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Ben Lovely


Principle Investigator

Assistant Professor (2018-Present)

     University of Louisville School of Medicine

Post doc (2010-2017), University of Texas at Austin

     Mentor: Johann Eberhart

PhD. Biology (2010), University of Louisville

     Mentor: Mike Perlin

B.S. Biology (2002), University of Louisville

B.A. Chemistry (2002), University of Louisville

My interests lie at the intersection of genetic and environmental factors and how these interactions impact the wide range of events necessary for craniofacial development. Focusing on alcohol as the environmental factor, our lab examines the genetics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) using zebrafish as a model system. Our lab is currently exploring multiple avenues of research relating to FASD: 1. What is the mechanistic basis of the gene-ethanol interactions we have identified; 2. Facial development requires interaction between multiple tissues in the forming head, how does ethanol disrupt these interactions; 3. How do gene-ethanol interactions impact the transcriptomic landscape in our ethanol-sensitive mutants; 4. Based on analysis of our gene-ethanol interactions, what therapeutic avenues can we identify. In my down time outside the lab, you can find me cooking, hiking with my dogs, or playing music (guitar and drums).

Favorite Quote: There are no answers, only better questions - Mick Taylor (That Pedal Show).

Kevin Kump
Fish Facility Technician (Fish Master)


B.S. Biology (2003), University of Kentucky


My main responsibility is maintaining the flow-through system housing all of the zebrafish in the lab. I’m also currently working on screening for ethanol induced mutations in zebrafish larvae. My previous work experience includes working for the University of Kentucky Biology Dept. where I learned techniques in genetics and molecular biology while doing research with axolotl and tiger salamanders. I enjoy doing meaningful academic research and my interest in biology carries over to my hobbies as well – I’ve been keeping aquariums since I was a child, and I enjoy doing just about anything that involves being in nature.


Favorite Quote: There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. - Steven Wright.

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Hieu Vo
Graduate Student

B.S. Biology (2015), Western Kentucky University

M.S. Biology (2019), Murray State University


I am currently a Ph.D candidate of the Biochemistry and Molecular Genetic department at UofL. In my undergrad at WKU, I looked at hormonal response in sleep deprived mice under Dr. Noah Ashley supervision from whom I learned basic experimental biological procedures and techniques. During my master year at MSU, I worked on the protein complexes in germ cells of the fruit flies with Dr. Alexey Arkov as mentor. There, I developed my interest in developmental biology and biochemistry. Moving to U of L and getting into Dr. Lovely’s lab, I have chances to explore more biological topics and different aspects of developmental biology. My favorite aspect of doing research is the moment the result shows as we have expected. Outside of school, I enjoyed trying out cuisines from different culture, playing video games, playing soccer, and swimming.

​Favorite Quote: Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. - Albert Einstein


I am a graduate student from the beautiful islands of the Bahamas, pursuing my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. I recently received my Bachelor of Science degree in biology at St. Thomas University, where I also spent 3 years in the Plunkett lab doing stem cell research related to neuronal regeneration in adult zebrafish. Now, in the Lovely Lab, my project entails studying the Wnt/PCP pathway and its role in embryonic facial development, specifically the anterior endoderm, in zebrafish embryos- also its relationship with the BMP pathway. Outside of research, I love drawing portraits, reading books, dancing, working out and discovering new places to eat!

​Favorite Quote: I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. - Socrates

B.S. Biology (2020), St. Thomas University


Raeden Gray
Graduate Student


Makenzie Stearsman
Graduate Student


B.S. Biology (2021), Murray State University


I’m a graduate student from Ohio County, KY working towards my PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. I received my B.S. in Biology from Murray State University in 2021. During my senior year at MSU, I volunteered to help start up Dr. Grace Eder’s lab, where I realized how much I loved being involved in research. After graduating, I worked at Eurofins Genomics in Louisville, Ky as a purification technician. After about a year of industry work, I decided to continue my education. In the Lovely Lab, my project involves exploring craniofacial development by examining the relationship between Sonic Hedgehog and BMP and looking at the anterior endoderm with HCR. My favorite parts of being in the lab are learning more about working with the zebrafish model and getting to know my labmates. Aside from school and the lab, I enjoy stopping in at coffee shops, hanging out with my cats and visiting my sisters

​Favorite Quote: Being able to admit you’re wrong is important, but so is standing up for yourself when you’re right. - Suzy Kaseem

Sam Robinson


Undergraduate Research

University of Louisville, Class of 2022

I am a sophomore at UofL, majoring in biology and chemistry. I am especially interested in molecular genetics, and when finished with undergrad, would like to pursue either medical school or a PhD in biochemistry or molecular biology. Outside of school, I enjoy playing soccer, fishing, and working as an ED scribe. 


Favorite quote: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak aloud and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

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Grace Conley
Undergraduate Research

University of Louisville, Class of 2025

I am a junior at the University of Louisville, pursuing a major in biology with a double minor in epidemiology and public health. I joined the Lovely Lab January of 2023 due to my interest in genetics. Since then I have helped out in several aspects of the lab, and have currently been working on creating 3D images of zebrafish embryos using Optical Projection Tomography. I am planning on attending medical school upon graduation. When I’m not in the lab I am often working as a medical assistant, reading, or hanging out with my pets.

Favorite quote: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Ghandi

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Lab Mascots

Paco (Bubbas)

Ginnie (Princess)

J Roddy (Monkey)

Austin (Wiggles)

We are the lab mascots (and rescue pups). Three of us are native Texans (Paco - Lockhart, Ginnie - Gonzales and J Roddy - Seguin). The last of us, Austin, is from Kentucky (Ohio County). We have a very important job in the lab. We make sure everyone is performing to the highest standards when it comes to giving us pets and attention. It is a thankless job, but we persevere. Really we just make it fun for everyone to be in the lab. When not in the lab, you can find us at the local dog park or at our Mama's new business, PG&J's Dog Bar (


Favorite Quote: WHERE ARE THE TREATS?!?!?! - us.

Former Lab Memebers

Liltoyria Bohler - High School Student, J Graham Brown School

Ashley Kayabasi - High School Student, North Oldham

Carley Kayabasi - High School Student, North Oldham

Sofia Brown - Undergrad, U of L

Allison Villari - Undergrad, U of L

Rachel Eckert - Undergrad, U of L

Elizabeth Lepovsky - Undergrad, U of L

Evan Roszell - Undergrad. U of L

Monika Thapa - Rotating Master's Student

Andrea Poole - Rotating Grad Student

Belinda Petri - Rotating Grad Student

Danielle Little - Rotating Grad Student

Gina Nobles - Post Doc

John Klem - Lab Tech

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