Megan Justice accepted into Yale Ciencia Initiative Program

Megan Justice, a Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology student in our lab, was accepted into the Yale University Ciencia Initiative program. Throughout 2019, Megan will participate in a program designed “to expand access to scientific knowledge, experiences, and careers among communities or populations traditionally underrepresented in, or underserved by, the scientific enterprise.”

Learn more here:

Welcome new undergraduate researchers!

Emily Shen and Junjie Zhou are new undergraduate researchers in the Dowen Lab.  Emily is a biology major and she is also pursuing a minor in statistics.  Junjie is a biostatistics major.  They are both learning molecular biology in order to study genome folding.  Welcome to the lab!

Dr. Dowen trained in Mentoring

Dr. Dowen has been trained in being a faculty mentor.  She completed a multi-session workshop that cover topics such as:

  • Effective Communication
  • Aligning Expectations
  • Assessing Understanding
  • Fostering Independence
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Professional Development
  • Addressing Equity and Inclusion
  • Articulating Your Mentoring Philosophy

Learn more about the Faculty Mentoring Training Workshop Series  put on by the UNC Chapel Hill Office of Graduate Eduction.

Nicole Arruda awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Nicole Arruda was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation!  This is a highly competitive award that will fund her studies for 3 years.  Way to go Nicole!


About the award:  “The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.”

Megan Justice’s Sumatran Rhino paper in the popular press

Here is the link to the original study:


Here is the link to a BBC news blurb:


Here is a link to a Huffington Post news blurb:

Megan Justice has undergraduate research published!

Megan’s undergraduate research work on de novo sequencing and analysis of the Sumatran Rhinoceros genome has been accepted for publication at the journal Current Biology.  This work will also be referenced in a highlighted release for a lay audience. The results of this study reveal that before human interaction with the species, ecological pressures had already begun decreasing the population size, contributing to the endangered status of the Rhinoceros.