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Lab Personnel

Dr. Scott Weber
BYU_1909-71 086
Principle Investigator
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology
LinkedInGoogle scholar, and  ResearchGate pages

Received his bachelor and master degrees from Brigham Young University in 1998 and 2000 and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 2005 studying under Dave Kranz. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Paul Allen at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, he was a Research Instructor at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis before coming to Brigham Young University in 2012.

Research interests: Helper T cell activation and improving immune response to infection.
Hobbies: Triathlons, basketball, hiking, and saving the world one T cell at a time.
Kiara Vaden Whitley
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Graduate Student

Kiara graduated from BYU-Idaho with a B.S. in Biology in 2014 and worked for a year as an adjunct professor teaching Human Anatomy at BYU-Idaho.

Research Interest: T cell affinity in memory responses and immunotherapies
Hobbies: Hiking, swimming, four-wheeling, shooting, cooking (Asian food), and anything nerdy!

Tina Tavana
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Graduate Student

Tina graduated from Brigham Young University-Hawaii with a B.S. in Biology in 2003 and completed an MBA with an emaphasis in Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix in 2009.​

Research: Prevention, diagnosis, and the genetic basis of Alzheimer's and rheumatic heart diseaseHobbies: Basketball, golf, traveling, and spending time with family.

Topher Haynie
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Undergraduate student

Research interests: T cell metabolism and immunotherapy
Hobbies: Playing in the cougar marching band

Lucie Dearden
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Undergraduate student 

Research interests: Alzheimer’s disease and the human immune system 
Hobbies: baking, playing the piano, scuba diving, and sleeping

Jessica Elmer
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Undergraduate student 

Research interests: Inflammation and peridontal disease
Hobbies: Running, soccer, hiking, four-wheeling, and spending time wth family

Yuko Sperry
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Undergraduate student 

Research interests: Inflammation and peridontal disease
Hobbies: Hiking, doing puzzles, watching documentaries, and eating raman

Joshus Teasdale
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Undergraduate student 

Research interests: Immunotherapies, gene therapies, genetic basis for Alzheimer's disease
Hobbies: Exploring the untamed wilds, piano, cooking, board games, running, archery, skiing, longswording

Alexa Tall
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Undergraduate student 

Research interests: Molecular basis of T cell activation
Hobbies: Listening to music, going to concerts, and singing to myself. 

Weber Lab Alumni
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Dr. Deborah Johnson
2020 MMBIO Ph.D. 

Deborah graduated from the University of Utah in 2012 with a B.S. in Biology and a B. Mus. in Violin Performance and worked as a research technician at the Stanford University-Hopkins Marine Station. She completed her Ph.D. in MMBIO while working in the Weber and Poole labs in 2020.

Research Interests:  T cell activation and effects of avidityHobbies: Avoiding fresh seafood, drawing, Celtic fiddling, cycling, running, and reading.
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Dr. Josue Gonzalez
2020 Biology Ph.D.
Post doctoral Fellow. Van Andel Institute. Grand Rapids Michigan

Josue graduated from Escuela Nacional de Agricultura in El Salvador with a B.S. in Agricultural Science in 2005 and from BYU with a B.S. in Genetics and Biotechnology in 2016 and completed his Ph.D. in Biology while working in the Weber and Kauwe labs in 2020.

Research Interest: Bioinformatics and genes causing Alzheimer's disease
Hobbies: Time with family, playing soccer, latin dancing, reading, and any type of outdoors activities.

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Wyatt Magoffin
2021 Neuroscience graduate

Research interests: Characterization of high affinity TCRs
Hobbies: Rock climbing, soccer, playing the piano and Settlers of Catan.

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Allen Weinert
2020 MMBIO graduate
BioFire Diagnostics. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Research Interest: T cell memory responses and immunotherapies
Hobbies: golfing, hiking, composing music, and cooking badly

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Josie Tueller
2019 MMBIO M.S. graduate

TCRCure. Durham, North Carolina.

Josie graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Microbiology in 2017. Josie completed her Master's degree at Brigham Young University in the Weber lab in 2019.

Research Interest: T cell affinity in memory responses and immunotherapies
Hobbies: Playing tennis, making chocolate chip cookies, and reading Wikipedia.

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Ashlin Cowger
2019 MMBIO M.S. graduate

Thunder Biotech. Alpine, Utah.

Ashlin graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a B.S. in Biology (Microbiology emphasis) in 2017. Ashlin completed her Master's degree at Brigham Young University in the Weber lab in 2019.

Research Interest: Role of environmental endotoxin exposure on asthma develoment
Hobbies: Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and playing the flute.

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Dr. Claudia Tellez Freitas
2019 MMBIO Ph.D. graduate

Assistant Professor. Roseman Univeristy of Health Sciences. South Jordan Utah.

Claudia graduated from Andes University with a B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science in 2000 and received her associate degree in Business Management from LDS Business College in 2005. Claudia completed her Ph.D. at Brigham Young University in the Weber lab in 2019.

Research Interest: T cell interactions with macrophages. Single cell intracellular calcium imaging
Hobbies: Time with family, swimming, writing poetry, international food, and drawing

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Charles Teames
2019 MMBIO graduate
University of Utah Medical School. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Research Interest: T cell immunotherapies and T regulatory cells
Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, poetry, backpacking, and playing the saxophone.

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Tyler Cox
2018 MMBIO graduate
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Ivans, Utah.

Research interest: Neuroimmunology and behavior
Hobbies: Mountain biking, swimming, camping, snowboarding and woodworking.

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Rachel Johnson
Undergraduate student

Research interests: Cancer immunotherapy and genetic counseling
Hobbies: Dancing, the playing violin and cello, and spending time outdoors.

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Dr. Chung-Da Yang
Visiting Research Scholar (May 2017-June 2018)
Graduate Institute of Animal Vaccine Technology

National Pingtung University of Science and Technology; Tiawan

Research Interests: Developing and improving vaccines and adjuvants against infectious diseases.
Hobbies: Watching movies, hiking, and shopping with friends

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Anne Dunne
Undergraduate student

Research interests: CAR therapy, antioxidants, and T cells
Hobbies: Backing, surfing, and playing the piano

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David Bellini
Undergraduate student

Research interests: Bioinformatics and medical research
Hobbies: Traveling, soccer, tennis, hiking, dancing, piano, programming, and cooking

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John Hancock
2015 PDBIO graduate
2016-2017 Weber lab technician

University of Utah Medical School. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Research Interest: Immune system metabolism, high affinity T cell receptors, and immunotherapies.
Hobbies: Exercising, lasagna, and Duke basketball

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Garrett Hamblin
2017 Health Science graduate
Arizona State Medical School.

Research interests: T cell activation and calcium signaling
Hobbies: Tennis

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Carlee Raymond
2017 MMBIO graduate

Research Interest: T cell interactions with macrophages and intracellular calcium imaging
Hobbies: Photography, mountain biking, talking to people, eating chocolate, and ukulele.

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Tia Thomas
Undergraduate Student

Research Interest: T cell activation and effects of avidity
Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, playing flute and piano, and traveling

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Joon Kim
2017 MMBIO graduate

Research Interest: Engineering immune cells using yeast display
Hobbies: Reading books, cooking and eating, World of Warships, and watching National Geographic.





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Daniel Thompson
2017 MMBIO graduate
BYU MMBIO master's program

Research interests: Metabolism

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Mitch Cook
2017 PDBIO graduate

Research Interest: Role of metabolism on immune system

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Lance Christian
2017 Chemical Engineering Graduate

Research Interest: Engineering immune cells using yeast display

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Blaine Penrod
Undergraduate student

Research interests: Mouse genotyping
Hobbies: Archery, weights, and rifle shooting

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Becca Nemrow
Undergraduate student

Research interests: Engineering T cell receptors

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Steven Ogden
Undergraduate student

Research interests: T cell memory formation

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Sheldon Myers
2016 BYU MMBIO Graduate
Biotech Industry

Research Interest: Engineering high affinity T cell receptors
Personal Interests: Sleeping, reading, being a homebody with roommates

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Justin Crandall
2016 BYU MMBIO Graduate
Biotech Industry

Research Interest: Engineering immune cells using yeast display
Personal Interests: Running

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Niels Steadman
2016 BYU MMBIO Graduate
Biotech Industry

Research Interest: T cell interactions with macrophages and calcium imaging


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Kemais Ehlers
2015 BYU MMBIO graduate
Biotech Industry

Research Interest: Macrophage and T cell interactions and reading short protocols
Personal Interests: Road biking, attending concerts, and talking about my knee

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Ryan Cook
2013 BYU Biology graduate
2014-2015 Weber Lab technician
2015-2019 Medical student - Midwestern University Medical School
2019 Anesthesia Resident - University of Florida

Research Interest: Keeping this lab running like a well oiled machine . . .
Personal Interests: Playing sports (especially basketball), hiking, being outdoors, eating great food.

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Morgan Christiansen
2015 BYU MMBIO graduate
University of Utah Bioscience Ph.D Program

Research Interest: Exploring role of dust mites and asthma
Personal Interests: Winning intramural championships, competitive racquetball, picking up pennies

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Spencer Dykman
2017 Neuroscience graduate
Creighton dental school

Research Interest: Engineering T cell receptors using yeast display
Personal Interests: Russian

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Bryce Anderson
2015 BYU PDBIO graduate
University of Washington Medical School

Research Interest: Engineering high affinity T cell receptors using yeast display
Personal Interests: Mountains, rock climbing, paddle boarding, cliff jumping, and riding my motorcycle

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Taylor Hoybjerg
2015 BYU Exercise Science graduate

Research Interest: Exploring role of dust mites and asthma
Personal Interests: Raquetball, winning intramural championships, eating good food, working on cars

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Kurt Williams
2016 BYU MMBIO graduate
North Dakota State University STEM education Ph.D. program

Research Interest: Macrophage and T cell interactions and atherosclerosis
Personal Interests: Science fiction, reading and writing poetry, drawing, and studying Asian cultures

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Brian Ballard
2015 BYU Spanish graduate
Kansas City University Medical School


Research Interest: Site directed mutagenesis of T cell receptors
Personal Interests: Sports, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and rafting

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Taylor Orton
2013 BYU MMBIO graduate
2013-2014 Weber Lab technician
University of Nevada Medical School

Research Interest: Lab “Yoda”
Personal Interests: Sometimes running, mostly reading ESPN, and playing rock paper scissors.

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Evan Campbell
2014 BYU MMBIO graduate
Navy Special Warfare

Research Interest: T cell receptor engineering and investigating the hygiene hypothesis
Personal Interests: Exercising, weight lifting, joining Navy Special Warfare, and growing facial hair

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Julene Johnson
2014 BYU MMBIO graduate
Technical writer

Research Interest: Exploring role of humidity on asthma and slamming ELISA plates
Personal Interests: Creative writing, learning Korean, and playing volleyball

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Brian Pando
2014 BYU MMBIO graduate
Texas A&M Medical School

Research Interest: PCR assay to detect mecC in Methicillin Resistant Staphlococcus Aureus