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Samuel Stephens, PhD
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

I received my B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Georgia and home of the 2021 and 2022 National Football Champions -Go Dawgs!  Following graduation, I worked as a research assistant at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, in the lab of Dr. Bradley Reuhs studying plant and bacterial cell wall structures. I obtained a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Duke University in the lab of Dr. Christopher Nicchitta, where I studied the regulation of protein synthesis localization during ER stress.  My postdoctoral fellowship was completed in the lab of Dr. Christopher Newgard at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Duke University, where I studied pancreatic islet β-cell function.  As a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa, my lab combines my passion for cell biology and islet β-cell function to study the dysregulation of insulin trafficking in diabetes.  In addition to science, I enjoy fishing, camping, baseball, cooking (usually on a smoker), woodworking, and travel.



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Cierra Boyer
Pharmacology graduate student

I was born and raised in Iowa and received my BS in Chemistry from Briar Cliff University. I then joined the Pharmacology graduate program at the University of Iowa in 2019. My current project involves identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in impaired proinsulin trafficking from the Golgi in models of β-cell failure. Outside of the lab I enjoy walking my dog and two cats and going to the gym.


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Kristen Rohli
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics

I'm a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics. I'm originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I completed my undergraduate degrees at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Biochemistry (BS) and Psychology (BS). I am currently studying the mechanisms regulating early-stage proinsulin trafficking and metabolically-derived remodeling of the secretory pathway. When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy traveling, reading, and any activity that involves being outside.


Sandra Blom
Molecular Medicine Graduate Program

I have lived in Iowa my entire life, and received my B.S. in Biology from Saint Ambrose University. Now I'm a graduate student in the Molecular Medicine Graduate Program. My project is currently investigating how granule pH affects insulin trafficking and content. Outside of lab I like to bike, hike, bake, and play cello.



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Ashleigh Machado
Undergraduate student

I’m a third year undergraduate studying Biochemistry on the pre-med track. I have been a member of the Stephens Lab for over a year. This opportunity has allowed me to discover a passion for conducting research.