# People

Doug Mashek

Doug is currently a Professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics (BMBB) and a secondary appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  Doug earned his B.S. from Iowa State University, M.S. from Michigan State University and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.  Doug did his postdoctoral training in Nutritional Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Outside the lab, Doug loves cooking, running, biking and pretty much anything outdoors.

Mara Mashek

Mara is the "boss" of the laboratory and a multi-tasking queen. In addition to her own projects, she is the glue that keeps everything together and the oil that keeps the machine (i.e. the lab) running smoothly (at least most days :). Mara received her B.S. from Iowa State University and her M.S. from Michigan State University.

Linshan Shang

Linshan joined the Mashek Lab as Scientist in the spring of 2018 to conduct research on lipid metabolism on lifespan regulation. She earned her PhD in Medical Genetics in China and did her postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the field cardiovascular disease and diabetes using stem cell and animal models. Prior to arriving at U of M, Linshan worked as Project Scientist on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver fibrosis at University of California, San Diego. When Linshan is not working, she enjoys house-cleaning (it's true - you should see her lab bench;).

Charles Najt

Charlie joined the Mashek lab in the summer of 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow. He obtained his Ph.D in biochemistry from Michigan State University where he studied the role of Perilipin 2 in hepatic inflammation.  Charles is characterizing the role of various lipid droplet proteins in lipid droplet signaling. In addition, Charlie is an avid skier and runner.



Tim Heden

Tim joined the Mashek lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2017. He was trained as an Exercise Physiologist and holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in Kinesiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His graduate studies focused on the impact of different lifestyle interventions on metabolic health. He then pursued his first postdoc at East Carolina University where his studies focused on phospholipid synthesis and mitochondrial bioenergetics. Tim discovered that mitochondrial PE synthesis is essential for mitophagy, and these studies sparked a new research interest for him in the field of autophagy. He then joined the Mashek lab, where he could combine his research interest in lipid metabolism and autophagy. His current project is characterizing how lifestyle (i.e. Mediterranean diet, exercise) impacts autophagy/lipophagy and metabolic health. In his free time he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends, exercising, and enjoying different cultures cuisine.

Jacob Seibert

Jake started in the fall of 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow with the Mashek team. He received his BA with a major in biology from Luther College and then pursued graduate studies at Iowa State University, where he obtained his PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Jake’s graduate work was involved in investigating physiological and molecular aspects of heat stress-induced metabolic dysfunction in pigs. His current research is focused on characterizing signaling mechanisms associated with lipid droplet metabolism in liver and muscle contexts. Jake enjoys spending time with his family as well as hunting, fishing, camping…pretty much anything outdoors!

Breean Abernathy

Bree joined the Mashek lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020. She has a BS in nutrition science and PhD in nutritional biochemistry & molecular biology from the University of Minnesota. Her doctoral research was on the effects of the gut microbiome on NAFLD and obesity upon prebiotic dietary fiber use. Bree's current research is focused on how components of the Mediterranean diet mediate aging and adiposity through metabolic regulation. When not in the lab, Bree cohabitates with her energetic cat, Curie, and an excessive number of houseplants. During non-COVID times, she enjoys a patio beer or tiki drink.

Evan Kerr

Evan joined the Mashek lab in January 2021 as a postdoctoral fellow.  He received his Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from West Virginia University.  His graduate work focused on regulation of Coenzyme A in the mitochondria.  Currently, Evan is working on two projects.  The first is looking to identify novel substrates of Sirt1.  The second is to determine proteins effecting lipid droplet interaction with other organelles.  Outside of lab, Evan is an avid golfer and loves baseball.

Michael Lopresti

Michael is a graduate student in the BMBB PhD program who joined the lab in February 2017. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Michael's current project is studying lipophagy. Outside of lab, he enjoys reading and playing with Roxie, his pet rabbit.

Jonas Alvarez

Jonas is a graduate student in the BMBB PHD program. He joined the lab in February 2019, He received his BA in chemistry with a concentration in Bioinformatics from CUNY Hunter College. Currently, Jonas is studying the lipophagy. Jonas enjoys bike riding, drawing, and loves to go on long road trips.

Mahima Devarajan

Mahima earned her B.S. in Biology from Case Western Reserve University and is now an Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) student at the University of Minnesota. She joined the Mashek lab in 2020 to study the role lipid droplets play in cellular senescence.

Chen Chen

Chen is an undergraduate from Eden Prairie, MN. He is majoring in neuroscience and biochemistry with a minor in philosophy. In his free time, he likes to coach and play tennis, cook pasta and binge-watch Sherlock.

Grace Leland

Grace is an undergrad from Blue Earth, MN. She is studying biochemistry with a focus on medicine. Outside of the lab, she enjoys exercising, cooking, watching movies, and meeting new dogs.

Sophia Brunko

Sophia is an undergraduate from Lakeville, Minnesota who joined the lab in June 2020. She is studying biochemistry with a focus in medicine. In her free time, she enjoys rollerskating, sewing, and spending time with friends and family.