Mary Bedard received her BS from Elon University in 2012 and worked as a senior scientist in the Center of Skin Biology at GlaxoSmithKline. She joined the University of Cincinnati’s MD/PhD program in 2016 and is a cancer and cell biology graduate student in Susanne Wells lab. Her main research is focused on pediatric recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). The project aims to address the variability of clinical phenotypes and therapeutic responses by defining key components of RRP pathogenesis. Mary is implementing a pipeline of in vitro model systems – consisting of patient samples, derivative primary cells and 3D models – that bridge the gap from bench to bedside and will be used to screen for novel therapeutics.
Tafadzwa Chihanga received her BS from Earlham College in 2011 and her PhD in chemistry from Miami University. Her PhD work used NMR metabolomics to study pancreatic cancer and acute kidney injury. She joined the Wells Lab as a research fellow in 2019. Her main research is focused on using laboratory generated models of the epidermis to study Fanconi Anemia and HPV16. Her main research focuses on generating epidermal models from human induced-pluripotent stem cells of Fanconi Anemia (FA) patients, who have an increased susceptibility to HPV infection, in order to study the interactions of the FA DNA repair pathway and HPV.
LilyAna Hursh joined the Wells lab in June of 2021 as a research assistant. LilyAna is currently an undergraduate student attending the University of Cincinnati. She is working to obtain her bachelor of science degree in biology, with a focus on the biology of animals. Her main research project is in assisting with the characterization of a DEK-overexpressing transgenic mouse model.
Anna Kirstein received her BSc in applied biology and her MSc as well as PhD in radiation biology from the Technical University Munich. Her PhD focused on a translational approach to improve cancer treatment by sensitizing glioblastoma cells to x-ray irradiation. Anna joined the Wells Lab in August of 2022 as a research fellow to study the effects of proton versus x-ray irradiation on primary head and neck cancer cells and engineered organotypic rafts. The long-term goal of this project is to discover proton-specific biomarkers and radiosensitizers to improve treatment outcome.
Taylor received her BS in biology and MS in biochemistry & molecular biology from Wright State University. She joined the Wells laboratory in early 2019 to characterize a novel Dek-overexpressing transgenic mouse model.
Bianca Ruffolo received her BS in molecular biology and bioinformatics at the University of Wisconsin in the spring of 2019. In the same year, she joined the University of Cincinnati Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). She started her PhD project in the laboratory of Dr. Susanne Wells in 2021, where she will be studying Fanconi Anemia (FA), a condition that is associated with a dramatic susceptibility to cancers of the skin and mucosa. Her project will focus on the role of metabolic reprogramming in FA cancer susceptibility and progression.