back: Danyan Li, Josien van Wolfswinkel, Carmen Conroy

front: David Taylor, Brian Jones, Cliff Aquino




Josien van Wolfswinkel received her M.Sc. in Cell Biology from Utrecht University, Netherlands. For her graduate research she worked in the laboratories of Ronald Plasterk, Albert Heck, and Rene Ketting at Utrecht University and the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology to study the molecular mechanism of RNA interference in the nematode C. elegans. After her postdoctoral research on planarian regeneration in the lab of Peter Reddien at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research / MIT, she has started her own lab in the Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, working on the RNA biology of stem cells.



David Taylor




David graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology from Hampden-Sydney College, and obtained his PhD in the department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University. His graduate work in the laboratory of Dr Soloway focused on the involvement of the piRNA pathway in imprinting in mouse. David is interested in other regulatory roles of non-coding RNAs and was instantly fascinated by planarians and their neoblasts. In the Van Wolfswinkel lab he studies the implications of the lncRNAs on neoblast function.

Brian Jones




Brian obtained his B.Sc. from Fairfield University and went on to earn a PhD in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University. As a graduate student in the lab of Dr Helfand, he discovered a role for the piRNA pathway in the Drosophila fat body, and investigated the effects of ageing on transposon control. In the Van Wolfswinkel lab he is studying the role of mitochondria in stem cell biology.



Graduate Students

Danyan Li




Danyan received her B.Sc. from Peking University and came to Yale as a graduate student in the Yale World Scholars BBS program. After gaining experience in molecular biology by working on Post Transcriptional Gene Silencing in Arabidopsis, she has now switched her focus to the dynamics of planarian stem cells. 

Danyan is an avid jogger and a big fan of chocolate cake.



Postgraduate associates

Carmen Maria Conroy




Carmen obtained her B.Sc. in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Her diverse undergraduate research experiences included the mapping of malaria transmission hotspots in Kenya, the effect of phytochemicals in melanoma treatment, and the study of the TGF-b pathway in traumatic brain injury, and the role of macrophages in lung regeneration. In the Van Wolfswinkel lab, Carmen is interested in the neoblast response to genotoxic stress.

Carmen likes to bring sunshine and caffeine wherever she goes.

Rachel Savage


Rachel obtained her B.A. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Wesleyan University and as a Beckman Foundation National Scholar explored the thermodynamic stability of complex DNA molecules. Developing novel intricate methods is her second nature, and this is what she focuses on in the Van Wolfswinkel lab.

Rachel also makes sure our worms get exposed to a healthy dose of jazz music and an occasional philosophical discussion.

Summer 2016


 back: Susanna Liu, Josien van Wolfswinkel

front: Carmen Conroy, Shiyuan Mao, Kwasi Enin