Current Students

Ozlem Calbay

Faculty Research Mentor: Shuang Huang, Ph.D.

My work focuses specifically on the elucidation of the underlying biological mechanism of ovarian cancer tumor progression and metastasis. The main goal of my research is to identify possible prognostic indicators as future targets for therapy.


Chandler Callaway

Faculty Research Mentor: Andrew Judge, Ph.D.

Cancer cachexia is a metabolic syndrome that affects the majority of cancer patients. My current work focuses on identifying novel tumor-derived factors and pathways that may be causative in cancer cachexia.


Madison Carelock

Faculty Research Mentor: Weizhou Zhang, Ph.D.

My research focuses on determining the role of BCL-XL in breast cancer metastasis by using in vitro and in vivo models to understand the complex function of BCL-XL in cancer cells and in immune regulations. In addition, we will investigate therapeutic regimens to effectively target BCL-XL by testing different PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACS). 


Siddhi

Siddhi Chitre

Faculty Research Mentor: Sumita Bhaduri-McIntosh, M.D., Ph.D.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus that exhibits a dual lifestyle comprised of latency/quiescence and lytic/productive phases. The lytic phase is an essential precursor to cancer development. My research focuses on investigating a key mechanistic link that Bhaduri lab has recently discovered between the host inflammasome and epigenetic machinery that silences the lytic phase.


Anna DeVries

Faculty Research Mentor: Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D.

Our lab has developed a unique RNA lipid nanoparticle vaccine encoding tumor specific antigens. The purpose of my current research is to investigate the innate immune activation mechanism of the vaccine by identifying important signaling pathways and compensatory axes affecting the anti-tumor response.


Peter Dib

Faculty Research Mentor: Maria Zajac-Kaye, Ph.D.

My research focuses on understanding the mechanism of how thymidylate synthase (TS), a metabolic enzyme essential for both nucleotide biosynthesis and folate mediated one-carbon metabolism, enhances tumorigenesis in lymphoma and sarcoma and designing a new TS inhibition strategy. Our newly developed allosteric inhibitors of TS inhibit TS catalytic activity and slow down tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo without inducing TS protein levels.


Michael Dougherty

Faculty Research Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.

My project focuses on elucidating a role for the pks enzyme ClbS, which is encoded in the pks cluster and phenotypically confers colibactin resistance through an unknown mechanism. Clarifying a role for ClbS in cytotoxin resistance may inform strategies to inhibit pks+ E. coli-associated colorectal cancer and provide insight into the functional roles of cyclomodulins in tumorigenesis.


Beatriz Helena E. Silva Veronese

Faculty Research Mentor: Zhe Ma, Ph.D.

My research focuses on KSHV and its associated cancers, such as Kaposi sarcoma (KS). I investigate the role of specific KSHV proteins in virus replication, immunomodulation, and pathogenesis.


Laura Font Falceto

Faculty Research Mentor: Catherine Flores, Ph.D.

My research focuses on how to improve immunotherapies for malignant brain tumors such as Glioblastoma. To achieve this, we use hematopoietic stem cells to modulate the tumor microenvironment and boost the efficacy of immunotherapies such as adoptive cellular therapy and checkpoint blockade.


Zeng Jin

Faculty Research Mentor: Ryan Kolb, Ph.D.

My research focuses on the tumor microenvironment, a special niche created by the cancer cells, plays an important role in both drug resistance and metastases. My current project involves learning the role of ANGPTL4 in regulating angiogenesis, immune cell infiltration, and resistance to current anti-VEGF therapy in renal cell carcinoma.


Charlotte Leonie Kaestner

Faculty Research Mentor: Jonathan Licht, M.D.

Research Interest TBD


Chayil Cyan Lattimore

Faculty Research Mentor: Kristianna Fredenburg, M.D., Ph.D.

Our lab is involved in racial health disparities research aimed at better understanding the disease burden experienced by black patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). My project specifically focuses on using various computational methods to investigate the molecular pathways that are potentially modulated by the differential expression of miRNAs in black versus white patients with LSCC.


Tianqi Li

Faculty Research Mentor: Mingyi Xie, Ph.D.

The Integrator complex has been identified as a key regulator of RNA polymerase II-mediated transcription with the processing of small nuclear RNAs(snRNA). There is relatively little known about the function of Integrator, how it controls RNA metabolism and how these RNAs operate within cells. My current work focuses on identifying the subunit of the Integrator complex crosslink the RNA of interest.


Natalie Martinez

Faculty Research Mentor: Scott Tibbetts, Ph.D.

Research Interest TBD


Claudia Mercado Rodriguez

Faculty Research Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.

Research Interest TBD


Rachel Newsome

Faculty Research Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.

My research currently focuses on host-microbe interactions in regards to inflammation and cancer. I use bacteria, mice, and zebrafish models in conjunction with sequencing, gavage, injections, immunohistochemistry, and qPCR to study the immune response to intestinal microbes and the role of bacteria in cancer immunotherapy treatment.


Kimberly Pereira

Faculty Research Mentor: Jonathan Licht, M.D.

Epigenetic abnormalities have frequently been seen to contribute to cancer. Hence, I am studying the role of the histone H2B-E76K mutation on the pathogenesis of lung cancer.


Gabriel Prado

Faculty Research Mentor: Jonathan Licht, M.D.

Oncogenic Ras mutations have been shown to alter the chromatin landscape, at both enhancers and promoters. My research revolves around understanding the changes in KMT2C (a major H3K4me1 methyltransferase) expression within an oncogenic Ras background, and the potential synergy between KMT2C & Ras mutations in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).


Xzaviar Solone

Faculty Research Mentor: Lizi Wu, Ph.D.

The Wu lab investigates aberrant CRTC-CREB signaling as a vulnerability in non-small cell lung cancer (NSLCL). In these cancer subtypes, the salt-inducible kinase (SIK) family may have differential roles that promote the constitutive activation of the CRTCs and subsequent lung cancer progression. My research focuses on elucidating the general relevance and mechanism of these SIK members in LKB1-inactive and LKB1-wildtype NSCLCs. 


takacs

Gregory Takacs

Faculty Research Mentor: Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.

The current focus of the Harrison lab is aimed at better understanding how myeloid cell populations contribute to the immune-suppressive microenvironment that is characteristic of high-grade brain tumors such as glioblastoma (GBM). My current work is directed at characterizing chemokine systems with the goal of translating our results into new therapeutic approaches for this malignant brain cancer.


Vrunda Trivedi

Faculty Research Mentor: Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.

My research is to identify tumor-associated antigens and neoantigens in glioblastoma models and use them to generate a cytotoxic immune response against the tumor. I am also working on developing a novel T cell engineering-based immunotherapy approach to improve the function of effector T cells in the context of anti-tumor responses.


Mu Yu

Faculty Research Mentor: Lizi Wu, Ph.D.

My project focus on studying the CRTC-CREB mediated transcriptional signaling pathway in LKB1-null non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). I’m interested in the regulators of CRTC function, including activation and degradation, in different cellular distribution and how they contribute to the NSCLC generation, proliferation, and metastasis.


Xin Zhou

Faculty Research Mentor: Lizi Wu, Ph.D.

The tumor suppressor gene LKB1 is frequently inactivated and results in constitutive activation of CRTC/CREB signaling in non-small cell lung carcinomas. My research focuses on understanding the general role of CRTC activation and developing peptide-based inhibitors to block CRTC/CREB signaling pathway in LKB1 inactivated lung cancer.