Current Members

Pavithra Rajagopalan, Ph.D.  Dr. Rajagopalan joined the lab in October 2018 after completing her graduate degree in Cancer Biology with a focus on bioinformatics. She has significant prior experience in high throughput genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data analysis.  Her current project focuses on defining intratumor diversity malignant cell states in HPV+ cancers and identifiying metabolic states that contribute to treatment resistance.

Malay Sannigrahi, Ph.D.  Dr. Sannigrahi joined the lab in December 2018 after finishing his PhD training in cancer biology and virology. His graduate study focused on the role of noncoding RNAs in regulating HPV16-induced oncogenesis in head and neck cancer. Since joining the lab, he has focused on the interplay between diversity in viral oncogene expression, tumor metabolic profile, and therapy resistance in HPV+ cancer. 

David Shimunov, B.A. Mr. Shimunov received his BAs in Chemistry and Biology from Yeshiva University in 2016. He is currently a student at the Sackler school of Medicine in Israel. He is spending a research year in our department to conduct research for the year before pursuing a residency position in Otolaryngology.  He is supporting efforts to identify clinical and molecular features associated with recurrence in the largest cohort of surgically treated HPV+ head and neck cancer patients. 

Garrett Largoza, B.A.  Mr. Largoza graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2018 with a degree in Biochemistry. He then completed premed studies at the University of Pennsylvania and began working part-time in the lab in 2019. He is contributing to our analyses of large HPV+ cancer patient cohorts with to identify relationships between metabolism-related transcriptional profiles and clinical behavior.  He is applying to medical school and plans for a career in Otolaryngology.

Recent Alumni

Nicole Facompre, Ph.D.  Dr. Facompre graduated with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Penn State University and served the lab from its founding in 2012 until 2019.  She played a central role in all studies published during this time period, which focused on epigenetic plasticity mediating tumor cell state shifts during therapy responses. She is presently taking a brief career hiatus after the birth of her second child. 

Varun Sahu, B.S. After graduating from Rutgers University, Mr. Sahu served the lab from 2014 until 2019 as a Research Specialist. In addition to participating in all basic studies in the laboratory, he played a central role in developing the unique patient-derived models now available to the lab, including the multiple PDXs, organoids, and cell lines derived from HPV+ head and neck cancers. He is presently working in the lab of Anil Rustgi, MD at Columbia University and applying to medical school.