Virtual Student Social

Our students Megan, Dylan, David, Gian Paolo, and Stefanie got together on Zoom to play the game Among Us, a strategy game where players have to work together to figure out who is the impostor. We are grateful for technology to allow us to still build memories while being 6 feet (or more) apart!

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Pumpkin Carving Student Social

GPGG students David, Taylor, and Megan carved pumpkins on the BUSM lawn to get into the Halloween spirit and to appreciate one of our last warm days. Our students' skills go beyond the lab, check out those carving designs! We love finding this time to be together!

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Recent Student Defense

Stefanie Chan successfully defended her thesis titled “Targeting Triple Negative Breast Cancer  (TNBC) Subpopulations to Elucidate Novel Targeted Therapies” on September 11, 2020. While it was over Zoom, Stefanie did a great job and talked about the community BU has been for her. Congratulations, Stefanie!

Trip to BodyWorlds!

On Nov 25th, 2019, all current GPGG students were able to make it out for a day trip to explore the human body at Boston's own Museum of Science BodyWorlds Exhibit. The students got to see a variety of systems up close and personal while enjoying the science in an interactive space. This was a great opportunity for students to observe how genetics and genomics affect the body in a 'big picture' setting while also getting a refresher of how the human body works outside of their focused area of research.

Recent Student Defenses Nov 2019

The Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics is proud to have 2 students successfully defend their thesis in the month of November 2019! A huge congratulations goes to both of them and the GPGG wishes them the best of luck on their job hunt!


Barry K. Horne Jr successfully defended his dissertation thesis “The Roles of Interferon Regulatory Factor 5 and Interleukin-1 Receptor-Associated Kinase 4 in Lupus Pathogenesis” on Nov 18, 2019. Barry was a member of the Bonegio laboratory at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), and during his third and fourth years at BUSM he also completed a two year academic “Immunology Training Program” (ITP) Predoctoral Fellowship. Barry’s doctoral research focused on the contributions of two suspect genes to the pathogenesis of the autoimmune disease Lupus.


Barry is passionate about science in general, and he greatly enjoys teaching, advocacy, and policy. His long-term goal is to take the scientific knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and multiple communication skills that he acquired while working on his PhD and translate them into a career in either education, politics / science policy, scientific public outreach, or science advocacy.

Check out his defense here!


BU Profile:


ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2770-6719

Dr. Barry Jr. Horne on the far right





Jiayi Wu Cox presented on “Genetic and Environmental Prediction of Opioid Cessation Using Machine Learning, GWAS, and a Mouse Model” on Nov 22, 2019.

Jiayi Cox defended her thesis titled “Genetic and Environmental Prediction of Opioid Cessation Using Machine Learning, GWAS, and a Mouse Model” on Nov 22, 2019, after 4 years of her Ph. D research.  Jiayi was a founder of BU MED Campus Biomedical Machine Learning Community and the student representative of the section of Biomedical Genetics at Boston University. She received a full scholarship from Transformative Training Program in Addiction Science (TTPAS), this program prepares doctoral students to apply diverse approaches to addiction research using both population genetics and animal model. Jiayi did two internships doing her doctoral research, one at Biogen as a statistical geneticist intern and one at an MIT startup as a machine learning engineer intern.

Jiayi loves exploring different machine learning approaches and analyzing various data to tell stories. She currently works at Kintai Therapeutics as a machine learning scientist.

Check out her defense here!

Dr. Jiayi Wu Cox with her thesis defense council

CluedUpp Detective Day

Have you participated in a Clued Upp Detective Day before? On October 19th, 2019 a handful of the GPGG students were able to make to participate in a day of investigation and had the opportunity to put their critical thinking skills to use! The group got to explore downtown Boston and take a stroll through history as part of this fun, explorative activity. Using facts that they acquired from various landmarks, and clues given from a variety of witnesses, they were eventually able to crack the case. There was some trial and error but eventually they solved the murder!

Keep your eyes peeled for our next student social activity - you'll never know where you'll find us next!

PiBS Showcase

The GPGG students presenting on their research to first-year PiBS students  (2019)! There's lots of hustle and bustle regarding a wide-range of interesting topics. 

New Student Laptops

For the first time in GPGG history, the Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics is now able to provide laptops for student use throughout the lifetime of earning their PhD! Through the co-sponsorship with the Genome Science Institute at Boston University School of Medicine, we are proud to be able to aid students in our program with the tools and resources that they need to best facilitate their research. Starting as of June 2019, each new student joining the Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics will be administered a brand-new, University-owned laptop for the duration of their Ph.D.!

Check out how excited our newest Ph.D. candidates are about the new student laptops!

Gian Sepulveda


Megan Snyder


Taylor Matte

Escape Room Group Outing


Top Row (Left to Right): Megan Snyder, Stefanie Chan, Shoumita Dasgupta
Bottom Row: (Left to Right): Taylor Matte, Barry Horne, Gian Sepulveda, Emily Piontek


The Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics had a wonderful kickoff to summer with a group outing to Trapology in downtown Boston, which is a local Escape Room with various storylines. Utilizing real analytical thinking, the group was able to successfully escape the room with 7 minutes and 10 seconds to spare in a storyline that had only a 25% success rate! It was an extra special social activity due to the fact it was the first outing to include our newest GPGG students - Megan Snyder and Taylor Matte! A warm welcome to these new students and we are looking forward to more fun in the future at our next group activity.

Faculty Promotions – Associate Professor

Big congratulations are in order for the recent promotions of two GPGG faculty members - Dr. Hui Feng and Dr. Valentina Perissi! On May 15, 2019, it was announced that they each have been promoted to Associate Professor status.

The formal BUMC announcement notes each of their research focuses and accomplishments:

Hui Feng, MED, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine, established the Zebrafish Genetics and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory using zebrafish to genetically screen for potential therapeutic targets for human cancers, based on tumor suppressive phenotypes. Dr. Feng's research studies how cancer cells adapt to cellular and microenvironmental stress and evade immune surveillance in zebrafish. Dr. Feng also collaborates with chemists to develop small molecule compounds to inhibit MYC-driven cancer aggressiveness. Current extramural funding includes an existing R01 and foundation grants (including one from the American Cancer Society) and has published articles in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Cell BiologyCancer Cell and Leukemia.

Click here for more information on my research and background!

Valentina Perissi, MED, Biochemistry, is a molecular and cell biologist whose NIH- and DOD-supported work investigates the interplay between inflammation and metabolism in the context of breast cancer and obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes. Dr. Perissi’s research investigates the mechanism of its actions in adipogenesis and has uncovered a critical, non-transcriptional role for GPS2 in regulating the enzymatic activity of the TRAF2/CIAP1/Ubc13 ubiquitin conjugating complex. The Perissi lab uses tissue-specific mouse models to study how the different components of the NCoR complex contribute to broadly regulate the cellular responses to external stimulation by acting in different cellular compartments to modulate hormonal and inflammatory pathways. Dr. Perissi is also the Co-Director of the Adipose Tissue Biology and Nutrient Metabolism Core  in the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

Click here for more information on my research and background!

The Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics is very proud to have members that are dedicated to advancing genetics and genomics research while also recognizing them for their vast, overall accomplishments. We can't wait to see what your futures have in store and look forward to your future scientific accomplishments!