Cancer Faculty

Yashi Ahmed, M.D., Ph.D.

Yashi Ahmed, Ph.D.

Yash Ahmed, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 613 Vail

Phone: 603-646-5240

The evolutionarily conserved Wnt signal transduction pathway directs cell proliferation and differentiation during animal development and tissue homeostasis. Despite the fact that deregulation of Wnt signaling underlies numerous developmental disorders and cancers, including nearly all colorectal cancers, many of these mechanisms remain poorly understood. The long-term goal of research in the Ahmed Lab is to elucidate the mechanisms that activate Wnt signaling during animal development using a Drosophila model and to use this knowledge to identify control points in the pathway susceptible to therapeutic targeting in Wnt-driven diseases.

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Amanda Amodeo

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Office:  223 Life Sciences Center

Phone:  603-646-9926

My lab seeks to uncover how cell size, zygotic genome activation, chromatin regulation, and the cell cycle come together to regulate early development in the Drosophila embryo. We use a combination of quantitative imaging, cell biology, genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and mathematical modeling to answer questions about how cells sense fundamental biological properties such as their size and developmental stage.

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Giovanni Bosco, Ph.D.


Giovanni Bosco

Oscar M. Cohn Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 609A Vail

Phone: 603-646-5241

We are interested in understanding how nuclear architecture, chromosome morphology and chromatin structure are modified in response to developmental cues and environmental factors. We are also interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms through which these modifications function and effect specialized cellular processes.

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Brock Christensen

Professor of Epidemiology, and Molecular Systems Biology

Office:  660 Williamson Translational Research Building

Phone:  603-650-1827

Dr. Christensen's research is focused on combining advances in molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics with the powerful techniques of modern epidemiology and statistics to characterize epigenetic states in human health and disease. His interests include understanding relationships between epigenetic states and exposures in the context of disease susceptibility, occurrence, and progression. By investigating complex interactions between the environment and somatic epigenetic alterations in target tissues, as well as epigenetic susceptibility traits in surrogate tissues, he hopes to develop their potential translational utility for diagnostic, prognostic, and/or treatment purposes.

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Michael D. Cole, Ph.D.


Michael Cole

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

633 Rubin

Phone: 603-653-9975 

Our studies that focus on the genetic events involved in the induction of cancer provide an opportunity to define the molecular basis of the disease and to study the regulation and function of important eukaryotic genes that control cell proliferation.

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Duane A. Compton, Ph.D.


Duane Compton

Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Dean of Geisel School of Medicine

Office: 650 Williamson Translational Research Building

Phone: 603-646-5190

We investigate the mechanisms that regulate accurate chromosome segregation in human cells and the causes of chromosomal instability in tumors.

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Tyler J. Curiel


Tyler J. Curiel

Professor of Medicine Oncology, and Microbiology and Immunology



Dr Curiel's lab investigates the immunopathogenic basis of human disease with an emphasis on novel strategies for cancer immunotherapy, concepts of which have been put into human clinical trials. Current work focuses on novel aspects of immune checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, notably tumor-intrinsic PDL1 signals, pathogenic effects of regulatory T cells and on engineered cytokines, especially IL2.

The lab utilizes a number of orthotopic mouse cancer models, including cancers of breast, bladder, ovary, lung, prostate and immune cells; and melanoma and glioblastoma multiforme. We have developed proprietary, inducible orthotopic cancer models of melanoma and bladder cancer with specific deletion of PDL1 only in the cancer cells-of-origin to study very early events in carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Current tumor-intrinsic PDL1 work is now going into human trials at Dartmouth and UT Health Sa Antonio. Students learn a variety of important techniques aside from many basic skills, including high-dimensional flow cytometry and analyses, digital imaging, advanced CRISPR/Cas9 strategies, high throughput drug screens, development and use of genetically-modified mice and work with human cells and humanized mice. Much attention is given to acquiring outstanding data presentation skills, manuscript writing and grant preparations.

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Steven N. Fiering, Ph.D.


Steven N. Fiering

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 622 Rubin

Phone: 603-646-5365

My lab is working on novel approaches to detection and treatment of cancer. These approaches center on developing antitumor immune responses using nanoparticles and microorganisms. We are also generating novel mouse models of cancer and other diseases using genetically engineering mice.

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Arti Gaur

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Office:  6th Floor of Rubin

Phone:  603-653-9940

Dr. Gaur's laboratory research can be broadly divided into the following three areas:

Basic Research: Understanding the critical contribution of microRNAs and their targets to various pathologies of the nervous system.

Translational Research: Running clinical trials to establish the role of microRNAs as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic agents in gliomas as well as biomarkers of treatment efficacy and toxicity in glioma patients.

Biomedical Engineering: Developing innovative, in vivo wireless, nano scale devices for early detection of disease as well as regulated and targeted drug delivery.

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Scott A. Gerber, Ph.D.


Scott Gerber

Kenneth E. and Carol L. Weg Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology, and Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Associate Director of QBS Program

Office: 734 Rubin

Phone: 603-653-3679 

Research in the Gerber Lab is focused on developing and using modernproteomics methods to understand the mechanisms by which dysregulated mitotic kinases, such as Aurora kinase A, contribute to the onset and maintenance of cancers.

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Matthew Havrda

Associate Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office:   751 Rubin

Phone:   603-653-9933

Dr. Havrda lab is interested in characterizing neurodegenerative and neoplastic disorders of the central nervous system. Work in the laboratory is focused on two main themes: The characterization of inflammasomes and pyroptotic processes impacting the health of the aging brain and the study of how the neuronal microenvironment impacts the initiation and progress of gliomas in adults and children.

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Claudia Jakubzick, Ph.D.


Claudia Jakubzick

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Office:  628W Borwell

Phone:  603-646-5376

My lab primarily focuses on understanding the functional role of mononuclear phagocytes (i.e., macrophages, monocytes, and dendritic cells) in homeostasis and inflammation. Current projects include 1- The regulation of the adaptive immune response by dendritic cells and monocytes, 2- The role of interstitial macrophages during inflammation, 3- The role of B cells and mononuclear phagocytes in transplant rejection and early-stage cancer recognition, and 4- Defining the human and mouse mononuclear phagocyte counterparts in the lung, skin and draining lymph nodes.


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Arminja N. Kettenbach, Ph.D.


Arminja Kettenbach

Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Office: 763 Rubin

Phone: 603-653-9067 

Research in the lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which phosphatases contribute to phosphorylation-dependent signal transduction in mitosis. We use cell biological, biochemical, and proteomics approaches to decipher the connectivity and complexity of these signaling events in normal and cancer cells. 

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Steven D. Leach, M.D.


Steven Leach

Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Preston T. and Virginia R. Kelsey Distinguished Chair in Cancer

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: DH, Rubin Building, Room 801

Phone: 603-653-3611 

The Leach lab studies pancreatic developmental, epithelial and tumor biology, using mouse, zebrafish and human model sytems. 

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Prerna Malaney, Ph.D.

Prerna Malaney, Ph.D.

Prerna Malaney

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Dartmouth Cancer Center


Office: 677G01 Williamson Translational Research Building


My lab investigates the role of RNA-binding proteins and RNA processing in maintaining cellular homeostasis and how these processes go awry in cancer to establish a fundamental basis for therapeutic enquiry. We use a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology and mouse modelling techniques to answer our scientific questions.

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Aaron McKenna, Ph.D.


Aaron McKenna

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office:  658 Williamson Translational Research Building

Phone:  603-650-1866

My lab is interested in how cells grow and divide to form complex structures, such as the transformation from the zygote to an adult human or from a transformed cell into a tumor mass. To study these processes, we develop technologies to trace pattern of cell divisions which recovers the lineage of each cell. This information can be combined with other measures of cell state such as single-cell transcriptomic data to develop a rich picture of how choices are made in development and how this process is dysregulated in diseases such as cancer.

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Dale F. Mierke, Ph.D.


Dale Mierke

Professor of Chemistry, and Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Office: 202 Burke

Phone: 603-646-1154

Develop molecular inhibitors of specific protein-protein interactions which may find use as physiological tools or eventual therapeutic agents, using the structural features as determined from many experimental (mainly NMR) and computational techniques.

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Esteban A. Orellana, Ph.D.


Esteban A. Orellana, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Systems Biology

Office:  Remsen 725A


Esteban investigates whether changes in the chemical modification (also known as the epitranscriptome) of RNA molecules play a role in the development of human cancers. In all cells, RNAs perform a variety of functions, including synthesizing proteins. While messenger RNAs (mRNAs) provide the instructions for producing a protein, transfer RNAs (tRNAs) "read" the information in that message and supply the necessary amino acid building blocks. To function properly, these transfer RNAs must fold into the correct three-dimensional shape, a process that requires the RNA to be chemically modified. Owing to their high cellular abundance and stability, tRNAs have been commonly considered to be housekeeping molecules. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that tRNAs are highly regulated, and that even small changes in their abundance or their nucleotide modification levels can have profound effects, leading to aberrant translation, changes in protein expression, and disease states. The tRNA epitranscriptome and the functional tRNA pool have emerged as important regulatory layers in the translation of the human genome. However, our current understanding of the functional tRNA pool is limited. Therefore, the focus of the Orellana Lab is to study the causes and effects of tRNA dysregulation in human disease and to use this knowledge to develop tRNA-based therapeutics and diagnosis.

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Patricia A. Pioli, Ph.D. MCB'01


Patricia Pioli

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Office: 644E Borwell Building

Phone: 603-646-5385

Research in our laboratory is focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate macrophage activation in the context of both autoimmunity and cancer. Taking advantage of macrophage plasticity, we then use this information to determine how macrophage activation can be altered for maximal therapeutic benefit.


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Kelli Pointer, Ph.D.



Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Member of Dartmouth Cancer Center

Office:    662 Rubin Building

Dr. Pointer is a physician-scientist who completed her MD and PhD in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Wisconsin. She completed her Radiation Oncology residency at the University of Chicago as a Holman Research Fellow. She joined Dartmouth as an Assistant Professor this year and is excited to be a part of the MCB program and mentor students. Dr. Kelli Pointer's research group focuses on ways to overcome radiation resistance in cancer treatments by using preclinical and translational research approaches. The main focus of her laboratory is on glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive and malignant primary brain tumor. Despite combination therapy with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery patients with glioblastoma still have poor prognoses. Her lab focuses on identifying biomarkers and pathways of radiation resistance in these tumors that can be targeted and ultimately translated into clinical practice. One focus of her lab is on mesenchymal transformation that paradoxically occurs during radiation treatment and causes resistance, including changes in the tumor microenvironment. Her lab also focuses on understanding the tumor-normal brain interface. The research in her laboratory is translational. Thus, projects involve the use of clinical samples and data, mouse modeling, molecular techniques, and genomic datasets that involve a multidisciplinary approach.

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Pamela Rosato, Ph.D., MCB'15


Pamela Rosato

Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Office:  732 Rubin Building


Our research focuses on understanding the function and regulation of virus-specific resident memory T cells (TRM). Using mouse and human tissue explant models, we seek to develop a foundational understanding of TRM biology in distinct tissues to be able to contextualize the role of TRM in pathologic and protective settings. Our current focuses are on the functions of anti-viral TRM in the brain, repurposing virus-specific TRM as a brain tumor immunotherapy, and investigating the role of TRM within tumors during oncolytic viral therapy.

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Kimberley Samkoe, Ph.D.


Kimberley Samkoe

Associate Professor of Surgery, and Thayer School of Engineering

Office:  747 Williamson Translational Research Building

Phone:   603-650-7618

Brief research description: My research takes a biological-systems-engineering approach to medical imaging by studying how microscopic molecular information can be interpreted at a macro-scale. My current research interests involve quantitative assessment of in vivo protein expression and signaling using fluorescence molecular imaging. These methodologies have applications in cancer for improving tumor identification, surgical resection, and patient-specific therapeutic monitoring.

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Rahul Sarpeshkar, Ph.D.


Rahul Sarpeshkar

Thomas E Kurtz Professor, Professor of Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology, Physics, Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 507A Vail

Phone: 603-646-6821

Synthetic analog and digital biological circuits in electri-cigenic and other microbes; Applications of synthetic and systems biology to immunology, infectious disease, and cancer; Precision measurement, electronic circuit modeling, and feedback control of living cells at the fundamental limits set by physics.

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Xiaofeng Wang, Ph.D.


Xiaofeng Wang

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 632 Rubin

Phone:  603-653-9974

Our work focuses on cancer epigenetics. We are particularly interested in studying a family of chromatin remodeling complexes, which are frequently mutated in a variety of human cancers. Our work is aimed to understand how these mutations cause cancer, focusing on the regulation of chromatin structure dynamics (epigenomics) and chromatin remodeler protein complex assembly, as well as using genetic and chemical screens to identify potential therapeutic targets in human cancers. 

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Siming Zhao, Ph.D.

Siming Zhao, Ph.D.

Siming Zhao Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Data Sciences, and Dartmouth Cancer Center

Cancer Biology Program

Office:   Rubin Building 705

Phone:  (603) 646-5723

Dr. Zhao's research focuses on studying the genetic etiology of human diseases, in particular, cancer.  Her lab develops computational methods and tools to analyze large-scale genomic datasets, aiming to translate data into biological insights. Specific areas of interest include modeling of mutation selection in cancer, genotype-phenotype association analysis, integration of multiple types of genomic datasets for disease gene discovery and single cell genomics.

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