See also our related blog for the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Initiative.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Welcoming Jen

We would like to welcome Jennifer Alabran as an important staff scientist and lab manager for the Keller lab at OHSU.  Jen received a B.Sc. in Biology from Allegheny College, then went to the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. John Letterio.  When Dr. Letterio's laboratory moved to Case Western Reserve University, Jen enrolled in graduate school and received a M.Sc. in Pathology and Cancer Biology.  From these studies, Jen is first author of the report of a synthetic trierpenoid therapeutic for neuroblastoma.  Most recently Jen has been developing a preclinical cancer model in the T cell biology laboratory of Dr. Mark Jutila.  Jen has a strong commitment to children with cancer in and out of the laboratory, and volunteers annually at camp for children with cancer in Montana.  

Welcoming Monika!

Dr Monika Davare will be joining our laboratory on September 1 as a staff scientist and as our pediatric brain tumor research projects leader.  Monika has strong research portfolio, to be sure.  In the Keller laboratory, she will lead our team investigating factors responsible for medulloblastoma progression and leptomeningeal metastasis.  We look forward to having Monika as a member of our team!

"  I received my PhD from the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While in Madison, in Johannes Hell’s laboratory, I identified novel signaling complexes associated with CaV1.2 voltage gated calcium channel and demonstrated spatio-temporal regulation of the channel via associated adrenergic signaling complex. We published these data in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and in Science. In our PNAS paper we show the molecular mechanism for calcium channel upregulation that likely contributes to the calcium dysregulation in aging neurons correlated to age related neurodegeneration.
As a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Thomas Soderling (at the Vollum Institute, OHSU), I have characterized the novel signaling complexes associated with calcium/calmodulin regulated kinases, including CaMKK and CaMK1g and identified the role of these kinases during neuronal development, including axonogenesis, activity regulated dendrite/spine formation as well as synaptic plasticity. These data were published as primary and secondary author papers in Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Biological Chemistry, PNAS and Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. With my extensive background in neuronal signal transduction, I am now highly motivated to focus research efforts on understanding the histogenesis and dissemination of brain tumors, particularly medulloblastoma and glioma.
As such with the Knight Cancer Foundation’s Career Development Award, I am exploring the role of calcium kinase signaling during medulloblastoma migration.   In the coming year, I hope to intensify and focus these efforts, casting a wider net for putative therapeutic targets in Charles Keller’s laboratory. "

Introducing Liz

As our laboratory transition from Texas to Portland, we'd like to acknowledge one of the key people who are helping make the process a success.  Elizabeth 'Liz' Perkins is the Administrative Coordinator for the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program and other laboratories within the Pape' Family Pediatric Research Institute.  Liz has extensive professional experience in enterprise-level organizations, as well as volunteerism, special events planning and entrepreneurship.  Liz's experience in managing and organizing executive (board) level activities gives her a special insight into what makes a process successful, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls.  We are grateful that Liz is a part of our team and look forward to growing a highly productive program with her as our founding team member.  

Welcoming Elaine

We are excited to welcome Elaine Huang as operational manager of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Initiative at OHSU.  Elaine hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Michigan.  Elaine then attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a M.Sc. in Immunology under Dr. Christopher Hunter studying host responses to T. gondii.  Elaine's professional experiences include working in an industry-sponsored GLP/GMP clinical cell and vaccine production facility at U Penn.  Most recently Elaine was a research associate at the Transgenic Mouse Model Shared Resource at OHSU, generating diverse genetically modified mouse models for the researchers using a full spectrum of reproductive technologies.  In her off hours Elaine spends 'too much time' reading and knitting, that is when she’s not running around the various 'woodsy' parts of Oregon.  Elaine will work in concert with Dr. Jinu Abraham, scientific manager of the PPTI, to discover and develop novel new treatments for childhood cancers.    Welcome, Elaine!