Science Lab

Lab Members


Natalie Saini, Ph.D

Principal Investigator

I received my Ph.D from the Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA in 2014 working with Dr. Kirill Lobachev to understand the mechanisms of mutagenesis caused by DNA fragile sites, break-induced replication and inverted repeats. I did my postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Durham, North Carolina with Dr. Dmitry Gordenin, studying causes and consequences of somatic mutation accumulation in healthy cells. I started my own lab as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at MUSC in Fall 2020. 

Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, reading, gardening and trying out new recipes.


Sriram Vijayraghavan, Ph.D

Staff Scientist

I received my Ph.D from the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Anthony Schwacha in 2014, studying the role of the Mcm2-7 helicase in eukaryotic DNA replication using yeast as a model. I did my postdoctoral training with Dr. John McCusker at Duke University, analyzing the effects of nucleo-mitochondrial and viral sequence variations on phenotype in natural isolates of yeast. I joined the Saini lab in 2020 to study the effects of environmental and endogenous insults on somatic mutation loads.

In my free time, I like running, hiking, and exploring the local restaurants

Image by David Martin

Latarsha Porcher, M.S

Research assistant

I received my Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of South Carolina, Columbia SC studying the role of Rad51 paralogs in homologous recombination, and a B.A in Biology from Oberlin College, Ohio. I additionally worked as a research assistant in the Department of Pharmacology at USC, studying the role of the phosphodiesterase PDE11A in learning, social memory and aging.


Alessandra Ruggiero

Undergraduate researcher

Alessandra is currently a Junior at the College of Charleston working on her BA in Biology, Pre-Med, and Neuroscience. She joined the Saini lab in January 2022. Outside of the lab Alessandra enjoys watching movies, painting, and collecting vinyl records.


James McCollum

Undergraduate researcher

Jimmy is working on a biochemistry major and math minor at Presbyterian College. He joined the Saini lab as part of the 2022 SURP program at MUSC. Outside of the lab Jimmy enjoys playing golf, basketball, and running.

Past members

Sydney Gordon


Undergraduate researcher