Greenberg Lab Members
Roger Greenberg, MD, PhD, is the J. Samuel Staub, M.D. Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where he also serves as Director of the Penn Center for Genome Integrity and the Director of Basic Science for the Basser Center for BRCA. During Dr. Greenberg’s early training, he demonstrated the first evidence that telomere shortening suppresses carcinogenesis in vivo, and subsequently, he helped define a BRCA1-centered tumor suppressor network. Dr. Greenberg’s independent laboratory investigates basic mechanisms of genome integrity maintenance and their impact on cancer etiology and response to therapy. His group discovered that ubiquitin chains serve as a platform for BRCA1 DNA damage recognition, identified biallelic mutations in BRCA1 as a cause of Fanconi Anemia, and developed novel systems to identify ATM kinase dependent transcriptional silencing near DNA double-strand breaks. More recently, his group defined the molecular underpinnings of homologous recombination dependent telomere lengthening mechanisms that occur in nearly 15% of cancers, and mechanisms that enable DNA damage responses to communicate with the immune system.
Dr. Greenberg is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Michael Brown New Investigator Award for Basic Science, Kimmel Scholar Award in Translational Science, Charles E. Culpeper Scholarship in Medical Sciences, a Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-Innovator Award, and the Stanley N. Cohen Award for Biomedical Research. He has also been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and American Association of Physicians. Dr. Greenberg previously chaired the DNA Mechanisms of Cancer study section for the American Cancer Society and is now a member of the NIH Cancer Etiology Study Section.
BA - Haverford College
MD and PhD - The Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Residency – Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Laura Murillo graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She then spent a year in New York City working as an Editorial Assistant on the website EuroCheapo.com. Laura provided administrative support to Drs. Eric J. Brown, Roger A. Greenberg, and Ben Z. Stanger and their labs from 2007-2019, during which time she also coordinated two seminar series, managed three websites, and several symposia for the Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center (PCRC) and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI). She is now the Administrative Director for the Penn Center for Genome Integrity (PCGI) supporting Center operations, seminars, and the Greenberg Lab.
Research Specialist, Lab Manager
Weihua Li is a Research Specialist and the Lab Manager for the Greenberg Laboratory. Weihua has been working on mechanisms of DNA repair of double strand breaks (DSB) and response to targeted therapies since 2016. Before she joined the lab, Weihua had worked as a research specialist at Penn and Monell Chemical Senses Center, investigating Stem cell / iPS transcription factors in endothelium, orofacial bone mesenchymal stem cells, and taste receptor genes. Weihua has 10 published papers (see bibliography) and has been awarded 2 patents.
Michael Brown Penn-GSK Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Chen was born and raised in Suizhou, China. He completed his PhD from the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. His scientific interest focuses on the communication between DNA damage and anti-tumor immune responses (Chen J, et. al., Cell Reports 2020). Outside of the lab, Dr. Chen enjoys playing basketball and Judo.
Haoyang was born and raised in Changzhou, China. He obtained his B. Sc. in Biological Sciences at Nanjing University, followed by a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biological Sciences at Penn State under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Reese. There he revealed that the Ccr4-Not complex is involved in DNA damage-induced RNAPII destruction in yeast.
In the Greenberg lab, Haoyang applies his biochemical skills to human cells and cancer therapy. He is looking into new therapeutic targets for treating breast/ovarian cancer and ALT (alternative lengthening of telomere) positive cancers and understanding their driving mechanisms. He recently published a paper with Dr. Greenberg exploring pathway-selective agents that target DNA repair deficiencies in a tumor tissue agnostic manner (Jiang H, Greenberg RA, Clin Cancer Res. 2021).
Outside of the lab, he likes music and is a big fan of history.
Dr. Krishnamoorthy received her B.Sc. (2009) and M.Sc (2011) in Biotechnology from the University of Mumbai, India where she carried out research on genetic markers influencing the incidence of sickle cell disease in tribal populations of India. She started her Ph.D. at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India and joined the group of Dr. Veena K Parnaik. Her research focused on the role of E3 ubiquitin ligases in the turnover of nuclear envelope proteins, lamins, and their interactors and understanding their role in the pathophysiology of nuclear envelopathies. Her work resulted in two first-author publications (Krishnamoorthy V, et. al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; and Krishnamoorthy V, et. al., Biochem Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2018). She received her Ph.D. in 2019, and joined the Greenberg lab as a postdoc in March 2019. She is currently studying the role of AAA+ ATPases in DNA replication and repair.
Tim was born and raised in Nuernberg, Germany. He traveled to the United Kingdom to study a B.Sc. in Immunology at the University of Edinburgh followed by a PhD in Clinical Sciences (Immunology and Inflammation) at Imperial College London under the mentorship of Simon Boulton. Throughout his time as a graduate student he was associated with the Francis Crick Institute, where he also held a position as laboratory research scientist.
His PhD work was focused on the modulation of homologous recombination at telomeres in response to infection with oncogenic Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus. In the Greenberg lab, Tim is looking into the contribution of innate immune signaling to anti-tumor immunity in the context of BRCA-deficient cancer. This work builds on his expertise at the intersection between the fields of cellular responses to DNA damage, immunology, and virology. He recently authored a review with Dr. Greenberg on the "Abscopal Effect" in JCI, describing mechanisms underlying communication between the DNA damage and immune responses during cancer therapy (Lippert T, Greenberg RA, J Clin Invest, 2021).
Stefano was born and raised in Italy, where he obtained his B.Sc. at the University of Pavia. After attending an Erasmus program, Stefano decided to move to Sweden where he achieved his M.Sc. at Lund University. He then moved to Mainz, Germany, where he conducted his PhD under the supervision of Brian Luke at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Here, Stefano addressed the regulation and function of TERRA in yeast cells that adopt the alternative lengthening mechanism of telomeres (ALT) to maintain their chromosome ends.
In the Greenberg lab, Stefano aims at deciphering at a molecular level the recombinational events characterizing ALT, with a specific emphasis on the spatial organization of telomeres. Furthermore, he is in pursuit of the origin of ALT in senescent cells before immortalization. Passionate about telomeres biology, Stefano strongly hopes his work will contribute to a better understanding of how specific cancers engage ALT with the prospect to develop better therapeutic strategies.
Parul received her B.Sc (2008) and M.Sc (2010) in Zoology from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, where she studied the role of epigenetic regulation of the Wnt4 promoter region in determining the sex of Mus musculus embryos in the laboratory of Prof. Rajiva Raman. Following that, she moved to National Centre for Cell Sciences, Pune, India to pursue her Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Manas Kumar Santra. There, she studied the role of ubiquitin proteasome system in regulating the cell cycle progression and maintaining genomic integrity. Her work there resulted in a first-author publication (Dutta P, et al., J Biol Chem., 2019). Parul then joined a cancer genomics-based healthcare firm, PierianDx, India, where she explored the information related to various mutations observed in a variety of cancers and precision medicine-based therapeutic approaches.
Parul joined the Greenberg lab in January 2022. Here, she is currently exploring the role of AAA+ ATPases in DNA replication and in maintaining genomic integrity.
Dr. Zhang received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou, China. He is devoted to understanding mechanisms underlying chromosome integrity and DNA damage response pathway choice at telomere and genomic DNA under different chromatin features. Dr. Zhang is also interested in cancer therapy: understanding mechanism for drug resistance, new use for approved drug and combination therapy. He received the Forbeck Scholar, William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation in 2019 for his work. Dr. Zhang recently published a paper that revealed an unexpected dominant role of ATR in hPSCs, combined with unique cell cycle abnormalities and, ultimately, consequences distinct from those observed in their isogenic differentiated counterparts (Vessoni T, Zhang T, et. al., J Cell Biol, 2021).
Arindam carried out his doctoral research at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India, under the mentorship of Dr. Susanta Roychoudhury, and received his PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Calcutta. His PhD research work focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of gain-of-function (GOF) mutant p53-driven tumorigenesis and resulted in four first-author publications (Datta A et al., EMBO reports, 2017; Datta A et al., Genes, 2019; Datta A et al., Genome Data, 2016; Ghatak D and Datta A et al., Molecular Cancer Research, 2021). After receiving his PhD, Arindam joined the lab of Robert Brosh in the Helicases and Genome Integrity Section at the National Institute on Aging (NIH) as a Visiting Scientist Postdoctoral Fellow. He investigated the molecular functions of RECQ helicases implicated in genome stability maintenance and characterized a specialized role of WRN helicase in recovery of stalled replication forks under the condition of BRCA2 genetic deficiency (Datta A et al., Nature Communication, 2021, In press).
Arindam joined the lab in November 2021 and is currently studying the roles of BRCA1-A complex in regulation of double-strand break repair in human cells. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, reading books, cooking, and music.
Tao Shi was born and raised in China. From 2009 to 2016, she performed her Bachelor's and Master's studies at Northwest A&F University, China. From 2016 to 2021, she completed her PhD research at University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, where she was studying how the tumor suppressor p53 was regulated by differential cellular signaling, such as DNA damage and redox signaling (Shi and Dansen, 2020, Antioxidants & Redox signaling; Shi et al., 2021, Free radical biology & medicine; Shi et al., Antioxidants). She joined the Greenberg lab in 2022 as a Postdoctoral Researcher, where she is focusing on understanding how cells deal with DNA damage in mitosis. Out of the lab, Tao is a big fan of music and movies, and also keen on traveling and socializing.
Dr. Reona Kato was born in Japan, and received his B.Sc. in Biological Science at Shizuoka University. He went on to obtain his PhD in Molecular Radiology from the Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine at The University of Tokyo, under the supervision of Dr. Kiyoshi Miyagawa.
Fascinated in homologous recombination and end-joining repair of DSBs at transcriptionally active chromatin regions, Dr. Kato joined the Greenberg lab in 2022 as postdoctoral Researcher to pursue work in DNA damage and immune responses.
Taku received his BS and MS in biochemistry from Brandeis University in 2018. Under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Lovett, he studied the structure-function relationship of a DNA polymerase subunit in E. coli. He then joined Dr. Stuart Orkin’s group in the Hematology/Oncology Department at the Boston Children’s Hospital as a Research Technologist, where he identified mechanisms of transcriptional dependencies in acute myeloid leukemia. Joining the Greenberg lab in 2023 as a PhD student, Taku is working to determine how genomic instability activates inflammasomes and the subsequent inflammatory cell state. Outside the lab, Taku is a member of the Penn Club Swimming Team and enjoys cooking, often sharing with his classmates.
Aravind is currently pursuing his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and B.S. in Economics, with Concentrations in Statistics and Healthcare Management & Policy, as part of the University of Pennsylvania's Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management (LSM). He joined the Greenberg Lab in September 2021, where he is working to elucidate the mechanisms underlying Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and the interaction between ALT and the telomerase-mediated pathway in cancer cells. Aravind is fascinated with mechanisms of DNA repair in response to DNA damage, and is interested in understanding cancer and other genetic diseases through the lens of DNA damage, with an eye towards developing novel strategies that can promote DNA damage repair for early-stage disease treatment, and even prevention. He aims to pursue an MD-PhD to continue this line of research on DNA damage and repair in the context of cancer and other diseases, and translate this basic science into clinically-applicable therapeutic strategies that more effectively target the root cause of these diseases. Outside of the lab, Aravind loves playing basketball and spending time in nature.
Jinghan is currently pursuing a BSE degree in Bioengineering at University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science and will be graduating in 2024. She joined the Greenberg lab in May 2020, dedicating her studies to understanding DNA repair mechanisms. With a strong interest in cancer therapy and a focus on exploring changes in cell sensitivity to cancer medications, Jinghan currently works with Arindam Datta looking into the roles of BRCA1-A complex in the regulation of DNA double-strand break repair in an ATM deficient background. Looking ahead, Jinghan aspires to obtain an MD degree and embark on a career in surgical oncology, where she can incorporate cutting-edge cancer research findings to deliver personalized treatment. Outside the lab, Jinghan enjoys playing the piano and participating in theater arts.
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