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Lauren Brilli Skvarca, PhD Medical Student


Dr. Neil Hukriede


PhD in Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2015

BS in Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009

Why I chose Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh has strong a reputation in both research and medicine, which was important to me as an MSTP student.  When I interviewed here, all of the faculty I met with were enthusiastic about their research, and the students were friendly and happy with their decision to come here.  I was quickly able to identify several potential research mentors that I wanted to work with, and I easily saw myself fitting in with the students.  In addition, Pittsburgh is an affordable city in which to complete graduate training that has a lot offer - it has everything from great restaurants, to winning sports teams, to the fine arts to help maintain a balanced life outside of school.  I am currently a second year student in Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology (MGDB) graduate program and have chosen Neil Hukriede as a thesis mentor, and I am quite happy at Pitt, both academically and socially!

After successfully defending her thesis, Dr. Skvarca returned to Medical School at the University of Pittsburgh.


Brilli, L.L., Bridges J.P., Shannon, J.M. Temporal misexpression of HIF-1α or HIF-2α in the developing pulmonary epithelium disrupts branching morphogenesis and causes neonatal death. FASEB Conference, Lung Epithelium in Development and Disease. Saxtons River, VT. August 3-8, 2008.

Brilli, L.L., Cosentino, C.C., McDermott, L., Hukriede, N.A. Modeling acute kidney injury in zebrafish. 10th International Conference, Zebrafish Development and Genetics. Madison, WI. June 20-24, 2012.


Viscoelastic material properties of the myocardium and cardiac jelly in the looping chick heart. J Biomech Eng. 134: 024502. |  View Abstract

LPCAT1 regulates surfactant phospholipid synthesis and is required for transitioning to air breathing in mice. J Clin Invest. 120: 1736-1748. |  View Abstract