Meet Our Students

2024 INPUT Awardees

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Anaya Garg

pic of Anaya

Hi Everyone! My name is Anaya Garg, and I am a freshman majoring in Human Physiology with a minor in Pharmacology. I have the amazing opportunity to work with Dr. Caroline Rowe and Dr. Yuk Sham on a project on the analysis of Bone Cortical Surface Modifications. This project encompasses the profiling of various human bones that will have various methods of trauma inflicted on them, such as cutmarks, and the topography of these changes would then be profiled. The data collected will be quantitatively analyzed to determine any trends and patterns. In addition to my interests in Forensic Pathology, some of my research interests also lie in Cardiology and Cancer Biology. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing ping pong, working out, dancing, and baking.

Lab: Yuk Sham and Caroline Rowe

Rachel Lin

rachel lin

Hi there! My name is Rachel Lin, I am a freshman majoring in Human Physiology at the University of Minnesota with a minor in Spanish Studies. Since the winter of 2023, I have been given an opportunity to work in Dr. Metzger’s lab. The focus of my research is on cardiac myocytes differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells). In our lab, the IPS cells have been edited to express and remove certain characteristics that can be measured with systems such as ionoptix, muscle motion, and fluorescence plate reader. The purpose of the cardiac myocytes is to replicate the real human heart tissue to study diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophythe focus of Metzger's lab. Outside the lab, I powerlift at the rec center and enjoy competing in USAPL competitions.

Lab: Metzger

Ibrahim (Ibby) Miyanoorwala


Hello everyone! My name is Ibby Miyanoorwala, and I am a sophomore majoring in Human Physiology. I am currently working in Dr. Sham’s lab, and the focus of my project is to better understand the molecular mechanism of ligand recognition, activation, and signaling bias of the C3aR receptor. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in medicine. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing basketball, video games, and watching the Minnesota Timberwolves and Vikings!

Lab: Yuk Sham

Sumithalakshmi Saravanan Tarun Balaji


Tarun Balaji is a human physiology major from Vellore, Tamil Nadu in India. Since Fall 2023, Tarun has been involved in studying the biomechanical aspects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the Metzger Lab. Tarun’s other research interests include Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP) and fetal/neonatal anemia. When he is not in the lab, Tarun is probably reading about new advances in sociolinguistics and second language acquisition.

Lab: Metzger

Luxi Tian


Hi! My name is Luxi Tian. I am a freshman majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with aspirations to pursue pharmacy school upon graduation. I am studying at the O'Connell Lab starting from Fall 2023. We focus on G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in heart failure and investigate the function of GPCRs in models ranging from molecular signaling in primary cultures of cardiac myocytes to whole animal physiology. Beyond my academic pursuits, I have many hobbies which include birdwatching, music, fishing, movies, biking, and the library.

Lab: O'Connell

2023 Awardees

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Ayana Benti

ayana Benti

My name is Ayana Benti, I am a junior studying kinesiology. A couple of my research interests include studying biomolecules, the muscular system and the workings of the intricate human body. This past spring (2023) I began to take a deeper look at the mdx mouse model in Professor Townsend’s lab, taking a deeper look at Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Research Interest: Skeletal muscle
Lab: Townsend

Emily Almanzar Berroa

Research Interest: Inflammation and disease
Lab: Revelo

Ifrah Aden

pic of Ifrah Aden

My name is Ifrah Aden, and I am an incoming Junior majoring in Human Physiology at the University of Minnesota, with aspirations of attending medical school post-graduation. Currently, I've had the honor of working at the Ruan lab, where I explore how aging impacts adipose tissue ketone metabolism. As we age, brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity decreases and white adipose tissue (WAT) fibrosis increases, contributing to cardiometabolic challenges. Investigating these changes might unveil strategies for better cardiometabolic health by harnessing liver-generated ketone bodies that encourage BAT thermogenesis and deter WAT fibrosis. In my free time, I enjoy going on long walks, baking, and traveling.

Research Interest: Adipose biology
Lab: Ruan

Lili Jampsa

Research Interest: Neurophysiology
Lab: Batchelor

Lynn Dinh

Research Interest: Inflammation and disease
Lab: Williams

Melissa Daniel

pic of melissa daniel

My name is Melissa Daniel and I am entering my junior year at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Human Physiology on a pre-PA track. My research interests include disorders of movement and skeletal muscle, which I have had the opportunity to learn more about in Dr. Metzger's lab, focusing on things like Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cancer cachexia. Outside of the lab, I enjoy shopping, weightlifting, and playing pool!

Research Interest: Skeletal muscle
Lab: Metzger