People

Meet the Principal Investigator

John D. Hulleman, Ph.D.

John D. Hulleman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology

Dr. Hulleman is originally from Wausau, Wisconsin. He received dual undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He earned a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Purdue University. There, under the guidance of Dr. Jean-Christophe Rochet, he studied how misfolded proteins cause early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

He did postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffery Kelly at The Scripps Research Institute, where he focused on how an R345W mutation in fibulin-3 causes a rare, early-onset form of macular degeneration.

In 2014, Dr. Hulleman joined UT Southwestern’s Department of Ophthalmology. His research focuses on novel therapeutic approaches for eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and retinal dystrophies (e.g., Doyne Honeycomb Retinal Dystrophy/Malattia Leventinese).

Dr. Hulleman has a secondary appointment in the Department of Pharmacology and is affiliated with the Biological Chemistry Graduate Program.

Current Lab Members

Steffi Daniel, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Steffi Daniel hails from a small costal state in India called Goa. She came to the United States to pursue a doctoral degree in Biomedical Sciences from UNT Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX. During this time she was enrolled in the visual sciences program and her project centered around understanding neurodegeneration in glaucoma pertaining to the retinal ganglion cell subtypes. She joined the Hulleman Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2019 where she continues her quest to understand the development and progression of another ocular neurodegenerative disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). She utilizes mouse models to study the role of extracellular matrix components (ECM), specifically a secreted ECM protein, fibulin-3, in maintaining ocular homeostasis. She also uses retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cultures from porcine eyes as well as iPSCs that serve as crucial model systems to study RPE pathobiology and potential therapeutics. Steffi is a soccer enthusiast and in her spare time loves to catch up on most soccer tournaments, especially the Premier League.

Steffi Daniel, Ph.D.

Antonio Ortega, M.S.

Research Assistant I

Antonio earned his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington and M.S. in Biotechnology at the University of Texas at Arlington. In the lab Antonio's work focuses on the formation of basal laminar deposits in age-related macular degeneration models. In his spare time he enjoys walks with his dog and being with friends and family. 

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Sophia DiCesare, B.S.

Research Technician II

Sophie is originally from Thousand Oaks, California. She attended Baylor University and moved to Dallas post-graduation. Her project in the Hulleman Lab focuses on compound screening with the HTS core to find small molecules that alter fibulin-3 production. In her free time Sophie enjoys running, volunteering at the local animal shelter, puzzles/games, and spending time with friends.

Sophia DiCesare, B.S.  Headshot

Gracen Collier, B.S.

Research Technician II

Gracen attended Wofford College in South Carolina where she received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Chinese. In the Hulleman Lab she has focused on mutations in fibulin-3, as well as aiding in the development of an iPS cell lines. She enjoys spending time outdoors, playing with her dog, and practicing and competing in sweep and sculling events as a member of Fort Worth Rowing Club.

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Seungje Jeon, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Seungje is from South Korea and attended KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute Science and Technology) where he majored in biology for B.S. He earned his Ph.D. in Life Science at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST). There, his research interest was focused on cereblon as a novel modulator of cellular senescence and aging. He joined the Hulleman lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2022. His work focuses on regulating cellular signaling spatially and temporally by methods using destabilizing domains in the mouse retina. He loves to walk outdoors, listening to rock music in his spare time, and also enjoys playing and watching basketball.

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Kaylee Lankford

Green Fellows Program

UTD Undergraduate

Krista Thompson

UT Southwestern MS2

Scholarly Research Project

Elizabeth McDonald

UT Southwestern MS2

Scholarly Research Project

Zane Porterfield, B.S.

Research Intern

Zane Porterfield, B.S. wearing white coat

Peter Chen, Ph.D.

Research Program Manager - Dept. of Ophthalmology

Carey Chafouleas

Sr. Administrative Associate

Lab Alumni

Archi Bhattacharyaa, B.S.

Research Technician II, 2022-2023

Archi is from Dallas, Texas. He attended UCLA where he majored in Biophysics. His focus in the lab is using HTS to find potential compounds that modulate three proteins of interest: CFH, HTRA1, and PEDF. In his free time, Archi loves to hang out with his dog or watch and play basketball. 

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Marian Renwick, B.S.

Research Assistant II, 2017-2022

Marian is originally from El Paso, TX and moved around a bunch as a child (AL, FL, Aguascalientes, Mex) before returning to El Paso and then heading to a boarding school in upstate NY for high school. At Emma Willard, an Intro to Neuroscience class fired a passion for science and a desire to understand how life works. From there, she attended Texas Woman’s University, earning BS in Biology, Mathematics, and Chemistry. After TWU, she came to UTSW and started in the lab of Matthew Goldberg working on mouse models of Parkinsons disease, then to the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in the lab of David Boothman. In 2017, she came to the Hulleman Lab and since then has maintained the mouse colony and worked with each lab member to boost lab productivity.

Marian Renwick, B.S.

Vipin Eapen

STARS Summer Research Student, 2022.

Current position: Senior at Hebron High School

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Emi Nakahara, B.S.

Research Technician II, 2020-2022

Current position: Graduate Student,  UT Southwestern

Emi Nakahara, B.S.

DaNae Woodard, Ph.D.

Graduate Student, 2018-2021

Current position: Postdoc, UCSD Shiley Eye Institute, Ayyagari Lab

DaNae Woodard, Ph.D.

Michael Hayes, M.D., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2021

Current position: Postdoc, UT Southwestern

Michael Hayes, M.D., Ph.D.

Ali Abbas, B.S.

NEI T35 Training Fellow, Summer 2021, 2022

Current position: Medical Student, UT Southwestern

Ali Abbas, B.S.

Thomas Su

UTSW SURF Fellow, Summer 2021

Current position: Senior, UT Austin

Blue mountains

Prerana Ramadurgum, B.S.

Research Technician II, 2019-2020

Current position: Medical Student, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM)

Prerana Ramadurgum, B.S.

Hui Peng, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018 - 2019

Current position: Academic lecturer, China

Hui Peng, Ph.D.

Jordan Thompson

STARS Summer Research Student, 2019

Current position: Undergraduate, Vanderbilt University

Jordan Thompson

Shyamtanu Datta, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2019

Current position: R&D Scientist, F. Hoffmann-La Roche

Shyamtanu Datta, Ph.D.

Sawyer Diaz

STARS Summer Research Student, 2018

Current position: Undergraduate, Texas Christian University

Sawyer Diaz

Alan Hurtado

QP-SURF Summer Research Student, 2018-2019

Current position: Graduate Student, Vanderbilt University 

Alan Hurtado

Viet Chau, M.D.

Summer Research Student, 2017-2020

Current position: Ophthalmology Resident, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Viet Chau, M.D.

Annie Nguyen, B.S.

Sr. Research Associate, 2014-2016

Current position: Medical Assistant, UT Southwestern

Annie Nguyen, B.S.

Nisha Reddy, M.D.

Summer Research Intern, 2015-2016

Nisha Reddy, M.D.

Khiem Vu, M.D.

RPB Medical Student Research Scholar, 2015-2017

Current position: Rheumatologist, North Carolina

Khiem Vu, M.D.

Allen Yen, M.D.

Summer Research Student, 2016

Current position: PGY-3 Radiation and Oncology, UT Southwestern

Allen Yen, M.D.

Serena Zadoo, M.D.

Summer Research Student, 2015

Current position: PGY-1 Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical School - Houston

Serena Zadoo, M.D.

Wenzhi Feng, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2017

Current position: Postdoc, UT Southwestern

Wenzhi Feng, Ph.D.

Fang Zhang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2018

Current position: Scientist, Kanghong Pharmaceutical Industry Group

Fang Zhang, Ph.D.

Polakshee Gogoi, M.S.

Summer Research Intern, 2018

Alexander Akande, B.S.

Research Technician II, 2019 - 2020