Principle Investigator:
Jayakrishnan (JK) Nandakumar

Education: B.Sc., University of Calcutta, India

M.S., Indian Institute of Science, India

Ph. D., Memorial Sloan-KetteringInstitute / Cornell University

Postdoc: University of Colorado at Boulder

Research interests : Interested in all events occurring at the ends of chromosomes.

Postdoctoral fellows:
Val head shot
Valerie Tesmer
Kirsten Brenner
Ph.D. students:
Jacqueline Graniel (MSTP program; CDB cognate)
Ritvija Agrawal (MCDB Program)
Shilpa Padmanaban (MCDB Program)
Cassie Zuckerman (MCDB Program)
Jonathan Williams (MTSP, CMB)
Rotation students:
Undergraduate students:
Joanna Bird


Previous Ph.D. students in the lab:

Devon Pendlebury graduated from the Chemical Biology Ph.D. program in 2020. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Rob Spitale’s group at UC Irvine.

Sherilyn Grill graduated from the MCDB Ph.D. program in 2019. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Ruth Lehmann’s lab at the Whitehead Institute of MIT.

Eric Smith graduated from the Chemical Biology Ph.D. program in 2018 and is currently a postdoc in Dr. Iain Cheeseman’s lab at the Whitehead Insitute of MIT. Before that he was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Alfonso Mondragon’s lab at Northwestern University.

Hande Kocak (Ph.D.) completed her Ph.D. with Dr. Nandakumar (collaborator/co-mentor) and Dr. Catherine Keegan (primary mentor) in 2013 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Istanbul Bilim University in Turkey.


Previous postdoctoral fellows in the lab:

Kamlesh Bisht was a postdoctoral fellow from 2014-16. He is currently employed as a Senior Scientist, in Translational Development and Diagnostics at
Celgene Corp.
Summit, NJ.

Intekhab Alam was a postdoc in the lab from 2017-19 and is currently in Dr. Sudha Chakrapani’s lab at Case Western Reserve University.


Previous Masters students in the lab:

John Ochieng was a Cancer Chemical Biology Masters student in the lab.

Andrew Polzin (M.S.) completed his Masters in the lab and is now working with Epic in Verona, Wisconsin.


Previous Undergraduate students in the lab:

Jonathan Williams conducted his undergraduate honors thesis in the lab and then continued for one more year in the lab doing research. He is enrolled in the MSTP program at UM starting his MD-PhD in the fall of 2018. And guess what, he is back in the lab to do the Ph.D. phase of his MTSP degree! Welcome back, Jonathan!

Oana Danciu conducted undergraduate honors thesis research in the lab and graduated in 2019. She is pursuing her MD in the OSU in fall of 2019.

Nathan Fischer conducted undergraduate research in the lab.

Mayuresh Iyer conducted undergraduate research in the lab.

Jeff Kuhary conducted undergraduate research in the lab.

Previous rotation students:

Shadae Sutherland (MCDB Program)

Guanwei Zhou (Program in Chemical Biology PhD program)

Varsha Venkatarangan (MCDB Program)

Monika Franco (Chemical Biology Program)

Yongtong (Shero) Lao (Chemical Biology Program)

Lauren Koch (PIBS program)

Damian Gatica (MCDB program)

Jennifer Chik (PIBS program)

Shyama Nandakumar (MCDB program)

Janet Price (MCDB program)

Jacqueline Graniel (PIBS program)

Roop Jaffri (MCDB program)

Taylor Nye (PIBS program)

Group photographs

First lab retreat after COVID-19 shutdown. Trip to the beautiful Torch Lake of MI – September 2021
Last Lab Party before COVID-19 shutdown. January 2020.
Party at Valerie’s in November 2018.
Party at JK’s 2018 celebrating Eric’s graduation; and Jackie, Shilpa, and Ritvija joining the team.
Celebrating our R01 grant success – 2016
Lab pumpkin hunt – 2014
Yay! We are a Sustainable Lab!
Lab lunch in Summer of 2014 at Totoro
photo (9)
December 2013 lab lunch and Sheri’s birthday bash: From left to right: JK, Andy, Sheri, and Valerie.
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