People

Ranjit S. Bindra, MD/PhD
Principal Investigator


Favorite Gene: DNA-PKcs
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Bentara
Favorite Movie / Show: The Wire
Ranjini Sundaram, PhD
Lab Manager


Favorite Gene: APP
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Istanbul Cafe
Favorite Movie / Show: Jungle Book
Juan Vasquez
Faculty Member


Favorite Gene: Hackman
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Zinc
Favorite Movie / Show: The Sopranos
Bio

I am a faculty member in the Yale Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology interested in developing immunotherapies for pediatric tumors. My research is focused on (1) characterizing the impact of oncometabolite-induced homologous recombination defects on the anti-tumor immune response and (2) exploiting oncometabolite-induced homologous recombination defects with different DNA damaging agents to make tumors more sensitive to immunotherapies.

Amrita Sule
Postdoctoral Associate


Favorite Gene: ATM Kinase
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Food trucks on Cedar St.
Favorite Movie / Show: A Few Good Men
Bio

My research aims to understand oncometabolite-induced DNA repair defects in solid tumors. Our goal is to identify the molecular determinants of synthetic lethal interactions between DNA repair inhibitors and oncometabolites in vitro and in vivo. My other project focuses on developing new class of nanoparticle DNA repair inhibitors to treat glioma and other CNS cancers in collaboration with Mark Saltzman’s lab at Yale.

Namrata Chandok
Postdoctoral Fellow


Favorite Gene: Toss up between Cheap Date and Indy (I'm not dead yet) (Drosophila genes)
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Bella's for brunch, Barcelona for dinner
Favorite Movie / Show: hard to choose. Motorcycle Diaries is up there.
Ranjith Menon
Faculty Member


Favorite Gene: H3F3A & AMPK
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Parvathy’s Kitchen ( YOU TOLD ME TOBE CREATIVE)
Favorite Movie / Show: Secondhand Lions
Bio

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating childhood cancer with very limited treatment options. Currently, radiation therapy (RT) alone is the standard of care for DIPG, as no effective chemotherapy regimens exist, and surgery is not feasible because of its location in the brainstem. Recent studies of DIPG have revealed that many of these tumors harbor activating mutations in key genes, such as histone H3 and PPM1D . I will be performing a CRISPR/cas-based gene targeting screen to identify synthetic lethal interactions between H3F3A K27M mutations, as well as PPM1D mutations. Finally, I seek to define the specific bioenergetic and metabolic pathways that are associated with the reprogramming of normal brainstem cells into DIPG.

Teressa Lee
Postdoctoral Fellow


Favorite Gene: p53
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Chez Moi
Favorite Movie / Show: Twilight Zone
Bio

I am a postdoc in the Bindra and Saltzman labs, where I am working on a project involving nanoparticle-mediated MMR targeting to stimulate immunotherapy response in brain tumours. I am also working on nanoparticle-mediated delivery of MGMT inhibitors in brain tumours.

Yuhang Jiang
Postdoctoral Associate


Favorite Gene: SOD1
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: ZINC
Favorite Movie / Show: Forrest Gump
Bio

I’m a postdoctoral associate working on the treatment of brain tumor using nanoparticle-delivered PARP/MGMT inhibitors. This is a collaborative project between Dr. Bindra and Dr. Saltzman in the department of Biomedical Engineering. Before I came here, I got my Ph.D from UNC at Chapel Hill, and B.S. degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University in China. I like playing bowling and volleyball.

Greg Breuer
MSTP Student


Favorite Gene: HBB
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Cafe Bravo
Favorite Movie / Show: Scrubs
Jennifer Garbarino
Ph.D. Candidate


Favorite Gene: RNF8
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Caseus
Favorite Movie / Show: Star Trek
Bio

Educational background/ degrees (when and where): BS biochemistry and biology/biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Class of 2015
Research topic title (one sentence or less): Investigating interactions between DNAPK and RNF8

Nathan Fons
Ph.D. Candidate


Favorite Gene: NF-kB
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Prime 16
Favorite Movie / Show: Psych
Bio

Targeting the biological and tumorigenic properties of PPM1D, H3F3A, and ACVR1 mutations in the context of DIPG and other pediatric high-grade gliomas.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs) and other pediatric high-grade gliomas are devastating diseases, with no current effective therapies. My work focuses on modeling key genetic alterations which drive the proliferation of these tumors, and studying the complex biological interactions that ultimately result in glioma formation. Using insights gained from our ongoing studies, we hope to find novel therapeutics which specifically target these driving mutations and halt the development and progression of DIPGs and other terrible childhood brain tumors.

Sachita Ganesha
Ph.D. Candidate


Favorite Gene: GLA
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Barcelona
Favorite Movie / Show: The Office
Christopher Jackson
Postgraduate Fellow


Favorite Gene: RPA
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Liu’s Lunch
Favorite Movie / Show: Game of Thrones
Bio

Fourth year medical student at Columbia University and HHMI medical research fellow. Breaker of RPA chains and protector of the realm of MGMT. Honored to be PARP of this Ku DNA-repair lab. ATM, I am working on increasing sensitivity to DNA damaging agents using DNA repair inhibitors. The lab would be a RAD place if it WRNt for my puns.

Aravind Nambiar Kalathil (Arry)
Research Associate


Favorite Gene: FAAH
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Pho cart.
Favorite Movie / Show: Bojack Horseman
Bio

I finished my Masters in Molecular Biotechnology from Uppsala University (2016). Currently working on categorizing a library of cell lines using Tissue Microarrays. Constantly motivated, when present.

Ryan McLean
Postgraduate Associate


Favorite Gene: CTNNB1
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Mecha Noodle Bar
Favorite Movie / Show: Breaking Bad
Bio

Project overview: screening small molecules for novel DIPG inhibitors using constructed cell lines that harbor the H3K27M mutation and PPM1D mutation, both of which are recurring in DIPG patients.

Seth Noorbakhsh
Postgraduate Researcher


Favorite Gene: MGMT
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Olea
Favorite Movie / Show: The Office
Bio

I graduated from Yale in May 2017 with a degree in Economics and I’m currently a post-bac in the process of applying to medical school. I have been with the Bindra Lab since 2016. In the past I have been involved with research related to citric acid cycle abnormalities in cancer metabolism, specifically related to mutations in IDH1, succinate dehydrogenase, and fumarate hydratase. Currently, I’m involved with two projects in the glioma space: 1) the examination of combination therapies between alkylating agents and ATR inhibitors in the treatment of MGMT-methylated glioblastoma and 2) the in vitro validation of drug-encapsulated nanoparticle technologies for the treatment of glioblastoma and other cancers of the CNS.

Amrit Dhawan
Lab Administrator


Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Geronimo’s
Favorite Movie / Show: Shrimad Bhagwad Gita
Bettina Harris
Lab Administrator


Favorite Gene: All Bindra Lab Genes
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Lenny & Joe's
Favorite Movie / Show: The Book of Eli
Jillian Eckroate
Undergraduate Associate


Favorite Gene: BRCA2
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Barcelona
Favorite Movie / Show: Grey's Anatomy
Bio

I’m an undergraduate student in my third year and am majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology while also following the pre-med track. I joined the Bindra Lab in August 2017 and am currently working on projects related to understanding how immunotherapeutic agents can be used to target mismatch repair response mutations. This summer I will be working in the Bindra Lab on a project related to the creation of a DNA Damage Response Tissue Microarray. In addition to cancer biology, I am particularly interested in maternal and reproductive health, health policy, and global health systems reform, with plans to obtain an MD/MPH after graduation. In my free time I enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to current events podcasts, and watching medical dramas.

Jinny Van Doorn
Undergraduate Associate


Favorite Gene: LMNA
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Miya's
Favorite Movie / Show: Stranger Things
Bio

Jinny is an undergraduate at Yale studying Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (MB&B). She has research experience as part of the Yale iGEM team and as an intern at the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery (YCMD), and is excited to contribute to projects at the Bindra lab!

Jonathan Bezney
Undergraduate Associate


Favorite Gene: Puromycin resistant gene
Favorite Restaurant in New Haven: Tandoor (because they have a lunch buffet for $9.95)
Favorite Movie / Show: 27 dresses (any rom-com as long as I have some movie popcorn)
Bio

If you had to characterize my position in the laboratory it would best be characterized as the work horse. Put a feeding trough on me, saddle me up, and lets get to work.

Alumni

Ahmed Salem Ph.D.
Bert Geng
Chris Corso M.D., Ph.D.
Jaime Ko
John Soong Ph.D.
Karen Purshouse M.D.
Karo Takasaki M.D.
Monica Niger M.D.
Nate Robinson, M.D.
Ryan Hannon
Sarah Gao
Savina Kim
VikramJairam M.D.

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