Current Students

Aaron Waddell

Lab of Daiqing Liao, Ph.D.

CBP/p300 are highly related acetyltransferases that acetylate chromatin and serve as co-activators for genes involved in cancer. We are using molecular, cellular and chemical biological approaches to understand roles of CBP/p300 in cancer biology and to develop small molecule inhibitors of CBP/p300 enzymatic activity for cancer therapy.


Mai Tanaka

Lab of Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D.

My work focuses on understanding the Gas6/Axl signaling pathway that is dysregulated in many cancers and promotes metastatic phenotype. We believe that this signaling pathway is a promising therapeutic target to inhibit the dissemination of cells and to ultimately reduce cancer mortality.

Kartika Venugopal

Lab of Olga Guryanova, M.D., Ph.D.

My project investigates the efficacy of DNA replication targeting drugs in Acute Myeloid Leukemia with DNMT3A mutation.

Zuo Ding

Lab of Shuang Huang, Ph.D.

The Huang Lab previously discovered that SHOX2, a member of homeobox protein family, plays a significant role in breast cancer metastasis. My current research interest is to identify potential mechanisms that regulate cellular abundance of SHOX2.


Patrick Kellish

Lab of Maria Zajac-Kaye, Ph.D.

My research focuses on the disease progression and immune evasion of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and developing a combinational immunotherapy for SCLC. Our combinational immunotherapy utilizes an oncolytic virus that selectively targets tumor cells in combination with targeting inhibitory immune molecules to stimulate anti-tumor immune responses.

aetrwyteHenrietta Fasanya

Lab of Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D.

Osteosarcoma is a primary bone cancer that predominantly affects adolescents. My research project evaluates the role of a family of proteolytic enzymes, called cathepsins, that significantly contributes to the tumor cell migration and invasion. We hypothesize that inhibition of cathepsins will significantly decrease osteosarcoma metastasis in preclinical models.


Amani Harrandah

Lab of Edward Chan, Ph.D.

My research is focused on oral cancer and oral Bacteria. We are working to evaluates the effect of a periodontal bacteria , called Fusobacterium Nucleatum on tumor cell behavior and aggressiveness. We hypothesize that Fusobacterium Nucleatum could enhance cancer cells invasiveness in vitro.

afesswJulie Bray

Lab of Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D.

Pancreatic cancer remains uniformly fatal with a 5-year survival rate of only 6%. My research focuses on the role of cell identity during the initial events of pancreatic cancer development. We believe that by defining and understanding the mechanism of pancreatic transdifferentiation, a putative therapeutic window may be opened for pancreatic cancer prevention and/or treatment.

adwMam Mboge

Labs of Susan Frost, Ph.D. and Robert McKenna, Ph.D.

My dissertation work focuses on understanding the role of membrane bound carbonic anhydrase within the tumor microenvironment and targeting its activity for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

dRachel Nosacka

Lab of Andrew Judge, Ph.D.

Cancer cachexia, a metabolic syndrome that affects up to 80% of cancer patients, causes a significant decrease in muscle mass and is significantly linked to increased patient mortality. Currently, there are no effective treatment options for this disease due to a lack of understanding of the complex molecular mechanisms by which cancer causes muscle wasting. Therefore, my work is focused on understanding the intramuscular molecular pathways responsible for muscle wasting in cancer patients, with a specific focus on the FoxO1-FoxP1-SRF axis, in order to contribute to the future development of muscle mass-preserving therapies for cancer patients.

ufftftyVarsha Sundaresan 

Lab of Lei Zhou, Ph.D.

My research focuses on identifying significantly mutated genes and regulatory sequences in cancers. We are also interested in understanding the control of P53 binding using comparative genomics approaches.

xdxggfxVindhya Vijay

Lab of Christopher Cogle, M.D.

My work focuses on understanding the effect of aberrant alternative splicing in cancers and a potential mechanism by which modulating splicing of key transcripts can lead to disease regression.

zdgYue Jiang

Lab of Frederic Kaye, M.D. 

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) is the most common aggressive salivary gland malignancy with no effective systemic therapy and no long-term survival for patients with unresectable or advanced disease. My research is focusing on: Identify potential downstream MYB-NFIB gene targets as therapeutic opportunities to block tumor growth; and define functional domains for biological activity and transforming potential using different MYB, MYB-NFIB, and NFIB constructs; Study biology of MYB-NFIB and INK4A/ARF null genetically engineered mouse.