Dr. Marcela Rojas-Pierce


Dr. Marcela Rojas-Pierce
I received my undergraduate degree at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. At the end of my program I completed a year of research under the direction of Drs Joe Tohme and Steve Beebe at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. I obtained a Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of California-Riverside and my postdoctoral training was done in the laboratory of Dr. Natasha Raikhel from the Center of Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB) at UC Riverside. I teach Plant Molecular Biology (PB780) and Cell Biology (PB414).



Dr. Carla Brillada, Postdoctoral Scholar

I have a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical and Biomolecular Sciences from the University of Turin, Italy. My doctoral work was focused on the interaction between plants and insects, specificlly, the genetic regulation of several terpene synthases in A. thaliana and Phaseolus lunatus during herbivory. My research in the Rojas-Pierce lab is centered on the protein complexes that mediate fusion of vacuole membranes.



Dr. Ashley Alvarez, Postdoctoral Scholar
I received my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California-Riverside, where I was a student in Paul Larsen's lab. I My background is on genetic analysis of ethylene signaling pathways in plants. I am currently studying the role of the vacuole and vacuole fusion mechanisms in gravity sensing.

San Won Han


Sang Won Han, PhD. student
I have a B.Sc. degree in Biotechnology from Kangwon National University (Korea) and a M.Sc. in Agricultural Biotechnology from Seoul National University (Korea). In SNU, I worked on jasmonate-insensitive mutants in the laboratory of Dr Yang Do Choi. I am currently involved in the characterization of two tonoplast traffickiong mutants.

Irina Boico, PhD. Student


I joined the Lab as an undergraduate student in Spring 2010, my project at that time was to analyze the response of TIPs and other tonoplast markers to osmotic stress. I graduated from NCSU in May 2010 with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry with an Economics Minor. I started my PhD in Fall 2010 and my current research interests are the trafficking of High-affinity Phosphate Transporters (Pht1) in Arabidopsis thaliana.


Jiamneg Zheng, PhD. Student


I received my B.S. from Purdue University West Lafayette in 2009. I worked for a year as an undergraduate research assistant in Natalia Dudareva's Lab. My current research goal is to characterize two of the impaired trafficking to tonoplast mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Undergraduate students

Sam Lee, Undergraduate Student

I am a Plant Biology major at NCSU. I joined the lab in 2012 .





Kimnerly Baker, Undergraduate Student

I am a Plant Biology major at NC State and I joined the lab in 2013.


Racher Rhee, Undergraduate Student, Biological Sciences.




  • Ian Manning, B.Sc. NCSU, Currently at Bayer Plant Science.
  • Eliezer Rovira, REU student, Univ Puerto Rico Mayaguez
  • Maria Fernanda Rodriguez Welsh, MSc.
  • Efrain Rivera-Serrano, MSc.
  • Tracey Leonardo, REU Student, NYU
  • Elizabeth Flores, REU Student,
  • Wanda Figueroa, REU Student,
  • Jennifer Udom, Undergraduate student, NCSU.
  • Elizabeth Burgess, Undergraduate student, NCSU
  • Allison Vestal, Undergraduate student, NCSU, currently at William and Mary.
  • Briana Taylor, Undergraduate student, NCSU, Currently at UNC Chappel Hill Dental School.
Outreach Research People

Our lab is very active in outreach activities. We have hosted several High-school students and will soon start hosting 7th and 8th graders from a local Middle school in Raleigh. See more

Research in our lab is focused on targeting mechanisms for tonoplast proteins in Arabidopsis. We use chemical and classical genetic approaches to understand trafficking mechanisms and vacuole biogenesis.
An important goal of our lab is the training of graduate and undergraduate students and postdocs.
ROJAS-PIERCE LABORATORY- North Carolina State University.