ABOUT THE NARLA LAB
Dr. Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D., is the Division Chief of Genetic Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Goutham Narla earned his BS in Biology and Economics from Santa Clara University in California and his MD and Ph.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He also completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Medical Genetics at Mount Sinai. After finishing his fellowship, he moved to Ohio in 2012 to work at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), where he later became an Associate Professor with tenure. In July 2018, he joined the faculty at Michigan Medicine to become the seventh Chief of the Division of Genetic Medicine since the division’s inception in 1977.
Dr. Narla has held several leadership positions, particularly focusing on education and training, both at Mount Sinai and CWRU. At Mount Sinai, he served as the Director of the Physician-Scientist Training Residency Program, Assistant Program Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and was a member of the Medical School Admissions Committee. At CWRU, Dr. Narla sat on the MSTP Steering Committee and the Pharmacology Steering Committee. In 2012, he was named the first Harrington Distinguished Scholar (Early Career Award). He is currently the President of The Young Scientist Foundation, and a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Currently, he serves as an associate director for the MSTP program at the University of Michigan.
Linda, Administrative Specialist
Linda Howell, Administrative Specialist, joined the Division of Genetic Medicine in May 2018. Linda began her career at Michigan Medicine in May of 2001 as an Administrative Assistant Senior in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. When Dr. Narla joined the University of Michigan as the Chief of Genetic Medicine in May 2018, Linda became a valuable part of his team. Linda coordinates activity of the division and academically supports Dr. Narla.
Dr. Caitlin O’Connor, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Caitlin O’Connor is a Research Fellow in the Narla Lab with a Ph.D. from the Pharmacology Department at Case Western Reserve University. She earned her undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota earning a B.A. in Biochemistry and Biophysics with a minor in Biology. After graduation, she worked as an Analytical Chemist at Pace Analytical Life Sciences where she worked in the raw materials group. Here, she performed a wide variety of testing for pharmaceutical products and served as a technical lead for the group. Caitlin joined Dr. Narla’s lab in December of 2013.
Dr. Caroline Farrington, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Caroline is a Research Fellow in the Narla lab with a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Case Western Reserve University. She first joined the Narla lab as a research assistant when it was located at Mount Sinai in New York City and joined the lab for her graduate work at Case Western. Her thesis work investigated the potential to inhibit cancer growth driven by the c-MYC oncogene by negatively regulating it through activation of the tumor suppressor, PP2A. Her current research investigates the mechanisms by which PP2A may contribute to the regulation of cell metabolism.
Dr. Jiang Hu, Ph.D., Lab Technician
Jiang Hu, Ph.D., is a Lab Technician in Dr. Goutham Narla’s laboratory. Jiang earned his doctoral degree from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, with a multi-disciplinary training both in Biomedical Science and Biomedical Engineering. Jiang finished his postdoctoral training at the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, University of Michigan Dental School. Jiang has extensive research experience in Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy.
Tahra Suhan, M.S., Research Lab Specialist Intermediate
Tahra is a Research Lab Specialist Intermediate in the Narla lab. She received her BS in Zoology from Michigan State University and her MS in Molecular Cellular and Development Biology from the University of Michigan. She began her career at the University of Michigan with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM), after which she was recruited to serve as the Assistant Program Manager of Dr. Max Wicha’s cancer stem cell research laboratory at the University of Michigan.
Kaitlin P. Zawacki, B.S., Research Lab Specialist
Kaitlin received her BS in Biomedical Science from Grand Valley State University. Since then she gained six years of experience as a Technical Service Specialist in ULAM as well as an additional six years of experience designing and running animal research studies for labs. For the Narla Lab, Kaitlin leads in-vivo studies and manages the lab’s Transgenic Colony.
Matt Hinderman, B.S., Research Lab Specialist Intermediate
Matt is a Research Lab Specialist Intermediate in the Narla lab. He received his BS in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He began his career at the University of Michigan with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) where he was a Supervisor of Animal Care for many years. While in ULAM he received certification as a Laboratory Animal Technologist through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. His current role within the lab is largely based on in vivo animal studies.
Gabrielle Hodges Onishi, B.S., Research Lab Specialist
Gabrielle earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in Biology and History. During that time she worked in Max Wicha's Breast Cancer Stem Cell Lab. Her interests include cancer, immunology, travel, and teaching.
Erika Hanson, Clinical Research Coordinator
Erika has a BA in Biochemistry from Smith College. She assists in analyzing the clinical side of the data from the patient samples used in the lab. From that she looks at correlations between genetic mutations and outcomes, mutations and drug efficacy,and other data points to better understand the patient outcomes for our research.
Brynne Raines, Graduate Research Assistant
Brynne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program at the University of Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan earning a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a minor in Biological Anthropology. Following graduation, Brynne worked as a Lab Manager and Research Technician in Dr. Natalie Tronson's lab studying learning and memory. Brynne joined Dr. Narla's lab in January 2020. In the lab, she is focused on identifying mechanisms by which inactivation of protein phosphatase 2A (PPA) influences resistance to anti-cancer drugs, specifically those targeting the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways in KRAS-mutant cancers.
Terrance J. Haanen III, Graduate Research Assistant
Terrance is a Ph.D. candidate in the Cancer Biology Department at the University of Michigan. He earned his undergraduate degree at California State University, San Marcos in Biochemistry. After graduation, he applied to the University of Michigan through the Program in Biomedical Sciences. Terrance joined Dr. Narla’s lab in January of 2020. His thesis work seeks to decipher the functional role of recurrent PP2A A mutations on endometrial metastasis.
Brian Tran, Graduate Research Assistant
Brian Tran is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, he earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Upon graduating, Brian worked as a Research Associate at Viking Therapeutics, a small biotechnology company based in San Diego, CA where he worked with the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls team. After a few years in the industry, he joined the Narla Lab as a graduate student focusing on mechanisms by which PP2A can modulate N-Myc expression in N-Myc driven malignancies.
Alexis Harold, Graduate Research Assistant
Alexis Harold is a second-year Ph.D. Student in the Cancer Biology Program. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh earning a B.S. in Biological Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Mediterranean Art and Archaeology. In her undergraduate career, Alexis worked in labs researching Merkel cell polyomavirus-associated human Merkel cell carcinoma and breast cancer. She joined Dr. Narla’s lab in the Spring of 2021 and is currently researching the role of PP2A in hormone receptor positive breast cancer in response to SMAP treatment.
Celine Rajoulh, Undergraduate Student
Celine is a senior at the University of Michigan, double majoring in Biomolecular Sciences and BCN with a minor in Gender, Race, and Nation. Her current work in the Narla lab focuses on PP2A's role in the mitochondrial dynamics of triple-negative breast cancer. During her free time, she leads a Model UN organization on campus, volunteers in a student-led refugee assistance program, and plays piano. In the future, she hopes to target disparities in cancer treatment and participate in translational research as an oncologist.
Sydney Musser, Undergraduate Student
Sydney is a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Science, Technology, and Society. She joined the Narla Lab in May 2021 through the University of Michigan Cancer Research Summer Internship Program. She is currently working on a drug screening project to identify small molecules that target PP2A in prostate and breast cancer cells. In her free time, she loves attending UM football and basketball games with friends, playing piano, and staying active in a women’s fitness organization on campus. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences.
Miranda Giambi, Undergraduate Student
Miranda is a sophomore at the University of Michigan majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Medical Anthropology. She joined the Narla lab her freshman year through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and is currently working on a Transgenic Mouse Study to analyze PP2A related protein expression in Aa knockout mice. Outside of the lab, Miranda is a part of the Steering Leadership body of the nonprofit “Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan”, the Secretary of the University’s Delight Christian Ministry, and an active member of the Kappa Delta sorority.
Anthony Ventura, Lab Manager
Anthony, the lab manager, comes from a non-science related background. He has several years of experience in customer relations, marketing, and management in various industries. By Anthony taking care of the day to day management of the lab, it allows lab members to be able to solely focus on their research. Bringing a unique outside perspective he has helped to implement processes that allow the lab to function in a smooth and efficient manner.