Meet the Postdocs

Working on an individual personalized project under the guidance of a qualified faculty mentor, VAI’s exceptional postdoctoral fellows make great contributions to the science conducted in the Institute’s laboratories. They play a crucial role in the intellectual development and management of research projects and contribute to a considerable share of the hands-on research activities in the laboratory.

Department of Epigenetics

Pediatric leukemia immunology

Zach DeBruine, Ph.D.
Triche Laboratory

Microglial cells control of peripheral metabolic tissues

Regulatory mechanisms of maintenance DNA methylation by DNMT1

Investigating the relationship between H2A.Z deposition and DNA methylation

Single cell resolution of immune landscape in cancer therapy

Epigenetics of reproductive cancers

Junwei Niu, Ph.D.
Wen Laboratory

Epigenetic origins of phenotypic variation in complex metabolic diseases

Identifying novel epigenetic readers and their inhibitors

The role of DNA methylation in controlling gene expression during cancer development

Investigating novel histone readers and their function in cancer

Histone reader and epigenetic modifications in cancer

Histone readers and epigenomics

Identifying and characterizing novel readers of histone modifications

Exploring the epigenetic mechanisms of Neuronatin (Nnat) deficiency-induced bistable overgrowth

Identifying and characterizing novel readers and epigenetic modifications

Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Viral and bacterial infections as triggers for Parkinson’s disease

Exploring the contribution of the vermiform appendix to Parkinson’s disease

Investigating potential pathogen triggers for Parkinson’s disease

Hiba Douja Chehade, Ph.D.
Chu Laboratory

Parkinson’s disease, basal ganglion, brain circuitry and dopamine depletion

Functional interactions of genes that cause Parkinson’s disease

Clarissa Ferolla, Ph.D.
Moore Laboratory
Ella Kasanga, Ph.D.
Patrik Brundin Laboratory

Immune therapy against prion disease

Caio Massari, Ph.D.
Moore Laboratory
Anthony Otero, Ph.D.
Moore Laboratory
Alice Prigent, Ph.D.
Henderson Laboratory

Pharmacological and epigenetic suppression of alpha-synuclein propagation

Identifying pathogenic triggers of Parkinson’s

Exploring the mechanisms implicating VPS35 in the neuropathology of Parkinson’s disease

Alex Soto-Avellaneda, Ph.D.
Henderson Laboratory
Wei Zhou, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Cell Biology

Inflammatory pain signaling in benign neurofibromas

Sumoylation and epigenetic silencing in the skeleton

Desumoylation pathways in joint aging and osteoarthritis pathogenesis

Wnt signaling in craniofacial bone development

Payton Stevens

Wnt/Frizzled receptor signaling during pancreatic cancer progression

Department of Structural Biology

Huilin Li Laboratory

Investigating the mechanisms of lipid transport across biological membranes by P4 ATPase machinery

JAZ signaling in plants

Structural and functional studies of membrane proteins using single particle electron cyro-microscopy.

How proteins safeguard genetic integrity of the species by directly binding to PPRs and eliminating Z-DNA structure in the germ cells

Ion channels, single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), electrophysiology

CDK phosphorylation of origin recognition complex (ORC)

Proteasome and protein folding system involved in multi-drug resistance in Mycobacteria

DNMT-nucleosome complexes and PRC2-nucleosome complex

Structures and mechanistic studies of AMP-activated protein kinase

Epigenetic mechanisms in DNA damage point

The molecular mechanisms of DNA replication in bacteria

Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming

Russell Jones Laboratory

Characterizing heterogeneity of exhausted T cells and understanding the roles of peroxisomes in the tumor microenvironment

Metabolic dependencies of immune and tumor cells

Mechanistic dissection of epigenetic inheritance

McLane Watson, Ph.D.
Russell Jones Laboratory

Histone H3 lysine 4 demethylase KDM5C/D functions in dendritic cells