Fellows are organized by their PI mentors, with postdoctoral followed by postbaccalaureate.
In February 2011, Jason Hoskins, Ph.D., joined the lab of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG, as a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow, where he is studying the molecular mechanism by which common risk variants on chromosome 13q22 confer susceptibility to pancreatic cancer. Dr. Hoskins received his Ph.D. in biochemistry (2007) and his B.S. in biochemistry (2002) at the University of Rochester. His thesis work in the lab of Dr. Scott Butler, explored the RNA-based mechanism of toxicity caused by the chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorouracil (5FU) in S. cerevisiae. Prior to joining LTG, Dr. Hoskins conducted postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Charles Thornton, where he collaborated with the National Chemical Genomics Center to screen for small molecules able to disrupt the binding of the splicing factor MBNL1 from CUG repeat RNA, which is a key interaction causing type I myotonic dystrophy (DM1). He also explored the endogenous decay pathways potentially involved in the destruction of the toxic CUG repeat expansion RNA.
Jinping Jia, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a visiting postdoctoral fellow, where she progressed to become a research fellow in January 2009. Under the guidance of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG, Dr. Jia focuses on the molecular phenotypes of association findings and functional characterization of plausible causal variants in order to understand how common sequence variation plays a role in the development of cancer. In 2006, Dr. Jia earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at the China Agriculture University in China, working on cDNA sequencing and microarray analysis. Prior to that, she earned her M.S. in genetics from the Shanxi Agriculture University in China.
Lauren Rost joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in June 2015 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the laboratory of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. She graduated in May 2015 from St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she earned a B.S. in biology and a minor in mathematics. While at St. Mary’s College, she worked with Dr. Jeffrey Byrd to conduct a genomic analysis of the nonobligate predatory bacteria, Cupriavidus necator N-1. She also worked in the lab of Dr. Kevin Emerson to gain computational skills through the study of the Anopheles darlingi genome and its relation to Plasmodium infection. Ms. Rost is currently conducting functional analyses of pancreatic cancer susceptibility loci identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and doing quantitative trait locus analysis using pancreatic transcriptome and methylome data.
Yinglun Wu joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in June 2015 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. He graduated from the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park in May 2015 with a B.S. in general biology. Prior to coming to the NIH, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Antony Jose’s lab at UMD, where he studied how parental diet influences gene expression in progeny of C. elegans. In 2010, he worked as an NIH Summer Intern in the laboratory of Paul Love, M.D., Ph.D., National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, where he genotyped mice and compared the differentiation potential between mouse embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. Currently, Mr. Wu is seeking to characterize mechanisms through which susceptibility variants identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) influence the risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Mingfeng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translation Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral fellow in December 2013. Dr. Zhang conducts her research in the laboratory of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG, where she studies the genetic susceptibility of pancreatic cancer by analyzing GWAS, RNA-seq, DNA-seq and methylation data. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and genetic epidemiology from Nanjing Medical University in June 2012, and an M.D. in pediatrics from Nanjing Medical University in 2007. Her doctoral research involved the study of genetic variation in relation to lung cancer risk and prognosis. Prior to joining LTG, Dr. Zhang worked as a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she investigated the genetic and environmental risk factors for melanoma.
Jiyeon Choi, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in October 2011 as a postdoctoral Cancer Research Training Award fellow in the lab of Kevin M. Brown, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. In the lab, Dr. Choi is currently working on the functional characterization of common and rare genetic variants contributing to melanoma susceptibility by following up recent genome-wide association studies and family re-sequencing work. Dr. Choi has a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she pursued functional studies of autism-associated common genetic variants with Dr. James Millonig. She also has an M.S. in molecular biology from Korea University and a B.S. in biological sciences from Ewha Womans University, South Korea.
Michael Kovacs, M.A., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in July 2014 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Kevin M. Brown, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. In the lab, Mr. Kovacs is working to characterize common genetic variants contributing to melanoma susceptibility in follow up to recent genome-wide association studies. Previously, he worked with Dr. Thomas B. Nutman in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, where he investigated the impact of filarial-malarial co-infection on host immune responses to malaria. Mr. Kovacs received his B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013, as well as his M.A. in teaching from Columbia University in 2014.
Tongwu Zhang, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in July 2012 as a visiting postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Kevin M. Brown, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. In DCEG, Dr. Zhang will focus on the analysis the GWAS data for identifying the functional characterization of common and rare genetic variants contributing to melanoma. He received his Ph.D. in bioinformatics from Zhejiang University, China in June 2012. During his Ph.D. research, he joined the Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Science as a visiting graduate in 2007, where he worked on whole genome assembly and RNA-sequencing analysis. In 2011, he joined the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as visiting scholar for the Date Palm Genome project.
Abdul Rouf Banday, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral fellow in February 2014. Dr. Banday received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from University of Kashmir, India, in 2006. He received his M.Sc. (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in biochemistry from A.M. University, Aligarh, India, under the mentorship of Dr. Mohammad Tabish, Associate Professor. For his Ph.D. he used public databases and computational tools to identify novel isoforms of kinases and neurotransmitter genes in the mouse genome and performed their functional subcellular annotation. He received training in bioinformatics at the University of Nottingham, UK, in 2009. He was awarded the Council of Scientific Industrial Research Junior Research Fellowship, a highly competitive research fellowship for Ph.D. students in India. In 2012, Dr. Banday joined the laboratory of Dr. Rahul Kanadia, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology at the University of Connecticut where, as a postdoctoral fellow, he worked on elucidating the role of alternative splicing in mouse retinal development using both next-generation sequencing and cell biology approaches.
In LTG, Dr. Banday is working with Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., investigator, on genomic regions that have been associated in GWAS with increased risk of several cancers. He will be involved in computational analysis of next-generation data from public databases (HapMap, 1000 Genomes, Encode, TCGA, etc) and analysis of genetic and functional data generated in the laboratory. Specifically, he will focus on exploring resources relevant for bladder cancer and for IFNL4, a novel human interferon discovered by the lab, in relation to several cancers and infectious diseases.
Candace Middlebrooks, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) postdoctoral fellow in November 2013. Dr. Middlebrooks received an M.S. in natural sciences from the University at Buffalo where she worked under the mentorship of Dr. Gillian Howell. For her M.S. thesis, she studied the effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors on the colon carcinoma cell line FET and the breast cancer cell line MCF-7L. Dr. Middlebrooks then received her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University, where her research focused on genetic epidemiology studies of Trisomy 21. Specifically, under the mentorship of Dr. Stephanie Sherman, she used computer programming and statistical analyses to identify recombination patterns associated with Trisomy 21/Down Syndrome. Her postdoctoral research in LTG is under the mentorship of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. Her project involves genetic and functional analysis of association signals identified through bladder cancer GWAS.
Olusegun (Segun) Onabajo, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral fellow in April 2013. He is working with Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. He will conduct functional studies on the novel human interferon, IFNL4, recently discovered in the Prokunina-Olsson group, in relation to cancers induced by infectious pathogens. Dr. Onabajo also works on functional evaluation of regions identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for bladder cancer. Dr. Onabajo received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, in 1998, where he graduated with distinction. He received a Ph.D. (2008) in cell biology and molecular genetics under the mentorship of Dr. Wenxia Song, associate professor at the University of Maryland College Park, where he functionally characterized the role of mammalian actin binding protein 1 (mAbp1) in B cell endocytosis and antigen presentation. He later conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Mattapallil, associate professor. There, Dr. Onabajo studied the molecular mechanisms of B cell dysfunction during HIV infection. Dr. Onabajo is interested in defining cancer-related molecular mechanisms of genetic associations identified by GWAS.
Nina Rao joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in August 2014 as a postbaccalaureate Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow in the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D, investigator, LTG. Ms. Rao received a B.S. in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 2013. After graduating, she worked for a year as a postbaccalaureate CRTA in the lab of Daniel H. Fowler, M.D., in the NCI Center for Cancer Research, where she studied the signaling pathways that trigger rapamycin-resistant phenotypes in CD4+ T cells important in adoptive T cell therapy. In the Prokunina-Olsson lab, Ms. Rao works on characterizing the functional and genetic associations of the newly discovered interferon, IFNL4, in cancer-related traits.