Our Group

  • Aurora Esquela Kerscher - Principle Investigator - Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Cell Biology. Member of the Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center. Contact Information: kerschae@evms.edu
Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Tsuyoshi Hasegawa  (M.D., Ph.D., Osaka City University Medical School, Department of Surgical Oncology) Tsuyoshi is a gastric surgeon by training and is interested in studying the role of miRNAs in cancer. He moved to Norfolk, Virginia from Japan in Feb 2015 and his project focuses on how the miR-888 cluster promotes prostate cancer progression using  mouse models. Tsuyoshi will also determine if exosomes can be used as "natural" microRNA delivery vehicles for prostate cancer.

Medical Student

  • Phillip (Austin) Serbin  Summer 2016; EVMS Medical Student, Class of 2020. Project title: Employing CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to interrogate the non-coding RNA miR-888 cluster signalling network during prostate cancer progression. Awards: 2016 EVMS Summer Scholars Fellowship.

Undergraduate Student

  • Jacob Hope  (University of Virginia Class of 2017) Summer 2016; Project: Studying the role of the miR-888 cluster in prostate cell migration and invasion processes using miRNA mimic and miRNA sponge technologies.

Laboratory Assistant/ Research Volunteer
  • Eva Humes   (College of William & Mary, B.A. Biology) Project: Examination of the redundant roles of the lin-4 and let-7 families during C. elegans nematode development. 


Biotechnology Master's Student

  • Mary Pahuski   (St. Norbert College, B.A. Biology) - 2015 Summer Internship. Project: Determine the functional roles of certian EPS urine-associated microRNAs in the prostate. Current Position: Laboratory Assistant in the Dept of Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology, University of Virginia.

Graduate Students
  • Holly Lewis -  (University of Virginia, B.A. Biology) - Graduate Student in the EVMS Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program.  Thesis entitled: The role of microRNAs in Prostate Cancer ProgressionAwards: Recipient of 1st Place Poster Award in October 2011 & 2013 at the EVMS Research Day, Norfolk, Virginia. Recipient of a 2013 EVMS Travel Award. Selected from abstracts to present an oral presentation, Examining microRNA expression in expressed prostatic secretions from prostate cancer patients”, at the Systems Biology Summit, Washington D.C., June 2011. Graduated in October 2013. Current Position: Pharmaceutical Representative at Quintiles/Takeda. 

  • Melissa Hadley (University of Mary Washington, B.A. Biology) -  EVMS Biomedical Sciences Research Master’s Program - Biotechnology option. Project title: The Search for MicroRNAs as Discriminating Prostate Cancer Biomarkers.  Studied the heterogeneity of miRNA expression in prostate cancer tumors. Graduated in May 2013. Current Position: Research Assistant in the Proteomics Core Lab at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

  • Joseph Orian - (Old Dominion University, B.S. Biochemistry) -  Graduate Student in the EVMS Biomedical Sciences Research Master’s Program. Using in vitro assays to understand miRNA roles in migration and invasion. Graduated in May 2014 (Godfrey/Kerscher labs).

  • Kimberly Breving (Capital University, B.A. Biology) - EVMS Biomedical Sciences ResearchMaster’s Program. Project Title: The Role of lin-4 and let-7 miRNA Families During Development. Graduated May 2010.  Awards: Recipient of the Genetics Society of America Travel Scholarship to attend the C. elegans International Meeting, Los Angeles, California, June 2009. Current Position: Research Assistant in Jianqiang Wu’s laboratory at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology. 


Medical Students

  • Spencer Moen – September 2015 - May 2016; EVMS rising 2nd year Medical Student. Project Title: Role of the miR-888 cluster in cancer cell migration.

  • Garrison Glavich  (North Carolina State Univ., BA Biology) Sepember 2014 - August 2015; EVMS Medical Student Class of 2018. Project Title: Investigation of the downstream signalling pathways for the miR-888 oncogene in prostate cancer. Awards: 2015 EVMS Summer Scholars Fellowship.

  • Sarah Patton - Summer of 2013; EVMS rising 2nd year Medical Student. Project: Validating miRNA targets using reporter assays.
  • Sydney Radding – Summer 2011; EVMS rising 2nd year Medical Student. Project Title: Identification of MicroRNAs Associated with Prostate Cancer Progression. Awards: Recipient of the EVMS Student Summer Research Fellowship. Current Position: Residency in General Surgery at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.


Research Assistants

  • Jeanyoung Jo (Wellesley College, B.A. Biology, Phi Beta Kappa). Current Position: Graduate student in the Columbia University Biological Sciences Ph.D. Program, New York. Started program Fall 2012.

  • Kenya Madric (Elizabeth City State University, B.A. Biology; NC A&T State University, M.S. Biology; Eastern Virginia Medical School, M.P.H. Epidemiology) Current Position: Biology Instructor at Thomas Nelson Community College.


Undergraduate Students

  •  Paul Braunstein (University of South Carolina Rising Senior) Summer student studing the role of miRNAs in prostate cancer and prevelance of the nematode Gongylonema Pulchrum in the United States.

  • Virali Bhagat (Virginia Commonwealth University Rising Senior) Summer student studing the role of miRNAs in prostate cancer and prevelance of the nematode Gongylonema Pulchrum in the United States.

  • Debby Abramov (Yale University Sophomore) Molecular Biology cloning project for microRNA reporters.

  • Morgan Malone (Old Dominion University Pre-med Freshman) Volunteered in lab to learn molecular biology techniques and maintain C. elegans nematode strains.

  • David Streett (Old Dominion University & James Madison University) Summer research student analyzing microRNA knockout phenotypes in C. elegans. Current Position: Hampton University Physical Therapy Training Program.


High School Students

  • Jacob Gordon - Senior Mentorship Program at the Math & Science Academy at Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Awards: Honorable Mention in Biochemistry at the Tidewater Science Fair for the presentation entitled "The Potential To Control Human Cancer Growth Through MiRNA Expression" at Old Dominion University, March 2014. Current Position: University of Michigan, Class of 2018.

  • Michael (Myung-Hyune) Kim – Rising Sophomore at Princess Anne High School, VirginiaBeach, VA – International Baccalaureate Program Mentorship.

  • Nick Feuer – Briarcliff Manor High School, Westchester, New York. Senior Research Project Title: To the rescue: testing the functional complementation between microRNA family members in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Performed in conjunction with a three-year Briarcliff Manor Science Research Program at Briarcliff Manor High School in New York State. Awards: Invited Oral Presentation at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program and 4th place in the category of Cell & Molecular Biology at the 2012 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (WSEF), Westchester, New York. Current Position: University of Rochester, Class of 2016.

  • Eric Grube – Senior Mentorship Program at the Math & Science Academy at Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Project Title: The developmental roles of microRNAs in C. elegans. Current Position: University of Virginia, Class of 2014.


Rotation Students

  • Vanessa Correll (2013)
  • Andrew Isbell (2013) 
  • Joseph Orians (2012) 
  • Melissa Hadley (2012)
  • Patricia (Tricia) Railling (2012) 
  • Tiffany Benzine (2009)
  • Holly Lewis (2009) 
  • Kimberly Breving (2008) 
  • Robert (Bobby) Mitchell (2008) 
  • Julia Sharp (2008) 

Medical Masters Students

 (Mentored for research thesis papers based on published literature)

  • Nicholas Dreyer - Thesis Title: Cancer Progression via Long Non-Coding RNA Dysregulation.
  • Nebiyu Shukur – Thesis Title: Long Non-coding RNAs and Their Role in the Epigenetic Regulation of Cancer.
  • Nandan Keshav – Thesis Title: MicroRNA therapeutics for pancreatic cancer - miR-143 and miR-145.
  • Kathryn Lattimore – Thesis Title: The development of effective miR-122 based therapeutics for hepatocellular carcinoma is complicated by the extensive utilization of miR-122 in liver signaling pathways. 
  • Sahil Khanna – Thesis Title: The yin and yang of microRNA regulation – a study of miR-29
  • Jessica Peak – Thesis Title: Are microRNAs Cancer’s Magic Bullet?