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Meet the 2019 Class of Molecular Medicine PhD Students


In July, the Molecular Medicine PhD Program welcomed its 13th class to Lerner Research Institute. The program, part of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), involves class-based instruction, research rotations and the completion of an independent research thesis project. Core curriculum courses are taught on the Cleveland Clinic campus, with advanced electives available at both the Cleveland Clinic and CWRU campuses. With its inaugural class dating back to 2007, the program currently has 48 alumni who are pursuing postdoctoral fellowships, positions in industry, clinical research and medical school.

This year’s class of students has a variety of research experience and impressive credentials. The talented group includes:

  • Kristen Kay (front left): Kristen graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a BS in biological sciences. Previously, she worked as a research manager at the Taste and Feeding Lab at the University of Buffalo (The State University of New York). Kristen’s research interests include obesity and gut microbiota.
  • Lauren Haines (front, second from left): Lauren received a BS in biology from University of Mount Union in 2017 and a MS in biomedical research from University of Cincinnati in 2019. She completed her MS thesis at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Lauren’s research interests revolve around directed differentiation of human stem cells to study both developmental biology and disease pathogenesis.
  • Jean Clemenceau (front, second from right): Jean received a BS in informatics from Baylor University in 2013 and worked in cancer biology. Since 2017, he worked as a program analyst in Dr. Tae Hyun Hwang’s lab in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences. His research interests include oncology and computational biology.
  • Adya Sapra (front right): Adya received a Bachelor of Technology from Banastahali University (India) in 2015 and a MS in molecular biology and genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018. Before entering the program, she worked as a research technologist in Dr. Seth Corey’s lab in the Department of Cancer Biology. Adya is interested in bidirectional translational research.
  • Marko Mrdjen (back left): Marko received a BS in biology from Baldwin Wallace University in 2019. He has research experience from Ohio State University and Clemson University, where he participated in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. His research interests include microbiology and the gut microbiome.
  • Adriel Kim (back middle): Adriel received a BS in molecular and cell biology, as well as chemistry, from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. She also received a MS in diagnostic genetics from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2017. Before entering the program, Adriel worked as a clinical laboratory scientist at NeoGenomics Laboratories. Adriel is pursuing a PhD from the Molecular Medicine Program to become a board-certified laboratory genetics and genomics specialist and serve as a director of and researcher in a clinical laboratory.
  • Treg Grubb (back right): Treg received a BS in molecular genetics from Ohio State University in 2016. After completing his degree, he worked as a lab manager and research assistant in the radiation oncology lab of Dr. Monica Venere (Ohio State University). Treg desires to further his education and training in cancer research while he is pursuing a PhD in the Molecular Medicine Program.

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