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Undergraduate Programs


The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department is proud to be called home to some of the most outstanding undergraduate students in higher education.  Our students display a high level of dedication in not only furthering their education, but also in their involvement in the local, national, and world-wide community and their desire to be on the frontlines of scientific discovery.  

The #WeAreUndergradsofBMB Campaign recognizes our outstanding undergraduate students and celebrates their efforts in bettering themselves, their communities, and truly representing what it means when we say We Are Penn State!

Image of Caitlyn Serafin

Meet Caitlyn Serafin, a Senior from Chester, New Jersey, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  As a child, she underwent several facial traumas and dental procedures such as wearing a fake tooth, braces twice, the removal of a benign tumor, a problematic wisdom teeth surgery, and multiple stitches.  Instead of turning her away from dentistry, these experiences elevated her drive to become a dentist, a person who can help others who face the same difficulties she endured.

Outside of the classroom she is the President for both the Biochemistry and Pre-Dental Societies, is active in philanthropic THON organization, ECLIPSE, and is a member of the business fraternity, Omega Chi Sigma.  Caitlyn has also interned with Center for Dental-Facial Aesthetics since she was 16 years old.

Learn more about Caitlyn

Image of Bryce Katch

Meet Bryce Katch, a Junior from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as Chemical Engineering.  Bryce's love of science has led him to participate in both the American Chemical Society's U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad and National Academics Quiz Tournaments.  Currently, Bryce is an undergraduate researcher in the Boal Laboratory and studies enzymes that use iron and oxygen to assist in their chemical reactions.

Outside of the laboratory and his academic coursework, Bryce is very involved in music at Penn State and is a member of the Penn State Blue Band, the Saxophone Studio and Penn State's Campus Orchestra

Read more about Bryce

Image of Emma Stockham

Meet Emma Stockham, a Sophomore from Stafford, Virginia, majoring in Microbiology.  Emma's interest and love for science was influenced by her late father, Rex Stockham, who proudly served his country as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Emma is an undergraduate researcher  in the Bull and Hocket Laboratory, where she is working to isolate and purify bacteriophage specifically used to control plant and mushroom diseases.

Outside of the laboratory, Emma is fascinated with the nonfiction literary, podcast, and film genre, True crime, and also enjoys spending her time both hiking and running.

Read more about Emma

Image of Hannah Flamini

Meet Hannah Flamini, a Senior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and minoring in Psychology.  Hannah has not shied away from any of the opportunities available to her throughout her undergraduate career.  She has served as a Learning Assistant for 4 semesters in Chemistry 110 and volunteered in UPMC Pinnacle's Interventional Radiology Department.

Outside of the Classroom, Hannah plays the saxophone as a member of the Penn State Blue Band, serves as the Secretary of the Biochemistry Society, and is an active member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Penn State's Pre-Health Honors Society.

Read more about Hannah

Image of Tatiana McAnulty

Meet Tatiana McAnulty, a rising senior whose goal is to combine her desire to help patients with her background in research to some day contribute to the fight against cancer and improve the lives of patients and their families.  As a member of the Keiler Laboratory, she focuses on the use of natural products, obtained from the University of Hawaii and extracted from fungi and marine plant life, as a potential source of antimicrobial and chemotherapeutic agents.

Outside of the laboratory and classroom, Tatiana enjoys spending her time volunteering and pursuing her love of dance.

Read more about Tatiana

Image of Haley MacDonald posing in front of the Penn State Lion Shrine

Meet Haley MacDonald, a Senior taking her undergraduate career by storm!  As a member of the Thomas Laboratory, she is focused on inserting of a construct into the ꞵHeavy spectrin gene, utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 technology. 

Haley also serves as a Learning Assistant, and is a Certified EMT.  

Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Haley spends her time pursuing her interests in music, linguistics, and community outreach. 

Read more about Haley

Image of Cassidy Prince

Meet Cassidy, a Senior making the most of every opportunity at Penn State.  As a member of the Kovac Lab she's traveled to Ethiopia and instructed scientists on microbiology techniques. She's traveled to Panama with Global Brigades and worked alongside doctors to provide additional medical assistance and recommendations to community members, and she's been a member of the Blue Band since her Freshman Year.

After graduating she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and hopes to spend her life teaching and conducting research.

Read more about Cassidy

Image of Will Han

Meet Xueer (Will) Han, a junior from Jinan, Shandong China, majoring in Biotechnology. 

“When my science teacher told me about Yuan Longping, I was fascinated by the power of biology.  Through the power of biology, a hybrid rice was able to be developed, and millions of people were saved.”

Read more about Will

Image of Rahul Mehta

Meet Rahul Mehta, a senior from West Chester, Pennsylvania, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

When Rahul is not in the classroom you can find him volunteering with the on-campus organization Lifelink PSU.  

“Having spent my first two years of college at a Brandywine Campus, close to home, I loved volunteering, it gave me something to do, and more importantly, it gave me a way to help my community.  The pre-dental club had reserved slots so club members could go and volunteer, so I went and absolutely loved the experience."

Read more about Rahul

Joaquim Diego Santos sitting on the Great Wall of China

Meet Joaquim Diego Santos, a Senior, from Douglassville, Pennsylvania, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and working towards a minor in Microbiology, as well as, his Certificate in International Science.

“Studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State has been central in my development as a future healthcare provider and will propel me toward my aspiration in becoming a surgeon.” 

Read more about Diego

Image of Basel Karim

Meet Basel Karim, a Senior, from Eagleville Pennsylvania, majoring in both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as Chemistry, and pursuing minors in both Mathematics and Microbiology.

Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Basel is dedicated to making a difference within the local community through the selfless act of service.  “For me, volunteering is very important since my mom works in the medical field,” says Basel. “She has influenced me to be kind and caring to those who cannot care for themselves.”  

Read more about Basel

Image of Rachel Swope

Meet Rachel is a junior from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, majoring in The Molecular and Cell Biology Option (MCB) of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Rachel has been named a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar, and is also the recipient of both an Erickson Discovery Grant, as well as, the Ronald Venezie Scholarship in Science for Honors Education in 2019.

Outside of the laboratory Rachel enjoys spending her time outside taking part in activities such as hiking and running.

Read more about Rachel

Image of Rachel Brunning

Meet Rachel Bruning, a junior majoring in both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and French. 

“Penn State has offered me the chance to take courses I am passionate about in both the sciences and the humanities, become involved on campus in a diverse array of student organizations, and to engage in outstanding undergraduate research."

Outside of the classroom Rachel serves as a Lion Ambassador for the University, volunteers with THON, and has been elected to serve as the President of the Student Philanthropy Network for the 2020 – 2021 academic year.

Read more about Rachel

Image of Chantel Hennings

Meet Chantel Hennings, a Junior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Unlike most undergraduate students, her path to continuing her education highlights the diversity and wealth of life experiences that students bring to the Eberly College of Science.

Chantel credits her success as an undergraduate student to the core principles she learned within the Marine Corps.  Her determination to strive for the best and her ability to “adapt and overcome” has helped her to navigate the difficult situations that have come her way.

Read more about Chantel

Image of Yashar Yaxiaer in front of a signature wall for Penn State's Dance Marathon

Meet  Yashar Yaxiaer, a junior at Penn State majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology who credits his love of science and medicine to his father who he refers to as “one of the most caring general surgeons I have ever met.”

Outside of the laboratory Yashar’s hobbies include listening to music and watching movies.

Yashar works every day to achieve his goal of becoming a surgeon where he hopes to one day foster the love of taking care of people within next generation of scientists and doctors, just like his father.

Read more about Yashar

Image of Anjali McNeil

Meet Anjali McNeil, a Senior from Westborough, Massachusetts, majoring in the Molecular and Cell Biology option of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

In addition to her work in the lab, Anjali participates in several extracurricular activities to round out her Penn State Story.  She’s a member of the Oriana Singers, has sat on multiple THON committees, and is an active member of the national service sorority, Omega Phi Alpha.

Read more about Anjali

BMB Graduates

Image of Ananda Rankin, Goldwater Scholar

Meet Ananda Rankin.  Ananda is a Spring 2020 graduate of the BMB Department, earning her degree in Microbiology.  While an undergraduate, she was a Millennium Scholar and was named a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow. 

“After seeing all of the cool stuff that you could do with science and all of the questions that you could answer, I became very interested in the subject,”

Read more about Ananda

Image of Anna Brogan standing next to her research poster at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition at Penn State

Meet Anna Brogan.  Anna, from Glen Rock, New Jersey, is a Spring 2020 graduate of the BMB Department, earning her degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

After graduation Anna will be attending Harvard University and pursuing a Ph.D in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.  She aspires to one day head a research group of her own and focus on fundamental questions within microbiology.

Read more about Anna

Image of Kaitlin Cole

Meet Kaitlin Cole.  Kaitlin, a native of Center Valley, Pennsylvania, is a Spring 2020 graduate of the BMB Department, earning her degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minoring in global health.

Through her experiences in research and her love of service, Kaitlin has developed a strong passion for both medicine and social justice. 

Read more about Kaitlin

Image of Caitlan Surgeon

Meet Caitlan Surgeon.  Caitlan,  from North Lauderdale, Florida, is a Spring 2020 graduate of the BMB Department, earning her degree in the Cell Biology Option of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

After obtaining her master degree in nursing Caitlan hopes to continue her career in the healthcare industry as a Certified Nurse MidWife.

Read more about Cailtlan

Image of Yoshitaka Shibata

Meet Yoshitaka (Joey) Shibata.  Joey, from Lansdale Pennsylvania, is a Spring 2020 graduate of the BMB Department, earning his degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

"I am passionate about medicine and biomedical research, and my goal is to become a physician-scientist who can translate a research into clinical solutions or explore problems faced in medical practice through research."

Read more about Joey