Alumni

Paul Ogrodowski

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Paul Ogrodowski, research technician/lab manager

Paul Ogrodowski was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is the proud son of two Polish immigrants.  He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from St. Thomas Aquinas College. He was the first member to join Dr. Ventura’s lab, and as the lab manager/technician, has been involved in multiple projects through the years. In early 2020, Paul started a new adventure as research Specialist at Regeneron. Paul enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, fishing and anything related to the great outdoors.

Email: ogrodowp@mskcc.org

Ji Eun Lee (Jinny)

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Jinny Lee (PhD) Postdoctoral fellow

I’m from Chuncheon, South Korea. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from Sejong University, Seoul, Korea in 2011. I came to the US to obtain a Ph.D. in Biology from University of Utah where I studied how cells employ the gene regulatory network in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Graduating in 2017, I joined the Ventura lab to pursue postdoctoral training. I am a foodie and enjoy working out, watching movies, and cooking.

Raymond Wu

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Raymond Wu, GSK PhD student

Raymond is a native New Yorker from mixed ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn. He got his degree in Biology with a concentration in molecular biology at Cornell University in Ithaca NY. While there, he studied RNA aptamers as tools to study transcriptional regulation. He decided to come back to NYC to pursue his graduate studies at Sloan Kettering where he has been busy studying non-coding RNAs and developing novel tools to engineer chromosomal rearrangements in vitro and in vivo. Raymond’s hobbies include stock trading, video games, and long walks in the city.  Ram is currently an equity research associate at Ladenburg Thalmann. His work email is rwu_at_ladenburg.com.

Joana Vidigal

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Joana grew up in Lisbon, Portugal. She obtained a Licenciatura in Microbiology and Genetics from the University of Lisbon along with an Academic Honors Award. She was also awarded an Erasmus Grant by the European Union, which allowed her to complete her studies abroad at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and—soon after—a Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship, which helped her initiate her academic research at the Max-Planck Institute for infection Biology in Berlin, Germany. Joana went on to pursue her doctoral work at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, also located in Berlin, under the guidance of Prof. Bernhard G. Herrmann. As a graduate student she was supported by an FCT fellowship and developed an inducible RNAi platform, which she used to dissect gene regulatory networks during mouse embryogenesis. Currently, as a postdoc in the Ventura lab, Joana is investigating how the noncoding genome regulates animal development and disease. Her work is being supported by a Lung Cancer Research Foundation Grant, and has been recognized by Sloan Kettering through the 2016’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Postdoctoral Award. In her free time Joana enjoys traveling, reading, running, biking, skiing, and any other activity that brings her outdoors!

After completing her postdoctoral training, Joana started her own lab at the NIH, in Bethesda, where she is a NIH Stadtman Investigator and a NIH Distinguished Scholar. You can contact Joana at joana.vidigal@nih.gov and find out more about her research at: https://joanavidigal.wordpress.com/ and at https://ccr.cancer.gov/Laboratory-of-Biochemistry-and-Molecular-Biology/joana-a-vidigal.

Turgut Dogruluk

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Turgut Dogruluk, Postdoc

Turgut was born in Adapazari, Turkey with an attitude of ‘Istanbul gentleman.’ He received his BSc degree from Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey in 2009 and his PhD from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas in 2016. He is interested in discovering rare cancer driver aberrations and populations by developing technologies and screening pipelines which he likes to name with fancy acronyms. On the side, he dabbles in soccer, history and cooking.

Sandra Casseus

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Sandra Casseus Administrative Assistant


Peter Cook

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Peter Cook, Postdoc

Peter is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and majored in biology at Georgetown University. After a brief stint working for Medimmune, Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD, he moved to the west coast to obtain a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California, San Diego. Graduating in 2009, he next returned to the east coast to pursue postdoctoral studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center focusing on brain cancer development and treatment. Peter enjoys science fiction books and rap music, and became a proud father in 2014. Since 2018, Peter is a Research Scientist Supervisor at Seattle Children’s, in Seattle.

Ping Mu

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Ping Mu, former graduate student

Ping was the brave first graduate student to join what at the time was a two people lab (Andrea and Paul). His graduate work in the lab resulted in the identification of the miR-19 as a key Myc effector in lymphomagenesis (Mu, Han et al, Genes Dev 2009) and in prostate cancer (Han, Vidigal, Mu et al., Nat Genet 2015).
After graduating from our lab Ping did a brilliant postdoc with Charles Sawyers lab, in the HOPP program at MSKCC and he is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, South Western, Dallas. His broad interests include understanding the mechanism of resistance to targeted therapy and developing novel therapeutic approaches to overcome it. One specific interest of his research is understanding how epigenetic regulation modulates the lineage plasticity of tumor cells and confers resistance. You can reach him at: ping.mu@utsouthwestern.edu

Evelyn Yao

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Evelyn Yao, former graduate student

Evelyn began her scientific training while working in academic and industry laboratories dedicated to understanding cancer biology. Upon joining the Ventura lab, she went on to investigate the role of miR-17~92 in mammalian development. Her work led to the identification of the first known example of a germline mutation of a miRNA gene leading to a syndromic developmental defect in humans. Evelyn currently partners with a variety of pharmaceutical companies developing strategic medical communications for her clients.

Yoon-Chi Han

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Yoon-Chi Han, former postdoc

Yoon-Chi was the first postdoctoral fellow to joint the lab, back in 2009. During her stay in the lab she first collaborated with Ping to study the role of miR-19 in lymphomagenesis (Mu, Han, et al., Genes Dev 2009) and then she worked on generating and characterizing an allelic series of miR-17~92 mutant (Han, Vidigal, Mu et al., Nature Genetics 2015).  She is now a senior scientist studying immunology and cancer at Pfizer. Her contact: yh2029@gmail.com

Danilo Maddalo

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Danilo Maddalo, former postdoc

Current position: Lab Head at Novartis

Carla Concepcion

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Carla Concepcion, former graduate student

During her time in our lab Carla generated and characterized mutant mice harboring targeted deletion of miR-34a, miR-34b, and miR-34c, three miRNAs that are direct transcriptional targets of the p53 tumor suppressor (Concepcion et al. PLoS Genetics, 2012). She also worked to develop a novel method to identify miRNA-mRNA interactions in vivo (manuscript in preparation).
After graduating, Carla followed in her mentor’s footsteps and joined Tyler Jacks lab at MIT for her postdoctoral training.
Current position: Postdoctoral fellow in Tyler Jacks lab, MIT
Contact: carlapc@mit.edu

Francesca Infante

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Francesca Infante, former administrative assistant

I was the Administrative Assistant for the Ventura lab from 2009-2014. I very much enjoyed working with Andrea and all the members of the lab. Whether it was applying for a grant, a birthday, getting a paper published, or a lab outing, we always managed to have a great time and work well together. I am currently the Research Fund Management Specialist in ORPA Operations where our team supports the pre and post award management for SKI. I process all HR paperwork for SKI and review all the awarded grants in our database Grants Central before receiving a fund number.
Current title: Research Fund Management Specialist @MSKCC
Email: infantef@mskcc.org  

Ciro Bonetti

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Ciro Bonetti, former postdoc

Ciro was the brave second postdoc to join the Ventura Lab. He earned his PhD at TIGEM, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine in Napoli – Italy, where he focused on the study of visual system development in health and disease and on developing novel gene therapy approaches for inherited retinal disorders. During his time in the Ventura lab, he identified long non-coding RNAs involved in cancer and examined their function in vivo by generating mouse models. In addition, Ciro was interested in technology development and modified the Cas9 system to increase efficiency of homology directed repair. In 2016, he obtained a  position as ‘scientist for allele design’ at Regeneron. 

You can reach Ciro at www.linkedin.com/in/cirobonetti

Camillo Correa

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Camilo is a surgeon with an interest in academic surgical oncology. As part of his research fellowship in the Hepatopancreatobiliary surgery service at Sloan Kettering, he worked in the Ventura lab during 2012-2013 on a translational project identifying deregulated microRNAs in cholangiocarcinoma as potential biomarkers. He is currently completing a Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Current job: Surgical Oncology Fellow – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Contact juancamilocorrea@hotmail.com

Maurizio Fazio

mauriziuccioMaurizio was born in Sicily like Andrea and grew up on his family winery. He started medical school at San Raffaele University in Milan and soon became interested in oncology. He came to the lab as a visiting student to approach the bench side of cancer research.  The experience was transformative and motivated him to leave the clinic to focus on basic cancer research. After completing his studies he came back to MSKCC in the Armstrong lab supported by an American Italian cancer Foundation Fellowship and in 2014 he moved to Boston to start a PhD at Harvard University. He currently works in the Zon lab at Boston Children`s Hospital as a Boheringer Ingelheim PhD Fellow using mouse and zebrafish to understand melanoma metastatic progression and cancer clonal evolution.  He also teaches at Harvard College about evolutionary and regenerative medicine. In his free time he enjoys wine, cooks risotto for friends, travels and thinks about mars terraforming.
Current position: PhD Candidate in Leonard Zon lab, Harvard University – Boston Children`s Hospital
Contact: mauriziofazio@g.harvard.edu

Alekos D’Andrea

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Former visiting student

Current position: Clinical Research Associate at Quintiles
Email: 
alekos1983@gmail.com

Gabriele Corda

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Former visiting student

Current position: Graduate Student at Brunel University, London

Dirk Spencer

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Dirk Spencer was a high school intern in the Ventura lab. After graduating high school he continued to do research under the guidance of Professor Simon Gilroy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dirk is now a first year graduate student in the Biology PhD program at Stanford University. He is interested in determining how multicellular organisms regulate growth and differentiation in addition to elucidating the mechanism that enable organisms perceive and respond to environmental stimuli. During the course of his PhD Dirk aims to refine our understanding of asymmetric cell divisions, cell polarity, and specialized subcellular microdomains within the context of development and environmental sensing.
Contact:  dirk2@stanford.edu

Yu Wah

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Yu Wah, Visiting Student

Yu Wah is from a small town village located in the South of The Netherlands. She obtained her bachelor degree in biology at Utrecht University. Subsequently, she  continued her Master studies majoring in molecular and cellular life sciences. She joined the Ventura lab for a 6-month internship in 2016. Yu Wah’s other interests are yoga, exploring the city, visiting concerts and photography.

Stephanie Cervino

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Stephanie Cervino, Administrative Assistant

Alexander Perez

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Alexander Perez, MD/PhD student

Alexendar Perez is from Pasadena, California. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Computational Biology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a student in the Tri-Institutional MD/Ph.D program. After brilliantly defending his  Ph.D in Bioinformatics and— jointly mentored by Andrea Ventura and Christina Leslie—Alex is now completing his medical training. He intends to train in oncology like his boss. Alex’s hobbies include studying mathematics, scripting, and reading nonfiction. For his graduate work, in 2017 Alex was named as one of the ’30 under 30′ by Forbes!

Email: arp93@cornell.edu

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