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Current T-1 Scholars

Laurie Gay

imageAs a T-1 trainee, Laurie Gay investigates the role of platelets in tumor progression and metastasis.  Since the majority of cancer-related deaths are due to metastasis, such research may prove important to oncology therapeutics.

At TSRI, she established mouse models of metastasis, and her work is now focused on the enhancement of tumor metastasis by the platelet receptor glycoprotein 1bα. She is determining whether the thrombin-binding capacity of platelet surface receptor GP1bα is critical for tumor growth and metastasis.

Laurie is a regular participant in oncology rounds at Scripps Health and attends tumor board meetings on patient cases.

Prior to coming to TSRI, Laurie was a lab manager and research assistant at UC San Diego. She received a B.S. degree in biological sciences at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, where she was a research assistant in the marine biology laboratory. She was also a research intern at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in Richmond, CA, and an ESL instructor at Epitech University in Paris, France.

Sarah LaMere

imageSarah LaMere is not new to The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) where she is a graduate student and participant in STSI’s TL-1 program.  After receiving the B.S. degree in 2000 at Texas A&M University in College Station, she was a research technician at TSRI for two years. Sarah then was a laboratory assistant in the immunology and virology department at San Diego Zoo’s Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), before enrolling in Cornell University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, NY.

After receiving the D.V.M. degree in 2007, Sarah returned to CRES as a veterinary postdoctoral fellow in the Wildlife Disease Molecular Diagnostics laboratory, where she worked on a project in collaboration with SeaWorld to characterize retroviruses in delphinids.  Her scholarly papers in veterinary medicine and research include:

  • LaMere SA, St. Leger JA, Schrenzel MD, Anthony SJ, Rideout BA, Salomon DR.  Molecular characterization of a novel gammaretrovirus in killer whales (Orcinus orca).  2009. J Virol. 83(24):12956-67.
  • LaMere SA.  Conservative management of a T6 compression fracture in a juvenile reindeer.  2006.  Cornell University Library.

As a T-1 trainee, Sarah conducts research on transplant immuno-epigenomics. She has actively participated in collaborative efforts to develop a new high-throughput methodology for DNA methylation analysis based on using a complementary set of recombinant methylated chromatin binding proteins. She also is developing and troubleshooting methods for targeted high-throughput DNA methylation analysis based on a novel emulsion PCR and bisulfite sequencing to validate and complement these efforts.

In addition to conducting research, she participates in clinical rounds on internal medicine topics; coursework in ethics, clinical trials and statistics; and clinical mentorship entailing patient visits and case discussions.

Sarah LeBoeuf

imageCharacteristics of cancer cell metabolism that can directly affect the development of an invasive and metastatic phenotype result in changes to the cellular redox potential. A key component of the cellular redox potential is the ratio of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, NAD+, to NADH. NAD+ is involved in redox reactions that participate in a broad spectrum of cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene transcription, DNA repair, and post-translational protein modifications.

As a TL-1 trainee, Sarah is investigating how changes in the cellular balance of NAD+ to NADH modulate tumor progression. She is determining what role the group of NAD+ dependent protein deacetylases called sirtuins have in cells with an altered NAD+/NADH ratio.

Before starting at TSRI, Sarah received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. As an undergraduate, Sarah did research in the field of supramolecular analytical chemistry and completed her undergraduate thesis in developmental biology.  In 2010 she was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship at TSRI. Sarah currently organizes the journal club for the biology program and serves on the graduate student committee.

Hope Mirendil

imageGenomics and proteomics and their potential application to disease and therapy persuaded Hope Mirendil to participate in the T-1 program.  As a trainee, she is investigating whether cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the potent signaling molecule, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), provide a clue to the etiology of hydrocephalus, one of the most common developmental disabilities.  In previous research with an animal model, her lab has shown that LPA delivered into the mouse fetal brain causes distinct morphological and cellular changes in postnatal mice that are similar to those occurring in human hydrocephalus.

Her current research involves frequent collaborations with Rady Children’s Hospital physicians who provide CSF samples from normal babies as well as human infants with hydrocephalus.  In a laboratory at TSRI, she is measuring the samples’ LPA levels and continuing to use the mouse model in order to understand the possible role of viral-mediated increases in LPA in fetal hydrocephalus.  She also plans to investigate the possibility that drugs targeting LPA receptors could prevent viral-mediated fetal hydrocephalus.

Hope was awarded the B.S. degree in biotechnology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.  As an undergraduate student, she was a summer research assistant in Calvin College’s Biology Department in 2005, 2006 and 2008.  In 2007, she was a summer research assistant in the University of California at Los Angeles’ Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics Department.

Katie Podshivalova

imageIn the laboratory, TL 1 trainee Katie Podshivalova investigates the role of microRNAs in the regulation of the immune system’s activation and subsequent differentiation of the CD4 T cells that lead the body’s immune response against pathogens.

In the clinic, Kate participates in clinical rotations in immunology at Scripps Health.  Observing the diagnosis and treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis and interacting with clinicians enriches her perspective as a bench researcher dedicated to translational science.

In turn, she has spoken about the role of microRNAs in immunity and autoimmunity at Scripps Rheumatology Clinical Conferences. 

Intrigued by the overlap of RNA biology and immunology, Kate hopes to define how microRNAs influence the post-transcriptional regulation of CD4 T cell activation. She hopes that her findings will reveal novel regulatory elements important to the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease, immune deficiency as well as kidney transplant rejection.

Prior to her graduate studies at TSRI, Kate earned the B.S. degree in microbiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and completed a two month research internship followed by a stint as a laboratory technician in TSRI’s Department of Immunology. In 2007-08, she was awarded TSRI’s Dean’s Fellowship. She is currently organizing the Biology Distinguished Lecturer Series sponsored by TSRI’s Kellogg School of Science and Technology.

Nathaniel Wang

imageSuccessful vaccines should elicit protective antibodies that have both specificity for a pathogen and the ability to efficiently clear it from the body. Antibody isotype is critical to efficient pathogen clearance, yet control of the cellular programs supporting this function is poorly understood.

As a T-1 trainee, Nathaniel Wang has launched an ambitious multidisciplinary project to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for protective B cell memory.
He is currently investigating the roles of specific transcription factors in the development of IgG2a+ memory B cells lineage commitment, as well as dissecting their ongoing roles in survival, maintenance and reactivation in this subset.

After receiving the B.A. degree in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, Nathaniel was a research associate at Sangamo Biosciences, Inc., in Point Richmond, CA.  As an undergraduate, he was a research intern at Genentech, Inc., in South San Francisco.