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Whitaker Lab

Graduate Research

The Whitaker lab graduate research is made up of Masters and PhD at East Tennessee State University. 

Parisima Ghaffarian


PhD Student

Parisima is originally from Iran, currently pursuing a PhD at ETSU! She is in the early stages of her doctorate journey. Sima's research interests span across multidisciplinary fields, with a primary focus on systems biology, pathway analysis, and biomarker development. She also explores bioinformatics in plant secondary metabolites! Beyond academia, Sima is passionate about exploring destinations, writing, capturing extraordinary moments, and channeling her energy towards children's education and health.   

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Joshua Foley

Masters Student 

Josh has a large variety of interests, including but not limited to: biomimicry, biodegradation, chemical ecology, pretty bugs, and his pet ferrets. Josh is excited to complete his degree and begin a career in biological research. Outside of the lab, he is a jack of all trades. He is particularly fond of jiu jitsu, tai chi, miniature painting,  3D printing, and hiking. The lab especially thanks him for taking care of the roach intrusion. 

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Skylar Mathieson

Masters Student 

Skylar completed her undergraduate degree at UVA-Wise and is continuing as a master's student at ETSU. Coming from Southwest Virginia, Skylar's roots have influenced her passion in Appalachian ethnobotany, specifically in the realm of medicinal plants. Skylar's interests include plant biology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, chemical ecology, and plant-insect interactions. Skylar's main research focus here is exploring the complex world of insect-plant interactions, bee behavior, and potential addiction. Skylar hit the ground running with her research and presentation skills. Outside of the lab, Skylar loves to spend time reading, hiking, or with her cats!

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