Alumni

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Najihah Aziz

PhD Student at University of Massachusetts

Najihah graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2017 with a major in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Spanish. During her time at RIT, she spent a year working in an Immunology laboratory that investigated the susceptibility of malaria in different ethnic groups. Following her bachelor’s degree, Najihah joined the Sykes Laboratory at MGH as a Research Technician. She is planning on attending graduate school to pursue PhD in the future because she is excited about research. Outside work, Najihah enjoys cooking, playing the piano and dancing!

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Katrina Maxcy

Doctoral Candidate at University of Chicago

Katrina grew up in sunny Glendale, AZ. She graduated from Princeton University in June 2014 with an AB in Molecular Biology. During her time at Princeton she did her thesis work in the Shenk Lab, studying the pathogenesis of HCMV. Following her bachelor’s degree, she joined the Scadden Laboratory as a research technician, working with David Sykes on identifying inhibitors of DHODH as novel therapeutic targets for patients with AML as part of a collaboration between MGH, the Broad Institute, and Bayer.

Katrina began graduate school in 2016 at the University of Chicago  and is currently a doctoral candidate in the LaBelle Lab where she studies the viability of targeting transcription factor protein-protein interactions in Regulatory T cells as a potential immunotherapeutic strategy in cancer. Outside of graduate school she enjoys playing oboe in the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, distance running, and trying new recipes.

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Tommy Brouse

Medical Student at Pennsylvania State University

Thomas J. Brouse grew up in the historic town of Lewisburg, PA. Majoring in both Biology and Spanish, he graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University in May of 2018. That same summer, he interned for the Scadden Lab, where he was provided the incredible opportunity to participate in biomedical research with his mentor, Nicolas Severe, PhD. During his internship, Brouse gradually began to appreciate the positive learning environment that is cultivated at MGH, one where he believes he will be able to prosper as a young scientist. In addition, he is animated by all of the innovative research that occurs at MGH’s Center for Regenerative Medicine, and more specifically, in the Sykes Lab. In fact, it is the potential for Dr. Sykes’ research to have a profound impact on the lives of countless patients suffering from debilitating hematological malignancies and other blood-related diseases that attracted Brouse to his lab. Brouse ultimately hopes that he will be able to positively contribute to their efforts of scientific discovery for the benefit of future generations.

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Julien Cobert M.D.

UCSF, Anesthesia Critical Care, Clinical Fellow

Julien Cobert graduated from Duke University in 2009 and went on to complete his medical degree at Duke School of Medicine in 2013. He joined the laboratory of Dr. David Scadden under the mentorship of David Sykes as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Training Fellow during medical school. Under Dr. Sykes, his work focused on overcoming acute myeloid differentiation arrest, non-coding RNA mechanisms in myeloid differentiation and small molecule targets for acute myeloid leukemia. Following medical school, Julien went on to do medical residencies in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania from 2013-2016 and in Anesthesiology at Duke University from 2016-2019. He then completed a Critical Care Medicine fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in 2020. He will be joining faculty at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco as an attending anesthesiologist and critical care physician. Julien now focuses his research on palliative care delivery in the intensive care unit and improving end-of-life care in high-risk surgical and medical patient populations. Outside of work, he enjoys exercise, watching reality television with his wife, Katherine, spending time with his daughter, Ryan Mackenzie and playing with his Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, Jax.

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Nina (Tam) Le Minh

Harvard Stem Cell Institute Intern

Nina (Tam) Le Minh grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Nina is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Biochemistry. During her time at UCLA, Nina worked for a virology lab which investigates viruses, viral life cycle, and self-assembly of a virus-like particle. Nina joined Dr. David Sykes Lab during the summer of 2019 as part of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program (HIP). During summer, Nina worked under Dr. Amy Sexauer on the role of STAT3/5 downstream of FLT3 in acute myeloid leukemia cells treated with an inhibitor of DHODH. Nina plans on attending graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. after finishing her undergraduate degree. Nina hopes to be able to contribute to the efforts of scientific discovery to save the lives of many by cultivating greater scientific understanding. Outside work, Nina enjoys hiking, biking, and cooking.

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Jihee Sohn

Postdoctoral fellow

Jihee completed her Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Johnny Huard at the University of Pittsburgh Stem Cell Research Center. Her thesis work focused on investigating functional defects in muscle-derived stem cells isolated from dystrophic skeletal muscle and determining the origin of cells responsible for formation of ectopic fat tissues in the skeletal muscles of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. After completing her Ph.D., she joined Dr. Rocky Tuan’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Cell and Molecular Engineering. In Dr. Tuan’s lab, she studied the biology of adult human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Specifically, she conducted research to investigate MSC behaviors in response to 3-dimensional substrate rigidity, as well as their potential influencing by membrane cholesterol, the protein caveolin-1 (Cav-1), and caveolae lipid rafts. Since Jihee joined Sykes lab in July 2018, she has worked to identify critical genetic mediators of neutrophil lifespan and function. The ultimate goal of her study is to develop novel therapies with the power to enhance neutrophil function in the setting of life-threatening fungal infections.

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Adele Alchahin

Graduate Student

Adele Alchahin is a visiting researching PhD student from Karolinska Insitutet. She is co-supervised, along with Dr Sykes, Dr Baryawno, Dr Johnsen and Dr Kogner. She received her MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015 from Uppsala University, Sweden. During her time at university she was privileged to experience abroad studies within fields of her interest. In the spring of 2014, Adele completed a semester at University of Miami studying health care marketing and global health and was involved in a research project in health communications regarding colorectal cancer. The following semester she finished her master thesis in neuroscience studying serotonin in a mouse model of autism at Boston Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Adele’s focus is studying the mechanism of tumor cell dissemination to the bone marrow and also looking at pharmacological approaches in the hemoglobin regulation. She likes Boston a lot and enjoys watching sports, mostly basketball.

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Ani Papazian

Lab Manager

Ani lives in Cambridge, MA and graduated from Tufts University in 2015 with a major in Biopsychology. She spent time during her undergraduate years working in a neurobiology lab, and two years as the lab manager of the Scadden Lab at MGH, as well as one year as lab manager and research technician in the Sykes Lab. She is motivated by how relevant the Sykes Lab’s research is to patients. Dr. Sykes is inspired by his clinical work, always thinking of how to improve the prognoses and lives of his patients first and foremost.

Her favorite part about the Sykes Lab is its sense of community. The talented, dynamic, organized, and fun group makes working at MGH incredibly special. The Sykes Lab as well as other labs on the floor enjoy collaboration and making the Center for Regenerative Medicine an exciting workspace.

Ani started medical school at Tufts in the fall 2018. In her spare time, she enjoys running, biking, and exploring all of the restaurants and breweries Cambridge has to offer!

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Alexa Vidalis

Lab Coordinator

Alexa grew up in Orange County, California and graduated from Northeastern University in 2016, where she majored in Behavioral Neuroscience. She also works as the lab manager for the Rajagopal lab. She is planning on returning to school in the fall of 2018 to study healthcare management/ economics. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, dancing and stopping to pet all the dogs she finds in Boston.

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Brittany Hallgren

Research Technician

Brittany currently lives in the North End of Boston, MA.  She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Biology.  During her undergraduate years, she worked in an oncology lab for two years and then continued to work in an outpatient clinic with cancer patients.  Recently, she graduated from Boston University with a Master’s in Human Physiology and began working in the Sykes lab to continue leukemia research.  She enjoys the comfortable learning environment in the Sykes lab and has become inspired to pursue a lifelong career in science.  In her spare time, she enjoys her family’s lake house, exploring local restaurants, and traveling.

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Jenna Elkhoury

Research Technician

Jenna grew up in Acton, Massachusetts and graduated from Framingham State University in 2017 with a degree in Environmental Science. She has been with the Sykes lab for one year and continues to enjoy the collaborative and enthusiastic environment. Jenna loves learning more about the research process, where every day is a new experience, an opportunity to learn, and a chance to impact people’s lives. She is currently applying to medical school for the fall of 2019.  In her free time, Jenna enjoys practicing yoga and oil painting and she’s always on the hunt for a good latte!

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