Khurana Hershey lab

  • Meet the Khurana Hershey Lab

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    + Gurjit K Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD

    hershey-150Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD
    Director of Division of Asthma Research

    Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD, received a BS degree from the University of Iowa, and MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine. After completing pediatric residency and an allergy/immunology Fellowship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Dr. Khurana Hershey joined the faculty at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She now directs the Division of Asthma Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is the director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

    In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Khurana Hershey directs an NIH-funded research program focused on delineating the genetic and environmental factors that promote asthma / allergy phenotypes and dissecting the mechanisms by which they confer risk. Her research has been continuously funded for over sixteen years. She is the principal investigator of an NIH-funded Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Center (AADCRC), and is also the PI of the Inner City Asthma Consortium, an NIH funded subcontract. She is the PI of the UC T32 MSTP training grant. In addition to her research contributions, she is an outstanding clinician and teacher/mentor. Several of her trainees now hold academic faculty positions. She is the recipient of the 2013 Cincinnati Children’s Educational Achievement Award.

    Dr. Khurana Hershey is a fellow member of the American Pediatric Society, American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She serves on the Executive Council of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Program Committee, is the Chair of the Grant Review Committee and appointed Vice Chair of the Basic and Immunology Interest Section. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. She was recently named One of the Five Leading Women in Healthcare in the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, and Outstanding Woman at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

    Gurjit.Hershey@cchmc.org


  • Post-Doctoral Fellows / Research Associates

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    + Eric Brandt, PhD

    meet-eric-new-150 Eric Brandt, PhD
    Research Associate

    Eric received his PhD in Immunology at the Pasteur Institute (Lillie, France).  He joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2008.  Eric’s current research in the Khurana Hershey Lab is investigating the contribution of innate and adaptive immune response in animal models of atopic dermatitis and asthma.  He utilizes house dust mite (HDM) and diesel exhaust particles (DEP) provided by the EPA, to focus on unraveling the mechanisms leading to DEP-induced exacerbation of asthma.  His notable findings included the contribution of DEP-induced IL17A to disease exacerbation.

    Eric.Brandt@cchmc.org

    + Hanna M Elisabet Johansson, PhD

    hanna-200Hanna (Lisa) M Elisabet Johansson, PhD
    Research Associate

    Hanna completed her PhD in Applied Biochemistry from the University of Lund, Sweden.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2014.  Hanna’s current research in the Khurana Hershey Lab includes identifying genetic markers differentially associated with childhood allergic disorders; mainly asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.  A case- control genetic association approach is being used, in which a total of 769 SNPs in 80 genes are genotyped using a custom array.  In addition, her research also aims at characterizing epistatic and environmental interactions that modulate the effects of candidate genes.

    + Chang Xiao, MD, PhD

    meet-chang-new-150Chang Xiao, MD, PhD
    Research Fellow

    Chang received her PhD at the University of Cincinnati in Systems Biology and Physiology.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2011.  Chang’s current research in the Khurana Hershey Lab includes identifying potential biomarkers that are associated with disease severity and treatment response in kids with asthma exacerbations.  In addition, she also conducts research addressing the mechanistic questions with regards to the gene(s) predictive of treatment response detected in human studies, by use of loss-of and gain-of-function animal models and cell culture systems.

    Chang.Xiao@cchmc.org

    + Zhonghua Zhang, MD, PhD

    meet-john-new-150 Zhonghua (John) Zhang, MD, PhD
    Research Associate

    Zhonghua received his Medical Degree and MS in Pathology from Shanghai Medical University and his PhD in Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2010. Zhonghua’s current research in the Khurana Hershey Lab includes delineating the immunomodulatory role of environmental exposures including allergens. In a recent paper he investigated the effects of EGF on human innate immunity and immune pattering, and its protective role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases, specifically atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma.  In addition, he also conducts research using mouse models to uncover the synergistic roles of multiple allergens to induced asthma.

    Zhonghua.Zhang@cchmc.org


  • Research Nurses

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    + Annette Blust, RN, BSN, CPN

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    Annette Blust RN, BSN, CPN
    Research Nurse

    Annette received her Bachelors of Nursing from University of Cincinnati.  She is currently pursuing a Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and is nearing her practicum in her nurse practitioner program.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2014.  Annette is a research nurse for the Inner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC) trials and is responsible for performing participant visits including, but not limited to PFTs, induced sputum challenges, methacholine challenges, processing nasal epithelial samples and managing participant records.  She also, helps manage participant’s asthma care while on the ICAC clinical trials.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and watching movies.

    Annette.Blust@cchmc.org

    + Alyssa Witt, RN, BSN, CCRP

    witt-150Alyssa Witt, RN, BSN, CCRP
    Research Nurse

    Alyssa received her Bachelors of Nursing from Grandview College.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2012. Alyssa is a research nurse for the Inner City Asthma Consortium ( ICAC) trials and is responsible for performing participant visits including, but not limited to PFTs, induced sputum challenges, methacholine challenges, processing nasal epithelial samples and managing participant records.  She also, helps manage participant’s asthma care while on the ICAC clinical trials.  In her free time she enjoys taking care of her family, running and traveling.

    Alyssa.Witt@cchmc.org


  • Project Specialists

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    + Stephen Austin, BS

    austin-150Stephen (Steve) Austin, BS
    Senior Specialist-Project Management

    Steve received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Athletic Training from Marquette University.  He joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2012.  Steve is a Senior Project Specialist who is responsible for managing multiple clinical research studies including, the Statewide Pediatric Asthma Repository, the Inner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), the local CCHMC asthma/ allergy repository and other investigator initiated. In his free time he enjoys working on projects around the house, relaxing with his wife and dog, traveling, and watching and playing sports.

    Stephen.Austin@cchmc.org


  • Research Assistants

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    + Stacey Bass

    bass-150Stacey Bass
    Research Assistant II

    Stacey graduated from Mt. Health High School.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2008.  Stacey is a Research Assistant who is responsible for maintaining and performing experiments within the animal colony.  She is also responsible for processing clinical patient samples and performs other general lab duties.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and taking pictures.

    Stacey.Bass@cchmc.org

    + Mark Ericksen, BS, Ed, BS, AB

    ericksen-150Mark Ericksen, BS Ed, BS, AB
    Senior Research Assistant

    Mark received his Bachelor of Science from Miami University.  He joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2001.  Mark is a Senior Research Assistant who is responsible for handling the GCPCR gDNA samples, maintenance of lab physical plant and purchasing and assisting with an array of different projects as needed. In his free time he enjoys officiating and /or watching his son compete in swimming.

    Mark.Ericksen@cchmc.org

    + Brandy Ruff, AS, RLAT

    day-150Brandy Ruff, AS, RLAT
    Research Assistant II

    Brandy received her Associate of Science from Cincinnati State and is currently pursing on a Bachelors of Arts in Human Sciences from Columbia College.  Brandy is also a registered Laboratory Animal Technician.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2012.  Brandy is a Research Assistant who is responsible for managing the animal colony in the lab, performing and setting up experiments for asthma and AD models. She is also responsible for maintaining Animal use Protocol and IBC addendums and renewals.  In her free she enjoys spending time with her family.

    Brandy.Day@cchmc.org


  • Clinical Research Coordinators

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    + Kelly Bryan, BA

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    Kelly Bryan, BA
    Clinical Research Coordinator II

    Kelly received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychological Sciences with an area of concentration in Education at Northern Kentucky University.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2014.  Kelly is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Greater Cincinnati Pediatric Clinic Repository (GCPCR) study and is responsible for recruiting, enrolling and following up with participants.  In addition she collects clinical data and bio-specimens from study participants.  She also, performs data and records management and organizational task for the study.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and church family and engaging in outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, skiing and playing tennis.

    + Kyle Connolly, MS, BS, CCRP

    connolly-150Kyle Connolly, MS, BS, CCRP
    Clinical Research Coordinator II

    Kyle received his Bachelors of Science in Marketing from Xavier University and his Masters of Science in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati.  He joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2012.  Kyle is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Inner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC) trials and is responsible for recruiting and enrolling patients in the study.  In his free time he enjoys working out and playing rugby.

    Kyle.Connolly@cchmc.org

    + Julie Sheehan, BA

    brunsman-150Julie Sheehan, BA
    Clinical Research Coordinator II

    Julie received her Bachelors of Arts in Social Work at Defiance College. She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2012.  Julie is Clinical Research Coordinator for the Ohio Pediatric Asthma Repository (OPAR) study and is responsible for recruiting and enrolling patients in the study. She also, performs data management and other organizational task for the study.  In her free time she enjoys coaching and playing volleyball, traveling, and cooking.

    Julie.Brunsman@cchmc.org


  • Students

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    + BriAnna Ostrander

    ostrander-150BriAnna Ostrander
    Student II 

    BriAnna graduated from East Clinton High School in 2010 and is currently pursuing a Biology Degree at the University of Cincinnati.  She joined the Khurana Hershey Lab in 2013.  BriAnna is responsible for performing different tasks for the Inner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC) trials such as, making reminder phone calls to patients, putting together binders and filing.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the gym and watching movies.

    BriAnna.Ostrander@cchmc.org