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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

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.

AMUNDADOTTIR LAB

Jason Hoskins, Ph.D. - Research 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.

Scientific Publications - Jason Hoskins

Ashley Jermusyk, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Ashley Jermusyk, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in March 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., investigator, LTG.  Dr. Jermusyk received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University in 2016.  Her doctoral research, done in the laboratory of Dr. Greg Reeves, focused on developing new approaches for understanding gene regulation using the Drosophila melanogaster embryo.  Currently, her work focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms through which susceptibility variants identified by genome-wide studies (GWAS) influence the risk of pancreatic cancer.





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.

Scientific Publications - Jinping Jia

Lauren Rost, B.S. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

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.

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.

Scientific Publications - Mingfeng Zhang

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BROWN LAB

Jiyeon Choi, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Visiting 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 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.

Scientific Publications - Jiyeon Choi

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.

Scientific Publications

Nghi Lam, B.S., B.A. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Nghi Lam joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in March 2016 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the laboratory of Kevin M. Brown, Ph.D., investigator, LTG. Mr. Lam graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in history (year) and the University of North Florida with a B.S. in biology/biomedical sciences (year). He previously worked in the laboratory of Dr. Harry Klee at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Drs. Charles Goulet and Yusuke Kamiyoshihara to identify and qualify enzymes and metabolites vital to the synthesis of flavor volatiles in tomato plants. Mr. Lam also worked at the Mayo Clinic’s Transfusion Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy Laboratory with Dr. Abba Zubair where he isolated and characterized mesenchymal stem cells extracted from human bone marrow, adipose tissue, and cord blood for its potential use in future regenerative therapies. At the University of North Florida, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Terri Ellis and established a time lapse profile of Klebsiella pneumoniae outer membrane protein transcriptional and expolysaccharide production changes as it transitioned to an antibiotic resistant state. Mr. Lam is currently investigating functional consequences of genetic variants identified through genome-wide association studies and how they contribute to increased susceptibility of melanoma development

Scientific Publications

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.

Scientific Publications

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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.

Scientific Publications - Abdul Rouf Banday

Ariunaa Bayanjargal, B.S. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Ariunaa Bayanjargal joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) in March 2016 as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the research group of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., senior investigator. In 2015, Ms. Bayanjargal was a summer intern in the Prokunina-Olsson lab. Ms. Bayanjargal received a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago in December 2015 and participated in a number of research projects during her college years. One of her projects was to study the phosphorylation of linker histone after induced DNA damage at the Ohio State University in the lab of Michael A. Freitas, Ph.D. Currently, Ms. Bayanjargal is working on molecular characterization of a novel bladder cancer associated region (by genome-wide association study) on chromosome 20.


Krizia-Ivana Udquim, B.S., B.A. - Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Krizia-Ivana Udquim joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., senior investigator, in April 2015. She received a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in December 2014. Prior to coming to NCI, she worked as a summer intern in Dr. Monte Westerfield’s lab at the University of Oregon. There she investigated soyuz,a novel circler mutation affecting zebrafish inner ears, to further understand the genetic basis for hearing and balance disorders affecting people. She also worked as a summer intern in the lab of Dr. Brenda K. Schroeder at Washington State University, where they were developing an early molecular detection method to discriminate storage onion fungal pathogens. Currently, Ms. Udquim is investigating the genetic and functional reasons for high retention of the IFNL4-dG allele in African populations as compared to other populations using genotyping for four polymorphisms within the IFNL4 gene. She is also involved in studies of three polymorphisms associated with bladder cancer risk.

Fang Wang, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Fang Wang, Ph.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2015. Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. in pathobiology and molecular biology from Tianjin Medical University, China in 2011. Her doctoral research focused on the role and mechanisms of tumor-associated genes, including miRNAs, in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. In LTG, Dr. Wang is working under the mentorship of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., senior investigator. She is involved in exploring genetic and functional connections of a novel interferon (IFNL4) with infection-associated cancers. She is also working on the molecular phenotypes of several regions that have recently been associated with increased risk of bladder cancer through genome-wide association studies (GWAS).

Scientific Publications – Fang Wang

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