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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention
 

Current Fellows in the Clinical Genetics Branch

Meet the fellows in the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) and learn about their work.

  • Muzzammil W. Ahmadzada, B.S.

    Mr. Ahmadzada, postbaccalaureate fellow and iCURE Scholar in CGB, focuses on identifying and characterizing individuals at high risk of developing cancer and discovering predictive and prognostic biomarkers that may guide therapeutic decisions for those patients. Currently, he is investigating the cancer susceptibility and cancer profiles of myotonic dystrophy (DM) patients compared to the overall non-DM population, under the mentorship of Shahinaz Gadalla, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Esteban Astiazaran Symonds, M.D.

    Dr. Esteban Astiazaran Symonds, clinical fellow in CGB, studies the genetic and phenotypic variability of individuals with cancer predisposing syndromes, and investigates genome-first approaches used in Noonan syndrome and other RASopathies. His mentors are Alisa M. Goldstein, Ph.D., and Douglas Stewart, M.D.

  • Kelvin C. de Andrade, Ph.D., M.Sc.

    Dr. de Andrade, research fellow in CGB, studies genetic and behavioral factors that could be associated with cancer risk, progression, and phenotypic variability in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome patients. His mentor is Sharon Savage, M.D.

  • Lesley Chapman Hannah, Ph.D.

    Dr. Chapman Hannah, postdoctoral fellow in CGB, develops machine learning and statistical strategies to identify novel pathogenic variants in pediatric cancer. Her mentors are Douglas Stewart, M.D., and Hormuzd A. Katki, Ph.D. (Biostatistics Branch).

  • Camryn Cohen, B.S.

    Ms. Cohen, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, studies HPV-associated biomarkers for anal cancer screening and management, under the mentorship of Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S. and Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Sarah Cole, M.D.

    Dr. Cole, clinical fellow in CGB, investigates predisposition to osteosarcoma and genotype-phenotype relationships in Diamond-Blackfan anemia. Her mentors are Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D., M.S., and Matthew Gianferante, M.D.

  • Summer Harvey, M.P.H.

    Ms. Harvey, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, studies trends and predictors of hysterectomy in the United States, as well as associations of life course obesity with endometrial cancer. Her mentors are Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., and Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S.

  • Rachel Hendricks, B.S.

    Ms. Hendricks, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, is working on germline genetics of bone marrow failure disorders, using data from the Inherited Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome and the Transplant Outcomes in Aplastic Anemia studies. Her mentor is Lisa McReynolds, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Sun Young Kim, M.D., Ph.D.

    Dr. Kim, a fellow in the Department of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and a clinical fellow in CGB, is working on the genome-first approach to cancer susceptibility using the Geisinger and UK Biobank resources to better characterize prevalence, penetrance, phenotype, and variable expressivity in tumor-predisposition genes, under the mentorship of Dr. Douglas Stewart.

  • Aimee Koestler, B.S.

    Ms. Koestler, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, is helping with several human papillomavirus (HPV) genomics projects, specifically studying the distribution of genetic HPV 35 variants among cervical cancers around the world and particularly in women of African ancestry. Her mentor is Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D., M.S.

  • Rebecca Landy, Ph.D.

    Dr. Landy, postdoctoral fellow in CGB, studies the natural history of human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancers, and the appropriate use of risk estimation methods when evaluating cancer screening. Her mentors are Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D., and Hormuzd Katki, Ph.D.

  • Yen T. Luu

    Ms. Yen T. Luu, a Medical Research Scholar Program Fellow in CGB, is investigating skin cancer risk in the HIV/AIDS population and among carriers of pathogenic variants of Xeroderma Pegmentosum-associated genes. Her mentors are Michael R. Sargen, M.D. and Alisa M. Goldstein, Ph.D.

  • Chase W. Nelson, Ph.D.

    Dr. Nelson, a research fellow in CGB, is working on studies within the DCEG Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Genomics Projects, with a focus on characterizing the molecular evolution of oncogenic HPVs and their relationships to disease progression. His mentor is Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D.

  • Thomas O'Donnell, M.P.H.

    Mr. O'Donnell, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, is building and validating absolute risk prediction models for ovarian cancer, as well as investigating changes in biomarker levels due to different handling and processing procedures in blood specimens taken from Connect cohort volunteers. His mentor is Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., Branch Deputy Director and senior investigator.

  • Emily Pearce, M.P.H.

    Ms. Pearce, predoctoral fellow in CGB, studies telomere length measurement and how donor telomere length impacts recipient survival after hematopoietic cell transplantation. Her mentor is Sharon A. Savage, M.D.

  • Hannah Raj, B.S.

    Ms. Raj, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, studies new methods of single telomere length measurement in individuals with dyskeratosis congenita, a telomere biology and cancer susceptibility syndrome. Her mentors are Drs. Shahinaz Gadalla and Sharon Savage.

  • Camella Rising, Ph.D., M.S., R.D.N.

    Dr. Rising, research fellow in CGB, focuses her research on developing a better understanding of health behaviors, communication behaviors, and psychosocial needs of individuals and families living with cancer predisposition syndromes, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and dyskeratosis congenita and related telomere biology disorders. Her mentors are Sharon A. Savage, M.D., and Payal Khincha, M.B.B.S., M.S.H.S.

  • Debi L. Smith, B.S.

    Ms. Smith, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, is working on the Global Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-Automated Visual Evaluation (AVE) study, utilizing HPV genotyping and artificial intelligence visual evaluation of the cervix to triage HPV positive women, thereby expanding cancer prevention in low-resource settings. Her mentor is Dr. Mark Schiffman, senior investigator.

  • Ashley Thompson, B.S.

    Ms. Thompson, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, is working with Sharon A. Savage, M.D., to determine if novel genetic variants in the regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1 gene (RTEL1) will result in alternative isoforms of the protein.

  • Akemi T. Wijayabahu, Ph.D., M.S.

    Dr. Wijayabahu, postdoctoral fellow in CGB, focuses on understanding etiological relationships and modifiable risk factors of cancers that afflict women, with a special emphasis on endometrial cancer, under the mentorship of Megan Clarke, Ph.D.

  • Catherine Wilsnack, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.

    Ms. Wilsnack, postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB, works on Li-Fraumeni syndrome-related projects and performs psychosocial research for Inherited Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes (IBFMS). Her mentors are Sharon Savage, M.D., and Dr. Allison Werner-Lin, University of Pennsylvania.