Sangita earned a PhD in biomedical sciences from The University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center (though much of the research took place at Cornell), where she studied aging in yeast. She now studies the consequences of mismatch repair deficiencies in gliomas.
Frank earned an MD from the University of Heidelberg. During that time he conducted research into kidney disease at Harvard. He returned after graduation to join the Beroukhim lab, where he studies the mechanistic and selective forces shaping rearrangements in pediatric high-grade gliomas.
Veronica studied biology at Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, and then moved to Sweden to pursue a PhD at Uppsala University. During this time, Veronica worked under the mentorship of Prof. Tobias Sjoblom and studied how loss of heterozygosity events occurring in cancer can be exploited for therapy. In the Beroukhim lab, Veronicacharacterizes the side-effects of Cas9 expression in cancer cell models and studies predictors of resistance to MDM2 inhibitors in gliomas.
Fun fact: Veronica is part of a salsa performance team, plays piano and loves to eat and explore the world.
Favorite quote: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
Simona studied mathematics at Brandeis University and received her PhD in Biology and specifically mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. She is currently developing algorithms to detect sequence features around rearrangement breakpoints, to distinguish rearrangements arising from different exposures and DNA damage response mechanisms.
Fun fact: Simona can juggle and unicycle, but not at the same time.
Favorite quote: “Sesquipedalianism obfuscates pellucidity”
Sean was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After graduating high school, Sean decided to travel the world, but didn’t make it very far — he only made it as far as East Lansing, Michigan where he earned a BS in chemistry at Michigan State University. Although Sean knows very little about the human body, he earned a PhD in physiology from Michigan State University where he studied drug resistance in melanoma. In the Beroukhim lab, Sean studies how germline variants impact cancer vulnerabilities and he studies genetic drivers of low-grade glioma growth.
Fun fact: Sean is from Michigan, the greatest state on earth.
Fun fact #2: Everything above, including the mistake about Michigan, was written by Sean.
Favorite quote: “Things take the time they take. Don’t worry. How many roads did Saint Augustine follow before he became Saint Augustine?” -Mary Oliver
Prasidda received his BA in biology and biochemistry from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., before joining the BBS PhD program at Harvard University in 2016. He is currently studying the role of PPM1D mutations in the pathogenesis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), and characterization of the role of TERC in human malignancies.
Response to being asked for a fun fact: “What if one literally doesn’t have any fun fact? Asking for a friend.”
Favorite quote: “The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.” –Pearl S. Buck
Coyin received her BS in biological engineering from MIT. Currently a medical student in the HST program at Harvard Medical School, she is working on a computational pipeline that infers copy-number alterations in cancer genomes.
Fun facts: Coyin is from Malaysia(!) and is very passionate about food.
Favorite quote: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” –Oscar Wilde
Juliann received her BS in computer science and molecular biology from MIT. Currently a medical student at Tufts Medical School, she is working on detecting signatures of positive and negative selection from the length distributions of somatic copy-number alterations. She also regularly goes mountain- and rock-climbing, which makes Rameen anxious.
Fun facts: In my spare time, I travel in search of the best combination of mountains, noodles, and coffee. So far, Arco, Italy takes the cake!
Favorite quote: “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” Miyamoto Musashi
Andrew is a group leader in the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute of MIT. He led the Broad Institute’s effort to analyze somatic DNA copy-number alterations for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Now, Andrew and Rameen Beroukhim are co-principal investigators of the Broad Institute’s copy-number Genome Data Analysis Center for the National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Analysis Network (GDAN). Andrew holds a PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State University and a BA in biology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kiran received her BA in Mathematics with a minor in Classics from Williams College. She is developing computational methods to detect recurrent driver rearrangements, including complex rearrangements, in cancer genomes. She is applying these methods across all cancers, with a deep dive into the most deadly brain tumors in children.
Fun Fact: Kiran writes short stories in her spare time! Coincidentally, shortly before she applied to the Beroukhim Lab, she wrote a short story about a young girl with brain cancer.
Favorite Quotes: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
Naomi is originally from Mauritius, and received her BA in Biology from Williams College. At Williams, Naomi worked with Zebrafish, and investigated the cardioprotective role of small heat shock proteins.
In the Beroukhim lab, she is studying ways to therapeutically target cancers that harbor mutations in the Mismatch Repair pathway.
Fun Facts: Naomi loves dogs. Her best dog memories include going kayaking with her dog Ella (who lived for 17 years), and doing dog agility with her dog Zoon, who was twice Naomi’s weight, and probably three times her strength.
Favorite quotes: Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
Elizabeth (Eli) Gonzalez
Eli majored in molecular and cell biology at the University of Pennsylvania and is originally from Miami, Fla. She aspires to be a physician scientist and join the efforts to discover better treatments for rare pediatric cancers. As a research assistant in the Bandopadhayay and Beroukhim Labs, Eli is studying new therapeutic strategies for pediatric brain tumors. She is also interested in science diplomacy, particularly collaborations on cancer research between the US and Cuba.
Fun facts: Eli loves to snorkel, and her favorite animal is a yellowtail damselfish.
Favorite quote: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” –Carl Sagan
Shu is from Buffalo Grove, IL and graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Biometry and Statistics. During her undergraduate studies, Shu performed research in the Schimenti Lab at Cornell University surrounding the genetics of infertility, and completed her thesis on identifying genetic variants in the regulatory regions of infertility genes through computational analysis and experimental validation. In the Beroukhim labs
Fun Facts: Shu enjoys fermenting food (such as kimchi and kombucha), reading and writing poetry, and playing badminton.
Alexander James Crane
Alexander (Alex) is a native of Colorado and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Biology. Alex enjoys playing guitar and basketball. Alex’s work in the lab has focused on characterizing signatures and functional sequelae of structural variants in pediatric brain cancers and across all cancers.
Favorite food: Quesadillas and ravioli.