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Lab Members

  • Leslie Shaw

    Leslie Shaw, Ph.D.


    I did my undergraduate studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT where I received my BS in Biology with Honors.  I earned my PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University in 1994.   After completing postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Art Mercurio, I started an independent research lab in the Pathology Department at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in 1999.  In 2005, I moved my lab to UMass Medical School where I am currently a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell & Cancer Biology.

    My research interest is in understanding the malignant progression of cancer from primary tumor to metastatic disease.  As a cell biologist by training, I have always been interested in how normal cells function.  As a cancer researcher, my goal is to elucidate how molecules or signaling pathways that control normal cell functions are co-opted in tumor cells to overcome normal controls and checkpoints to facilitate metastasis.  My lab aims to translate basic science discoveries into novel treatment approaches for metastatic cancer. 

  • Divyasri Damacharla

    Divyasri Damacharla, Ph.D.

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Divya received her Bachelors in Pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University, Bangalore, India. Later she received her Masters and PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2017 from Wayne State University, Detroit in Dr. Zhengping Yi’s lab.  During her graduate studies, she studied the interactions of Protein Phosphatase 2A in human skeletal muscle and rat beta cells in diabetic conditions using LC-MS/MS. After that, Divya did a brief post doc at University of Texas at Dallas where she worked on Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS), to understand the protein interaction dynamics. She later moved to Weill Cornell Medicine Mass Spec Core Facility as a Research Specialist in New York, where she worked on various proteomics and metabolomics projects. Divya joined the Shaw Lab as a Postdoctoral research fellow in 2020, where she will be using her proteomics with MS expertise to understand cancer biology.

  • James Hickling

    James Hickling, B.S.

    Research Lab Tech II

    James received his BS in Biological Sciences at Cornell University, with a concentration in Neurobiology and Animal Behavior and a minor in Global Health. As an undergraduate, James worked in the Swingle USDA plant pathology laboratory where he investigated the role of kin recognition growth arrest in bacterial plant pathogen growth and reproductive patterns. His current work in the lab involves the creation of an in vivo mouse model to study the effects of IRS1 and IRS2 on tumorigenesis, metastasis and self-renewal. Additionally, James is working to develop CRISPR/Cas9 knock-in cell lines to better understand how the localization and signaling of the IRS proteins impact cancer metabolism and their role in the breast cancer stem cell phenotype. When James isn’t in the lab, he enjoys hiking, biking, camping, basketball, and playing with his cat Mookie.

  • Ji-Sun Lee

    Ji-Sun Lee, Ph.D.

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Ji-Sun received her BS and MS in Pharmacy at College of Pharmacy, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea. She earned her PhD in Pharmacy at College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University in 2017.  In 2019, Ji-Sun joined the Shaw Lab where her research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of how breast cancer stem cells maintain their tumor-initiating ability and support tumor progression.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching movies and traveling.

  • Michael Lero

    Michael Lero, B.S.

    GSBS Student

    Michael graduated from Gordon College in 2016 with a BS in Biology, summa cum laude. After college, he attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School for one and a half years before transitioning to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Michael joined the Shaw lab in November, 2020 to study the role of the insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptors in breast cancer progression and metastasis. When not in the lab, Michael enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and gas station coffee. 

  • Maira Majano

    Maira Majano, B.S.

    PREP Student

    Maira completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston with a BS in Biology with Honors and a minor in Psychology in 2020. During her time there, she was an IMSD scholar and her undergraduate research focused on investigating the role of the Aurora B kinase during meiotic exit in S. cerevisiae.  Maira joined the Shaw lab in July 2020 as a post-baccalaureate PREP student. She is interested in understanding more about the cell biology of cancer cells and how these cells alter normal cellular function to metastasize. Outside of the lab, Maira enjoys watching lots of TV shows and movies. She also loves dogs!

  • Jennifer Morgan

    Jennifer Morgan, B.S., M.S.

    Research Associate II

    Jennifer received her BS in Biotechnology and MS in Biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1999.  Her work in the Shaw Lab currently focuses on the IRS-1 and IRS-2 proteins and their distinct roles in breast cancer. The lab is interested in these proteins for the roles they play in signaling, invasion, self-renewal, and stemness. Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching her kids play sports, serves as vice-president of the high school sports Booster Club, and spends time with family and friends.