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Current Fellows in the Laboratory of Translational Genomics

Meet current fellows in the Laboratory of Translational Genomics and learn more about our research training opportunities.

Fellows are organized by their PI mentors, with postdoctoral followed by postbaccalaureate.

CHANOCK LAB

Leandro Colli, M.D., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

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Dr. Leandro Colli joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2013. In the laboratory of Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Director and senior investigator, DCEG, Dr. Colli focuses on post-GWAS and functional studies on kidney cancer. His interests are in translating genomics to clinical practice. He earned his M.D. in 2007 from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and completed an Internal Medicine and Clinical Oncology residency at the same University in 2012. Prior to joining LTG, Dr. Colli’s doctoral research involved studying mechanisms of pituitary tumorigenesis, at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Roelof Koster, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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Roelof Koster, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a visiting postdoctoral fellow in December 2013. In 2004, he received his M.Sc. in Medical Biology from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.  He earned his Ph.D. in 2010 from the faculty of Medical Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen. Dr. Koster did his doctoral work in the department of medical oncology under the guidance of Dr. Steven de Jong and Dr. Jourik A. Gietema, focusing on elucidating the mechanisms of cisplatin sensitivity and resistance in testicular cancer through functional studies. Prior to joining LTG, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Katherine L. Nathanson, Associate Professor of Medicine, Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, focusing on identifying genetic risk factors for testicular cancer.  Currently, in the laboratory of Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Director and senior investigator, DCEG, Dr. Koster conducts follow-up studies on important findings from GWAS and sequencing studies. 

Mitchell Machiela, Sc.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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Mitchell Machiela, Sc.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow in August 2012. In the laboratory of Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Dr. Machiela is investigating the prevalence, location, and molecular characteristics of human clonal mosaic events. His interests include prostate cancer genetics, statistical genetics, and fine mapping disease susceptibility loci. Dr. Machiela earned his Sc.D. in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in May 2012 under the mentorship of Dr. David J. Hunter. His doctoral work focused on germline genetic variation and prostate cancer risk. Prior degrees include an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in biology and B.A. in Spanish from Calvin College. 

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

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AMUNDADOTTIR LAB

Jason Hoskins, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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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.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Jinping Jia, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

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.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Sarah Manmiller, B.S. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Sarah Manmiller joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in June 2014 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. She graduated in May 2014 from York College of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.S. in biology and nursing. Before coming to the NIH, she worked with Dr. David Singleton at York College, studying bacteria involved with bioremediation, and with Dr. Phuoc Tran at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, studying the role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in tumorigenesis. Ms. Manmiller is currently working on functional analyses of pancreatic cancer susceptibility loci identified in genome-wide association studies.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Janelle Thomas, B.S. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Janelle Thomas joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in August 2014 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG.  She graduated in April 2014 from University of Pittsburgh where she earned a B.S. in biological sciences. Before coming to the NIH, she worked with Dr. Fabrisia Ambrosio at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she studied the effect of environmentally-relevant levels of arsenic on the growth of muscle precursor cells. In the summer of 2011 and 2012, she participated in the NIH Summer Internship Program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Wei Yang and Mark T. Gregory, her research focused on the structural biology of a protein involved in DNA repair and VDJ recombination.  Ms. Thomas is currently working on identifying the genetic and phenotypic variants associated with the development of pancreatic cancer.  

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Mingfeng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

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BROWN LAB

Jiyeon Choi, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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Jiyeon Choi, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in October 2011 as a postdoctoral Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) 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.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Michael Kovacs, M.A. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

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.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Christine Lee, B.A. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Christine Lee joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postbaccalaureate Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow in August 2014. In May 2013, she graduated from Rutgers University – New Brunswick Campus, where she earned her B.A. in physics. Prior to coming to NCI, she worked as a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Paul Falkowski at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, where she studyied calcification and cell formation of coral reefs at the extracellular matrix (ECM). Currently, in the laboratory of Kevin M. Brown, Ph.D., Ms. Lee is focused on identifying and characterizing genes involved in predisposition to melanoma.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Tongwu Zhang, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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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.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

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PROKUNINA-OLSSON LAB

Abdul Rouf Banday, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

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. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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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 Onabajo, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

Publications in PubMed

Ashley Paquin, B.A. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

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Ms. Ashley Paquin joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in July 2013 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. She graduated in June 2013 from Carleton College where she earned a B.A. in biology. Before coming to the NIH, she worked with Dr. Scott McGinnis, at Brigham and Women’s Hospitals studying early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and with Dr. Navin Pinto and Dr. Susan Cohn at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, studying genetic variants involved in neuroblastoma. Ms. Paquin is currently working on functional analyses of bladder cancer susceptibility loci identified in prior genome-wide association studies.  


Nina Rao, B.S. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

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.  

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

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Learn about research training opportunities in the Laboratory of Translational Genomics.