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Principal Investigator

Kathy Gould

Professor, Cell & Developmental Biology

Dr. Gould received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego and performed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Paul Nurse at Oxford University.  Shortly after establishing her own laboratory to study cell cycle control at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Gould became an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is currently the Louise B. McGavock Professor.

She is the associate dean for Biomedical Sciences and the director of the Office of Graduate Student Support.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Rahul Bhattacharjee

Rahul was born in Kolkata, India. He received his PhD from Kent, Ohio where he studied the biochemical basis of the role of GSK3a in sperm function and male fertility. Currently he is interested in the regulation of cytokinesis. Outside the lab, Rahul loves cooking Indian food, spending time with friends and watching sports.


Jitender Singh Bisht

Jitender was born in Almora, Uttrakhand but grew up in New Delhi, India. He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences at the University of Wyoming. His dissertation research was mainly focused on the interphase and mitotic stages of the cell cycle. Currently, he is interested in the molecular pathways that govern the process of cytokinesis. Outside the lab, Jitender enjoys trekking, fishing, cooking, and watching TV shows


Sierra Cullati

Sierra is originally from Baltimore, MD, then traveled to Florida to earn her bachelors at Florida Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. from Dartmouth, where she used a combination of quantitative phosphoproteomics and cell biology to study NIMA-related kinase signaling in mitosis. She is excited to be in Nashville and to enter the wonderful world of yeast! Outside of the lab, Sierra enjoys cooking, hiking, and running 5ks.


Alaina Willet

Alaina was born in Connecticut and raised close to Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee.  She received her Bachelor's degree from The University of Tennessee and came straight to Vanderbilt for graduate school. She defended her thesis in July 2017 and continues in the Gould Lab as a postdoctoral researcher. Currently she has a broad interest in the regulation of cytokinesis. Outside of lab she enjoys the outdoors, playing soccer, reading and cooking. 


Graduate Students

Rodrigo Guillen

Rodrigo was born in Peru and raised in Toronto, Canada and Raleigh, NC. He received his Bachelor’s degree from UNC-CH. He spent two years at the NIH before moving to Nashville and joining the lab. Rodrigo is interested in using phosphoproteomics and microscopy to study mitotic signaling. Outside of the lab, Rodrigo enjoys going on hikes, playing frisbee golf and cooking.


Tony Rossi

Graduate Student, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Tony was born in Decatur, Alabama and received his Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College. He is interested in the regulation of contractile ring formation and disassembly. Outside of the lab he enjoys fishing, homebrewing, and Alabama football.


Chloe Snider

Chloe comes to the Gould lab for her PhD studies by way of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her B.S. in Biology. Her current studies are focused on mechanisms of cytokinetic ring anchoring to the plasma membrane. When outside of the lab, Chloe enjoys reading, hiking, playing tennis, and cheering on the Tar Heels. You can find her on Twitter (@SnowyClider) where she enjoys reading the commentary of other scientists.


Support Staff

Jun-Song Chen

Senior Research Specialist,

Jun-Song Chen was born in China but he came to the USA to pursue his "American dream" after he got his Ph.D. degree in Shanghai. He is studying proteins involved in cell cycle regulation, one of which is the newly identified protein, Nsk1. When not in the lab, his favorite thing to do is taking road trips with his family to look around "Mei Guo" (the Chinese translation for America meaning "beautiful country"), even when he has to carry "a little burden"—his son Roger.


Maya Igarashi

Research Assistant,

Maya was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.¬†Outside of lab she enjoys crafting, knitting, and taiko (traditional Japanese drumming).


Liping Ren

Senior Research Specialist,

Liping was born in Shanghai, China. She is researching pre-mRNA splicing and regulation of cytokinesis. In her leisure time, she enjoys gardening and hiking with her family.


Emma Stevens

Research Assistant, ,

Emma was born on Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. She attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where she graduated in 2018 with a degree in biology and minor in french. She comes to us after having spent a gap year studying abroad in Grenoble, France. In her free time Emma writes, sings, and plays the piano. Emma hopes to pursue graduate studies in the future after her time as research assistant in the Gould lab.