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Lab Alumni

  • Anitha Rajendran

    Anitha Rajendran, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2021-2022)

    Anitha came to our lab after completing her PhD at the University of Udine, in Italy. As a PhD student she created new assays for studying RNA binding proteins. In our lab, she was interested in learning computational biology, functional genomics, and mechanisms of non-apoptotic cell death. She worked on understanding mechanisms that control parthanatotic death. She is currently a postdoc in the Castaneda Lab at Syracuse University.

  • Peter Cruz-Gordillo

    Peter Cruz-Gordillo, MD/PhD

    Graduate Student, MSTP Program (2015-2020)

    Peter was the second student to join our lab (formally joining a few weeks after Ben). His thesis studies were focused on non-genetic mechanisms of drug resistance. Using genome-wide CRISPR screens, he found that the ELP complex drives drug resistance in TNBC by enabling "translational buffering" when growth factor-mediated gene expression is inhibited. Peter is a native of Puerto Rico, and studied at Duke and at the Broad Institute prior to joining our lab. He is currently finishing up the MD portion of his MD/PhD.

  • Anna Joyce

    Anna Joyce

    Undergraduate Intern (2019-2020)

    Anna worked with us while she was finishing her studies at Clark University, where she was a math major with a minor in management. She was a member of "Team Double Sigmoid" (an early version of the idea that became the GRADE algorithm). She is currently finishing her degree at Clark.

  • Ryan Richards

    Ryan Richards, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2019)

    Ryan did a short, but very productive postdoctoral fellowship in our lab. In three years he published 3 first author papers. He discovered SAD combos, created the FLICK assay, and helped generate the drug GRADE algorithm. Prior to joining our lab, Ryan was a PhD student with Rob Dempski at WPI, and an undergrad at UMass-Lowell, where he was a member of the soccer team. He's remembered fondly as a lover of all things New England, including fall weather and bland food. He is currently a Senior Scientist at AstraZeneca.  

  • Mariah Stewart

    Mariah Stewart

    Research Associate (2018-2019)

    Mariah was a technician in our lab. Prior to joining us, she was an undergraduate at Millsaps College where she studied Biology... and Chemistry... and Neuroscience... and Archaeology (and she was also a member of the golf team). In the lab she helped generate new regents for studying apoptotic and non-apoptotic forms of cell death, which are used in our study of "SAD Combos". She is currently pursuing a PhD in Pharmacology at UNC Chapell Hill and is a member of Jonathan Schisler's lab.

  • Thomas Leete

    Thomas Leete

    Research Associate (2013-2018)

    Thomas helped start our lab as our first hire and lab manager. Prior to joining us, he worked for Cosette Wheeler at U. New Mexico, and for Bob Horvitz at MIT. Thomas is a molecular biology guru and helped perfect a number of sequencing and genome-wide screening approaches for studying cell death. He currently works as a research associate at Beam Therapeutics. 

  • Ben Landry

    Ben Landry, PhD

    Graduate Student (2013-2018)

    Ben was our lab's first graduate student. He was previously an undergrad at WPI and a research technician in Jenny Benanti's lab. In our lab he pioneered our studies of the tumor microenvironment and became an expert in culturing primary material, quantitiative high-throughput assays for evaluating drug sensitivity, and the biology of cancer associated fibroblasts. He also authored a really excellent review on OMIC strategies for studying signal transduction. He is currently a Scientific Support specialist at STEMCELL.

  • Gary Ren

    Gary Ren

    High School Intern (2017)

    Gary worked in our lab during the summer after his junior year in high school. He helped Ben Landry characterize the functional state of cancer associated fibroblasts and how this is influenced by interaction with cancer cells. His contributions earned him authorship on our study of tumor-stroma interactions and how these alter drug sensitivity. Gary is currently at student at UMass-Amherst studying biomedical engineering.

  • Kentaro Hayashi

    Kentaro Hayashi, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2016)

    Kentaro came to our lab after a successful graduate career at Keio University in Japan. His research interests were focused on inflammatory signaling and diseases that result from chronic inflammation. He is currently a medical science liaison at Eli Lily.

  • Liam Ben-Joseph

    Liam Ben-Joseph

    Undergraduate Intern (2016)

    Liam joined our lab for the summer of 2016. While in the lab he studied SOX family transcription factors and their role in driving adaptive responses to growth factor targeted therapies. He's currently a medical student here at UMass Med.

  • Anne Margriet Heijink

    Anne Margriet Heijink, PhD

    Visiting Graduate Student (2015)

    Anne Margriet was a graduate student in the lab of our collaborator Marcel van Vugt, at the University of Groningen. She finished a portion of her PhD studies in our lab, resulting in a very nice paper that explored mechanisms driving resistance to cisplatin. She's now a postdoc in Dan Durocher's lab in Toronto.

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