The students of the GPGG are a diverse group. Each has a strong background in research and helps support the strong community and learning environment.
Stefanie Chan (Perissi Lab)
Stefanie is a fifth-year GPGG PhD student with the Perissi laboratory in the Department of Surgical Research. The Petrocca laboratory is currently focused on advancing precision medicine therapies for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC; the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer) into clinical testing. The primary goal of this program is to identify selective vulnerabilities linked to defined genetic and epigenetic states in distinct TNBC subtypes, and prioritize the highest-value targets for downstream drug development in select subgroups of TNBC patients. The lab is also interested in dissecting the molecular basis behind TNBC’s exceptional response and resistance to clinically available drugs, particularly 2nd-generation proteasome inhibitors and nuclear export drugs.
Barry Horne (Bonegio Lab)
Barry is a fifth-year GPGG PhD student in the Bonegio laboratory. His long-term interest is in performing translational research that focuses on the genetic causes of autoimmune diseases, with an ultimate goal of working towards better treatments and/or cures for autoimmune disorders such as Lupus and Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome (APS). The Bonegio lab is investigating various potential genetic causes and therapies for Lupus – particularly in the context of Lupus Nephritis. Barry is currently examining the possible roles of several different genes in “Immune-Complex Glomerulo-Nephritis” (IC-GN) induced proteinuria in mice. The goal of this research is to discover and define the genetic differences and signaling pathway(s) that lead to that disease state, in order to then develop ways to target them therapeutically in humans.
Jiayi Wu (Farrer Lab)
Jiayi is a fourth-year GPGG PhD student in Farrer’s lab in the section of biomedical genetics. The Farrer lab is investigating the genetic risk factors of both Alzheimer’s disease and various drug use disorders. Jiayi’s research focuses on finding the genetics and lifestyle factors from electronic health record (EHR) that related to successful opioid cessation using the genome-wide association studies and different machine learning algorithms. In addition, she is a recipient of Transformative Training Program in Addiction Sciences (TTPAS) scholarship, where she uses a chronically opioid-treated mouse model to find the cross-species genes and pathways overlap between mice and humans in response to addiction. As a side project, she also studies human epigenetics (i.e methylation quantitative trait locus) change in response to drug treatment.
Gian Sepulveda (Grishok Lab)
Gian is a second-year GPGG PhD student in the lab of Dr. All Grishok. The Grishok lab is currently working on MYC regulation in the context of triple negative breast cancer, as well as the epigenetic regulation of the histone 3 lysine 79 methyltransferase DOT1L. Gian’s project focuses on a putative MYC cleavage that might be essential in MYC-target gene regulation. Preliminary data suggests that MYC may be cleaved to either a 27 or 35 kDa protein. His plans after completion of the PhD are toward science communication and teaching, with a particular interest in journal editing.
Taylor Matte (Hawkin’s Lab)
Taylor is a second year student in GPGG, working in Dr. Finn Hawkins’s lab at the Center for Regenerative Medicine. Taylor seeks to combine experimental and computational approaches to study lung development and disease in a to-be-determined project. Outside of the lab, Taylor loves planning parties, Björk, and sensory deprivation tanks.
Megan Snyder (Sherr Lab)
Megan is a second-year GPGG PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. David Sherr. The primary focus of the Sherr lab is to understand the immunological and molecular mechanisms that influence cancer risk through the interactions between the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and both environmental and endogenous ligands. Her project involves understanding the role of the AHR in lung cancer by examining the AHR amplification loop’s effect on tumorigenesis and immunosuppression. This research, in conjunction with data from the Precancer Genome Atlas, aims to identify a point prior to tumor development when AHR inhibitors can be administered to intercept and prevent cancer. Megan’s broader interests include gene therapy, translational research, and a passion for developing novel treatments that utilize personalized and preventative medicine.