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A community science project to learn about intracellular infections in wild nematodes

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jessica Sowa

Dr. Sowa is an Assistant Professor of Biology at West Chester University and the primary investigator and overall manager for Nematode Hunters. She has been doing research with nematodes for over 10 years. In addition to her teaching and research work, Dr. Sowa enjoys reading, hiking, and attempting to keep various plants alive.

Nematode Hunters Team 

Jay Ni graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a concentration in Microbiology. He was a member of WCU’s Honors College, Incomparable Marching Band, and the Friars' Society. He loves to cook, make music, serve the community, and play disc golf. Jay plans to pursue medical school after completing his Master of Science in Biology at West Chester University.

Graduate Assistant: 

Jay Ni

Nematode Hunters Team 

Research Assistant & Social Media Manager: Iris Kazzi

Iris is a Senior at West Chester University majoring in Pharmaceutical Product Development with minors in Business & Technical Writing, Music Production, and Biology. After college she hopes to go into medical school and pursue surgery. Iris is the president of the Biotech and Pharmaceutical Business Club, and a member of TriBeta, and Sigma Tau Delta – the international English honor society at WCU. She enjoys playing guitar, gaming, learning new languages, and discovering new AI tools. 

The Sowa Lab

Meet the Team

Research Assistant: Carolyn O’Donnell

Carolyn Joined Dr. Sowa's Lab in March 2023. She is a Sophomore at West Chester University majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. Carolyn is am a part of Crochet Club, Biology Club, WCU's Irish Dance After college. In addition to her involvement on campus, Carolyn also likes to volunteer for Super Science Saturday and Project CURE. She expects to Graduate from WCU in May 2026.

Research Assistant: 

Carolyn O’Donnell

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