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Current Lab Members



Ned J. Place, Ph.D., M.D.

Tel. 607-253-3796

photo of Ned Place




Principal Investigator


Dr. Place (a.k.a. Ned) came to Cornell




University, College of Veterinary Medicine in September 2004 after completing a postdoctoral

fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences and the Director of the Diagnostic Endocrinology Laboratory within the Animal Health Diagnostic Center. He received his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Washington. Prior to entering graduate school he was in the private practice of medicine as a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist for 4 years in Waynesboro, VA. He completed his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Connecticut Health Center and he received his medical training from the University of Rochester. Other than a brief foray into the field of hematology and oncology while a medical student, he has maintained an interest in reproductive biology throughout his professional career. Having worked as a clinician and basic scientist, the breadth and depth of his experience in reproductive biology affords him the opportunity to integrate novel perspectives into his research. When new questions arise, he generates hypotheses and synthesizes ideas within the context of life history theory. Using this approach he has studied reproductive aging in naked mole-rats, Siberian hamsters and cheetahs, seasonal reproductive biology in free-ranging yellow-pine chipmunks, and sexual differentiation and behavior in spotted hyenas under semi-natural conditions. Each animal model has provided an interesting perspective into the life history trade-offs that are associated with the timing of hormone secretion and reproductive effort. Dr. Place takes an integrative approach to his research, which is often relevant from both an ecological and a biomedical perspective.



David Peck, B.S.

David Peck photo





Ph.D. Graduate Student. David is a student in Neurobiology and Behavior, and is being co-advised with Paul Sherman. He joined the lab in 2011, and is interested in parasitic manipulation of vector and host behaviors, specifically with regard to diseases that affect humans. His research will likely include immunological and endocrine investigations of animals infected with parasites, as well as field and laboratory studies of the behavior of infected animals. Of particular interest is parasitic manipulation of lifespan and reproduction in hematophagous insects. David's interest in Darwinian Medicine drives his research into human pathologies resulting from co-evolution and manipulation.


Hadiyah Edwards

Tel. 607-253-4361

Undergraduate Researcher. Hadiyah joined the lab in 2014 and is contributing to the lab's investigation of AMH in cheetahs.


Past Lab Members

Kristen Roosa, B.S., Ph.D.


Kristen Roosa photo

Ph.D. Graduate Student. Kristen earned her Molecular & Integrative Physiology in 2015. She is investigated the impacts of photoperiod on various aspects of ovarian physiology and development in Siberian hamsters, including the susceptibility to drugs that are ovotoxic (e.g., cyclophosphamide). She is presently a visiting assistant professor at Le Moyne College.

Dianne Vernon, B.S.


Undergraduate Researcher. Dianne graduated in December 2015 and completed an honors thesis on the ovarian histology of naked mole rats.

Sung-Un Park, M.S.

photo SungUn Park



Research Technician III (Lab Manager). Sung-Un was a lab member from 2007 to 2014 and he provided specialized technical support and organization for the lab and performs integrative research studies on the effects of photoperiod and melatonin on female reproductive aging in Siberian hamsters.

Colleen Barrett


Undergraduate Researcher. Colleen joined the lab in 2012 and is investigating the effects of photoperiodic history on the pro-inflammatory cytokine NF-kB.

Trianna Lutchman


Undergraduate Researcher. Trianna joined the lab in 2013 and is contributing studies that are assessing the effects of photoperiod on the susceptibility to drugs and chemicals that are toxic to the ovaries.






Nikita Ekhelikar

Nikita pix



Undergraduate Researcher. Nikita joined the lab in 2010 and graduated in 2013; she is now preparing for a career in medicine.

Sarah Cudney

Sarah pix







Undergraduate Researcher. Sarah joined the lab in 2009 and graduated in 2012; she is now enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.


Zhengyan (Yan) Wang

Yan pix



Undergraduate Researcher. Yan joined the lab in 2009 and graduated in 2012; she is now enrolled in graduate school at the University of Chicago.



Devin Zysling, Ph.D.

Tel. 607-253-4361

Devin pix





Postdoctoral Associate. (2010-2012) Devin was a postdoc who studied the physiological mechanisms underlying seasonal variation in immune responses and characterize energetic trade-offs between reproduction and immune function. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Place lab, Devin explored the role of gonadotropins in modulating seasonal changes in ovarian physiology and reproductive aging. She is now employed as a lead regulatory scientist at Rheonix, Inc.

Jenifer Cruickshank, Ph.D.

Tel. 607-253-3018

photo of Jenifer Cruickshank





Postdoctoral Associate. (2007-2009) Jenifer was a postdoc who studied the effects of photoperiod on female reproductive aging. She also elucidated a splice variant in the AMH receptor. She has since moved to a tenure-track faculty position at the State University of New York, Oswego in August 2009. She has diverse interests in reproduction and genomics and has studied a variety of species, including cows, dogs, and hamsters.


Eno-obong Essien

Eno pix

Undergraduate Researcher. Eno is in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Biology. She as a member of the lab during 2010 -2011, and received training in histology, immunohistochemistry, and PCR.


Olivia Diamond

photo of Olivia Diamond







Undergraduate Researcher. (2007-2010) Olivia is now a medical student at Technion American University. She studied the effects of short days on anti-Müllerian hormone and the ovarian follicular reserve.


Heather Jones

photo of Heather Jones



Undergraduate Researcher. (2008-2010) Heather is now a medical student at Brown University. She studied factors that are known to modulate ovarian follicle histology (Gdf9) and activation (Foxo3) to determine if they play a role in the short day-induced changes in ovarian structure and function in hamsters.


Cynthia Nunes Rodrigues, B.S.

photo of Cynthia Nunes Rodrigues



Lab Assistant. (2008-2009) Cynthia joined the lab to gain research experience to complement her clinical training as a physician. She investigated the effects of short days on ovarian histology in another photoperiodic species, the Turkish hamster. She is now practicing medicine in Brazil.


Khawla Faud Ali

photo of Khawla Ali

Undergraduate Researcher. (Summer 2009) Khawla is a medical student at the Weill-Cornell Medical College in Qatar. She studied the accumulation of DNA double-strand breaks with aging and their modulation by photoperiod.









Esther Kabithe, B.A.

photo of Esthe Kabithe

Research Technician III (Lab Manager): (2004-2007) Esther was the original lab manager, but she had to leave the lab after developing an allergy to hamsters. She is now our neighbor in the Wagner Lab.



Adrien Phalen, B.S.

photo of Adrien Phalen


Undergraduate Researcher: (2006-2008) Adrien is now a medical student at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She investigated ovarian development in different photoperiods.






Ron Wexler, B.S.

photo of Ron Wexler





Undergraduate Researcher: (2006-2008) Ron is now a medical student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He studied uterine development in different photoperiods.


Loveleen Singh, B.S.

Undergraduate Researcher


(2007-2008) Loveleen entered a Master of Public Health program at George Washington University in the fall of 2009. She investigated the effects of photoperiod on ovarian physiology.