Rhonda Roby's Laboratory

Rhonda Roby, Associate Professor


Research interests are: 1) sequencing and analysis of mitochondrial DNA for forensic sciences; 2) interrogation of the mitochondrial genome for mutations in age-related diseases; 3) software development for higher throughput processing and consistent genetic calls in both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA; 4) development of assays for genetic analysis; 5) improved processing of skeletal remains for forensic sciences; 6) manufacture of stains and evidence for training, competency, validation, and proficiency testing.

See https://profile.hsc.unt.edu/profilesystem/viewprofile.php?pid=10563147&onlyview=1 for more information.

Nicole R. Phillips, MS, PhD Candidate

Nicole obtained her bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Houston in 2004 and her master's degree in Forensic Genetics from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in 2009. She is currently a third year PhD student, and she advanced to candidacy in December 2011.  Nicole has been a Neurobiology of Aging fellow for the past two years, and her research focuses on mitochondrial genetics of age-related disease, specifically Alzheimer's disease.   Currently she is working on her thesis project, characterizing the mitochondrial DNA of individuals with Alzheimer's disease as well as individuals who are aging normally for age and/or disease-related differences in the state and rate-of-change.  She is involved in PCR-based assay development and using bioinformatic programs/tools for quality assurance and analysis of large genetic data sets.  Nicole anticipates the completion of her project by May 2013 with the guidance of Dr. Rhonda Roby and her advisory committee, which includes Dr. Robert Barber, Dr. John Planz, Dr. Meharvan Singh, and Dr. Lad Dory (University Member).

Marc L. Sprouse, BS, Second Year Ph.D. student
and Pre-Doctoral Neurobiology of Aging Fellow

In 2008, Marc Sprouse received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.   Marc’s current research interests include investigating the role of mitochondrial dysfunction associated with the etiology and pathology of prostate cancer (PCa).  Specifically, his work involves examining differences of the mitochondrial genome in men with PCa compared with men without the disease and also men who have benign prostatic hyperplasia.  These differences include mutations in the coding and non-coding regions, large scale deletions and mitochondrial genome depletion.  A large portion of Marc’s early work has been designing a custom assay and sequencing primers for mitochondrial genome analysis.  Marc’s committee is headed by his mentor Dr. Rhonda Roby and includes Dr. J.T. Hsieh from UT Southwestern, Dr. Robert Barber, Dr. Jianye Ge and Dr. Rong Ma (University Member) from UNTHSC.  Expected graduation is May 2014.

Ravali Gudep, Bachelor of Engineering in Bioinformatics
Forensic Genetics, 1st  year Masters

Research interests are processing of skeletal remains to improve DNA yield from extraction, improving extraction techniques applied to low yield samples obtained at crime scenes, and studying diseases involving mitochondrial DNA genetics.  Expected graduation date is May 2013.  Dr. Rhonda Roby is Ravali’s Major Professor.

Katherine N. Morgan, BS
Forensic Genetics, 1st  year Masters

Research interests are sequencing and analysis of the mitochondrial genome and the development of new and advanced methods for determining post mortem interval.  Expected graduation date is May 2013.  Dr. Rhonda Roby is Katherine’s Major Professor.
This page last updated 21st Nov 2013