. She discovered her passion for science at a very young age and has since decided to dedicate herself to the world of scientific research and innovation. Her plans for the future include furthering her education by earning a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry. During her free time, Valeria enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as taking long walks and watching the sunset.

Sarah Lee – Undergraduate Researcher

Sarah is a third year Bio Sci major at UC Irvine. Through research, Sarah wishes to learn more on how advancing scientific knowledge can help others. She hopes to see herself serving her community as a practicing physician in the future. Outside of school, Sarah loves to draw comics, play tennis, and play video games with friends. She also has a cool cat named Nabi that likes science too!   

Melissa Folkerts – Junior Research Specialist

Melissa received her B.Sc. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA and is currently a Jr. Specialist for the Pannunzio Lab. She has always known that she would pursue a career in research and plans to continue her education with a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the near future. Though science is her main focus, Melissa also likes to enjoy her time watching comedy video podcasts and baking shows with her friends or pup, Rocky.

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