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.

Alex Damanakis, MD

Alex obtained his MD from the Philips University of Marburg School of Medicine, Germany, spending part of his studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, Greece. He began his residency training at the Department of Visceral, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University Hospital in Marburg and finished his residency training at the Department of General, Visceral, Cancer and Transplantation Surgery at the University Hospital of Cologne in 2018. There, he has been working as a clinical fellow with a translational as well as basic scientific focus. Before coming to the Wood Lab, he was training in major abdominal cancer surgery and surgical oncology. The focus of his research is tissue clearing and three-dimensional imaging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Doreen Gisder, MD

Doreen earned her MD from Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena School of Medicine, Germany. In 2018 she started her residency training at the Department of Pathology at the Institute for Pathology of the Ruhr University Bochum. There her clinical training mainly focused on Gastointestinal Pathology, and her research was on pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. She joined the Wood lab for a postdoctoral research fellowship studying the molecular impacts of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Kevin Jamouss, MD

Kevin received his BS degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Balamand in Lebanon. He then received his MD degree from the University of Balamand in partnership with Saint George Hospital University Medical Center in Lebanon. He is interested in pursuing a career in oncology with a focus on gastrointestinal tumors. Kevin recently joined the Wood Laboratory with an interest in exploring the underlying molecular alterations behind neoplastic progression in pancreatic cancer.

Michael Pflüger, MD

Michael obtained his MD from Goethe University School of Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany. After starting his residency at the Department of Surgery at Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, he joined the Wood lab for a postdoctoral research fellowship. The focus of his experimental work is on development and characterization of novel in vitro cell lines of pancreatic ductal epithelium.

Fatemeh Shojaeian, MD, MPH

Fatemeh received her MD and MPH degrees from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, in 2021. Since her early years at the university, she was a member of the University of Tehran Cancer Research & Nano-bioelectronic laboratories. Fatemeh’s future goal is to become an Onco-Surgeon and Cancer Scientist to work on the front line of the cancer battlefield. Fatemeh recently joined the Wood lab as a postdoctoral fellow to study the microenvironment of pancreatic cancer and interrogate its invasion using patient-derived 3D culture models.

Graduate Students

Peter Chianchiano, MS

Peter earned his B.A. in Biology and French from Drew University in Madison, NJ. He conducted his undergraduate research in neuroscience, focusing on the neuroendocrinology of PTSD, and the role of oxytocin in the disorder. Peter then went on to complete his M.S. in Biology from New York University where his thesis work focused on Toll-like receptor stimulation as a therapeutic for Alzheimer’s Disease. Peter is now a graduate student in the Pathobiology PhD Program where he will be studying pancreatic cancer in organoid models.

Brandi Glover, BS

Brandi earned her BS in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program. Her thesis project is focused on interrogating the molecular alterations in precancerous pancreatic cells in organoid models.

Raymond Paranal, BA

Raymond earned his BA in Chemistry from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he conducted research on protein folding and mis-folding as they relate to neurodegenerative disease. From there, he went on to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a research technician and studied non-small cell lung cancer. Currently as a Human Genetics graduate student in the Wood and Roberts labs, he is interested in studying the genetics of pancreatic cancer.

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.

Alejandra Trujillo, BS

Alejandra moved to the United States from Medellin, Colombia to continue her education at High Point University where she earned her BS in Biology. Her undergraduate interest in cell and molecular biology led her to conduct research on membrane trafficking and the ability for irregularities to cause diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. As a previous research technologist in the Wood and Roberts labs, Ale developed an IPMN organoid biobank and established the pancreatic cancer organoid protocols now used in the lab. Recently, Ale joined the Wood lab as a graduate student in the Human Genetics PhD program. She is exploring KRAS polyclonality in normal pancreas to better understand the earliest stages of pancreatic tumorigenesis.

Research Technologist

Stephanie Mou, BS

Stephanie earned a B.S. in Biology and Mathematics at the University of Arizona. She is currently pursuing a Master of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. She spent a summer studying the effects of chemotherapy treatment on pancreatic cancer by looking at tumor composition. She is excited to continue this interest in pathology in the Wood lab and learn more about analysis of pancreatic tissue in three dimensions.

Julia Mychak, MS

Julia earned her BS in Biology and Pre-Medicine with a minor in Chemistry from Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA where she conducted research in testing water quality. Julia went on to complete her MS in Biology from New York University where her thesis reviewed the impact of modern genetic technologies on the advances in understanding the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Following graduate school, Julia worked as a chemist at Thermo Fisher and an infection control technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. Most recently, Julia worked as a genetic testing consultant and technician at Cooper Surgical, where she performed genetic analysis for monogenetic disorders on single biopsies from pre-implantation embryos.