Dr. Tao Cai received his Medical Doctor’s degree from Hunan Medical University in Changsha, China in 1990. After that, he worked as an attending doctor, and then associated professor in Xiangya Hospital, which was founded by the Yale-China Association in 1906. He also was an investigator at the National Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics of China. Since 1998, Dr. Cai jointed the National Institutes of Health as a Research Fellow and was appointed to Staff Scientist in 2001. In recent years, Dr. Cai worked on next-generation sequencing (NGS), medical genetics and bioinformatics analysis for identification of genetic etiology in undiagnosed rare diseases. Dr. Cai’s research interests include translational medicine and underlying mechanism of human diseases using mammalian cells and animal models, particularly the C. elegans model system.
Dr. Kropp received his B.A. in Molecular Biology in 2012 from Colgate University and his Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology & Biophysics in 2017 from Vanderbilt University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Maureen Gannon in his graduate career, Dr. Kropp investigated the role of cooperative transcription factors for regulation of gene networks that dictate cell fate in the developing mammalian pancreas. For his postdoctoral work, Dr. Kropp is examining the molecular, cellular, and systemic causes of Multiple Mitochondrial Dysfunctions Syndromes, a collection of rare diseases caused by mutations to Iron-Sulfur cluster biogenesis genes. This work seeks to understand the root causes of the diseases and to identify suppressors of the mutant phenotypes to better understand the co-regulatory factors of this pathway.
Xiaofei grew up in Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, China. He attended Inner Mongolia Agricultural University in Hohhot for his undergraduate studies, enrolling in the Fall of 2005 with a strong passion to be a molecular biologist. He graduated in 2009, majoring in Bioengineering. He then began his graduate work in Dr. Guojing Li’s lab to study the plant stress-resistance signaling pathway in Arabidopsis and soybean. In 2012, he graduated from the Department of Life Science at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University with a master’s degree. He then worked for the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science as a research assistant, and joined the lab of Dr. Tianfu Han in October 2012, where he worked on the safety detection of transgenic soybean. In 2013, he began his Ph.D. study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the lab of Dr. Joshua N. Bembenek to investigate the mechanisms of cytokinesis in C. elegans and received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 2018. Currently, he is characterizing the role of the fatty acid synthetase, FASN-1, during oogenesis and embryogenesis in C. elegans. He is also initiating a study to model a rare human disease with mechanosensitive defects.
Kerry Larkin, B.A.
Kerry received a B.A. with honors in Biology and Music from the College of the Holy Cross in 2020. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Michelle Mondoux’s lab to investigate how a high-glucose diet reduces male C. elegans fertility. Currently, as a post-bac in the Golden Lab, Kerry is modeling COPA Syndrome and Timothy Syndrome in C. elegans to better understand the genetic and cellular mechanisms of these rare genetic diseases.
Sydney received her B.A. in 2021 from McDaniel College with honors in Biology and a minor in Arabic. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Mark Van Doren’s lab at Johns Hopkins University to study the gene Tudor domain containing protein-5-like (Tdrd5l) in Drosophila melanogaster. Currently, in the Golden lab, she is modeling the rare diseases Zellweger syndrome and MEPAN syndrome in C. elegans.