Meet Our Graduate Students

To learn more about our students, we invite you to view the student profiles. Each student shares their research areas of focus, hobbies, and more, including their views of Augusta, Georgia.

photo of Caryn Bird

Caryn Bird

  • Hometown: Lakeville, MN
  • Undergraduate: Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, GA)
  • Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2016
  • Mentor: Dr. Theodore Johnson

What sparked your interest in science?

I had cousins that had cancer as children and I met some other children with cancer. Their stories made an impact on me. I was interested in how the human body works from a young age. Then, in high school, I started to develop an interest in science. At the end of college, I connected my interests to pursue a career in pediatric cancer research.

 

What are your research interests?

Cancer immunology - blocking immune suppressive pathways to harness the immune system and the role of complement

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself as part of a clinical research team working with pediatric cancer patients and their families.

 

What are your hobbies?

Cooking, baking, coloring

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I love science themed closthes and have a growing collection of dresses with DNA patterns to mitosis.

photo of Rebecca Delisio

Rebecca Delisio

  • Hometown: Midlothian, Va
  • Undergraduate: Virginia Tech
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2019
  • Mentor: Dr. Dimitrios Moskophidis

What sparked your interest in science?

Grew up in hospitals with my dad who was a urologist and family members with type 1 diabetes and cancer

 

What are your research interests?

Translational research; hope to work closely with hospitals and research on current patients in the future

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Conducting research in a lab with close affiliations with a doctor/hospital involved in bench to bedside medicine

 

What are your hobbies?

Reading, puzzles, and playing with my dog Moony

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I once scored a goal on Mia Hamm.
photo of Malita Jones

Malita Jones

  • Hometown: Thomson, GA
  • Undergraduate: University of Georgia
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Pamela Martin

What sparked your interest in science?

I don’t recall what specifically sparked my interest; I just know I have always been super intrigued.

 

What are your research interests?

I’m currently interested in focusing on therapeutic targets for diabetic retinopathy.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I’m still exploring my options. I could see myself in either academia or industry.

 

What are your hobbies?

Traveling and eating. I enjoy both separately but my favorite thing to do is try new foods on vacation.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

As much as I love to eat, I hate cooking.

photo of Mercy Kehinde-Ige

Mercy Kehinde-Ige

  • Hometown: Akure, Nigeria
  • Undergraduate: Lee University (Cleveland, TN)
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Huidong Shi

What sparked your interest in science?

I have always been interested in learning about the body, particularly what causes dysfunction and how to prevent/rectify them. Science provides answers and explanations to questions we have about how the body functions.

 

What are your research interests?

Cancer Immunotherapy and Genomics. My current research focuses on using bioinformatic and genomic methods to improve engineered T-cells for cancer immunotherapy.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Continuing my career as a research scientist in the Biomedical industry.

 

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy watching tv shows and movies, leisure reading, traveling, and concerts.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I have seen a few scenes, but I have never actually watched Titanic from start to finish.

photo of Alyssa Merting

Alyssa Merting

  • Hometown: Morganton, NC
  • Undergraduate: University of South Carolina - Aiken
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2018
  • Mentor: Kebin Liu

What sparked your interest in science?

Both my parents are in the medical field, so I just grew up in a science heavy environment.

 

What are your research interests?

My research has focused on colon cancer and how epigenetic regulation is involved in the tumor microenvironment.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m not sure but probably working in an industry position.

 

What are your hobbies?

My husband and I like to spend a lot of time outside with our dogs going for hikes or walks around the canal.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself.

My husband and I got married on Halloween and had a costume reception where we dressed up at Gomez and Morticia Addams.

photo of Dominique Monroe

Dominique Monroe

  • Hometown: Augusta, GA
  • Undergraduate: Kennesaw State University
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Waaqo Daddacha

What sparked your interest in science?

My deep interest in science was sparked by a seminar in undergrad. There was a talk given by my future undergraduate mentor, Dr. Cornelison, about a fungus causing white nose syndrome (WNS) on bats leading to annihilation of bat populations across the US. I became very interested on the causes of WNS and how a volatile organic compound that could be simply sprayed in a cave could eradicate the fungus and save the bat population.

 

What are your research interests?

I am interested in DNA repair pathways and how they relate to cancer. Many cancers like glioblastomas have overexpressed proteins like SAMHD1 that cause overactive repair, thus leading to resistance to treatments.  Currently, I am researching ways to alter DNA repair mechanisms to sensitize cancers to radiation and chemotherapy.

 

Previous completed graduate school

Georgia State University: Master of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I see myself as a professor running a lab tackling the ongoing challenges in Cancer Research.

 

What are your hobbies?

Listening to podcasts about space and astrophysics, traveling, watching movies, and gaming.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I have a twin sister.

photo of Ogacheko Okoko

Ogacheko Okoko

  • Hometown: Akpali
  • Undergraduate: B. Pharm
  • Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Gang Zhou

What sparked your interest in science?

Always had a sense of wonder.

What are your research interests?

Cancer Immunology, Drug Design & Development

 

Previous completed graduate school

MS Pharmaceutical Chemistry

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A Captain of Industry

 

What are your hobbies?

Television, Basketball and Golf

photo of Mahrima Parvin

Mahrima Parvin

  • Hometown: Joypurhat, Bangladesh
  • Undergraduate: University of Dhaka (Bangladesh)
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2019
  • Mentor: Dr. Ali S. Arbab

What sparked your interest in science?

I believe that my passion for science came almost purely through my learning and experiences in school. Maths and science were always the two subjects that I found myself to be most interested in and were usually the classes I looked forward to attending. I also had some amazing teachers who persuaded me to travel down the scientific path.

 

What are your research interests?

My research interest is in clinical trials of new drugs and diagnostic tests in breast cancer. Also whether could use engineered exosomes for effective breast cancer therapy.

 

Previous completed graduate school (if applicable):

Completed Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Dhaka.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Don’t have any idea about that. Because I don’t believe in do aiming and work for it but believe in do work and reach the destination and then I can convince myself that yeah, I reached here (destination).

 

What are your hobbies?

Travelling comes to the top of my list and always desire to explore new places to catch up some lifetime memories. Alongside with this introduce with new people, recently, cooking is becoming an interest, don’t know how long it will be! I like watching informative video and reading newspaper. Also like to participate in volunteer activities, learning new skills and language.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

Sometimes I talk to myself when I‘m alone just like I’m gossiping with somebody. When I was in my home, my mom sometimes noticed that asked me what are you doing? I was embarrassed and laughing but couldn’t tell her what I was doing. This is pretty childish!

photo of Dakota Poschel

Dakota Poschel

  • Hometown: Ringgold, GA
  • Undergraduate: Mercer University (Macon, GA)
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Kebin Liu

What sparked your interest in science?

I’ve always been curious about the world around me. Science was always my favorite class, especially when there was something hands on.

 

What are your research interests?

My lab studies tumor immunology, in particular focusing on how tumors can evade immune cell killing and be refractory to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Residency

 

What are your hobbies?

Augusta has lots of trails to explore around the river and around Lake Thurmond. One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is to take a hammock and a picnic to Lake Thurmond and spend the day relaxing in nature.

photo of Michaela Quintero

Michaela Quintero

  • Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
  • Undergraduate: Mercer University (Macon, GA)
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2017
  • Mentor: Dr. Honglin Li

What sparked your interest in science?

I’ve always been curious and kept searching for understanding the why behind all things, especially living things. Growing up, I was close with many family members who suffered from chronic illnesses, so I became motivated to use my curiosity to study the processes that could lead to better treatment of disease.

 

What are your research interests?

Currently, my research is focused on the Ufmylation pathway and its role in maintaining secretory cells necessary for homeostasis of the gastrointestinal tract. In the future, I would like to study how disfunction of the intestinal epithelium relates to the progression of other seemingly non-related issues such as auto-immune diseases.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself joining a successful lab studying gastroenterology and teaching undergraduate science part-time.

 

What are your hobbies?

Hiking with my dogs, cooking, gardening, fermenting, playing the French horn, tutoring

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I have a hairless dog (Chinese Crested) who loves to curl up under blankets and watch anime with me.

photo of Juliette Seremak

Juliette Seremak

  • Hometown: Lapeer, MI
  • Undergraduate: University of South Carolina - Aiken
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2019
  • Mentor: Dr. Bal Lokeshwar

What sparked your interest in science?

I joined a Cognitive Neuroscience research lab during undergrad and really enjoyed the work we did and also learned how to analyze data.  My mentor at the time encouraged me to apply to graduate school because she could see my potential as a scientist.

 

What are your research interests?

I am interested in neurodegeneration and cancer research.  In Dr. Bal Lokeshwar’s lab, our focus is on overcoming multidrug resistance in muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) and implementing more effective therapies following early detection.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope to have a well-established career by then along with several publications to show for it!

 

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy being outdoors, going to the gym, playing the piano, listening to music, watching movies/series on Netflix and coming home to my cats after a long day.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I graduated from my undergraduate program in 3 years with two degrees and I bought a house during the pandemic in 2020.
photo of Anuj Kumar Sharma

Anuj Kumar Sharma

  • Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Undergraduate: Kathmandu University, Nepal
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2017
  • Mentor: Dr. Vinata Lokeshwar

What sparked your interest in science?

During my dental school, I focused mainly on the clinical aspects of diseases. I was fascinated by the underlying mechanism of disease processes and realized that I wanted to further study/research on novel mechanisms and novel drug treatments.

 

What are your research interests?

My laboratory focuses on benign and malignant diseases of the bladder, kidney and prostate with an emphasis on developing biomarkers and targeted treatments.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

After completing my PhD, I would like to start working for a large company and continue doing research. 

 

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy biking, being outdoors, cooking and eating good food.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I am ambidextrous, can spin things on my finger and can juggle.

photo of Edidiong Usoro

Edidiong Usoro

  • Hometown: Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
  • Undergraduate: Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (Nigeria)
  • Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
  • Graduate School Start Year: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Waaqo Daddacha

What sparked your interest in science?

Being exposed to excellent doctors and nurses who took care of me as a child whenever I was sick made me interested in medicine and health-related sciences. My highlight as a medical doctor is the science and practice of caring for patients to include the diagnosis, treatment and follow up of these patients with the aim of maintaining or improving their health.

 

What are your research interests?

The role of SAMHD1 and Ribonucleotide Enzyme in nucleotide metabolism and DNA double-stranded break (DSB) repair in hypoxic cancer cells as possible therapeutic targets to reduce the resistance to many cancers’ treatment such as chemotherapy and ionizing radiation.

 

Previous completed graduate school

University of the District of Columbia (Washington DC) – Master of Cancer Biology

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A clinical cancer researcher, using research and clinical medicine as a vehicle to make scientific innovations that would help reduce the menace of especially hypoxic, metastatic and aggressive cancers in the world.

 

What are your hobbies?

Dancing, Scrabble, Cooking

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

One of my favorite quotes from childhood that motivates me to keep going despite life challenges: "A journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

Meet Our Post-Doctoral Fellows

photo of Ahmet Alptekin

Ahmet Alptekin

  • Hometown: Kahramanmaras, Turkey
  • Degree(s): MD, PhD
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Ali Arbab

What sparked your interest in science?

In medical school, I was interested in studying diseases in the molecular level. Specially the cancer. Studying on cancer seemed like a solving a giant puzzle to me at that time, that intrigued me. It still is.

 

What are your research interests?

Cancer metabolism, exosomes (to use in therapy and diagnosis), stroke.

 

Describe your project briefly

Stem-like cell treatment (endothelial progenitor cells) showed promising results in stroke treatment before. But cell therapy deployment in the acute phase of the stroke is feasible and challenging. Instead, we propose to use exosomes (small vesicles released by cells and loaded with parental cell content) for stroke treatment. We are about to conclude our studies on animal model of stroke.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A physician-scientist in academic institute, practicing medicine as well as doing research.

 

What are your hobbies?

Woodworking, gardening, and reading.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I can read/watch the same book/movie over and over if I like it.

Ashwin Ajith

  • Hometown: Kerala, India
  • Degree(s): PhD, MS, Bsc
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Anatolij Horuzkso

What sparked your interest in science?

My interest in science, specifically cancer biology came about after the lose of my grandfather to osteosarcoma. Initially I volunteered in different Regional Cancer Center hospitals around my city and slowly transitioned into research after finishing my bachelors & masters.

 

What are your research interests?

Currently I am working on development of small molecular inhibitor for specific targets in melanoma & hepatocellular carcinoma. I try to make efficient use of different models to comprehensively investigate the therapeutic potency of our novel drug.

 

Describe your project briefly

We are expanding our studies on the novel small molecular inhibitor, specifically its impact on the tumor & the tumor microenvironment. We are making use of genomic techniques including single cell RNA seq, Microarray Transcriptome analysis as well as conventional multi color flow cytometry, VECTRA staining, qPCR & western blotting. We hope to gain a comprehensive understanding on the mechanism of the inhibitor & hopefully prove it therapeutic efficacy.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully in the academic field or industry forging ahead & introducing new avenues of research.

 

What are your hobbies?

Philately. Movies. Historical Documentaries.

Asif Elahi

  • Hometown: Muzaffarnagar, India
  • Degree(s): Ph.D. in Biochemistry
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2017
  • Mentor: Dr. Ahmed Chadli

What sparked your interest in science?

In my 6th grade of school, my science teacher showed me pond water microorganism called paramecium under the light microscope. So, I was curious about the environment and wildlife thinking that if just a small drop of pond water contains such a vast variety of organisms which are harboring so many cell organelles in just one cellular compartment, then how much more complex and interesting information is still hidden in these living things and I should look into it and learn more details about live things. I guess that fueled my interest in biology. Well, that affection with microscopes and biology eventually took me to graduate school where I had the opportunity to learn more about life science using advanced microscope like inverted, fluorescence and confocal. So, my interaction with microscope in 6th grade adventure turned into undetachable part of my life.

 

What are your research interests?

My research interest includes immunotherapeutic potential of novel small molecule by inducing immunogenic cell death of triple negative breast cancer. I am evaluating the impact to novel small molecules as chemotherapeutic drugs and their ability to enhance anti-tumor immunity against breast cancer.

 

Describe your project briefly

Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) involves in stabilization and proper folding of its client protein including many oncogenic proteins. It is well documented that Hsp90 expression is significantly increased in cancer cell and inhibition of Hsp90 induces the surface exposure of immunogenic cell death (ICD) markers such as calreticulin, HMGB1 and ATP release along with other neo-antigens which help in the activation of cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocyte and induces cancer cell death. We are using several Hsp90 inhibitors to induce ICD for the activation of CD8+T lymphocyte to eradicate breast cancer in our lab.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Currently grooming my research skills as Postdoctoral fellow here at Augusta University, I am intended to join key position in research industry and developing more advanced research gears.

 

What are your hobbies?

Although, I get very limited time to follow my hobbies but in my free time, I like playing soccer, exploring new places and cities and spending time with my family.

photo of Daniel E. Gracilla

Daniel E. Gracilla

  • Hometown: Philippines
  • Degree(s): Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences(Molecular Biology / Cancer Biology)
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2021
  • Mentor: Dr. Yan Chunhong

What sparked your interest in science?

Started when I was a kid. I asked my father why the moon is following us when we are walking.

 

What are your research interests?

I am interested in Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology in general. Now I’m interested in radiation biology.

 

Describe your project briefly

My project focused on DNA damage repair in which we try to understand the interplay between transcription factors, histones and chromatin modifiers upon induction of DNA breakage.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself as faculty researcher who has my own laboratory which  specialize in Cell and Molecular Biology of diseases.

 

What are your hobbies?

Watching YouTube Videos and listening to music, and also biking and nature immersion.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I always set multiple alarms in the morning.

photo of Darryl Angelo Nettles

Darryl Angelo Nettles

  • Hometown: Leroy, Alabama
  • Degree(s): BS-Chemistry, M.Th., MPA, DPA-Public Policy/International Relations
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Martha Tingen

What sparked your interest in science?

It was discovered by my teachers, as late as sixth grade that I was academically inclined in all subjects. Therefore, toward the latter part of my high school career, I was selected for an introduction to engineering program at Auburn University in Alabama. I thought I would be interested in pursuing chemical engineering/chemistry in college.

 

What are your research interests?

My research interests are health disparities, social determinants of health, prostate cancer, and obesity.

 

Describe your project briefly

I am currently working with the c-CARE II project. The c-CARE II initiative is a research study designed to: 1) improve cancer outcomes in minority and underserved populations by enhancing awareness through culturally tailored education, presented by indigenous community members, who the participants know and respect; 2) facilitate access to early detection through screening; 3) navigate populations most at risk to genetic testing (when indicated); and 4) provide access to cancer care of specialized cancers of the breast, multiple myeloma, and prostate. This three-year study will enroll 600 African American adults from  20 faith-based sites across both rural and urban counties in Georgia that are ranked with some of the poorest health indicators and outcomes in the state and across the nation.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself as a successful principal researcher at Augusta University.

 

What are your hobbies?

I love maps and mapping. I like to travel, shop, and cook.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I learned the name of every capital city and nation in the world at ten years old.

photo of Fulya Alkan

Fulya Alkan

  • Hometown: Turkey
  • Degree(s): PhD
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2021
  • Mentor: Dr. Hasan Korkaya

What sparked your interest in science?

During high school, I highly interested in figures and videos showing cells and cellular compartments. Started drawing and coloring plant and mammary cells and this draw attention of my biology teacher.  As she told, I had talent to thinking analytically and might develop skills on problem solving. She gave me a much more detailed information about the field, and I decided to increase my knowledge on fundamentals of organisms.

 

What are your research interests?

I am interested in the role of myeloid cells on development of triple negative breast cancer and to find fundamental markers for prospective mono and/or single therapeutic interventions. In this purpose, using cutting-edge techniques, I would like to go deep on single cell level.

 

Describe your project briefly

Finding novel markers on single cell level to define how tumor infiltration of innate and adaptive immune cells act in favor of TME formation and metastasis in triple negative breast cancer.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Of course, I would like to have my own lab. In addition to improving their social personalities, want to give opportunities to young scientist being able to put themselves forward to in favor of science.

 

What are your hobbies?

Playing bass guitar. Finding unique vinyl for my collection. Go karting. Cultivating indoor plants.

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

Sorry not sorry but I have a tasteless sense of humor.

photo of Ghadeer Albashir

Ghadeer Albashir

  • Hometown: Jordan
  • Degree(s): MPA/DrPH
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2019
  • Mentor: Dr. Martha Tingen

What sparked your interest in science?

My interest in multidisciplinary research that seeks to improve clinical outcomes and patient well-being by intervening on patient, clinician, and organizational factors that influence care delivery.

 

What are your research interests?

Behavioral interventions with implementation, community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, cancer prevention and control to increase health equity and reduce health disparities.

 

Describe your project briefly

My research efforts focus on offering the best practice of cancer care delivery to improve health outcomes of minority and underserved population. I primarily assist with coordinating NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) at Georgia Cancer Center and work with our subcomponent sites as well.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

My professional goal to be a faculty member at the Cancer Prevention, Control & Population Health (CPC&PH) Program at the Georgia Cancer Center.

 

What are your hobbies?

Walking, cooking, traveling and reading

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I am a mother of 4 kids and caregiver for my 7y old special needs son. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love cooking especially Middle Eastern Cuisine. I also Enjoy long walks, especially on the beach!!!

Md Yeashin Gazi

  • Hometown: Chandpur, Bangladesh
  • Degree(s): Ph.D.
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2021
  • Mentor: Dr. Gang Zhou

What sparked your interest in science?

I was fascinated to know the mystery of life.

 

What are your research interests?

Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy

 

Describe your project briefly

My project is based on cancer immunotherapy. In my project, I use a newly discovered drug that can inhibit breast cancer progression and metastasis. It also have broader inhibitory effects in colon cancer and melanoma.  I am trying to get the immune effect behind the function of this drug. In some project I use adaptive T cell and CAR T cell with drug to get best possible cancer therapy.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Professor

 

What are your hobbies?

Discover new place for travelling, fishing, watching movies

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I did my PhD in Japan. First 6 month I can’t speak and understand Japanese. But I attended a lots of research seminar where researcher explained their work in Japanese!

Ohuod Hawsawi

  • Hometown: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • Degree(s): PhD, Biology
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2021
  • Mentor: Dr. Chunhong Yan

What sparked your interest in science?

I have always been fascinated by biology.  Having been brought up surrounded by siblings who worked in the science field, shaped and influenced me to love biology more.  That interest inspires me to research and learn more about diseases and disorders that may defect the perfect run in the human system.

 

What are your research interests?

Cancer metabolism, Mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer, Drug discovery

 

Describe your project briefly

My project focuses on studying the role and the mechanism of (Tizoxanide), an anti-parasitic agent, as an anti-tumorigenic effect and induce apoptosis.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

My long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator where I would be able to bring my research from the bench to the bedside.

 

What are your hobbies?

Baking, reading

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself

I do like cooking a lot, but I hate washing the dishes.

Rui Mao

  • Hometown: Shanghai, China
  • Degree(s): Medical Doctor, Ph.D
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2020
  • Mentor: Dr. Yukai He

What sparked your interest in science?

The possibility to find a cure for patients suffering from various diseases, including cancer, and diabetes.

 

What are your research interests?

Immunology, regulatory T cells, Treg promoting drugs, T cell engineering, CAR-T cells and corresponding cell based immunotherapy.

 

Describe your project briefly

First, a transgenic mouse model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) will be setup in our lab via hydrodynamic tail vein injection of transposon vector expressing oncogene(s) and vector expressing SB transposase. Ideally, liver tumor can develop within 1-5 weeks in most of mice. Second, via this model, the design of self-developed 8F8 CAR-T cells against GPC3 (glypican 3) can be tested efficiently and optimized for the treatment of solid liver tumor.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Become an expert in developing/optimizing various commercial CAR-T products against different solid tumors.

 

What are your hobbies?

Reading, Sports (badminton, running), Visiting nature and Hiking.

photo of Vamsi Krishna Kommalapati

Vamsi Krishna Kommalapati

  • Hometown: Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Degree(s): PhD
  • Start Year of Post-Doc: 2021
  • Mentor: Dr. Ahmed Chadli

What sparked your interest in science?

I always feel wonder how such intricate activities can take place inside such a small volume of cellular space and infinite levels of depth that scientific advancements could proceed forever to understand.

 

What are your research interests?

Hsp90 targeted drug discovery, Autophagy in cancer, Tumor progression and metastasis, Mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance

 

Describe your project briefly

Understanding the role of molecular chaperones in tumorigenesis and developing novel therapeutic agents targeting these molecules for cancer treatment.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I wanted to become an independent scientist and Identify potential small molecules that are effective against cancer, determine their mechanisms of action and significance in disease treatment, and ultimately develop rational strategies for their use in clinic.

 

What are your hobbies?

Watching movies, reading books