Solomon Chak, PhD

I am an evolutionary ecologist with interests in animal social behavior. My research focuses on a unique group of snapping shrimps in the genus Synalpheus - the only known group of marine animal to have evolved eusociality. While our understanding of eusociality is mostly based on insects, these shrimps are emerging to be a powerful model to study the evolution of eusociality. My research has sought to test and ended up challenging, several paradigms in the evolution of animal society...

Inayah Burton | Undergraduate researcher

I'm currently a third year Biology student minoring in psychology at SUNY Old Westbury, and a pre-health degree candidate seeking a career in medicine. Genome annotation research with Dr. Chak is my first experience in lab research, while much of my prior research experience was experimental or correlational. These included a meta-analysis of potential predictors of schizophrenia, a group study of diet and eating habits and its effect on stress/anxiety, an independent study on brain activation and prejudice behavior, and an ongoing longitudinal study of religion/spirituality and academic performance in college students via survey construction/assessment. With these studies however, I wasn't able to speak to a special interest of mine: evolution. I'm honored to be a part of Dr. Chak's lab, as it motivates me to understand more about many species' genomic functions and the importance of annotation to understanding them and their evolutionary characteristics. 

Aaron Abizadeh | Undergraduate researcher

I am a pre-medical student at SUNY Old Westbury who will graduate with a B.S. in the Spring of 2021 with a major in Biology and a minor in Psychology. Next year, I will be attending medical school at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell to pursue a career as a medical physician. In the past, I have been involved in the SEA-PHAGES program at Old Westbury, which looked to isolate a bacteriophage that could be used as a treatment against antibiotic-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis. I recently joined Dr. Chak’s lab in September interested in genome research, and am currently working with him in the genome annotation of the insulin-dependent pathway of Drosophila species. Previously, I have worked as a CSTEP tutor as well as the secretary of Old Westbury’s Hillel Club, and in my free time I enjoy playing basketball, spending time with family and friends, and following the current political cycle.

Shanzay Khan | Undergraduate researcher

I am a junior at SUNY Old Westbury. This is my first research experience, and I am grateful to be a part of Dr. Chak's Lab. Our research emphasizes the importance of insulin signaling and how it regulates glucose uptake from blood into cells and regulates growth. The research included the evolution of insulin signaling pathway in fruit flies and led to locating the exons in the gene. When I’m not working on my research or studying. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I have a passion for reading books and exercising on my free time. After college, my goal is to go to medical school and become a dermatologist. Dermatology is a field that really stands out to me because theres are multiple ways to diagnose and resolve a simple problem such as a blemish. The human body has always interested me and helping others with their skin and seeing them healthy is what I strive for.

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