Principal Investigator

Costas A Lyssiotis, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 

Costas is a biochemist and runs a research lab aimed at defining metabolic alterations in disease. His team uses this information to guide the development of diagnostic markers, new drug targets and therapies. He is also passionate about science education and training the future generation of scientists. 
Hobbies: cycling, brewing, soccer, sci-fi, disc golf, mustaches

Postdoctoral Fellows

Christopher Halbrook, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Chris earned his PhD from Stony Brook University studying the signaling and transcriptomic landscape of acinar cell plasticity in the context of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. In the Lyssiotis Group he is studying tumor–stromal crosstalk as well as metabolism driven therapeutic and detection modalities for pancreatic cancer.
Hobbies: Green Bay Packers football, cooking, brewing, running

Ho-Joon Lee, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 

Ho-Joon obtained his PhD in bioinformatics at Free University of Berlin and the Max Planck Institute studying functional genomics of yeast transcriptional networks. His postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School was focused on systems biology of a mammalian cellular transition of IL-3 activation. In the Lyssiotis lab he is working on novel inhibitors of the GOT1-pathway in pancreatic cancer. 
Hobbies: running, biking

Ilya Kovalenko, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Ilya obtained his PhD from the Technical University of Berlin working at Bayer Healthcare working on the role of ion channels and transporters in pancreatic cancer metabolism. In the Lyssiotis group he is studying the role of neural regulation on metabolism during the progression of chronic pancreatitis into PDAC and the metabolic pathways in fibroblasts that promote survival of cancer cells.
Hobbies: visual arts, cooking, running marathons and other outdoor sports

Lauren Rodenbarger, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pathology 

Lauren completed a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Indiana University studying the convergence of IL-6/Stat3 signaling and HIPPO signaling in breast cancer. There, she fell in love with the study of human tissues using immunofluorescent labeling and microscopy. Lauren is currently co-mentored by Costas and David Lombard to study melanoma metabolism. 
Hobbies: All music always, her dog Zora, and the art of craft beer consumption

Nneka Mbah, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatrics - Hematology/Oncology

Nneka obtained her PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Toledo studying the mechanism of indole chalcone compounds as inducers of methuosis, a non-apoptoptic cell death pathway, in glioblastoma. In the Franchi and Lyssiotis labs, she will be studying novel immunotherapeutic strategies to potentiate immune responses against DIPG, a type of pediatric brain tumor.
Hobbies: reading, classical music, crafts, nature walks

Vinee Purohit, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Surgery

Vinee completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (2008) in India, followed by a PhD (2014) at UNMC focusing on the metabolic basis of chemotherapy resistance in pancreatic cancer. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Simeone lab and is co-mentored by Costas. She is collaborating with the Lyssiotis Lab to understand of the role of altered cellular signaling in pancreatic cancer metastasis.
Hobbies: (in no particular order) dogs, music, long drives, national parks, cars

Masters Students

Chris Granados
Graduate Student, Chemical Biology

Chris graduated from the UT-Pan American with a B.S. in Biology. He then worked at UT Health Science Center-San Antonio on identifying compounds that prevent the production of inflammatory cytokines in the liver. He joined the MS program in Chemical Biology in 2017. In the Lyssiotis lab, Chris is studying one-carbon metabolism in pancreatic cancer cells, and he is excited to learn about the interplay between metabolic pathways in tumor cells and immune signaling.
Hobbies: Starwars, Game of Thrones, Hiking

Graduate Students

Barbara Nelson
Graduate Student, Cancer Biology 

Barbara graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology a. She then worked at UMass Medical School on T cell immunity against influenza, followed by a position researching brain circuitry assembly. She joined the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at UM in 2015. In the Lyssiotis lab, she is studying crosstalk between tumor cells and the surrounding stroma.
Hobbies: hiking, curling, reading, dancing

Daniel Kremer
Graduate Student, Chemistry

Dan earned his B.S. in chemistry with a minor in applied mathematics from the University of St. Thomas (MN). He joined the Program in Chemical Biology in 2015. As a member of the Lyssiotis Lab, Dan is interested in profiling metabolic rewiring and potential drug targets for human cancers.
Hobbies: hockey, running, weightlifting, rock climbing, adventures, reading

Hanna Hong
Graduate Student, Immunology

Hanna graduated from the University of Washington in 2015 with a B.S. in biochemistry. As an undergrad, she studied how the KSH virus altered host cell metabolism during latent infection. Following graduation, she joined the Gallin lab at the NIH, where she studied bacterial pathogenesis. She started at UM in 2016 and is studying immunometabolism in the Lyssiotis lab.
Hobbies: breakfast, music, coffee, millennial things

Peter Kim
Graduate Student, Biomedical Science

Peter graduated with a B.A. in biology at Columbia Univeristy and a M.S. in biomedical science at UMDNJ-Rutgers. He then worked on a project where he elucidated the regulation of hexosamine biosynthesis pathway by mTORC2. He is currently rotating in the Lyssiotis lab, researching the glycosylation pathway in pancreatic cancer.
Hobbies: Kettlebells, hiking, watching NBA games/highlights, traveling.

Pradeep Moon Gunasekaran
Graduate Student, Genetic Engineering, Cancer Chemical Biology

Pradeep graduated from SRM University in India with a B.Tech in Genetic Engineering (2015). He earned a MS in Chemical Biology at UM studying dKeap1 mutations in Drosophila development and its interactions with CncC (Nrf2 homolog) during xenobiotic stress response. He is now a graduate student in Chemical Biology. In the Lyssiotis lab, Pradeep is studying immunometabolism in T cells. 
Hobbies: reading graphic novels, cricket, soccer, making models and listening to rock music

Samuel Kerk
Graduate Student, Biochemistry

Sam graduated from Calvin College with a B.S. in Biochemistry. He worked as a research technician at the University of Michigan before joining the Program in Biomedical Sciences in 2017. Sam is currently a rotation student in the Lyssiotis lab studying the metabolic interactions between neurons and tumor cells in PDAC. 
Hobbies: Reading, running, coffee

Undergraduate Students

Tansy Massey-Green
Undergraduate Student

Tansy is a 2nd year undergrad at UM majoring in Biology and studying Environmental Science and Computer Science. She is currently working on the GOT1-pathway in pancreatic cancer. She is eager to be contributing to the field of cancer research.
Hobbies: Theater, sailing, music, backpacking, Red Sox baseball


Amy Myers, PhD
Lab Manager

Amy earned a PhD from the Medical College of Ohio studying differential gene expression in cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona, she focused on UVA-induced signaling pathways. Thereafter she joined UM as a Laboratory Specialist and worked on esophageal adenocarcinoma chemoresistance. She is the Lyssiotis lab manager and part of the research team studying novel inhibitors of the GOT1 pathway in pancreatic cancer.
Hobbies: swimming, boating, zumba, hangin’ with my kiddos!

Corbin Pontious
Technician, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Corbin graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Human Biology in 2016. He is currently a Molecular & Integrative Physiology technician and will study metabolic alterations in pancreatic cancer cells as a member of the Lyssiotis lab.
Hobbies: running, cycling, reading, traveling and bad movies

Xiaohua (
Research Lab Specialist Inter

Tina earned her medical degree from Shandong University and completed her OB/GYN residency in China. Her previous work at the Henry Ford Health System concerned the investigation of anticancer effects of novel agents and their mechanism of action. Tina recently joined the Lyssiotis lab where she will run mouse tumor model studies and the supervise the transgenic animal colony.
Hobbies: speed skating, skiing, volleyball, soccer.

Johanna Ramos 
Research Lab Specialist Associate

Johanna earned her BS in chemistry from the University of Michigan-Flint. She has over 15 years experience in cancer research and drug R&D both in academia and in Pharma. Johanna has recently joined the Lyssiotis lab and is working on the GOT1-pathway in pancreatic cancer.
Hobbies: running, reading and being a soccer mom 

Li Zhang, PhD
Research Area Specialist Lead

Li is a chemist specializing in mass spectrometry applications. With 16 years of experience working at leading university MS facilities, a private instrumentation company and government lab, he continues to enjoy learning and adapting new MS technologies to better serve the life sciences.
Hobbies: gardening, home improvement, piano

Lin Lin, MD, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Lin earned her medical degree from Xian Jiaotong University in China and completed her PhD in molecular biology and genetics at The Medical College of Ohio. She obtained her postdoctoral training in molecular oncology at UM and continued her research focusing on identification and characterization of genetic alterations in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Her latest research focused on microenvironmental gene regulation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the modulation of chemoresistance. In the Lyssiotis Group, she is characterizing metabolism driven therapeutics in pancreatic cancer.
Hobbies: Choral singing, classical music, poetry composition, Michigan football

Peter Sajjakulnukit


Peter graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a BS in Neuroscience. During that time he worked at the Henry Ford Medical Center on an Epilepsy research project and at the Eisenhower Center as a rehab assistant helping patients suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injuries. He currently splits his efforts between the Lyssiotis Lab and the Metabolomics Core as a lab technician.
Hobbies: Hockey, Golf, Wandering, and Napping

Stephanie Wisner

Stephanie graduated with a Chemistry & Chemical Biology degree from Cornell University. At Cornell, Stephanie's research focused on understanding the various catalytic activities of SirT2 in cancer. In the Lyssiotis group, Stephanie will be working with Chris on the glycosylation biosynthesis in pancreatic cancer. She hopes to attend medical school in the future.
Hobbies: reading, writing, music, exploring, traveling


Monica Misra

Monica is a microbiologist by training. She has been involved with the sequencing efforts of chromosome 16 (part of Human Genome Project), bacterial annotation, fungal annotation and comparative genomics. She is extremely interested in pancreatic cancer research.
Hobbies: Reading, Photography, Running and Gardening.


 Name  Former Role in Lyssiotis Lab  Current Position
 Ambreen Zaidi Undergraduate Fellow Undergraduate, Northwestern University
 Steven Kasperek Technician Account Executive, NuGEN
 Akash Vaidya Undergraduate Researcher Senior, Cornell
 Kristen Loesel Undergraduate Researcher Senior, Saginaw Valley State University
 Zachary Tolstyka Postdoctoral Fellow Medical School, Wayne State University
 Aaron Lotvola  Masters Student in Chemical Biology  
 Ilana Kotliar  Undergraduate Fellow  Undergraduate, Cornell University
 Emily Sherman Rotating Graduate Student Graduate Student, Garner Lab, University of Michigan
 John Crellin  Rotating Graduate Student  Graduate Student, Martin Lab, University of Michigan
 Torrin McDonald Rotating Graduate Student Graduate Student, Boyle Lab, University of Michigan