Alumni

Research fellows

Uri Ben-David

Uri Ben-DavidUri earned his BSc and PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Under the co-mentorship of Drs. Beroukhim and Todd Golub, he studied the cellular origins, functional consequences, and potential vulnerabilities of aneuploidy and chromosomal instability in cancer. Uri was co-mentored by Drs. Beroukhim and Todd Golub. Uri started his own laboratory at Tel Aviv University in the fall of 2019.
Fun facts:
Uri has visited 45 countries (airports not included). His goal is to visit 50 by the age of 40.
He translated Latino American prose and poetry from Spanish to Hebrew (two published books).
He got married in New Zealand.

Zach Reitman

Zach ReitmanZach studied biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State (’06), and then pursued an MD/PhD at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (’14). At Duke, Zach earned his PhD under the mentorship of Professor Hai Yan on research in the Tisch Brain Tumor Center revolving around gliomas and cancer-associated mutations in IDH1, TERT, PPM1D, ATRX, and several other very interesting genes.  In the Beroukhim Lab and under Dr. Bandopadhayay’s co-mentorship, Zach studied transcriptional heterogeneity in pediatric low-grade gliomas and also studied PPM1D mutations as oncogenic drivers in DIPG. Zach started his own laboratory at Duke University in the summer of 2019.
Fun fact: When he is not pipetting or fielding pages, Zach enjoys cycling, hiking, microbrewed beer, and Penn State and Philadelphia Eagles football. He likes spending time with his fiancée Denise and their two cats, Wink and Arya.
Favorite quote: “Ma, The Meatloaf!” –Will Ferrell, Wedding Crashers

Ruben Ferrer-Luna

Ruben Ferrer-LunaRuben received his BSc in biology and biochemistry from the University of Valencia. He obtained his MSc from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre and PhD from the University of Valencia in Spain. Under Rameen’s mentorship, Ruben applied computational approaches to systematically identify genomic determinants of drug response. Ruben is now a Biomedical Informatics Scientist at Foundation Medicine.

 

 

Ofer Shapira

Ofer ShapiraOfer received his PhD from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at MIT, where he was later appointed as a research scientist studying the interaction of light with matter at the nanoscale. Under Rameen’s mentorship, Ofer studied the mechanisms and selective processes that shape the landscape of somatic genomic rearrangements in cancer. He developed statistical and machine-learning models for large whole-genome sequencing datasets to identify genomic alterations that lead to the development and progression of cancer. Ofer is now the Senior Scientist in Computational Biology at Cedilla Therapeutics.

Pratiti (Mimi) Bandopadhayay, MBBS, PhD

Pratiti BandopadhayayMimi trained as a pediatric neuro-oncologist in Melbourne, Australia, before pursuing a PhD in cancer biology. She moved to Boston to complete a further sub-specialty in pediatric neuro-oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center before joining the Beroukhim Lab in 2012. Under Rameen’s mentorship, Mimi has studied genomic and epigenomic drivers of pediatric brain tumors and mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapeutics. Mimi started her own laboratory at DFCI in the fall of 2017.
Fun fact: Mimi’s favorite travel experiences include backpacking through Europe, snorkeling with wild pods of dolphins in New Zealand, hiking through gorges in Central Australia, star gazing in Uluru, horse-riding through tropical rainstorms in Daintree rainforest, and chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland.
Favorite quote: “Those who lose dreaming are lost.” –Australian Aboriginal proverb

Brenton Paolella

Brenton PaolellaBrenton received his PhD from Dartmouth Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Israel. His graduate work focused on understanding alterations in neuro-developmental pathways that contribute to brain tumorigenesis. In the Beroukhim Lab, he identified novel cancer vulnerabilities that result from copy-number alterations and elucidated tumor cell populations by single cell RNA-sequencing. Brent is now a research scientist within the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute, where he is working with the Dependency Map project.
Fun fact: Brenton was part of the first graduating class of the Dr. Seuss School of Medicine.
Favorite quote: “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” –Niels Bohr

Wenya Linda Bi

Wenya Linda BiLinda received her BA from Harvard University and her MD/PhD from Yale University. During her time in the Beroukhim Lab, she studied the genomic landscape of skull base tumors, including pituitary tumors and meningiomas. Linda started her own laboratory at BWH in July of 2018.

Pankaj (PK) Agarwala

Pankaj (PK) AgarwalaPK completed his medical school training at Harvard and his residency in neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research interests focus on functional genomics of skull base tumors, particularly schwannomas and NF2 tumor biology. Presently, he is completing a fellowship in skull base and open vascular surgery.
Fun fact: PK used to compete in bowling tournaments.
Favorite quote: “For the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”  –Peabody

Peleg Horowitz

Peleg HorowitzDuring his two years in the Beroukhim Lab, Peleg used whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing, array CGH, and Broad/TCGA algorithms to identify mutations and copy-number alterations responsible for driving development of skull base and neurologic tumors. He identified mutations in SMO and AKT1 in meningiomas and also collaborated with others on projects involving pediatric low-grade gliomas (identifying MYBL1 translocations), pituitary adenomas, schwannomas, and other tumor types. Peleg then completed his neurosurgical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed by a one-year fellowship in skull base neurosurgical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Currently he is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Chicago, with a focus on neurosurgical oncology and skull base tumors.
Favorite quote: “Pious harpooners never make good voyagers—it takes the shark out of ’em; no harpooner is worth a straw who ain’t pretty sharkish.” –Captain Peleg, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

Frederik Holst

Frederik received his MS in genetics and his PhD from the University of Hamburg, Germany. As a postdoc from the University of Bergen, Norway, he spent a year in the Beroukhim Lab as a visiting research fellow to work on understanding the effects of genetic alterations in endometrial cancers. Frederik is currently a research fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Maria Raeder

Maria worked in the Beroukhim Lab for one year as a visiting postdoctoral fellow on a Fullbright award, studying novel dependencies in endometrial cancers. She is now a practicing gynecologist in Bergen, Norway.

 

Students 

Jeff Meng

Jeff MengJeff majored in chemistry and math at Williams College. He is now a student in the MD–PhD program at Harvard and the MD program at Health Sciences and Technology. Jeff studied the genomic correlates of melanoma response to immunotherapy and the use of new sequencing technologies to find alterations in cancer genomes. He is now completing his last two years of medical school at Harvard.
Fun fact: Jeff measures the temperature of just about anything he cooks.
Favorite quote: “A journey of a thousand miles starts from the ground under your feet.” “千里之行,始于足下。” –Laozi

Caitlin Nichols

Caitlin NicholsCaitlin received her BS in molecular biology with a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. While at BYU, she worked in the lab of Laura Bridgewater, PhD, where she studied the function of a novel nuclear variant of BMP2 (nBMP2) in skeletal muscle, as well as the role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in mouse models of osteoarthritis. She also worked in the lab of Steven Graves, PhD, studying the ability of a novel proteomic approach to identify differences between complex biological tissues, including normal and preeclamptic human placenta. Caitlin’s work in the Beroukhim Lab focused on identifying and validating a novel class of cancer vulnerabilities caused by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of cell-essential genes. She also studied the role of TERC amplification in cellular immortalization/transformation. She received numerous awards for scientific communication in presenting her project, and after completing her PhD she joined 23&Me.

Melanie Pages

Melanie PagesMelanie is a cytogeneticist and joined the Beroukhim lab as a visiting PhD student from Paris. She completed her postdoctoral medical training in neuropathology (Sainte-Anne Hospital, Paris, France). Melanie’s research interests include translational neuropathology and genomics of brain tumors. In the Beroukhim Lab, Melanie studied genomic drivers of pediatric low-grade gliomas, in addition to developing technologies that include methods to detect cell-free DNA in blood samples obtained from children with brain tumors and DNA-barcoding to identify combination therapies. She is now a practicing physician and is conducting postdoctoral research at St. Anne’s Hospital in Paris.
Favorite quote: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” –Gandhi

Jeremiah Wala 

Jeremiah WalaJeremiah grew up in Waseca, Minn., and studied applied physics at Cornell. He joined the Harvard MD-PhD program in 2010 and initially worked on radiation treatment planning software with David Craft. He joined the bioinformatics PhD program and Rameen Beroukhim’s lab in 2012, where he has worked on genome assembly, variant detection, and analysis of rearrangements in large collections of cancer genomes. He is the primary developer of the rearrangement detection tool SvABA and the SeqLib C++ sequence analysis API, and has worked extensively with data from ICGC. After receiving his PhD, he completed the last two years of medical school at Harvard and is a resident in Medicine at UCSF.
Fun fact: Jeremiah recently found a live rattlesnake on a hike in the Blue Hills near Boston but did not stop long enough to make its acquaintance.
Favorite quote: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” –Einstein

Guillaume Bergthold

Guillaume BergtholdGuillaume received his medical degree from Strasbourg University and performed residency in pediatrics and oncology in Reims and Paris. He joined the Beroukhim Lab in 2012 to study genomic features of pediatric low-grade gliomas. He was awarded his PhD from the Paris University in 2015. Guillaume worked as a pediatric oncologist at Strasbourg University hospital before joining Roche pharma in Basel in the pediatric oncology department.
Fun fact: During his stay in the lab, Guillaume learned to appreciate Rameen’s jokes.
Favorite quote: “Quand on veut, on peut!”

William J. Gibson

William J. GibsonWilliam studied the genomic landscape of metastatic endometrial cancers and CYCLOPs genes as therapeutic targets in breast cancers as a graduate student in the Beroukhim Lab. He graduated from his MD-PhD studies in 2017, completed his residency in Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2019, and is now a fellow in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Travis Zack

Travis Zack, PhDTravis grew up in Hawaii and went to school at the University of California, Berkeley, double majoring in physics and integrative biology. He worked in Rameen’s lab as a graduate student in the biophysics program of Harvard University. While a member of the Lab, his research focused on uncovering new cancer vulnerabilities predicted by copy-number alterations using computational genomics. After obtaining his PhD, Travis enrolled in medical school at Harvard and MIT’s Health Sciences Technology program, and is now a resident at UCSF. Travis hopes to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Beroukhim as a successful oncology physician scientist.
Fun fact: In his free time, Travis is an avid hiker and amateur gardener.

Jaeho Hwang

Jaeho HwangJaeho primarily worked with clinical genomic data to identify genomic alterations that may help characterize various brain tumors for diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment purposes. He also focused on the genetic biomarkers for Avastin response in glioblastoma patients. He obtained an MD and Masters in Public Health from Harvard School and is now a resident in Neurology at Johns Hopkins.

Yohanna Georgis

Yohanna GeorgisYohanna joined the Beroukhim lab as an undergraduate student at Tufts University. She studied PPM1D as a therapeutic target for DIPG, with a specific interest in the effects of a truncating mutation in PPM1D as a contributor to cellular resistance to treatment, and in determining if this mutation in PPM1D is oncogenic in DIPG.
Fun fact: Beyoncé and Yohanna share a birthday.
Favorite quote: “Always remember where you came from, but never underestimate how far you can go.” –Joan Solotar

 

Scientific staff

Ashton Berger

Ashton BergerAshton received a BS in physics and a BS in biology from The University of Texas at Austin. During his senior year, he conducted independent research simulating transcriptional kinetics at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Science, under the supervision of Dr. William Press. At the Broad Institute, he worked with Dr. Andrew Cherniack and Dr. Rameen Beroukhim to develop software workflows for processing high-throughput screening data from tumors and analyzing somatic copy-number mutation profiles. He is now pursuing a DVM/PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Fun fact: In his free time, Ashton enjoys going hiking with his dog, Mama.
Favorite quote: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” –Inscribed on the front of The University of Texas tower

Galen Gao

Galen received his BS in bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. In the past, he worked on projects in synthetic biology and in image analysis of chromatin rearrangement in D. melanogaster development. While in the Beroukhim lab he studied pan-cancer patterns of DNA damage and immune response, and worked on biomarker prediction for novel therapeutic compounds.  As of August 2018, he is a medical student at the University of Texas, Southwestern.
Favorite quote: “Do not believe everything you read on the internet.” –George Washington

John Busanovich

John received his BS from Boston College, where he majored in biology and was a member of the van Opijnen Lab.  In the Beroukhim Lab, John’s main research focus was on the role of MYB-QKI fusions as drivers of angiocentric gliomas, a subtype of pediatric low-grade gliomas.  John was also involved in research addressing the presence of clustered deletions near the BRD4 promoter and how this influences BRD4 expression in various cancer types. John is currently a clinical bioinformatics analyst at LinkedIn.
Favorite quote: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Alan Watts

Noah Greenwald

Noah GreenwaldNoah received his BA in biophysics from Harvard University. He focused on applying next-generation sequencing techniques to discover genetic drivers of brain tumors. As of August 2017, he is pursuing a PhD at Stanford University in cancer biology.
Fun fact: Palo Alto has 30% more days of sunshine per year than Boston. (NB from Rameen: We have Tom Brady)
Favorite quote: “Give a man a program, and you will frustrate him for a day; teach a man to program, and you will frustrate him for a lifetime.”

Patricia Ho

Patricia HoTricia received her BA from Williams College, where she majored in biology and music. For her undergraduate thesis, she studied the effect of sublingual immunotherapy on lung tissue-resident T cells in allergic asthma. In the Beroukhim and Bandopadhayay Labs, she researched mechanisms of drug resistance in pediatric brain tumors.  As of July 2018, she is an MD-PhD student at Columbia University Medical School.
Fun fact: Tricia plays cello and piano! Fun musical moments have included a play where she was stranded alone with her cello on a stairless platform for three hours, an orchestra rehearsal briefly attended by Sting, and a wedding proposal at the top of a hill that almost happened until bad weather occurred. (NB from Rameen: youtu.be/rnC18X1oqDI)
Favorite quote: “I don’t really have any quotes off the top of my head, though a close friend recently said to me, ‘Lolita, light of my life, fire of my covfefe.’ Is that inappropriate? No one knows what it means anyway.”

Ryan O’Rourke

Ryan O’RourkeRyan received a Bachelor of Science in animal science from the University of Vermont in 2014. In the Beroukhim and Bandopadhayay Labs, Ryan studied resistance mechanisms in pediatric brain tumors. He is currently a research scientist at Elstar Therapeutics.

Meredith Brown

Meredith BrownMeredith received a BA in molecular biology and genetics from Skidmore College. In the Beroukhim Lab, she studied novel vulnerabilities associated with copy-number and allelic losses in cancer. As of August 2017, she has been pursuing a PhD at Dartmouth University.

Steven Schumacher

Steven SchumacherSteven received his BA from Hampshire College and MS from Brandeis University. Within the Beroukhim Lab, Steven developed computational infrastructure to study large datasets describing somatic genetic alterations in cancers.

John Prensner

John PrensnerJohn worked on copy-number analysis of human prostate cancer as a research technician with Rameen, during Rameen’s postdoc. He is currently a clinical fellow in pediatric hematology/oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and postdoctoral fellow with Todd Golub at the Broad Institute.

Rebecca Lamothe

Rebecca worked as a technician in the Beroukhim Lab for two years on CYCLOPS vulnerabilities and on small molecule profiling of gliomas. Rebecca went to college at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is currently a graduate student and NSA Fellow in the Koshland Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Urbanski

Laura received her BA from the College of the Holy Cross. After graduating, she worked in the Beroukhim Lab as a technician for two years, primarily focused on CYCLOPS vulnerabilities in breast cancers and leukemias. She is currently an MD-PhD student at the University of Connecticut.

Barbara Tabak

Barbara received her BA and MS from Brandeis University, and her PhD from Brown University, all in Mathematics.  In the Beroukhim Lab, Barbara developed computational tools to detect copy-number alterations in cancers.  After leaving the laboratory, she went on to develop algorithms to understand chromatin interactions at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as a Research Assistant Professor.

Emily Gray

Emily graduated from Williams College before working in the Beroukhim Lab as a technician for one year. She went on to obtain her MD at the Sackler School of Medicine and is completing residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Shyemaa Shehata

Shyemaa worked as a technician in the Beroukhim Lab for two years before becoming licensed as a nurse practitioner.  She now practices in New York.

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