Michelle Boisvert (Graduate Student)
Michelle is a graduate student in Harvard’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD Program. She received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. There, she studied the oncogenic role of certain signaling molecules in the Hedgehog signaling pathway, and became extremely interested in advancing cancer therapy research. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Michelle is interested in using computational efforts to better characterize pediatric brain tumors. Michelle is co-mentored by Drs. Bandopadhayay and Beroukhim.
Fun fact: Michelle is a huge Stephen King fan. She also loves sleeping in, making guacamole, and reading about art history.
Adam Boynton (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Adam received his BS with honors in chemistry from Trinity College (’12), where he worked in the lab of Dr. Tim Curran exploring the coordination of tungsten to diphenylacetylene ß-turn peptidomimetics. He then pursued a PhD in chemistry at Caltech (’17) under the mentorship of Dr. Jackie Barton. While at Caltech, Adam studied luminescent ruthenium complexes that function as “light switch” probes for DNA mismatches. Adam is currently studying approaches to therapeutically target cancers that harbor mutations in the Mismatch Repair pathway. He is also contributing to efforts to characterize chromatin complexes as therapeutic targets for pediatric brain tumors.
Fun fact: Adam’s passions expand beyond the lab and include weightlifting, hot yoga, singing acappella, heading to the ballpark for a game, and visiting craft breweries.
Madison ‘Maddie’ Chacon (Research Assistant)
Maddie received her MS and BS in Biology from Brandeis University in 2021. During her time at Brandeis, Maddie worked in the lab of Sebastian Kadener studying RNA metabolism and the circadian rhythm. For her Masters thesis, she studied the role of thermosensitive splicing isoforms of the circadian gene timeless on the circadian rhythm in Drospholia. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Maddie is working on efforts to identify resistance mechanisms in pediatric brain tumors.
Fun fact: Maddie is a multimedia artist and during quarantine, Maddie collaged all of the wooden furniture in her apartment.
Jessica ‘Jess’ Clymer (Affiliated Instructor)
Jess was born in Seattle, WA but spent most of her childhood just (2 hours) down the road in Pittsfield, MA. She received her BS in 2007 from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from the Ohio State University in 2011 and stayed in Columbus OH to complete her pediatric residency training. In 2014, she traveled north to Chicago for her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship before moving to Boston in 2017 to complete subspecialty training in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorder Center. Jess joined the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Faculty in 2018. Her research interest is in medulloblastoma and early phase clinical trial development. Jess is working with the Bandopadhayay Lab to validate dependencies and resistance mechanisms in medulloblastoma.
Fun fact: during her 4th year of medical school, Jess cycled from San Diego to Washington DC with Ride for World Health; she loves to travel with her most recent adventures being to Morocco and Argentina; she has an adorable cat, Sassafras, who is not a fan of Jess traveling.
Alexandra ‘Larisa’ Condurat (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Larisa received her B.Sc. degree in experimental biology from the University of Bucharest-Romania in 2011, where she investigated the importance of specific nucleotide polymorphisms in breast cancer patients. During her B.Sc studies, she did an Erasmus exchange semester at the University Paris Diderot. In 2013, she obtained her M.Sc degree in cancer biology, with a focus on oncolytic virotherapy of cancer, from the University of Heidelberg and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Larisa earned her PhD in 2018 from the Freiburg University in Germany, where she investigated the role of the Hippo/YAP-TAZ signaling pathway in neural crest development and neuroblastoma progression under the mentorship of Dr. Jan Pruszak. In the Bandopadhayay lab, Larisa is working on projects to improve treatments for children with gliomas. Her projects include the development of therapeutic strategies for fusion proteins in pediatric low-grade gliomas, and the landscaping of transcriptional profiles of pediatric gliomas at the single cell level.
Tabitha ‘Tab’ Cooney (Affiliated Faculty)
Tab received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University followed by her MD from the University of South Florida. She spent the subsequent 9 years in Northern California during which she completed pediatric residency at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland followed by pediatric hematology/oncology and pediatric neuro-oncology fellowships at Stanford University. She spent her first couple of attending years as pediatric neuro-oncologist to children at both UCSF Children’s Hospitals, Mission Bay and Oakland, and remains the only oncologist to do so. Tab joined the faculty at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in 2019 to continue her career as a clinical investigator and pediatric neuro-oncologist. Tab is passionate about working to find better treatments for children with brain tumors – she is part of study leadership for multiple trials across the Children’s Oncology Group, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium. Through her affiliation with the Bandopadhayay Lab, Tab is excited to continue to contribute to efforts to advance lab discoveries rapidly into the clinical setting for children with brain tumors.
Fun fact: Tab ‘succumbed’ to both vegetarianism and yoga in California.
Jeromy Digiacomo (Research Associate)
Jeromy studied chemistry, public health, and Spanish at Williams College. During his senior year, he completed an honors chemistry thesis characterizing the substrate specificity of phosphopantetheinyl transferase enzymes in Streptomyces avermitilis under the instruction of Dr. Amy Gehring. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Jeromy is characterizing and developing strategies to treat pediatric brain tumors that are caused by alterations in FGFR proteins, in addition to other driver alterations.
Fun fact: During college, Jeromy was part of the Williams College’s Zambezi Marimba Band. The band performs both traditional and western music on the world’s only chromatically tuned Zimbabwean-style marimbas. In his spare time, Jeromy likes writing music and playing Animal Crossing on his Nintendo Switch.
J’ya Hunter (Undergraduate Student)
J’ya is an undergraduate student currently studying biology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She previously received her AS at Wake Technical Community College where she studied bis-chloroethyl chemotherapy and its effectiveness as an honors project, which leads to her immense interest in pediatric cancers. J’ya has aspirations of becoming a pediatric surgeon and continuing her ambitions of research for our diverse communities.
Fun fact: During her spare time, J’ya enjoys skateboarding, ballet, and playing video games.
Rushil Kumbhani (Research Associate)
Rushil was born and raised in Central New Jersey, and moved to Providence, RI where he received his BS in Biology from Brown University in 2020. Throughout his undergraduate studies, Rushil worked in Dr. Richard Bennett’s lab studying mechanims underlying white-gray-opaque phenotypic switching in the human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. For his senior honors thesis, Rushil quantified gray-opaque phenotypic switching frequencies in transcription factor knockout backgrounds to characterize master regulators of switching. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Rushinl is studying how certian genes confer resistance to BET-bromodomain inhibitors in MYC-amplified medulloblastomas. In a second project, Rushil is working to identify synthetic lethalities associated with loss of MMR-proteins in high-grade gliomas and DIPGs, with the goal of leveraging these in potential therapeutic strategies.
Fun fact: In college, Rushil was a member of the South Asian fusion dance team, Badmaash, which showcases styles like Bhangra, Bollywood, and Hip Hop. Rushil is also an avid coffee drinker, and spends many mornings trying to make the perfect cold brew.
Leslie Lupien (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Leslie received her BA in Biological Sciences from Assumption College in 2010, before moving on to complete her PhD in the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine at Dartmouth College. In the lab of Dr. William Kinlaw, Leslie studied lipid metabolism in breast cancer cells. Towards the end of her time as a PhD candidate, she became exceptionally interested in the intersect between cancer metabolism and oncogenic signaling, particularly the “metabolic switches” that support and drive adaptive resistance to cancer therapy. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Leslie has been able to combine her background in cancer cell metabolism with genomic, transcriptomic and gene editing approaches to understand the biology of pediatric brain tumors and elucidate mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies such as BET-bromodomain inhibition. She is also working to evaluate the role of altered metabolic signaling to driving formation of pediatric tumors such as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas.
Fun fact: Leslie played basketball through college and is now an avid cyclist. She also enjoys amateur photography.
Eric Morin (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Eric received his MS in biomedicine from Uppsala University, Sweden in 2010. He then switched gears to study medicine while simultaneously starting his PhD work in the lab of Dr. Lena Claesson-Welsh at Uppsala University. Eric studied how the interaction of cell surface proteins expressed by different cell types can regulate blood vessel formation in normal cells and tumors. Eric received his medical degree in 2016 and defended his PhD thesis in 2018. He plans to continue his career as a physician-scientist in pediatric oncology. Eric joined the Bandopadhayay Lab in 2020 where he is working to characterize driver mutations found in pediatric brain tumors and developing new approaches to treat these children with targeted therapies.
Fun fact: Like many Swedish people, Eric has completed Vasaloppet, a 60-mile cross-country skiing race (twice!). In his spare time, Eric enjoys any combination of ‘the three Bs’: Boardgames, Beer and Broncos (Denver).
Dana Novikov (Research Associate)
Dana received her BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania (’21). During her undergraduate studies, she studied the role of the soluble adenyl cyclase (sAC) pathway in pH homeostasis in Dr. Katie Barott’s lab. Dana joined the Bandopadhayay Lab in 2021 where is she working to apply single-cell methods to evaluate the heterogeneity of pediatric gliomas, and to understand spatial associations.
Fun fact: Dana is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and is mentally preparing to be the only Eagles fan in Boston. Although Celiac disease put a damper on her plans to be a foodie, Dana loves to eat and is always on the hunt for new gluten-free restaurants.
Jessica ‘Jess’ Tsai (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Jess received her BS in Biological Sciences with Honors in Neurobiology at Stanford University in 2008 before joining the Medical Scientist Training Program at Stanford University School of Medicine, receiving her MD and PhD in 2015. Jess earned her PhD in Neuroscience working in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Clandinin, utilizing the Drosophila visual system and forward genetics to study synapse development and axon degeneration. She then moved from the Bay Area to Boston where she completed her Pediatrics residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in 2018, before joining the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center as a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Fellow. Jess hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, taking care of children with brain tumors and other solid tumors and working hard to improve treatments for her patients. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Jess is applying genomic approaches to optimize novel treatment approaches for pediatric brain tumors, and is also working to characterize the role long non-coding RNAs play in the formation of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas. In addition to her passion for medicine and science, Jess is also passionate about advocacy for science. She is the Co-Director of a non-profit, the STEM Advocacy Institute, which is focused on building a future where there is equitable access and exposure to science for all people.
Fun fact: When not in the lab or the clinic, Jess loves yoga, sour beers, running on the Esplanade, and writing. She makes a mean pour over coffee, and her favorite animal is a tie between a sloth and a quokka.
Dayle Wang (Research Associate)
Dayle studied biomedical engineering at Dartmouth College, earning a BA and BE dual-degree. Her senior honors thesis examined the dynein-anchoring protein, Num1, and dynein’s mitotic spindle positioning function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in Dr. Wei-Lih Lee’s laboratory. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Dayle is working on uncovering novel therapeutic targets for pediatric high-grade gliomas. Her projects include characterization of the role of long non-coding RNAs in the formation of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas, and understanding the contribution of transcription factors to glioma formation.
Fun fact: Dayle especially enjoys exploring hiking trails and natural parks, spending time with her pets, learning new things, and trying new foods!
Kee Kiat ‘Aaron’ Yeo (Affiliated Instructor)
Aaron was born and raised in Kuantan, a small beach town on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. He went to college in Malaysia before moving to Philadelphia. Aaron received his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in 2011. He completed his internship and pediatric residency training at Children’s National Medical Center, before immersing himself in pediatric hematology/oncology training followed by subspecialty Pediatric Neuro-Oncology training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/University of Southern California. Aaron is an Attending Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Aaron is working with the Bandopadhayay Lab to characterize the clinical features of MYB and MYBL1 altered gliomas.
Kevin Zhou (Research Associate)
Kevin was born and raised in Seattle, and moved to the east coast to pursue a B.A in biology from Williams College (’20). During his undergraduate, Kevin worked with Dr. Amy Gehring to elucidate regulatory pathways of secondary metabolite biosynthesis in Streptomycetes, culminating with an honors biology thesis characterizing substrate specificities of phosphodiesterases from Streptomyces avermitilis. With the Bandopadhayay Lab, Kevin is working on projects that apply single-cell RNA-sequencing and CRISPR-cas9 methods to characterize pediatric gliomas and to develop better therapeutic strategies for these childhood tumors.
Fun fact: Kevin loves ice cream, and is still salty about getting rejected as an ice cream scooper the summer before college because his resume was “too diverse and unrelated”. He is also a devout Christian, and regularly turns water into kombucha.