top of page

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 (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.

John Klem
Research Technician


B.S. Biology (2018), Indiana University Southeast


I am a research technician in the Lovely lab. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a BS in biology and have a passion for learning new things. At IU I worked in the labs of Beth Rueschhoff and Gretchen Kirchner studying vitamin B6 synthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana and extra cellular proteases, respectively. I also worked for KSCIRC using two-photon microscopy to study how spinal cord injuries change over time. My favorite aspects of doing research are the opportunities to see rare things and to think about new ideas. In addition to hanging out in the lab, I enjoy lap swimming, day hiking, and reading books about things going horribly wrong.

​Favorite Quote: The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there. - Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Hieu 400.jpg

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

Raeden 400.jpg

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

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

Evanne 400.jpg

Evanne Roszell
Undergraduate Research

University of Louisville, Class of 2021

I am in my last semester at the University of Louisville in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts with a major in biology and a minor in anthropology. I am very interested in the subject of genetics, specifically in the way that the genes we possess predetermine nearly everything about us but we can also affect the expression of these genes by engaging in different behaviors. I am planning to attend medical school upon graduating college, but I have not yet begun the application process. In the Lovely Lab, I am creating transgenic zebrafish by synthesizing plasmids using the Tol2 system. These plasmids are then injected into zebrafish embryos in the hopes that the embryos will uptake the new DNA and integrate it into their genome. When I’m not in the lab I like to crochet and enjoy the company of my cat Simon.

Favorite quote: All a person can do in this life is gather about him his integrity, his imagination, and his individuality - and with these ever with him, out front and in sharp focus, leap into the dance of experience. - Tom Robbins

Pup Patrol 350.jpg

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

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

bottom of page