Pathobio retreat 2017

News & Events

News & Announcements

Here are some of the recent happenings in our program.

Monali Praharaj

Congratulations to Pathobiology graduate student, Monali Praharaj!

Monali has been selected to receive an AACR-Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Award from The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) based on the quality of her award application and abstract entitled “Glutamine blockade via prodrug JHU083 reprograms immunosuppressive tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) and drives tumor immunity in urologic cancers.” Scholar-in-Training Awards are competitive and are presented to those with high-quality abstracts and applications from a large candidate pool. Monali is invited to present her work at the AACR Annual Meeting as well as attend a Scholar-in-Training Award Reception April 8-13, 2022 in New Orleans, LA.

MONALI PRAHARAJ, M.S.

Monali Praharaj comes from Mumbai, India. She completed her bachelor's in biotechnology in 2014 and worked as a research fellow in Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay studying antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium spp. With an immense interest in microbiology and immunology she joined the master’s program in Molecular microbiology & Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016. During her thesis research she worked in the tuberculosis research center to genetically re-engineer BCG as a potent immunotherapeutic tool for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Highly motivated during her time to learn more and understand immune mediated pathological pathways in cancer she matriculated into the Pathobiology program in 2018. She studies the value of novel immunotherapeutic interventions targeting immunosuppressive myeloid cells in urologic cancers under the co-mentorship of Dr. Jelani Zarif Ph.D. and Andrew Pardoll M.D., Ph.D. After earning her PhD, she is interested in continuing her work in cancer immunotherapy in an industrial setting. In her free time, she enjoys playing ping pong, cooking, hiking, exploring, and travelling with family and friends.

Upcoming Events

Carli Jones

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Carli Jones (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: The Interplay Between Radiation and the Gastrointestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease
Date/Time: Friday, August 12, 2022 at 3:30pm EST
Place: CRB II, Rm. 111 (Behind Me Latte)

Or Join via Zoom here

Advisor: Dr. Karen Sfanos

Past Events

Pola Olczak

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Pola Olczak (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: “Development of preventive vaccines targeting alpha and beta Human Papillomaviruses for cancer prevention”
Date/Time: Friday, June 10, 2022 at 11:00am EST
Place: CRB II, Rm. 111 (Behind Me Latte)

Advisor: Dr. Richard Roden

Worarat Chaisawangwong

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Pan-am Chaisawangwong (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Exploring the emerging roles of T cells in cancers and infectious disease"
Date/Time: Monday, May 23, 2022 at 10:00am EST
Place: MRB G-01 (Ground floor of Turner)
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Schneck

Yeh Wang

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Yeh Wang (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Molecular characterization of ovarian cancer precursor lesions"
Date/Time: Friday, May 27, 2022 at 3:00pm EST
Place: CRB II, Rm. 111 (behind Me Latte)
Advisor: Dr. Ie-Ming Shih

Peter Chianchiano

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Peter Chianchiano (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Functional and Molecular Interrogation of Venous Invasion in Human PDAC"
Date/Time: Friday, April 8, 2022 at 3:00pm EST
Place: CRB II, Rm. 111 (behind Me Latte)
Advisor: Dr. Laura Wood

Ye Eun Jeong

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Ye Eun Jeong (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Downregulation of SF3B2 protects central nervous system neurons against inflammatory insult in models of multiple sclerosis"
Date/Time: Monday, February 7, 2022 at 12:00pm EST
Advisor: Dr. Ahmet Hoke

Lionel Chia

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Tat Wei Lionel Chia (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "The Role of HMGA1 in PDAC Tumor Progression and Desmoplasia"
Date/Time: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 2:00pm EST
Advisor: Dr. Linda Resar

Daniel Monaco

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Daniel Monaco (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Expanding the Utility of Antibody Epitope Profiling Technologies"
Date/Time: Friday, July 2, 2021 at 2:00pm EST
Advisor: Dr. Ben Larman

Yea Ji Jeong

Pathobiology Thesis Seminar

Speaker: Yea Ji Jeong (Ph.D. Candidate)
Title: "Morphological and transcriptomic characterization of invasion in pancreatic cancer organoids"
Date/Time: Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 1:00pm EST
Advisor: Dr. Laura Wood

Past Awards and Publications

Here are some of our students' accomplishments.

Carli Jones

Congratulations to Pathobiology student, Carli Jones!

Carli was chosen for the P.E.O. Scholar Award based on her scholarly excellence, academic achievement, and career goals. Carli is studying the relationship between radiation exposure and radiotherapy and the gastrointestinal microbiome. She currently aspires to work for NASA and to study the effects of spaceflight on the human body, and particularly in the areas of immunology and the gut-brain axis.

https://www.peointernational.org/about-peo-scholar-awards

Carli is from Hillsborough, New Jersey and received her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in Bioengineering from Lafayette College in spring 2017. At Lafayette, Carli worked with Dr. Robert Kurt on projects involving the TLR4 signaling pathway. Since matriculating in the Pathobiology program in fall 2017, she joined the lab of Dr. Karen Sfanos. In collaboration with Dr. Sfanos and Dr. Catherine Davis, she was awarded a seed grant from Space@Hopkins in 2018 to study the effects of cosmic radiation on the gut microbiome, and the effects of the radiation on the gut-brain axis. Now, Carli’s work focuses on the effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer on the GI microbiota and how different microbiome compositions influence treatment response. She has also developed an interest in bioinformatics and sequence analysis through this work. After graduation, Carli aspires work for NASA and study the effects of spaceflight on the human body. In her free time, Carli enjoys fitness, cooking, coffee, and breweries. She has also fostered 8 dogs and 6 cats through City Dogs Rescue throughout her time in Baltimore.

Areli Lopez photo 2021 fixed

Congratulations to recent Pathobiology graduate, Dr. Zoila Areli Lopez Bujanda!

Areli has 2 recently published papers, in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer as well as Nature Cancer!

Zoila A Lopez-Bujanda, Aleksandar Obradovic, Thomas R Nirschl, Laura Crowley, Rodney Maced, Alexandros Papachristodoulou, Timothy O'Donnell, Uri Laserson, Jelani C Zarif, Ran Reshef, Tiezheng Yuan, Mithil K Soni, Emmanuel S Antonarakis, Michael C Haffner, H Benjamin Larman, Michael M Shen, Pawel Muranski & Charles G Drake. TGM4: an immunogenic prostate-restricted antigen. J Immunother Cancer. 2021 Jun.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34193566/

Zoila A. Lopez-Bujanda, Michael C. Haffner, Matthew G. Chaimowitz, Nivedita Chowdhury, Nicholas J. Venturini, Radhika A. Patel, Aleksandar Obradovic, Corey S. Hansen, Joanna Jacków, Janielle P. Maynard, Karen S. Sfanos, Cory Abate-Shen, Charles J. Bieberich, Paula J. Hurley, Mark J. Selby, Alan J. Korman, Angela M. Christiano, Angelo M. De Marzo & Charles G. Drake. Castration-mediated IL-8 promotes myeloid infiltration and prostate cancer progression. Nature Cancer. 2021 19, July.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s43018-021-00227-3

Zoila Areli Lopez-Bujanda (Areli), Ph.D.

Areli is a 2020 graduate of the Pathobiology PhD Graduate Program. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and her M.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Sonora in Mexico before coming to the United States to work as a research assistant in the Laboratory of Dr. Saraswati Sukumar, at Johns Hopkins. After two years in the laboratory of Dr. Sukumar, where she helped develop a serum-based assay to monitor patients with breast cancer, Areli decided to stay at Johns Hopkins for her PhD studies and later joined the laboratory of Dr. Charles Drake. In the Drake Lab her work, initially aimed at discovering novel antigens for prostate cancer vaccines, revealed that prostate tumor epithelial cells secrete high levels of IL-8 following androgen deprivation leading to the establishment of a suppressive tumor microenvironment. It was during these studies that she became fundamentally interested in understanding how external cues modulate the immune response. For her postdoctoral training in Dr. Dan Littman laboratory, she has directed her focus towards understanding how environmental cues interact with neurons and what are the communication networks leading to variable immune responses in different microbial contexts.

Immuno Published article

Congratulations to Pathobiology students, Daniel Monaco and Tom Nirschl, as well as alumnus, Audrey Knight, Ph.D.!

Our Pathobiology students' work, along with other collaborators, was recently published in Nature Communications!

Daniel R. Monaco, Brandon M. Sie, Thomas R. Nirschl, Audrey C. Knight, Hugh A. Sampson, Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, Robert A. Wood, Robert G. Hamilton, Pamela A. Frischmeyer-Guerrerio & H. Benjamin Larman. Profiling serum antibodies with a pan allergen phage library identifies key wheat allergy epitopes. Nature Communications January 22, 2021, volume 12, Article number: 379 (2021)

https://www.nature.com/article...


Areli SOM YID 2019 Award

Congratulations to Pathobiology student, Areli Lopez!

Areli's work was recently published in OncoImmunology!

Zoila A. Lopez-Bujanda, Matthew G. Chaimowitz, Todd D. Armstrong, Jeremy B. Foote, Leisha A. Emens & Charles Drake. Robust antigen-specific CD8 T cell tolerance to a model prostate cancer neoantigen. OncoImmunology, 9:1, 1809926, DOI: 10.1080/2162402X.2020.1809926

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2162402X.2020.1809926

Zoila Areli Lopez-Bujanda (Areli), Ph.D. Candidate (Expected Graduation, Dec, 2020)

Areli is a PhD candidate in the Pathobiology program at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and her M.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Sonora in Mexico before coming to the United States to work as a research assistant in the Laboratory of Dr. Saraswati Sukumar, at Johns Hopkins. After two years in the laboratory of Dr. Sukumar, where she helped develop a serum-based assay to monitor patients with breast cancer, Areli decided to stay at Johns Hopkins for her PhD studies and later joined the laboratory of Dr. Charles Drake, where she worked on elucidating an important mechanism of immunosuppression in prostate cancer that led to the initiation of a clinical trial to treat this condition. Later this year, Areli will join the laboratory of Dr. Dan Littman for a postdoctoral fellowship.

Janelle photo Pub announcement 2020

Congratulations to Pathobiology graduate, Janelle Montagne!

Janelle's work was recently published in The Lancet!

Janelle M. Montagne, Xuwen Alice Zheng, Iago Pinal-Fernandez, Jose C. Milisenda, Lisa Christopher-Stine, Thomas E. Lloyd, Andrew L. Mammen and H. Benjamin Larman. Ultra-efficient sequencing of T Cell receptor repertoires reveals shared responses in muscle from patients with Myositis. The Lancet, Vol 59, September 3, 2020, 102972 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102972

Janelle Montagne, M.S., Ph.D. (May, 2020)

After earning her Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Lafayette College, Janelle studied mechanisms of autoimmune rheumatic disease in the Division of Rheumatology here at Hopkins. During that time, she earned her Masters of Science in biotechnology/bioinformatics. She enrolled in the Pathobiology program in 2015 and subsequently joined the laboratory of Dr. H. Benjamin Larman, where she established projects fusing her interests in T cell biology, biotechnology development, and bioinformatics. During her PhD training, Janelle successfully developed an ultra-efficient approach for T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire sequencing, enabling her to interrogate the complexity of T cell responses in muscle from patients with myositis. She further integrated her TCR sequencing method into a high-throughput flow cytometry assay for the detection of antigen-specific T cells. Throughout her training, Janelle was actively engaged with the Pathobiology program, serving as Chief Graduate Student from 2017-2018. She is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in oncology under the mentorship of Dr. Elana Fertig and Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee integrating computational, technological, and experimental approaches to understanding mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapy.

Lionel Chia

Congratulations to Lionel Chia!

For his work presented on how HMGA1 induces FGF19 to foster tumor-stromal cell crosstalk and drive tumor progression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, Lionel Chia received the AACR-Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Award. Lionel presented at the 2020 AACR Annual Meeting, which took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scholar-in-Training Awards are competitive and are presented to those with high-quality abstracts and applications from a large candidate pool.

Lionel is a 4th year PhD student in the Graduate Program in Pathobiology under the mentorship of Dr. Linda Resar, whose laboratory focuses on studying molecular mechanisms leading to cancer, blood diseases, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia and other coagulopathies. Lionel is studying the role of the chromosomal architectural protein HMGA1 in prostate and pancreatic cancer. He hopes that by understanding more about HMGA1, he would be able to develop additional therapies against HMGA1 and its associated pathways to treat cancer. Outside of the laboratory, Lionel’s interests include playing his guitar, running, and spending time with friends.

Youngran Park

Congratulations to Dr. Youngran Park!

We are proud to announce that Dr. Youngran Park, a 2017 graduate of the Pathobiology PhD Graduate Program, along with collaborators, has recently had a 1st author paper published in the journal, Clinical Cancer Research entitled: Loss of ARID1A in tumor cells renders selective vulnerability ionizing radiation and PARP inhibitor therapy.