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ICOM Research Mentor Profiles

This guide provides mentor-curated information about their research interests, accomplishments, and how to work with them to conduct research.

Lab Group News!

2022/03/15: OMSII SDs Taylor Barton and Vishal Patel finish their MRG projects (which were continued via RIS9002 in Fall 2021).

2022/03/04: Congratulations to the four lab members, who each presented at the 2022 ICOM Research Day!

2022/January: Congratulations to Caston Banham and Mindy Hoang for joining the lab!

2021/06/01: OMS-I Student Doctors Taylor Barton and Vishal Patel begin summer Mentored Research Grant projects!

2021/05/26: Congratulations to me, for making this template!



To join the Wells lab group, email Dr. Wells ( with a message explaining your interest and goals.

(This section could include information about lab alumni achievements, lab achievements, grant awards, papers, skills/training gained, etc.)

My Experiences

My CV is provided below. (Could describe instead.)

Link to NIH NCBI My Bibliography (or discipline equivalent).

Research Description

Research Interests: Bioinformatics, Clinical Health Informatics, Mosquitoes, Molecular Biology, Genetics.

Current and Future Research Projects

Project #1: Meta-analysis of genome-wide mosquito expression and sequence data

            Mosquitoes have existed for hundreds of millions of years. They possess incredible genomic plasticity (variability in DNA sequence), and mosquitoes transmit pathogens (microbes and viruses) that lead to around one million people worldwide each year. An ever-growing amount of genome-wide data [DNA sequence: DNA-seq, gene expression (cDNA microarray, RNA-seq), developmental timing, tissues, drug treatments) has been accumulated and is publicly available for analysis. There is a lack of resources available to describe gene similarities to other species, let alone correlate these genome-wide data sets. By looking across multiple data sets, using tools like Galaxy ( and Chipster (, we can pinpoint marker genes, important trends, therapeutic targets, basic biological mechanisms, and more in a robust manner using computer power. Many diverse analyses can be conducted. This project involves learning and using bioinformatics skills and analysis. 


Project #2: Meta-analysis of biomedical data to investigate a clinical issue

            The tools used in this aim can be applied to additional research topics, including publicly available human data. If interested, please set up a meeting with me to discuss additional possibilities. We can use the Mac Pro Research Computer and programs like Galaxy, Chipster, and AltAnalyze to look across many studies of human gene expression and DNA sequence information to pull out key biomarkers and hypotheses for further analysis using a clinical meta-analysis approach. Student doctors drive topic selection in this project, based on their interests and a discussion with Dr. Wells. Current such projects are focused on sepsis/septic shock and bariatric surgery outcomes.


Project # 3: Creating a Genome-Wide RNAi Library Targeting a Mosquito Species

            RNAi has been an insightful tool in reverse genetics for around two decades. In worm models, researchers feed worms bacteria producing a dsRNA targeting a gene of interest to degrade transcribed RNAs. In mosquitoes, such an approach would vastly accelerate our understanding of their basic biology, as well as screens used to identify new drugs and drug targets. We will construct an RNAi library in E. coli cells using digested mosquito genomic DNA fragments. Once completed and validated, this resource will be a product that can be marketed and sold to distributors to facilitate acquisition by labs all over the world working on mosquito research. This project involves bioinformatics, molecular cloning, and related laboratory techniques.


Project #4: Culture of Cells Derived from Mosquito Salivary Glands and Midguts

            Every disease transmitted from mosquitoes to humans must pass through the midgut and salivary glands of the mosquito. These are organs where required interactions and developmental steps occur for the pathogen, and areas that are/can be targeted by various interventions aimed to block disease transmission. Also, mosquito saliva contains important molecules that help to mask the activity of the mosquito as it takes a blood meal from mammalian skin. Maintaining whole, live mosquitoes can be cumbersome and time-consuming, but by culturing cells from these key tissues, we can learn about their basic biology (including how these cells secrete) and more efficiently test new treatment strategies. This project involves tissue culture techniques.

Lab Protocols

For both informatics and benchwork.

Lab Resources & Useful Websites

Lab Notebook Expectations: Please read THIS, then let's discuss individual needs further.



Research-Related Service and Outreach

ICOM Impact Research Seminar and Journal Club Panopto Recordings:

02/08/2021 - Journal Club 1 (Dr. Kern, Endocrine Metabolism)

02/10/2021 - Research Seminar 1 (Dr. Philip Kern, Endocrine Metabolism, Role of Clinician Researcher)

02/15/2021 - Journal Club 2 (Dr. Rohn, Alzheimer's Disease)

02/17/2021 - Research Seminar 2 (Dr. Troy Rohn, ApoE4 Genetics in Alzheimer's Disease)

03/01/2021 - Journal Club 3 (Dr. Shah, COVID-19 and CVD)

03/03/2021 - Research Seminar 3 (Dr. Kevin Shah, CV effects of COVID-19, AND thoughts on research and mentorship)

03/29/2021 - Journal Club 4 (Dr. Hunt, Common Endocrine Disruptor Exposures)

03/31/2021 - Research Seminar 4 (Dr. Patricia Hunt, BPA Exposure and Loss of Fertility)

09/29/2021 - Research Seminar 5 (Dr. Gunes Uzer, Mechanobiology of Stem Cells in Bone)

02/10/2022 - Research Seminar 6 (Gaines Blasdel, Research Associate (NYU), Patient Inclusion in Endpoints of Gender Affirming Surgery) [Slides]

08/18/2022 - Research Seminar 7 (Ron Oberleitner, MBA; Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board) Behavior Imaging Solutions.

10/10/2022 - Research Seminar 8 (Lauren Dowden, MSW, LCSW) Medical Improv: A versatile communication tool.

10/24/2022 - Research Seminar 9 (Tracye Lawyer, MD, PhD; St. Luke's) Knotless Cartilage Repair Surgical Technique Research.

12/1/2022 - Research Seminar 10 (Francesc Marti, PhD; University of Kentucky) Advancing Regulatory T Cell Therapy in Solid Organ Transplantation.

1/19/2023 - Research Seminar 11 (Kurt Nillsson, MD; St. Luke's Hospital, Boise) Is Football Dangerous? Assessing repetitive head impacts in youth football.

2/2/2023 - Research Seminar 12 (Kevin Miller, DO) Can chronic disease be prevented? Investigating what is known and possible areas for future research in diabetes prevention.

5/16/2023 - Research Seminar 13 (Tanya Miura, PhD) When two viruses are better than one: Co-infection in the respiratory tract.

9/21/2023 - Research Seminar 14 (Hillary Swann-Thomsen, PhD) Supporting Maternal Wellness: Maternal Mental Health and the Role of the Health System.

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