Celebrating PGG Graduates
Please join us in our celebration as we highlight our PGG graduates.
The profiles are sectioned by degree type:
Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Title: Activatable Probes for the Imaging of Biological Parameters Using Cerenkov Radiation
Research and Lab Description: My doctoral research was focused on the development of bioactivatable probes to image tumor metabolism in vivo using Cerenkov radiation. The Delikatny lab focuses on the development of fluorescence and Cerenkov optical imaging methods for the detection of tumor metabolism and microenvironment in lung and breast cancer models.
Post PhD Plans: Currently, I am a Research Fellow in Dr. Jason S. Lewis's Laboratory in the Department of Radiology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York City.
Thesis Title: Exploiting Acquired Resistance Mechanisms to MEK Inhibition in RAS-Activated Neuroblastoma
Research and Lab Description: My thesis work focused on developing MEK inhibitor combination therapies for RAS-driven relapsed neuroblastoma. I did my thesis work in the lab of Dr. John Maris, which studies the genetic and molecular basis of neuroblastoma and novel therapies.
Post PhD Plans: I am a Medical Writer at PRECISIONscientia and will be moving to Pittsburgh with my fiance.
Mentor Comment: Grace naturally evolved into a mature scientist during her dissertation research. Meticulous, organized and highly collaborative, she completed a project that will lead to future clinical trials for children with cancer. An outstanding lab citizen, teacher and colleague. We all wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors.
Thesis Title: The Role of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Metabolites in Endometrial Cancer
Research and Lab Description: I studied the role of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in endometrial cancer with a focus on PAH metabolism, receptor activation and cell proliferation. I did my thesis work in the lab of Dr. Trevor Penning, which studies the aldo-keto reductase superfamily of enzymes and the diverse roles they play in human health by controlling steroid hormone biotransformation and their involvement in the metabolic activation of pyrogenic, petrogenic and nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
Post PhD Plans: I am a postdoctoral scientist at the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) where I conduct safety assessment and research on skin sensitization properties of fragrance materials.
Mentor Comment: During her thesis work Isabelle conducted an internship at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and worked on their risk assessment strategy for endocrine disrupting chemicals with a focus on the thyroid hormone system. She is now a postdoctoral scientist at the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials where she is conducting risk assessment on skin sensitization properties of fragrance materials.
Thesis Title: Synthetic DNA Technology as a Tool to Generate Vaccine Immunity in the Skin
Research and Lab Description: My thesis research investigates how the skin can be used to enhance DNA vaccine immunity, by exploring the skin as a DNA vaccine delivery site as well as studying a skin-derived cytokine, IL-36, as a potential vaccine adjuvant. My thesis lab, under the direction and leadership of Dr. David B. Weiner, focuses on developing innovative immunotherapies for disease prevention and treatment using a synthetic nucleic acid platform.
Post PhD Plans: Postdoctoral fellow at AstraZeneca
Mentor Comment: It has been an honor to mentor Dr. Lumena Louis for her Ph.D. Lumena established new models in support of her research goals, and to do this she built exceptional collaborations. She made important contributions to the induction of T cell immunity by synthetic DNA immunization in the skin. These observations have implications for the technology in general. Her observations and the protection she induced by ID immunization suggests a new simpler approach for immunizing against an important parasitic infection. Her ability to thrive at the bench was impressive. I especially enjoyed debating her work and reports in the literature with her. She is always on the top of her game, allowing me to learn new ways of looking at problems through her eyes. I expect Dr. Lewis to accomplish exceptional things for humanity throughout her career.
Mentor: Benjamin Garcia, PhD
Graduate Training in Medical Science (GTMS) Certificate
Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) Certificate
Saul Winegrad Dissertation Award Recipient
Thesis Title: The Intersection of Proteomics and Pathology for Translational Cancer Epigenetics Research
Research and Lab Description: My thesis research focused on the ways in which epigenetic alterations can drive tumorigenesis and provide opportunities for improved diagnostics. My lab specialized in the use of nanoflow liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry to study alterations in protein expression and protein modifications in disease.
Post PhD Plans: I currently work as an Associate Scientist at Agios Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge MA. I continue to do proteomics to support early stage target discovery and validation in the Oncology space, and outside of the lab I am part of a group that explores opportunities for indication expansion for a later-stage drug candidate.
Mentor Comment: It's been a pleasure to have served as Dylan Marchione’s mentor for the last several years. Since Day 1, Dylan came in with a fierce determination, infectious enthusiasm and an incredible passion for merging human health and scientific research. He worked like a madman completing several projects, handling multiple collaborations and doing it all with a smile. Dylan made many significant contributions to the oncohistone field that have shaped models for how these mutations promote chromatin alterations and lead to disease, and will influence future research for years to come.
Thesis Title: Developing the Next Generation of Universal Immune Receptors
Post PhD Plans: Scientist at Carisma Therapeutics
Thesis Title: The Role of Aldo-Keto Reductases and Nrf2 Signaling in the Metabolic Activation of Nitrated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Research and Lab Description: I investigated the metabolic activation of nitroarenes, diesel exhaust mutagens, by characterizing the nitroreductase activity of the aldo-keto reductases and how NRF2-targeted chemopreventives could impact this process. The Penning lab focuses on the aldo-keto reductase superfamily of enzymes and the diverse roles they play in human health by controlling steroid hormone biotransformation and their involvement in the metabolic activation of pyrogenic, petrogenic and nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
Post PhD Plans: Biologist/Inhalation Toxicologist at the US EPA's Public Health and Integrated Toxicology Division in RTP, NC.
Mentor Comment: During her thesis work Jessica successfully competed for a Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Predoctoral Fellowship in Pharmacology & Toxicology and was awarded a Catherine and Solomon Erulkar Traveling Fellowship to visit the University of Dundee. While at Dundee she learned CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. She is now a postdoctoral scientist at the EPA to continue training in inhalation toxicology.
Thesis Title: Novel Microfluidic Systems as Tools to Study Hemostasis
Research and Lab Description: The goal of my thesis was to develop an in vitro system that mimics a blood vessel and recapitulates complex processes that stop bleeding after a vessel injury. The Brass Lab focuses on studying hemostasis, the dynamic process that makes bleeding stop, and how multiple signals come together to give an optimal hemostatic response.
Post PhD Plans: For my next step, I’ll be doing a fellowship in Clinical Chemistry at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital.
Mentor Comment: Izma was consistently a pleasure to work with. I’ll always remember her smiles, her contributions to the life of the lab, her photos of sunshine and beaches in Puerto Rico, her passion for science and her unwavering commitment to helping others succeed as she has. I’m looking forward to following her progress from afar as she heads to Houston for the next stage of her life. Many thanks for all that you brought with you to the lab!
Thesis Title: Innovative Approaches to Identify Regulators of Liver Regeneration
Research and Lab Description: I worked on implementing innovative genomic and epigenomic approaches to identify regulators and therapeutic targets for liver diseases. The Kaestner lab studies liver cancer and regeneration, diabetes, and intestinal biology with novel technologies that integrates molecular genetics and multiomics technologies.
Post PhD Plans: I’m currently working as a data scientist at a healthcare software startup that develops platforms to support oncology clinical decision making. For future plans I want to implement multiomics data to advance precision medicine and develop novel therapies.
Mentor Comment: Amber Wang came to us all the way from Taiwan, and completed two complex projects on the molecular mechanisms governing the recovery of the liver from toxic injury in record time. Amber was a great team member, always cheerful and ready to help others. We are happy that she found a great job in Philadelphia and we still run into her from time to time.