Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Students: Cancer & Cell Biology


Student Profiles


Students are attracted to our program from all across the country and around the world to pursue research in cancer and cell biology. Several of our students have written about their experiences at BCM. Read the profiles below to learn about our students.


Dominique Thompson

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Mentor: Joseph F. Petrosino, Ph.D.
Undergraduate major: Biology
Undergraduate school: Northwestern State University

Brittany Stork

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Mentor: Brian York, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Majors: Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Secondary Education
Undergraduate School: University of Nebraska—Lincoln

Natalie Biel

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Mentor:  Anna Sokac, Ph.D.
Undergraduate major:  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Undergraduate school:  Mercer University

Raghav Ramabadran

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Mentor:  Margaret (Peggy) Goodell, Ph.D.
Undergraduate major:  Biomedical Sciences
Undergraduate school:  York University

Taylor Chen

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Mentor:  H. Daniel Lacorazza, Ph.D.
Undergraduate major:  Engineering
Undergraduate school:  Swarthmore College

Dany Roman

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Mentor:  Graeme Mardon, Ph.D. 
Undergraduate major:  Cell and Molecular Biology
Undergraduate school:  California State University Northridge (CSUN)


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Laramie Lemon

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Mentor:  Alison Bertuch, M.D., Ph.D.
Undergraduate major:  Biology
Undergraduate school:  Northwestern State University of Louisiana


Selected Student Publications: 2016 - 2018


Our students frequently publish in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals and attend national and international meetings. A representative selection of recent student publications is presented below. Student names are bolded in lists of authors for each publication.

Zou WY, Blutt SE, Zeng XL, Chen MS, Lo YH, Castillo-Azofeifa D, Klein OD, Shroyer NF, Donowitz M, Estes MK. Epithelial WNT Ligands Are Essential Drivers of Intestinal Stem Cell Activation. Cell Rep. 2018 Jan 23;22(4):1003-1015. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2017.12.093. Epub 2018 Jan 28. PubMed PMID: 29386123; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5798462

Chen H, Xue J, Churikov D, Hass EP, Shi S, Lemon LD, Luciano P, Bertuch AA, Zappulla DC, Géli V, Wu J, Lei M. Structural Insights into Yeast Telomerase Recruitment to Telomeres. Cell. 2018 Jan 11;172(1-2):331-343.e13. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.12.008. Epub 2017 Dec 28. PubMed PMID: 29290466; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5839504.

Haller M, Mo Q, Imamoto A, Lamb DJ Murine model indicates 22q11.2 signaling adaptor CRKL is a dosage-sensitive regulator of genitourinary development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017; 114:4981-4986 PMID: 28439006   (published 1st year after graduation)

Lo YH, Noah TK, Chen MS, Zou W, Borras E, Vilar E, Shroyer NF. SPDEF Induces Quiescence of Colorectal Cancer Cells by Changing the Transcriptional Targets of β-catenin. Gastroenterology. 2017 Jul;153(1):205-218.e8. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2017.03.048. Epub 2017 Apr 5. PubMed PMID: 28390865.

Monkkonen T, Landua JD, Visbal AP, Lewis MT Epithelial and non-epithelial Ptch1 play opposing roles to regulate proliferation and morphogenesis of the mouse mammary gland. Development (Cambridge, England) 2017; 144:1317-1327PMID:28275010

Monkkonen T, Lewis MT New paradigms for the Hedgehog signaling network in mammary gland development and breast Cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer 2017; 1868:315-332 PMID: 28624497 (published 1st year after graduation)

Palmieri M, Pal R, Nelvagal HR, Lotfi P, Stinnett GR, Seymour ML, Chaudhury A, Bajaj L, Bondar VV, Bremner L, Saleem U, Tse DY, Sanagasetti D, Wu SM, Neilson JR, Pereira FA, Pautler RG, Rodney GG, Cooper JD, Sardiello M mTORC1-independent TFEB activation via Akt inhibition promotes cellular clearance in neurodegenerative storage diseases. Nat Commun 2017; 8:14338PMCID:PMC5303831

Pankowicz FP, Jarrett KE, Lagor WR, Bissig K-D CRISPR/Cas9: at the cutting edge of hepatology. Gut 2017; 66:1329 PMID:28487442 (review)

Roberts JM, San Martin RBadrajee DP, MacKrell JG, Rocha GV, Dodge JA, Coarfa C, Krishnan V, Rowley DR, Weigel NL Vitamin D receptor activation reduces VCaP xenograft tumor growth and counteracts ERG activity despite induction of TMPRSS2:ERG. Oncotarget 2017; 8:44447-44464 PMCID: PMC5546493

Roberts JM, San Martin R, Badrajee DP, MacKrell JG, Rocha GV, Dodge JA, Coarfa C, Krishnan V, Rowley DR, Weigel NL Vitamin D receptor activation reduces VCaP xenograft tumor growth and counteracts ERG activity despite induction of TMPRSS2:ERG. Oncotarget 2017; 8:44447-44464 PMCID: PMC5546493

San Martin R, Pathak R, Jain A, Jung SY, Hilsenbeck SG, Piňa-Barba MC, Sikora AG, Pienta KJ, Rowley DR Tenascin-C and integrin α9 mediate interactions of prostate cancer with the bone microenvironment. Cancer Res2017:DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-1117-0064

Satterfield L, Shuck R, Kurenbekova L, Allen-Rhoades W, Edwards D, Huang S, Rajapakshe K, Coarfa C, Donehower LA, Yustein JT. miR-130b directly targets ARHGAP1 to drive activation of a metastatic CDC42-PAK1-AP1 positive feedback loop in Ewing sarcoma. Int J Cancer. 2017 Jul 27. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30909. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28748534.

Shen Y, Chen TJ, Lacorazza HD. Novel tumor-suppressor function of KLF4 in pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Exp Hematol. 2017 Sep;53:16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 May 4. Review. PubMed PMID:28479419; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5568468.

Shen Y, Park CS, Suppipat K, Mistretta TA, Puppi M, Horton TM, Rabin K, Gray NS, Meijerink JPP, Lacorazza HD. Inactivation of KLF4 promotes T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and activates the MAP2K7 pathway. Leukemia. 2017 Jun;31(6):1314-1324. doi: 10.1038/leu.2016.339. Epub 2016 Nov 22. PubMed PMID:27872496.

Szwarc MM, Kommagani R, Peavey MC, Hai L, Lonard DM, Lydon JP A bioluminescence reporter mouse that monitors expression of constitutively active β-catenin. PLoS ONE 2017; 12:e0173014 PMCID:PMC5333872

Wetendorf M, Wu SP, Wang X, Creighton CJ, Wang T, Lanz RB, Blok L, Tsai SY, Tsai MJ, Lydon JP, DeMayo FJ. Decreased epithelial progesterone receptor A at the window of receptivity is required for preparation of the endometrium for embryo attachment. Biol Reprod. 2017 Feb 1;96(2):313-326. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.116.144410. PubMed PMID: 28203817.

Xie WR, Jen H-I, Seymour ML, Yeh S-Y, Pereira FA, Groves AK, Klisch TJ, Zoghbi HY An Atoh1-S193A Phospho-Mutant Allele Causes Hearing Deficits and Motor Impairment. The Journal of Neuroscience 2017; 37:8583 PMID: 28729444

Christensen LL, True K, Hamilton MP, Nielsen MM, Damas ND, Damgaard CK, Ongen H, Dermitzakis E, Bramsen JB, Pedersen JS, Lund AH, Vang S, Stribolt K, Madsen MR, Laurberg S, McGuire SE, Ørntoft TF, Andersen CL SNHG16 is regulated by the Wnt pathway in colorectal cancer and affects genes involved in lipid metabolism. Mol Oncol2016; 10:1266-1282 PMID:27396952

Figard L, Wang M, Zheng L, Golding I, Sokac AM. Membrane Supply and Demand Regulates F-Actin in a Cell Surface Reservoir. Developmental Cell. 2016 May 9;37(3):267-78. PubMed PMID: 27165556; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5019494.

Hamilton MP, Rajapakshe KI, Bader DA, Cerne JZ, Smith EA, Coarfa C, Hartig SM, McGuire SE The Landscape of microRNA Targeting in Prostate Cancer Defined by AGO-PAR-CLIP(). Neoplasia (New York, NY) 2016; 18:356-370PMID:27292025

Hein, S. M., Haricharan, S., Johnston, A. N., Toneff, M. J., Reddy, J. P., Dong, J., Bu, W., and Li, Y. (2016). Luminal epithelial cells within the mammary gland can produce basal cells upon oncogenic stress. Oncogene 35, 1461-1467 PMCID:PMC4688047.

Kim IS, Zhang XH. One microenvironment does not fit all: heterogeneity beyond cancer cells. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2016 Dec;35(4):601-629. doi:10.1007/s10555-016-9643-z. Review. PubMed PMID: 27858305; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC5215976.

Kommagani, R., Szwarc, M. M., Vasquez, Y. M., Peavey, M. C., Mazur, E. C., Gibbons, W. E., Lanz, R. B., DeMayo, F. J., and Lydon, J. P. (2016). The Promyelocytic Leukemia Zinc Finger Transcription Factor Is Critical for Human Endometrial Stromal Cell Decidualization. PLoS Genet 12, e1005937 PMID:27035670

Lo YH, Chung E, Li Z, Wan YW, Mahe MM, Chen MS, Noah TK, Bell KN, Yalamanchili HK, Klisch TJ, Liu Z, Park JS, Shroyer NF. Transcriptional Regulation by ATOH1 and its Target SPDEF in the Intestine. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Oct 21;3(1):51-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2016.10.001. eCollection 2017 Jan. PubMed PMID: 28174757; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5247424.

Paine, I., Chauviere, A., Landua, J., Sreekumar, A., Cristini, V., Rosen, J., and Lewis, M. T. (2016). A Geometrically-Constrained Mathematical Model of Mammary Gland Ductal Elongation Reveals Novel Cellular Dynamics within the Terminal End Bud. PLoS Comput Biol 12, e1004839 PMCID:PMC4845990.

Pankowicz FP, Barzi M, Legras X, Hubert L, Mi T, Tomolonis JA, Ravishankar M, Sun Q, Yang D, Borowiak M, Sumazin P, Elsea SH, Bissig-Choisat B, Bissig K-D Reprogramming metabolic pathways in vivo with CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to treat hereditary tyrosinaemia. Nat Commun 2016; 7:12642  PMCID: PMC5013601

Seymour ML, Rajagopalan L, Duret G, Volk MJ, Liu H, Brownell WE, Pereira FA Membrane Prestin Expression Correlates with the Magnitude of Prestin-Associated Charge Movement. Hear Res 2016; 339:50-59 PMCID:PMC5018423

Shore AN, Chang CH, Kwon OJ, Weston MC, Zhang M, Xin L, Rosen JM. PTEN is required to maintain luminal epithelial homeostasis and integrity in the adult mammary gland. Developmental Biol. 2016 Jan 1;409(1):202-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.10.023. Epub 2015 Oct 23. PubMed PMID: 26526198; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4688181.

Vasquez, Y.M., Mazur, E.C., Li, X., Kommagani, R., Jiang, L., Chen, R., Lanz, R.B., Kovanci, E., Gibbons, W.E., DeMayo, F.J. (2016).  FOXO1 is Required for Binding of PR on IRF4, Novel Transcriptional Regulator of Endometrial Stromal Decidualization. Mol Endocrinol. 29:421-433 PMCID: PMC4347287

Vasquez, Y. M., Wu, S.-P., Anderson, M. L., Hawkins, S. M., Creighton, C. J., Ray, M., Tsai, S. Y., Tsai, M.-J., Lydon, J. P., and DeMayo, F. J. (2016). Endometrial Expression of Steroidogenic Factor 1 Promotes Cystic Glandular Morphogenesis. Mol Endocrinol 30, 518-532 PMCID:PMC4853565.

Welte T, Kim IS, Tian L, Gao X, Wang H, Li J, Holdman XB, Herschkowitz JI, Pond A, Xie G, Kurley S, Nguyen T, Liao L, Dobrolecki LE, Pang L, Mo Q, Edwards DP, Huang S, Xin L, Xu J, Li Y, Lewis MT, Wang T, Westbrook TF, Rosen JM, Zhang XH. Oncogenic mTOR signalling recruits myeloid-derived suppressor cells to promote tumour initiation. Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Jun;18(6):632-44. doi:10.1038/ncb3355. Epub 2016 May 16. Erratum in: Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Jun 28;18(7):822. PubMed PMID: 27183469; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4884142.


Student Awards


Our students are frequently recognized for their achievements with honors and awards. In recent years, these have included:

NRSA F31 Fellowship
Raghav Ramabadran (Mentor: Dr. Margaret Goodell) 
Leah Gates (Mentor: Dr. Bert O’Malley)
Emmet-Huang Hobbs (Mentor:  Dr. Ben Deneen)

NRSA F30 Fellowship
David Bader (Mentor: Sean McGuire)

F99/K00 - NCI
Yuan-Hung Lo (Mentor: Noah Shroyer)

American Society for Microbiology Science Teaching Fellow 
Laramie Lemon (Mentor: Dr. Alison Bertuch)

FASEB MARC Sponsorship- 2015 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring
Laramie Lemon (Mentor: Dr. Alison Bertuch)