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Lab Alumni

  • Sydney Porto

    Sydney Porto

    Undergraduate Intern (2022-2024)

    Sydney did her undergraduate studies at Harvey Mudd College, where she was a joint Chemistry and Biology major. She originally joined through a 10 week Summer Undergraduate Research Program... but it quickly became clear that she was functioning at the level of a graduate student and we convinced her to continue working in our lab during the school year. During her junior and senior years in college, Sydney continued her work in our lab, generally working remotely, but sometimes flying back from Pomona, CA to complete critical experiments. Sydney's work explored similarities and differences in the mechanisms of lethality for EGFR inhibitors. Sydney is current in a masters program at Cambridge University and intends to pursue an MD/PhD. 

  • Ozen Leylek

    Ozen Leylek, PhD

    Visiting Student (Fulbright Scholar 2021-2022)

    Ozen was a graduate student at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete the last year of her graduate studies working in our lab and in Mike Hemann's lab at MIT. During that time, she used our functional genomics assays to characterize an unexpected mechanism of drug synergy for combinations of EGFR inhibition and DNA damage in gastric cancer cells. Ozen graduated with her PhD in the summer of 2023 and is current a postdoctoral fellow in Mirjana Efremova's lab at the Barts Cancer Institute in London.

  • Rachel Fontana

    Rachel Fontana

    Masters Student Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences/Bioinformatics (2020 - 2023)

    Rachel's thesis work explored how mechanisms of drug action vary across drug doses. She contributed to the development of our drug GRADE algorithm, and also made critical observations about the regulation of parthanatos, an understudied form of cell death. Prior to joining the lab, Rachel attended Northeastern University and worked at EMD Serono. 

  • Hannah Schwartz

    Hannah Schwartz, PhD

    Graduate Student, Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences/IGP (2017 - 2022)

    Hannah's thesis work was focused on improving pre-clinical evaluation of drug responses. She led our development of the drug GRADE algorithm and also worked towards the development of an in vitro assay for profiling immune checkpoint inhibitors in the context of other cancer chemotherapies. Prior to joining our lab, Hannah was an undergraduate at Tufts, where she studied Biochemistry and worked in Josh Kritzer's lab. She was also a member of the Tufts Equestrian Team. She is currently a postdoc at Merck.

  • Anitha Rajendran

    Anitha Rajendran, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2021-2022)

    Anitha came to our lab after completing her PhD at the University of Udine, in Italy. As a PhD student she created new assays for studying RNA binding proteins. In our lab, she was interested in learning computational biology, functional genomics, and mechanisms of non-apoptotic cell death. She worked on understanding mechanisms that control parthanatotic death. She is currently a postdoc in the Castaneda Lab at Syracuse University.

  • Peter Cruz-Gordillo

    Peter Cruz-Gordillo, MD/PhD

    Graduate Student, MSTP Program (2015-2020)

    Peter was the second student to join our lab (formally joining a few weeks after Ben). His thesis studies were focused on non-genetic mechanisms of drug resistance. Using genome-wide CRISPR screens, he found that the ELP complex drives drug resistance in TNBC by enabling "translational buffering" when growth factor-mediated gene expression is inhibited. Peter is a native of Puerto Rico, and studied at Duke and at the Broad Institute prior to joining our lab. After finishing the MD portion of his MD/PhD, Peter became a Neurosurgery Resident at OHSU in Portland, Oregon. 

  • Anna Joyce

    Anna Joyce

    Undergraduate Intern (2019-2020)

    Anna worked with us while she was finishing her studies at Clark University, where she was a math major and also a member of the Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams. In the Lee Lab, she was a member of "Team Double Sigmoid" (an early version of the idea that became the GRADE algorithm). Anna received her bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 2021 and master's degree in Finance in 2022. She currently works as a Financial Representative at Fidelity Investments.

  • Ryan Richards

    Ryan Richards, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2019)

    Ryan did a short, but very productive postdoctoral fellowship in our lab. In three years he published 3 first author papers. He discovered SAD combos, created the FLICK assay, and helped generate the drug GRADE algorithm. Prior to joining our lab, Ryan was a PhD student with Rob Dempski at WPI, and an undergrad at UMass-Lowell, where he was a member of the soccer team. He's remembered fondly as a lover of all things New England, including fall weather and bland food. He is currently a Senior Scientist at AstraZeneca.  

  • Mariah Stewart

    Mariah Stewart

    Research Associate (2018-2019)

    Mariah was a technician in our lab. Prior to joining us, she was an undergraduate at Millsaps College where she studied Biology... and Chemistry... and Neuroscience... and Archaeology (and she was also a member of the golf team). In the lab she helped generate new regents for studying apoptotic and non-apoptotic forms of cell death, which are used in our study of "SAD Combos". She is currently pursuing a PhD in Pharmacology at UNC Chapell Hill and is a member of Jonathan Schisler's lab.

  • Thomas Leete

    Thomas Leete

    Research Associate (2013-2018)

    Thomas helped start our lab as our first hire and lab manager. Prior to joining us, he worked for Cosette Wheeler at U. New Mexico, and for Bob Horvitz at MIT. Thomas is a molecular biology guru and helped perfect a number of sequencing and genome-wide screening approaches for studying cell death. He currently works as a research associate at Beam Therapeutics. 

  • Ben Landry

    Ben Landry, PhD

    Graduate Student (2013-2018)

    Ben was our lab's first graduate student. He was previously an undergrad at WPI and a research technician in Jenny Benanti's lab. In our lab he pioneered our studies of the tumor microenvironment and became an expert in culturing primary material, quantitiative high-throughput assays for evaluating drug sensitivity, and the biology of cancer associated fibroblasts. He also authored a really excellent review on OMIC strategies for studying signal transduction. He is currently a Scientific Support specialist at STEMCELL.

  • Kentaro Hayashi

    Kentaro Hayashi, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2016)

    Kentaro came to our lab after a successful graduate career at Keio University in Japan. His research interests were focused on inflammatory signaling and diseases that result from chronic inflammation. He is currently a medical science liaison at Eli Lily.

  • Anne Margriet Heijink

    Anne Margriet Heijink, PhD

    Visiting Graduate Student (2015)

    Anne Margriet was a graduate student in the lab of our collaborator Marcel van Vugt, at the University of Groningen. She finished a portion of her PhD studies in our lab, resulting in a very nice paper that explored mechanisms driving resistance to cisplatin. She's now a postdoc in Dan Durocher's lab in Toronto.

  • Undergraduate Interns

    • 2024     Eleazar Gonzalez Adame (UT-Austin)
    • 2024     Astrid Johnson (Smith)
    • 2023     Jonathan Schowalter (U of New Orleans)
    • 2022     Sydney Porto (Harvey Mudd)
    • 2021     Julia Kan (Wesleyan)
    • 2019     Anna Joyce (Clark U)
    • 2017     Gary Ren (Shrewsbury HS)
    • 2016     Liam Ben-Joseph (UT-Austin)
    • 2015     Anthony Rovezzi (UMass-Amherst)
  • Rotation Students

    • Kelly Ward
    • Joe Paquette
    • Trang Ho
    • Gavin Birdsall
    • Ben Clayton
    • Sam Liu
    • Chandler Friend
    • Nick Harper
    • Rachael Fontana
    • Ezquiel Calvo
    • Feston Idrizi
    • Silviana Lee
    • Samantha Sarli
    • Crystal Shao
    • Yuqing Wang
    • Vinita Chaudhari
    • Chris Welsh
    • Megan Honeywell
    • Kyle Garnick
    • Hannah Schwartz
    • Mihir Doshi
    • Lola Yu
    • Kathleen Morrill
    • Kevin O'Connor
    • Nick Rice
    • Jordan Smith
    • Ankur Sheel
    • Ben Landry
    • Miye Jacques
    • Peter Cruz-Gordillo
    • Michael Kiritsy
    • Tran Nguyen
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