Dr. Helmrath has dedicated his career to the care of patients with intestinal failure as a pediatric surgeon. In his laboratory, he focuses on characterizing intestinal stem cells during intestinal adaptation and developing intestinal regenerative strategies. Dr. Helmrath’s clinical experience as the surgical director of intestinal research and rehabilitation at Cincinnati Children’s informs his long-term research goal to establish translational therapies for the management of patients with short bowel syndrome.
InstructorMax earned his PhD in biology at the University of Nantes (France) in January 2012. While there he focused on the role of enteric glial cells in the control of intestinal epithelial cells using microarrays and functional analysis. His specific project aimed to characterize the role of enteric glial cells in the control of intestinal epithelial barrier functions and also enteric neuronal survival. Combining pharmacological, molecular biology and biochemical tools, he identified the role of 15dPGJ2 produced by EGC on intestinal epithelial cells proliferation and the mechanisms involved. In February 2012, he joined the Helmrath Lab to develop intestinal stem cell culture techniques. He has developed FACS sorting methods as wells as genomic and epigenomic approaches. His focus is the study of intestinal stem cell pattern throughout the small intestine using human tissue sample and pluripotent stem cells.
Research Assistant IVJen obtained her BS from Towson University in 1988. Upon graduation, she accepted a position at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Oncology Center as a senior laboratory technician researching the role of latency following HIV infection. She moved to Cincinnati and joined the lab of Dr. Mitchell Cohen and began studying enterotoxins, their receptors and the resulting secretory diarrhea. Her research also included several clinical trials including vaccine studies for cholera, typhoid and entertoxigenic e.coli infections. In 2010, Jen started as a lab manager for Dr. Michael Helmrath. Jen was responsible for establishing the lab including developing and implementing protocols, lab administration, personnel training, coordinating transgenic animal colonies and animal surgical procedures. She earned her MS from George Washington University in 2011 in clinical research administration. She has implemented a lab specific biobank to store and track clinical specimen. In addition to her lab management responsibilities, Jen is transitioning into a more active role as a clinical research professional.
Research AssistantNambi earned his PhD in life sciences from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad India in 1997. His graduate work was on understanding the role of protein tyrosine phosphatase signaling in cell division and disease. He then moved to Washington University in St. Louis and worked briefly on the role of Colony Stimulating Factor signaling in breast cancer metastasis. In 1998, Nambi moved to University of Minnesota where he trained under Dr. Wylie and Dr. Heasman on using Xenopus as a model system to study the role of tyrosine phosphatases in early embryonic development. He moved to Cincinnati Children’s in the year 2000, along with Dr. Wylie’s lab and has continued to work here since then. He joined Dr. Helmrath’s lab as a research assistant in March 2011. Nambi mainly works on the culturing of murine and human intestinal enteroids and organoids. He has been an integral part of the lab in providing training and assistance to the surgical residents, clinical and research fellows in the various techniques performed in the lab. His area of expertise is in cell signaling, biochemistry, and molecular biology.
Research Assistant IMichael is the newest addition to the Helmrath Lab. He has recently graduated with his associate’s degree in bioscience technology and would like to further his education by getting a bachelor’s degree. In his role as research assistant I Mike does genotyping of mice, histology work and solution preparation.
Research Assistant IIINicole earned her BA in psychobiology from Hiram College in 1995. Upon graduation, she accepted a position at Kent State University managing a research facility for the Department of Psychology. In 1998, Nicole joined the Woychik Lab at Case Western Reserve University, where she spent the next sixteen years studying polycystic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis and airway diseases in animal models. At CWRU Nicole specialized in techniques such as nasal potential difference assay, isolating and culturing bone marrow derived macrophages, and creating F1 Chimera mouse lines. In 2015, Nicole moved to Cincinnati and joined Dr. Helmrath’s lab. Currently she contributes to the lab by providing histology and cell culture support.
Research ScientistZhou received her MD degree in 2007 from Medical College of Fudan University where she also completed her internship. She completed her master's degree and her pediatric surgical residency at Shanghai Children’s Hospital, with research in effects of exogenous epidermal growth factor on repair of premature intestinal mucosa with necrotizing enterocolitis. After that, she completed a pediatric surgical fellowship. During her advanced learning at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, she developed an interest in intestinal failure. She is focused on nutritional approaches to enhance intestinal adaptation response.
Alex Cortez a native of Northeast Ohio and graduated from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) with a BA in Spanish and a minor in biochemistry. He then completed his MD at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He remained there after graduation and is currently a general surgery resident. He is interested in pediatric and transplant surgery and plans to pursue a career in academic medicine where he can engage in research, teaching and patient care. As a research fellow in the Helmrath Lab, Alex is interested in the translational aspects of stem cell based therapies for clinical disease. His focus is on how host size and luminal contents affect the growth, maturation and function of human intestinal organoids (HIO). This involves translating existing in vivo animal models to large animals, allowing for improved surgical manipulation and modeling. In doing so, the team will have the ability to better study human intestinal physiology, as well as develop patient-specific HIOs that can be used to understand and treat clinical disease.
Michael Helmrath, MD, MS
Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery
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Cincinnati, OH 45229
3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3026
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