PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

KeishaAlexander

Keisha Alexander

Keisha Alexander is a native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. She completed her B.S in Forensic Science from John Jay college in 2014. While at JJay she researched chaperone mediated amyloid formation in yeast strains and its homology in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer disease. Following graduation, she worked as a Biology and Physics adjunct lecturer, before moving on to a clinical toxicology lab where her interest in drug design and formulations grew. Keisha then enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Science program in 2017 where she joined Dr. D’Alessandro lab. Her thesis research is focused on investigating the effects of gender and sex-hormones on the propensity for hemolysis on stored blood. Her research is geared towards transfusion medicine and the effect that hormones have on blood aging and metabolism.

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Sarah Asby

Sarah Asby graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a B.S. in Engineering Science-Nanomedicine Engineering and minors in Material Science Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. After graduation, Sarah worked in the Pilon-Thomas Lab in the Immunology Department at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL as a research associate primarily studying translational immunotherapies and mechanisms in TIL therapy of cancer. Sarah enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Science PhD program at CU Anschutz in Fall 2020 where she joined Dr. Devatha Nair’s lab, working in the fields of drug delivery, nanomedicine, and biomaterials. She is currently working on a project involving the development of nanogels for the sustained release of an immunotherapeutic peptide for glioma and is pursuing a career as a medical science liaison after graduation.

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Brent Carrillo

Brent Carrillo graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Chemical and Materials Engineering. During his time in undergrad, Brent's research spanned diverse areas including: molecular identification of plant pathogenic nematodes, improving soil water retention through slow pyrolysis of organic waste material, and total synthesis of marine natural products. While working in the natural product lab he developed an interest in pharmaceutical sciences and joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus after graduation in August 2018. Brent joined Dr. Vanessa Phelan's lab and is currently focused on researching the drivers of virulence in bacterial pathogens commonly isolated from cystic fibrosis lungs. The long-term goal of this work is to identify therapeutic targets that will help overcome bacterial antibiotic resistance and pathogenesis.

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Samantha Crawford

Samantha Crawford grew up in Northern Nevada and graduate with a B.S. in biochemistry from San Diego State University. While an undergraduate, Samantha conducted research in various avenues. She first began her research with a project involving the detection of pancreatic cancer biomarkers using multi-photon nonlinear laser spectroscopy. She then went on to work with human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines testing novel therapeutics. After graduating with her B.S., Samantha joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program in August 2019. She now works as a graduate student researcher, in Thomas Delong’s lab, focusing on type I diabetes. Her project is specifically looking into the overall mechanism of antigenic hybrid insulin peptide formation and the location of hybrid insulin peptide formation in the pancreas. Her future goal is to graduate with a PhD and go on to become a medical science liaison for a pharmaceutical company. 
Humberto Escobedo

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Timothy Fabisiak

Tim earned his Bachelor's degrees in Neuroscience and Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology in 2015 from the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he studied the role of neuroinflammation in drug addiction. Post-graduate research at CU Boulder explored the development of neuropathic pain and the mechanisms involved in effective therapeutic interventions, such as preemptive exercise. Tim then spent time as a lab manager at MD Anderson conducting research on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Next, as a research scientist in R&D at a medical devices company, Tim helped develop and modify diagnostic ELISAs. He also conducted literature and market research for business development efforts. In August 2019, Tim joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program and is now investigating the roles of oxidative stress and redox signaling cascades in epileptogenesis in the Patel Lab. This thesis work aims to identify novel therapeutic drug targets that are involved in aberrant oxidative signaling in epilepsy. In his spare time, Tim enjoys hiking 14ers, backpacking, and skiing.

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Shilpa George

Jason Groegler
Timothy Kellett

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Yue Li

Yue Li received her Bachelor’s degree of Pharmaceutical Science from Shandong University in 2018. She completed the Master’s degree of Pharmaceutical Science from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2021 and then continued pursuing PhD degree in the same school. She loves traveling and exploring the world in her free time.
Alexandra Lucas

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Juliet Mullen

Christopher Neil

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Casey Patrick

Casey Patrick grew up in Springfield, Missouri and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Arkansas. During his undergrad, he conducted biochemistry research focused on cytokines related to cancer. Afterwards, he worked as a lab technician within the University of Arkansas Plant Science department – focusing on isolating bio-controls from soil bacteria. In August 2020, Casey joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program. He now works in Dr. Krishna Mallela’s lab, where his thesis work involves investigating the affect of amino acid mutations on varying proteins. 

alaa-radwan

Alaa Radwan

Lana Salah

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Jonathan Taylor

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Lauren Thompson

Lauren E. Thompson was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and earned a BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Denison University. While in undergrad, Lauren studied genotype-guided dosing of methotrexate in a mouse model of arthritis as well as immune responses to PEG-asparaginase in ALL patients. Following graduation, Lauren joined the lab of Dr. Melanie Joy as part of the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in August 2018. In the Joy lab, Lauren’s work primarily focuses on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in cancer patients. She is currently investigating a nephroprotective compound in a mouse cancer model of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury. She is additionally leading a clinical trial with the goals of elucidating pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic determinants that govern renal exposure to cisplatin, as well as the impact of 5-HT3 antagonists, a class of antiemetic drugs. This work has the ultimate goal of influencing clinical practice by enabling the informed selection of 5-HT3A antiemetic prescriptions in order to mitigate the risk of cisplatin kidney injury in cancer patients. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching reality tv with her cat, Amira.

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Hannah Work

Hannah mainly grew up in New Jersey and completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rowan University with a concentration in Biological Engineering (2019). During her undergraduate studies, she interned at Dupont for 6 months and was also awarded NASA funding to work on nanoparticle drug delivery systems at Rowan University. Following graduation, Hannah joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (2019) and now works in Dr. Jed Lampe’s lab. Her thesis work involves modeling the structure-inhibitory relationship (QSIR) between drug substrates and CYP3A7, the main metabolizing enzyme expressed in neonates, and predicting drug-drug interactions by in vitro screening methods. Outside of lab work, Hannah spends her time reading, hiking, rock climbing, and traveling.

PhD in Toxicology

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Paige Anton

Paige Anton graduated from Colorado College in 2018 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and minor in Biochemistry. During her undergraduate thesis work, Paige investigated the potential vagal-dependent anxiolytic effects of probiotic supplementation in a rodent model. After graduating, Paige worked as a Professional Research Assistant in the Potter lab at CU Anschutz. There, she assisted on several projects that evaluated the efficacy of immunomodulators to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Down Syndrome. Paige joined the Toxicology PhD program in August 2019 and is now working with Dr. Rebecca McCullough to understand how alcohol use can cause enhanced neuroinflammation and accelerate neurodegeneration during advanced aging.

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Kristen Ball

Kristen Ball graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in biology and minoring in philosophy. During her undergraduate work, she worked at the School of Public Health investigating the effects of valproic acid on first trimester pregnancies utilizing whole embryo mouse culture in Dr. Craig Harris' lab. She also spent time at the Biological Station investigating small and large lake ecology with Drs. Paul Moore and Bob Pillsbury. Following graduation, she worked as a laboratory manager for Dr. Aitor Aguirre at Michigan State University where she investigated cardiac tissue development and tissue engineering. Her work primarily focused on bioactive lipids in cardiac tissue development and the improvement of cardiac organoid technology. Kristen joined the CU Toxicology PhD program in 2020 to further her expertise in environmental health. She joined Dr. David Schwartz' lab to investigate how the MUC5B promotor variant impacts fibrosis of airway epithelia in the lung under the distress of air pollution.

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Lan Chen

Lan Chen graduated with a Bachelor degree from Wuhan University with a major in biopharmaceutics in 2015. She studied the mechanisms of inhibiting angiogenesis there. Then she went to University of Denver and studied neuroendocrine related diseases for three years. She joined AMC toxicology program in Aug. 2018, and now she's mainly studying MHC II antigen presentation to TCR on pathologic T cells in hypersensitivity in Dr. Dai's lab.

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Angela Cruz-Hernandez

Angela Cruz-Hernandez is Florida native of Dominican descent. She earned her Bachelors in Biochemistry from Florida International University in Miami, Fl in 2013. She then moved to West Lafayette, Indiana where she did her MSc at Purdue University. At Purdue, she worked under Dr. Jason Cannon where she studied how dietary factors affect Parkinson’s disease and successfully defended her thesis on “Comparative Dopaminergic Neurotoxicity of Heterocyclic Amines in Primary Midbrain Cultures”. In Fall 2017, she joined the Toxicology program at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, University of Colorado. She currently works for Dr. Jared Brown investigating the effects of vesicating agents such as mustard gas and how the molecular mechanism of mast cells contributes to Gulf War Illness.
Baharak Davari
Baharak received her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2005 from Azad University of Iran. She came to the United States in 2007 and started working at iC42, Clinical Research and Development (Dr. Uwe Christians’ lab), at Anschutz Medical Campus (AMC) in 2009. During her time at iC42, she was responsible for applying mass spectrometry techniques to quantify and qualify small molecules and biomarkers. She obtained a master’s degree in Toxicology in 2019 from Colorado State University. In the fall of 2019, she joined the AMC Toxicology program and re-joined iC42 for her thesis research. Currently, she is working on immunosuppressant metabolite generation, identification, and evaluation of the toxicodynamic effect of metabolites.
Daniel Foster
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Michaela Hvizdak

Michaela Hvizdak is a New Jersey native with dual citizenship in the United States and the Slovak Republic. She graduated from Arcadia University in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Biology and a concentration in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. At Arcadia, she performed three years of undergraduate research studying the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on metabolic development in fruit flies. She also spent a semester abroad at the University of Otago in New Zealand where she conducted fieldwork in freshwater and marine ecology. In the final year of her undergraduate career, she held an internship as a Clinical Research Assistant at OraSure Technologies, a leading medical diagnostic device company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Michaela joined the Toxicology PhD program in August 2021 and is currently researching EDCs per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and their effects on oxylipin metabolism.
Rama Kant

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Michael Kristofich

Michael Kristofich graduated with a bachelor's degree from University of Colorado Boulder with a major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology in 2018. His undergraduate thesis was based on bacterial evolution and adaption. Michael joined the PhD Toxicology program in 2019, and is now studying the relationship between medication adherence and viral suppression in people living with HIV in the Colorado Antiviral Pharmacology Lab.

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Courtney McGinnis

Courtney McGinnis graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2020 with a B.A. in Chemistry. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in an analytical biochemistry lab investigating RNA-based aptamers for small molecule detection. Additionally, she worked with a biomarker-specific group at Zoetis Inc. investigating novel biomarkers for clinical application. After graduating, Courtney joined the AMC Toxicology PhD program in August of 2020. Currently, she works with Dr. Kristofer Fritz studying the metabolic consequences of alcohol toxicity. In his lab, she uses proteomic techniques to investigate post-translational modification and epigenetic changes induced by alcohol consumption.

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Kendra Prutton

Kendra Prutton graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2016 with a BS in Biology and a Certificate in Environmental Science. While at FAU, Kendra worked at a metabolic medicine and toxicology lab, analyzing blood, urine, and saliva samples for physicians and drug rehabilitation centers in South Florida. She then earned her Master’s degree in Forensic Chemistry from Penn State in 2018, where she worked on developing analytical methods for novel performance enhancing drugs and analyzing anabolic androgenic steroids in wastewater samples. Kendra joined the Toxicology PhD program in August 2018 and is studying environmental involvement in Down syndrome cognition using an induced pluripotent stem cell model.
Angela Reinert
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Keegan Rogers

Keegan Rogers was born and raised in the Denver metro area. He attended Hofstra University in New York, graduating with his B.S. in biochemistry. While in his undergrad, Keegan worked in analyzing compositions of various e-cigarette fluids. Following graduation, Keegan joined the Brown lab at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical campus where he began work on various projects across a diverse field of subjects. The work he does includes: building designer viruses as a new oncological immunotherapeutic, exploring an unknown etiology in kidney disease which afflicts many individuals across the globe, interrogating mechanisms of immunological damage by novel rare earth metal oxide materials, examining the extent of which different e-cigarette fluid compositions effect immune function, and determining if air pollution and other environmental factors contribute to clinical immunotherapeutic outcomes in cancer patients.
Emily Ruggiano
Lauren Rutt
Lauren Rutt is a Colorado native and graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.S. degree in Integrative Biology. During her undergraduate work, Lauren studied genetic approaches to characterize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to muscle disease. After graduating, she then completed a Master’s degree from Colorado State University, while also working as a lab manager for Dr. Olivia Rissland at CU Anschutz. There, she investigated post-transcriptional regulation and the role RNA binding proteins play in repressing maternal mRNAs in Drosophila. Lauren joined the Toxicology PhD program in 2020 and is now working with Dr. Rebecca McCullough to understand certain mechanisms involved in promoting hepatic stellate cell activation during the progression of liver fibrosis and disease.
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Arthur Stem

Arthur Stem was born in Hot Springs Arkansas, where he attended a local community college for two years before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. At UALR, he studied mutations in tomato plant genetics while earning a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. After graduation, Arthur moved to Colorado and researched Trauma Induced Coagulopathy under Dr. Mitchell Cohen at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Department of Surgery, where he earned his first publication. Arthur was accepted into the PhD Toxicology program in 2020 and has since joined the Brown lab, investigating mechanisms and impacts of a wide range of environmental toxicants. 
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Scott Tilden

Scott Tilden is a Colorado native from Golden. He graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a BA in Biochemistry and a BA in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. After graduation, Scott worked at CU Boulder for four years in the Maier/Watkins Neuroscience Laboratory and the Hough Biochemical and Biophysical Laboratory. Scott started at Anschutz in fall 2018 and is currently working with Dr. Tom Anchordoquy. Scott’s main interest is investigating how to manipulate endothelial permeability to reduce off-target toxicity and accumulation of nanomedicines. He and Dr. Anchordoquy are also working with a local epilepsy research company to develop novel formulation of anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals to be used in clinical trials.

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Shannon Twardy

Shannon Twardy was born and raised in San Diego, California. She attended University of California, Santa Cruz and graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2020. During her 2 years of undergraduate research, she led a team of young investigators to help characterize the interaction of amyloid beta and human antimicrobial peptide LL-37 in a Drosophila Melanogaster model of Alzheimer's Disease. Prior to graduating, she began an accelerated Master's degree in the Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department where her thesis research focused on therapeutic approaches for management of lead exposure from  embedded lead metal fragments in a rodent model. Shortly after graduating with her M.S. degree in August 2021, Shannon joined the Toxicology PhD program at CU  Anschutz Medical Center.

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Alexandra Ward