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The Training Program in Oncogenesis and Developmental Biology

Oncogenesis and Developmental Biology Boot Camp held on Friday, January 20, 2017. Speakers included: Richard Carthew, PhD, Steven Kosak, PhD and Andrew Volk, PhD.

Oncogenesis and Developmental Biology postdoctoral fellows Andrew Volk, PhD and Kelly Arcipowski, PhD attended the annual Ice Cream Social career development program for the CURE summer research students on July 17, 2015.

The Training Program in Oncogenesis & Developmental Biology is an NCI-funded T32 training grant that supports two pre-doctoral students and four postdoctoral fellows per year to receive state-of-the-art training focused on normal and neoplastic development and differentiation. Trainees have the opportunity to investigate the role of developmentally regulated genes in the etiology of human cancer. In addition to laboratory training, trainees and preceptors engage in career development sessions, multidisciplinary training in cutting-edge technologies, an annual boot camp on cancer and development and a yearly translational research mini-symposium. The preceptors of this program are well established investigators with NIH funded research programs.

Program Director: Elizabeth Eklund, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Program Co-Director: Carole LaBonne, PhD, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University

Administrative Director: Robin Leikin, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Program Faculty

Sarki Abdulkadir, MD, PhD
Dept. of Urology
Pathogenesis of prostate cancer
Richard Carthew, PhD
Dept. of Molecular Biosciences
Gene regulation by RNAi
John Crispino, PhD
Department of Medicine
Normal and malignant blood cell development
Elizabeth Eklund, MD
Department of Medicine
Molecular mechanisms of hematopoiesis
Robert Goldman, PhD
Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology
Intermediate filament proteins
Kathleen Green, PhD
Department of Pathology
Cell-cell interaction molecules
Sui Huang, PhD
Associate Professor
Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology
Perinucleolar compartment and cancer progression
John Kessler, MD
Department of Neurology
Biology of embryonic & neural stem cells
Julie Kim, PhD
Associate Professor
Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Endometrial cancer
Hiroaki Kiyokawa, MD, PhD
Department of Pharmacology
Cell cycle and carcinogenesis
Steven Kosak, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology
Genome organization in the nucleus
Carole LaBonne, PhD
Dept. of Molecular Biosciences
Neural crest cells and pediatric neuroblastoma
Brian Mitchell, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology
Centrioles and cell cycle progression
Christian Petersen, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept of Molecular Biosciences
Stem cell regeneration
Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine
Cytokines and development of leukemia
Teresa Woodruff, PhD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Hormones and development in the ovary
Jindan Yu, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Dept of Medicine
Transcriptional regulation of gene expression in prostate cancer

Postdoctoral applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents with no more than three years of postdoctoral experience.

Predoctoral applicants must apply to IGP, IBiS or NUIN graduate programs at:

Applicants should send their curriculum vitae, verification of citizenship status, statement of research interests, selection of three potential mentors from Program Faculty and one letter of reference to:

Robin Leikin, PhD
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Northwestern University
Olson 8350
303 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 908-9229

Current Trainees

Shirin Hasan, PhD Shirin Hasan, PhD

Shirin pursued her doctoral research in India where she focused on the role of chronic stress in cancer initiation. After that, she gained some research experience in Duke University where she worked on yeast genetics. Shirin then moved to Chicago to study mechanisms of impaired hematopoiesis/erythropoiesis in burn injury at the Burn Shock Trauma Research Institute, Loyola University Chicago. Shirin joined the Eklund lab in early 2017 where she is involved in studying the hematologic disorders of Fanconi anemia.

Jason Miska, PhD Jason Miska, PhD

Jason received his BS in Microbiology from Bradley University and completed his doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami in 2014 in the laboratory of Dr. Zhibin Chen. There, he worked on elucidating the mechanisms of autoimmunity and its paradoxical role in both tumor promotion and prevention. In Dr. Maciej Lesniak's laboratory, Jason studies novel therapeutics for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain tumor which is almost uniformly lethal. Jason's focus is on how the metabolic processes of the tumor, such as fatty acid oxidation, tumor acidification, and tryptophan catabolism, can directly inhibit anti-glioma immune responses.

Stephanie Van Gulden Stephanie Van Gulden

Stephanie is pursuing her doctorate degree in Developmental Neurobiology and Stem Cell Biology in Dr. John Kessler's laboratory at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on defining the mechanisms underlying the generation of distinct subpopulations of glial progenitor cells and astrocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Florida International University.

Rachael Bakker Rachael Bakker

Rachael is pursuing her doctorate in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences in Dr. Richard Carthew's laboratory at Northwestern University. Racheal's research includes the fundamental functions of two oncogenes in development, TEL-1 and HER2. She also studies their orthologs in Drosophila, focusing on their normal role in cell differentiation. She received her BS in Biology at Western Washington University.

Paul Huber, PhD Paul Huber, PhD

Paul received his Doctorate in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is working to understand the role and regulation of the transcription factor Snail in stem cells, and how that relates to its ability to promote epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasive cell behavior. Paul received his BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Former Trainees

Arturo Garza-Gongora Arturo Garza-Gongora

Arturo is currently a graduate student in the Driskill Graduate Program in the laboratory of Steven Kosak. He studies the spatial organization of the human genome in differentiation and disease. Arturo holds a BS in Biology from Texas A&M University.

Andrew Volk, PhD Andrew Volk, PhD

Andrew received his Doctorate in Molecular Biology from Loyola University Chicago. His work in Dr. John Crispino's laboratory has focused on NK-Kb, TNF, and JNK activity in leukemia stem cells and more generally on normal and malignant hematopoietic stem cell biology and the bone marrow niche. He received his BS in Biology from Baylor University.

Kelly Arcipowski, PhD Kelly Arcipowski, PhD

Kelly received her Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Iowa. She is working in Dr. Panagiotis Ntziachristos's laboratory studying the role of MLL3 protein in aberrant chromatin regulation and signaling in hematological malignancies. Kelly received her BS in Biology and Justice Systems from Truman State University.