Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Current Student Directory

PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences


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.


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. 

Robert Canfield


Emily Gracey

Emily Gracey (Hicks) was born and raised in Colorado. She attended Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO and graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. During her senior year, she worked in Dr. Dylan Domaille’s lab on biomass conversion experiments. After graduation, she interned at Vitro Biopharma in Golden, involved in culturing stem cells and manufacturing media, for research and clinical use. She then worked as a professional research assistant in Dr. Jed Lampe’s lab for three years, learning all about cytochrome P450 drug metabolism. Emily joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program in August 2022, and will be staying in Dr. Lampe’s lab, where she will be focusing on CYP3A4 mediated drug-drug interactions.


Shilpa George


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.


Juliet Mullen


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


Jonathan Taylor


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.


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


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.

stephanie bersie

Stephanie Bersie

Stephanie Bersie is Filipina-American and was born in Okinawa, Japan, raised near Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2014 with a BS in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development with a Neuroscience minor. During this time, she worked with the Visible Heart Laboratory studying phrenic nerve recovery following cryoablation procedures. Following graduation, she worked studying the impacts of amyloid beta on retinal pigment epithelium cells in macular degeneration. Stephanie began working at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus in 2016. Her professional research background has spanned from immunology, neuro-ophthalmology, to NQO1 redox enzyme metabolism. She completed her MS degree in 2023 focused within Molecular and Systems Toxicology. Her thesis work examined T cell-mediated heavy metal hypersensitivities in joint implant failure. Stephanie joined the Toxicology PhD Program in fall of 2023 and is completing her thesis studies in the laboratory of Dr. Alexandra McCubbrey. Her project focuses on mechanisms of particulate transfer from cell corpses and will also compare immunometabolism of resident versus recruited alveolar macrophages.

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.
Paola Garcia
Paola Garcia Gonzalez 
Paola Garcia Gonzalez was born and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico. In 2022 she received a B.S. in Forensic Science, with minors in Biochemistry and Biology, from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus. As an undergraduate student she participated in a variety of research projects, the most recent one aiming to develop a drug delivery system for chemotherapy using Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles. In the fall of 2022 she joined the Toxicology PhD program at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.  She joined Manisha Patel’s Lab wheres she aims to understand the role of redox processes and metabolic mechanisms in epilepsy.

Taylor Lehner
Taylor Lehner

Taylor Lehner grew up in Northern California and graduated from the Claremont Colleges in 2022 with a B.A. in Biochemistry and minor in Spanish. While an undergraduate, Taylor conducted research on the function and stress response of Lsm5 protein in S. cerevisiae mitochondria. She then went on to complete her postbaccalaureate work at the NIH with Dr. Bin Gao where she investigated the effects of tissue-specific Aldh2 deletion on systemic acetaldehyde levels and drinking behavior, and assessed the impact of ethanol and its metabolites on drinking behavior by targeting ADH1 in mice. Taylor joined the Toxicology PhD program in August 2023. She now works as a graduate student researcher, in Rebecca McCullough's lab, focusing on drug metabolism and alcoholism. Her project is specifically looking to test if Nezavist, a PAM of GABA signaling, can prevent the neuroinflammatory effects of alcohol in a mouse model. Her future goal is to graduate with a PhD and go on to work in the biotech industry. 


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.
Emily Mitchem
Emily Mitchem was born and raised in Broomfield, Colorado. She completed a BA in biochemistry and a minor in Spanish from Colorado College in 2022. During her time at Colorado College she worked on method development for solid-phase dipeptide synthesis with an emphasis on "green" chemistry and synthesized a novel fluorinated anti-malarial compound. Following graduation she worked in industry for a year at Eurofins as a gas chromatography analyst.

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.
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.

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. 

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.


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.


Alexandra Ward

Jon Woodward
Jon Woodward is from Evergreen Colorado and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of San Diego in Biochemistry in the Spring of 2021. Throughout his undergraduate career, he researched in Dr. Tammy Dwyer’s lab focusing on determining a DNA structure with novel nucleic acids via 2D NMR analysis. He then worked to determine and assess whether these structures resemble a normal DNA structural phenotype. After graduating, he then returned home to Colorado and joined Aaron Johnson’s lab as a Professional Research Assistant at CU Anschutz. There his research focused on developing a novel dinucleosome complex with isotopically labeled lysine and arginine residues in one nucleosome. The goal of this research was to analyze binding interactions that occur between the constructed dinucleosome complex and the silent information regulator (SIR) protein that is found in all eukaryotes, and specifically is found in the silent mating cassette and telomeric regions in yeast. After working in laboratories that focused heavily on molecular biology and biochemistry, he wanted to transition his research toward applications that have immediate translational relevance. He now is working to elucidate the mechanism of action of the ubiquitous environmental toxicant known as PFAS (per/polyfluoroalkylated substances) that are associated with a wide array of disease pathologies. His research will focus more specifically on how PFAS causes immunotoxicity and metabolic changes in liver tissues and cells in Dr. Rebecca McCullough’s laboratory. In his free time, Jon loves skiing, hiking, biking, and travelling.

Headshot_Zixuan Wei

Zixuan (Victoria) Wei

I graduated from China Pharmaceutical University in 2017 with a B.A. in Pharmaceutical Analysis. During my undergraduate thesis work, I investigated the effect of IL - 6 deficiency on the development of colitis in mouse model. Following graduation, I moved to Boston, where I did my MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Development at Tufts University. At Tufts, I worked under Dr. David Greenblatt where I studied how human cytochromes mediating in vitro metabolism of Lurasidone. I enrolled AMC toxicology program in Fall 2022 where I joined the Colorado Antiviral Pharmacology Lab, working under Dr. Peter Anderson and Dr. Kristina Brooks. I am currently working on a population PK model to support antibiotic dose evaluation. 
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