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Lab Members

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery | Musculoskeletal Institute | UConn Health, Farmington, Connecticut

Daniel W. Youngstrom, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

  • Ph.D in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • B.S. in Biophysics, University of Michigan
About me:

Bone is a dynamic tissue often capable of remarkable intrinsic healing, but there are limits to the extent of repair that is possible in humans. Yet some animals, including zebrafish, are enticingly capable of complete regeneration of complex skeletal structures following amputation. What are the cellular mechanisms that give rise to this extraordinary healing potential? My lab uses in vitro cell culture, pre-clinical animal models and reverse genetics to discover ways to engineer adult skeletal stem cells and promote therapeutic bone formation following developmental malformation, surgical resection or high-energy trauma.

I also direct the x-ray microtomography (µCT) core facility, serving the diverse and collaborative skeletal/dental research community at UConn Health and beyond.

Outside the lab, I am a motorcyclist, woodworker and nature enthusiast.

links: UConn Health faculty bio

Jessica M. Kraus

Lab Manager & Research Assistant

  • B.S. in Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut
  • Graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Biology at University of Saint Joseph
About me:

Prior to joining Dr. Youngstrom’s lab I worked in three different labs at UConn, where I studied reproductive physiology in fruit flies, auditory discrimination behaviors in rats, and nerve cords in cockroaches. Having experience with all of that, I can now confidently say that studying bone in zebrafish has been the most rewarding! When I am not in the lab I enjoy hikes, spending quality time with friends and family, and working on my art – mainly sculpture. I am also pursuing a Master’s degree in Biology in my spare time.

Vilmette Mendoza

Undergraduate Researcher

  • Undergraduate student majoring in Biological Sciences at University of Connecticut
About me:

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut where I am majoring in Biological Sciences and have been a part of this lab since May 2021. I am unbelievably grateful to be here, it has taught me so much about the field of research and has broadened my interest in it. Not to mention a newfound appreciation for zebrafish, all their wonderful qualities and quirky personalities! 

Because of my experiences and my time in this lab, I am pursuing a DVM/PhD dual degree, with a particular interest in working in clinical wildlife rehabilitation, conservation and research.

Previous Lab Members:

  • Adalain Meier – Research Assistant
  • AJ Pocwierz – Summer Undergraduate Researcher

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