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Group photo Spring 2023

TRG Spring 2023

Principle Investigator 

Rick Tarleton, Principle Investigator


Rick Tarleton

Regents’ Professor and UGA-Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences

Ph.D., 1983, Wake Forest University




Aylla von Ermland

Graduate Research Assistant - Cell Biology -

Bachelor’s and teaching degree in Biological Sciences at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil

Aylla started her PhD program with the Cell Biology Department in January 2023. Her project is focused on the study of DNA repair mechanisms in T. cruzi. "I investigate how DNA repair relates to parasite dormancy and immune evasion, and I work on modifying repair pathways to facilitate CRISPR-Cas9 editing. I’m also interested in the evolution of DNA repair pathways, particularly in the kinetoplastids". In her spare time Aylla loves doing yoga and watching Sci-Fi movies with friends.


Caleb Hawkins


Caleb Hawkins

Research Technician III

B.S. in Biology with minor in Chemistry,  University of South Carolina

M.P.H., Southern New Hampshire University

Caleb joined the lab in August 2021 and has quickly learned his way around the lab. He is currently developing a method for identifying nanobodies that target T. cruzi amastigotes, and investigating the role those nanobodies can play in the identification of dormant T. cruzi infections by using a yeast nanobody library. Outside of the lab Caleb enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and watching movies.

Jihyun Lim

Jihyun Lim

Research Technician III             

Lim joined the Tarleton lab in the fall of 2018. She works mainly on drug discovery assays targeting T. cruzi, testing using both in vitro and in vivo techniques. In the past she has studied genetic engineering and food science. In her free time she is passionate about Zumba and travel.  


place holder

 Lily Perella

Undergraduate Laboratory Assistant


José Saenz

Post-Doc -

PhD in Biochemistry at UFPR (Brazil)

José joined the lab in December 2022. His main project will aim to design and optimize a library for Knockout/Knockdown of T. cruzi genes. He is also assisting with other projects involving gene editing and RNA sequencing. In his free time José enjoys video games and reading books and appreciates traveling to new places and meeting new people.

Fernando Valdez


Fernando  Sánchez-Valdéz

Research Professional III -

PhD, Molecular Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in the University of Buenos Aires. Argentina.  

The main focus of his research has been to uncover the mechanism of drug resistance in Chagas disease by combining ex vivo luminescence assays and tissue-clearing techniques.


Saanvikha Saravanan

Undergraduate Research Assistant -

Spring 2022



Brooke White

Lab Manager -

B.S. in Biological Sciences, Valdosta State University  

Brooke has been managing the Tarleton lab since 2017. She works mainly on detecting parasite DNA in mouse, macaque and dog tissues and isolating PBMC samples from macaque and canine T. cruzi treatment trials along with day to day running of the lab. Previously she managed a Drosophila Genetics lab at UGA. Brooke loves spending time with her family, traveling, hiking, and watching movies in her free time. 

Recent Lab Alumni


Carolina Vieira

Visiting Researcher February 2023 - February 2024

Angel Padilla

Angel Padilla

Research Scientist



Luiz Vasconcelos

Visiting Researcher - November 2022- November 2023

place holder

Gonzalo Cesar

Visiting Researcher -              May 2023 - November 2023

Aylla Von Ermland

Aylla von Ermland

Visiting Undergraduate Research Student

January 2022 - July 2022


Molly Bunkofske

Molly Bunkofske 

Graduate Research Assistant 2016-2022

PhD. University of Georgia Spring 2022

Now with Chris Hunter's group


Wei Wang

Research Professional IV  2014-April 2022


Natasha Perumal    

Graduate Research Assistant 2016-2021

PhD. University of Georgia Fall 2021



Juan Bustamante       

Assistant Research Scientist  2005-2021



Natália P. de A. Nogueira

Visiting Research Scholar September 2019 - May 2020



Anita Minniefield

Anita Minniefield

Research Technician III August 2018 - May 2020


Huifeng Shen

Huifeng Shen 

Research Professional 2016-2021

Adriana Martins

Adriana M. C. Canavaci Martins

Research Technician III January 2020 - February 2021