Lab Alumni: Where are they now?

Principal Investigator

Laura D. Wood, MD, PhD

Photo microscopeLaura D. Wood, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Wood received her BS in Biology from the College of William & Mary, graduating Summa Cum Laude with membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She then went on to earn both her MD and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Vogelstein, where she led the first whole exome sequencing studies in human cancers. Dr. Wood then went on to complete residency in Anatomic Pathology (serving as Chief Resident in her final year) and fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Now, she leads her own basic science laboratory focused on molecular characterization of pancreatobiliary cancers and their precursor lesions. In addition, she signs out clinical specimens on the Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology services.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Alicia Braxton, DVM

Alicia earned her DVM from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is concurrently completing a Laboratory Animal Medicine residency and PhD training. Through the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program, Alicia is studying pancreatic precursor lesions using next generation sequencing as a strategy for early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Matthäus Felsenstein, MD

Matthäus FelsensteinMatthäus completed his MD at Charite University School of Medicine in Berlin, Germany. During this time, he completed an experimental thesis in the Department of Experimental Neurosurgery at Charite University in the field of tumor immunology of malignant glioma. He is completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the Wood lab before returning to Charite University for clinical training in pancreatic surgery. His current projects include development of novel in vitro culture models of normal pancreatic ductal cells, as well as genetic analyses of IPMNs and concurrent carcinomas.

Violeta Beleva Guthrie, PhD (co-mentored)

VBGuthrieVioleta earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physics from Kent State University. During her PhD at Johns Hopkins University, in Dr. Rachel Karchin’s group, she developed residue coevolution network models for studying the evolution of new functions in proteins. Continuing as a post-doctoral fellow in the Karchin group, she is collaborating with Dr. Wood and her lab members to computationally model the genetic heterogeneity and evolutionary principles governing progression of IPMNs to pancreatic cancer. Violeta is co-mentored with Dr. Rachel Karchin from the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Oncology in the Institute of Computational Medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Visiting Scientist

Seung-Mo Hong, MD, PhD

Seung-Mo Hong is a Professor of Pathology at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea. He received his MD degree in Medicine from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, and obtained his PhD degree in Pathology from University of Ulsan in Seoul, Korea. He was a research associate in Dr. Christopher Moskaluk’s laboratory in the Department of Pathology at the University of Virginia and a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Michael Goggins’ laboratory in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins. He then went to back to Seoul, Korea and has been serving as an Associate Professor and Professor in the Department of Pathology at Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. His specialty is pancreatic pathology. His clinical interest is in pancreatobiliary and gastrointestinal tract cancers, and his research interest is in development of early detection and prognostic markers for pancreatobiliary cancers. He joined the Wood lab as a visiting scientist in February 2018, and his current project is 3D visualization of pancreatic lesions.

Graduate Students

Cathy Guerra, BS

Cathy GuerraCathy earned her B.S. in Veterinary and Biomedical sciences from Pennsylvania State University.  She conducted her undergraduate honors thesis research in bacteriology, focusing on vaccine development.  As a graduate student in the Pathobiology Program, Cathy is studying pancreatic precursors using next generation sequencing as a strategy for early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Yea Ji Jeong, DVM

Yea Ji JeongYea Ji earned her DVM from Konkuk University, Seoul South Korea in 2014. She previously worked as an associate veterinary pathologist at Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, diagnosing veterinary infectious diseases and cancer. As a Pathobiology graduate student in the Wood Lab, she is excited to explore the new field of pancreatic cancer research.

Bernat Navarro Serer, BS

Bernat moved to the United States from Barcelona to acquire his BS in Biotechnology and Biochemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His previous research focused on Aurora A in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells, a kinase involved in many mitotic events such as centrosome separation, maturation, and duplication. As a graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program, Bernat is excited to use organoid models to explore the field of pancreatic cancer.

Research Technologists

Maria Alejandra Trujillo, BS (co-mentored)

Marie TrujilloOriginally from Medellin, Colombia, Maria Alejandra migrated to the United States to continue her education. Maria Alejandra acquired her undergraduate B.S. degree in Biology from High Point University in High Point, NC. During this time, her interest in cell and molecular biology led her to conduct research on membrane trafficking irregularities, which can lead to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Maria Alejandra’s current work focuses on organoid culture of pancreatic cancer and its precursor lesions. She is co-mentored with Dr. Nicholas Roberts in GI Pathology.