T32 Program Trainees

Trainees from 2023-2024

Postdoc Appointees

Stephanie Gomez
Stephanie Gomez, PhD
Mentor: Catherine Bollard, MD
Research Interests: Interests: Multi-disciplinary cancer immunologist focused on immune and epigenetic therapies, and mechanisms of resistance to these therapies. My research currently focuses specifically on adoptive T cell therapies for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
Background: The George Washington University (undergrad and PhD)
Email
Ada Hang Heng Wong
Ada Hang-Heng Wong, PhD
Mentor: Edward Seto, PhD
Research Interests: Studying the impact of histone deacetylases (HDACs) on the immuno-oncological interaction through droplet microfluidics in vitro and mouse models in vivo.
Background: BS Jinan University, DS Tsinghua University
Email

Graduate Student Appointees

Joselyn Padilla
Joselyn Padilla
Mentor: Jiyoung Lee, PhD
Research Interests: Breast cancer, cancer metabolism.
Background: BS University of Maryland-College Park
Email
Trace Walker
Reddick (Trace) Walker
Mentor: Katherine B. Chiappinelli, PhD
Research Interests: Epigenetics, Immunology, 3D chromatin.
Background: BS University of South Florida
Email

Trainees from 2022-2023

Postdoc Appointees

Paula Cooper
Paula Cooper, PhD
Mentor: Brett Shook, PhD
Research Interests: Paula Cooper is a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Brett Shook's lab at George Washington University. Her work there focuses on the impact of adipocyte lipolysis on G Protein-Coupled Receptor 84 (GPR84) signaling and how this pathway can modulate inflammation in the skin. Her PhD studies at Purdue University focused on the impacts of inflammation on adult prostate stem cells. Ultimately, her goal is to study epithelial, immune, and stromal cell interactions to identify molecular targets to prevent the onset and progression of hyperplastic disease.
Background: BS San Diego State University, PhD Purdue University
Email

Graduate Student Appointees

Joselyn Padilla
Joselyn Padilla
Mentor: Jiyoung Lee, PhD
Research Interests: Breast cancer, cancer metabolism.
Background: BS University of Maryland-College Park
Email
Tyler Secklar
Tyler Seckar
Mentor: Antonia Sepulveda, MD, PhD
Research Interests: Synergistic effect of oncogenic alterations in KRAS and CDKN2A in intestinal stem cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with the progression of adenoma to adenocarcinoma of the small intestine.
Background: BS Trinity College-Hartford
Email
Trace Walker
Reddick (Trace) Walker
Mentor: Katherine B. Chiappinelli, PhD
Research Interests: Epigenetics, Immunology, 3D chromatin.
Background: BS University of South Florida
Email

Trainees from 2021-2022

Postdoc Appointees

Paula Cooper
Paula Cooper, PhD
Mentor: Brett Shook, PhD
Research Interests: Paula Cooper is a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Brett Shook's lab at George Washington University. Her work there focuses on the impact of adipocyte lipolysis on G Protein-Coupled Receptor 84 (GPR84) signaling and how this pathway can modulate inflammation in the skin. Her PhD studies at Purdue University focused on the impacts of inflammation on adult prostate stem cells. Ultimately, her goal is to study epithelial, immune, and stromal cell interactions to identify molecular targets to prevent the onset and progression of hyperplastic disease.
Background: BS San Diego State University, PhD Purdue University
Email
Kenji Ishida
Kenji Ishida, PhD
Mentor: Michael Hsieh, PhD
Research Interests: Mechanisms of parasite-host interactions. transcriptional profile of mouse model for urogenital schisosomiasis infection, bioinformatics analysis related to RNA seq transcriptional profiles.
Background: BS Case Western Reserve University, PhD Case Western Reserve University
Email
Michael Smith
Michael Smith, PhD
Mentor: Norman H. Lee, PhD
Research Interests: Role of the circulatory microenvironment in African American prostate cancer. My research focuses on the reciprocal signaling between platelets and prostate cancer, and the consequences of this signaling in the progression of prostate cancer in the African American population.
Background: PhD Howard University
Email

Graduate Student Appointees

Nicole Bonan
Nicole Bonan
Mentor: Rohan Fernandes, PhD
Research Interests: Methods to increase immune cell killing of tumor cells, with a mesothelioma model system.
Background: BS American University, MS American University
Email
Jenna Clements
Jenna Clements
Mentor: Edward Seto, PhD
Research Interests: I am a PhD student in Dr. Edward Seto's lab at George Washington University. My work is centered on histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins in cancers. HDACs are most commonly known for their function of modifying chromatin to regulate gene transcription, but other, non-canonical HDAC functions have implications in gene expression and disease. With this in mind, I am particularly focused on HDAC11's de-fatty acylase activity and HDAC11's influence on RNA splicing in cancers. Prior to beginning my studies at GWU, I received my Bachelors in Science in Biology from Lindenwood University and completed research as a research assistant at Washington University in St. Louis.
Background: BS Lindenwood University
Email

Trainees from 2020-2021

Postdoc Appointees

James McDonald
James McDonald, PhD
Mentor: Katherine Chiappinelli, PhD
Research Interests: How epigenetic therapies activate the immune system to improve outcomes for cancer immunotherapy treatments, novel tools to study the effects of targeted DNA methylation changes at tumor suppressor gene promoters, targets of epigenetic therapies in ovarian cancer.
Background: BS Seattle Pacific University, PhD Washington University in St. Louis
Email
Michael Smith
Michael Smith, PhD
Mentor: Paul Brindley, PhD
Research Interests: Transition from parasite-oriented research to cancer, helminth-induced cardinogenesis, mechanisms of host immune responses to address cancer, health disparities in D.C.
Background: PhD Howard University
Email
Kenji Ishida
Kenji Ishida, PhD
Mentor: Michael Hsieh, PhD
Research Interests: Mechanisms of parasite-host interactions. transcriptional profile of mouse model for urogenital schisosomiasis infection, bioinformatics analysis related to RNA seq transcriptional profiles.
Background: BS Case Western Reserve University, PhD Case Western Reserve University
Email

Graduate Student Appointee

Nicole Bonan
Nicole Bonan
Mentor: Rohan Fernandes, PhD
Research Interests: Methods to increase immune cell killing of tumor cells, with a mesothelioma model system.
Background: BS American University, MS American University
Email