Arthur Chow was born and raised in Tracy, CA. He completed his B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Merced. During his undergraduate career, Arthur explored the role of sclerostin, a bone morphogenetic protein antagonist, in the development of the B-cell compartment in mice. He also performed research at UCSF as a part of their summer research training program (SRTP) where he explored the role of a specific subset of dendritic cells in acquiring systemic autoimmunity. Upon graduation in 2015, he moved to New York City and worked as a research technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering and studied the role of RNA regulators in the development of both normal and leukemic stem cells. In 2017, he decided to pursue a PhD in Cancer Biology at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and joined the Dar Lab. He is excited to pursue research in the structural and chemical biology of immune-oncology targets. Outside the lab, he enjoys biking all over the city and relaxing in coffee shops.
Frank Fonseca was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He completed his B.S. in Forensic Science and tracked in Toxicology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. During his time there he started an internship at the NYPD Crime Laboratory, where he focused on purification and analytical analysis of materials, including through use of fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. This experience inspired his spark to pursue research as a career and later became a college laboratory technician at John Jay. He taught students instrumental analysis and organic chemistry as well as tested possible future experiments for students. In 2021, he decided to apply to the PREP program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which acts as a bridge program to graduate school. He joined the Dar lab in late 2021 and is working on mechanistic and immune related studies on compounds of interest to the lab in the context of hepatocellular carcinoma
Claudia Korzeniecki is an Associate Researcher in the lab, born and raised in Queens, NY. She completed a B.S. in Chemistry at Stonehill College in 2016. During her time as an undergraduate, Claudia worked with Dr. Louis Liotta on synthesizing various stereoisomers of iminosugars as potential glycosidase inhibitors for the treatment of diabetes and cancer. She then continued her education at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where she obtained her Masters in Medicinal Chemistry in 2020. As a postgraduate, she published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry for her comprehensive review article on the various strategies of targeting KRAS mutant cancers. Her publication focused on the regulations of oncogenic KRAS by preventing signaling transduction in the MAPK pathway. She joined the Dar Lab in 2021 where she is synthesizing a library of kinase inhibitors. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing volleyball, painting landscapes, and exploring new places.
Liu He is a postdoctoral fellow originally from Hubei, China. She completed her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Huazhong University of Science and Technology where she worked on biophysical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids under the direction of Professor Zhengshuang Shi. After graduation, Liu continued pursuing her interest in drug discovery and chemical biology as a postdoc at Department of Medicinal Chemistry in Virginia Commonwealth University, where she worked with Professor Shijun Zhang on the development and target identification of NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors for inflammatory disorders, and the curcumin derived bivalent compounds for Alzheimer’s disease. She joined the Dar lab in 2021 and is working on target identification and small molecule tool compound development for kinases and pseudokinases that are currently studied in the lab.
Colby Johnson is a masters student in the lab originally from Redding, CT. Colby completed a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Medicinal Chemistry from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. For his undergraduate thesis, Colby worked on a number of projects including the design and synthesis of Zika virus protease inhibitors at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. After graduation, Colby joined Avisyn Pharma where he worked on a collaboration with Pfizers department of Medicinal Chemistry on developing therapeutics for diabetes and obesity. Colby joined the lab in 2021 and is working on target ID approaches based on photoaffinity labeling strategies for promising compounds that have emerged from phenotypic drug discovery screens.
Kyna Reyes completed her B.S. in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University in 2020. During her time in undergrad, she joined an ecotoxicology lab where her research studied the effects of genetically modified organisms on the environment. Shortly after graduation, she joined the lab as the Associate Researcher, where she focuses on screening different chemical compounds and studying their effects and interactions with cancer cells. She helps to manage and organize the lab, as well as aids the other lab members by performing both biological and chemical lab techniques to help further their research. In the future, Kyna is thinking about pursuing her M.S. or PhD in either Biomedical Sciences or Biochemistry.
Alex Scopton is a Senior Scientist in the lab originally from Winchester, MA. He completed his B.Sc. in Biochemistry at Trinity College and his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Boston College, working with Professor Ross Kelly. Alex has published on the total synthesis of natural products through the development of novel chemical probes for the Structural Genomics Consortium in Toronto, Canada. Alex’s interests include chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, catalysis, music, and movies.
Xiaotong Yin is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab originally from Shanghai, China. Xiaotong completed her PhD at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University before joining the Dar laboratory in Jan 2022. Projects that Dr. Yin has led in the past as a co-first author included determining structures of the human Mediator Complex (Science, 2021) and DNA-PK holoenzyme (Cell Research, 2017). Xiaotong joined the laboratory to pursue structural and functional studies on complexes in the RAS-MAPK cascade and to support the development of small molecule modulators targeting wild-type and mutant proteins.
Lukiana Anka-Lufford was a postdoctoral fellow born and raised in London, UK. She completed her B.A. in Chemistry at Skidmore College and her PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Rochester with Professor Daniel J. Weix. Her graduate research focused on the selective nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions of aryl halides with alkyl electrophiles. In the Dar lab she worked on the organic synthesis of small molecule Kinase Suppressor of Ras (KSR) modulators for the treatment of cancer. Lukiana is now working at the NCI-Frederick as a medicinal chemist.
Neil Dhawan was a graduate student in the Cancer Biology Training Program. He completed an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and MSc at Mount Sinai before joining the Dar lab for his PhD in 2013. Neil joined the lab to learn about our chemical biology approaches to study kinases and develop novel inhibitors. Neil enjoys dance music, learning about the crossover between business and science, and visiting the different synchrotrons throughout the country. Neil was co-first author on our original KSR work in the lab (Dhawan, Scopton, and Dar, Nature, 2016). After graduating in the summer of 2016, Neil joined a chemical biology startup company based in Boston. Neil is now the CEO of Totus Medicines.
Andres Maldonado was born and raised in New York. He graduated from The University at Albany with a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry and later with a Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry with Professor Alexander Shekhtman. His background is in structural studies of disease-related protein-protein interactions using in vitro and in cell NMR techniques. During his Ph.D., he solved the solution structure of the cytosolic tail of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products and further developed the use of in-cell NMR to study the proteasomal degradation pathway in mycobacterium tuberculosis. He studied kinases that are frequently mutated in cancer in order to gain insights in drug development. Andres left the group at the beginning of 2018 for a position at Morgan Stanley focused on biotechnology equities.
Alex Real was a MD/PhD student in the lab originally from Newton, MA. Alex completed his B.S. in Biomaterials Engineering and M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Alex’s background is in protein design and engineering for novel therapeutic and diagnostic applications in oncology using cell-surface display and various biochemical techniques. Currently, Alex is working on developing a novel high-throughput screening platform for kinase inhibitor potency and selectivity in vitro, as well as investigating small molecule modulators of the pseudokinase KSR. Alex graduated from the lab in 2020 and left Mount Sinai to complete his residency as an intern at MSKCC with the plan of joining UCSF for radiation oncology.
Jayasudhan Reddy Yerabolu completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Kakatiya University and M.Sc. in Chemistry from JNTU-Hyderabad. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), working with Professor J. S. Yadav. During his Ph.D. he developed several novel synthetic methodologies and utilized them in total synthesis of natural products. Jaya trained with the Liotta and Krishnamurthy laboratories at the Georgia Institute of Technology and The Scripps Research Institute, California, before joining the Dar laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai. He is currently participating in a research study which focuses on developing small molecule compounds for target validation and biological studies in models of human cancer. Jaya’s interests include biology, chemistry, catalysis, music, movies, and cricket. Jaya has moved to the Frederick Lab at the National Cancer Institute as a Scientist.
Lisa Silber is originally from Hopewell, New York. She obtained a BA in Chemistry from Bard College and a MS also in Chemistry from Long Island University. Her undergraduate research was published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. She completed her Master’s thesis on the novel Topoisomerase-I inhibitors as potential anti-cancer agents. She was a research associate in the lab, and was involved in our MAPK and small molecule synthesis work. She left in early 2018 for a scientist position at a forensics lab in NYC.
Ryan Smith was a graduate student in the Cancer Biology Training Program. He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in physics in 2014 where he worked on micrograph processing for single particle reconstruction cryo-electron microscopy under Joachim Frank. He joined the MD/PhD training program at Mount Sinai where he researched small molecule manipulation of pseudokinase signaling complexes. He was co-mentored in the Dar and Schlessinger laboratories. Ryan graduated from the lab in 2020 and left Mount Sinai to complete his residency at UCSF.
Jia (Annie) Yu was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a dual degree in 2012 with a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and MA in Biotechnology. For her undergraduate research, she helped to build the gene regulatory network for skeletal patterning in Lytechinus variegatus by morpholino perturbation of developing embryos. For her postgraduate research, she worked as a senior research support specialist to study the evolution of acquired immunity in Ginglymostoma cirratum by investigating the role of alternative splicing of immunoglobulins. In 2013, she joined the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Dar lab to pursue more translational research. She studied the effectiveness of Sorafenib and novel analogs in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and was supported by a NIH NRSA F31 scholarship while in the group. Annie graduated in 2018 and started as an analyst at the Cancer Research Institute (CRI). Annie is now a Data Scientist at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Brandon Speed was a student in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program who was born and raised in Bowie, MD. He completed his B.S. in Chemistry from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. During his time in undergrad, Brandon conducted multiple research internships at the University of Virginia, Eglin Air Force Base, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where his research helped him become an American Chemistry Society published author and National Award-Winning research presenter at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. After graduation, he worked as an intern at Genentech, a substitute chemistry teacher at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, MD, and a chemistry laboratory technician at Inova Health Systems. Brandon left the lab to pursue a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.
Mary Duffy was a PhD student in the Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology training area who graduated in 2022. She is originally from Long Island, NY, and she completed her B.Sc. in Biology at Northeastern University in 2017. During her undergraduate studies, she completed translational research at the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center assessing blood biomarkers for improved diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She also completed a co-operative education internship at XTuit Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company, where she conducted preclinical research on investigational compounds for the treatment of cancer and liver fibrosis. She is particularly interested in the process of bringing new targeted cancer therapeutics from early stages in the lab to ultimately reaching patients. After graduation, Mary joined a health marketing association as a communications associate.
Zaigham Khan was an Associate Scientist in the lab. He obtained his Masters in Biotechnology from Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad and later he moved to Germany where he completed his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Tübingen under the supervision of Professor Thilo Stehle. He developed his expertise in protein expression and protein purification by working on several challenging projects. He solved the crystal structures of notable viral and bacterial proteins in complex with their cognate ligands. While in the lab Zaigham used his skills of X-ray crystallography to gain structural insights into how clinically important drugs modulate cell signaling pathways. Further, he is focused on structure-based drug design to target several proteins that are involved in cancer. Zaigham is now a Scientist at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
William Marsiglia was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab originally from Long Island, NY. He completed a BS in Biochemistry and a BA in Music at Binghamton University in 2013. While at Binghamton he worked with Professor Christof Grewer on synthesizing serine-based inhibitors of the ASCT2 transporter. He then continued to NYU for his Ph.D under the direction of Professor Nate Traaseth where he used NMR spectroscopy to understand how pathological gain-of-function mutations within the kinase domain of the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor enhance signal transduction. In the Dar lab, Billy worked to understand the relationship between cancer drugs and their pro-/anti-target using in vivo cancer models. Outside of the lab, he enjoys exploring central park, finding new coffee shops, cooking, and playing trombone in local community orchestras. Billy left the lab in 2022 to start his own independent group as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.