People

Rob Mitra

Rob Mitra

Professor

PI

Rob Mitra is the Alvin Goldfarb Professor of Computational Biology in the Department of Genetics and the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis.  He received his BS, MS and PhD from MIT.  His current research interests are focused on understanding how transcription factors achieve their in vivo specificities, developing new genomic technologies, and applying these to understand disease processes.

Contact

Email: rmitra[at]wustl.edu


Tamara Abou-Antoun

Tamara Abou-Antoun

Staff Scientist

Lab Members

Tamara earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia and her PhD in Molecular Medicine from the George Washington University in Washington DC. She joined WashU in March 2021 as a senior scientist in the Rubin Lab where she works in collaboration with the Mitra lab to identify key transcription factors responsible for driving the sex-differences in pediatric brain tumor development and therapeutic response. In the Mitra lab, Tamara is utilizing the transposon calling-cards technology to map out genomic localization of key transcription factors that may be responsible for inducing the expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in a sex-bias manner. During her free time, Tamara enjoys the outdoors with her family and friends, hiking, biking, swimming, camping and canoeing.

Contact

Email: atamara[at]wustl.edu

Anna Bass

Anna Bass

Research Technician

Lab Members

Anna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She started a Master of Science program in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at UMSL last semester. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she held various internships in different biological disciplines. She has worked in a local county environmental health department, the Saint Louis Zoo’s Hellbender Center for Conservation, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. There isn’t much about biology that she doesn’t find interesting. However, she plans on using modern biotechnology in her own research in the future. Meanwhile, she does her best to lower her carbon-footprint and use her passion for science to improve human health. In her free time, she enjoys bike riding, healthy food, and live music.

Contact

Email: bass.a[at]email.wustl.edu

Xuhua Chen

Xuhua Chen

Research Scientist

Lab Members

Xuhua Chen got a B.S. in medicine from Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1990. She completed her master’s degree in bioscience at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Xuhua has worked in the Mitra lab since 2007. Her research foci include working on transposon “calling cards,” recording transcription factor biding events in yeast and mammalian cells, and inducing and reprograming gene activation in different stages of neural differentiation.

Contact

Email: xchen29[at]wustl.edu

Fengping Dong

Fengping Dong

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Lab Members

Fengping received his PhD from the Pennsylvania State University where he studied risk genes related to schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. He joined the Milbrandt and Mitra labs with interests of applying a series of functional genomics tools to understand neurodevelopmental diseases. Combining CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene regulation with next-generation sequencing, he aims to discover underlying molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases. His work will focus on understanding how risk genes contribute to intellectual and developmental disabilities using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Juanru Guo

Juanru Guo

Graduate Student

Lab Members

Juanru Guo is a current graduate student in the CSB program. She graduated from Tongji University, China with a major in Statistics and a minor in Artificial intelligence in 2021. She aims to facilitate researchers with easier-to-use tools. She is now trying to develop interesting and fancy computational algorithms for single-cell calling card data.

Contact

Email: g.juanru[at]wuslt.edu

Paul Hime

Paul Hime

Staff Scientist

Lab Members

Paul Hime is an Instructor in the Department of Genetics and McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Prior to joining the School of Medicine, Paul earned a BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kentucky, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. Formerly an amphibian and reptile keeper at the Saint Louis Zoo, Paul’s research interests span structural biology, phylogenetics, molecular evolution, and biodiversity genomics. His current research focuses on computational approaches to understand the relationships between 3D protein structures and enzymatic functions, with applications for precision human medicine. Outside of the lab, Paul and his wife enjoy sharing their love of hiking, rock climbing, gardening, and natural history with their three children.

Contact

Email: paul.hime[at]wustl.edu

Paige Kirschner

Paige Kirschner

Undergraduate

Lab Members

Paige Kirschner is a current undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. She is earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology on a Microbiology track. She most recently has worked in the Gale Hammell Lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where she studied how TDP43 aggregation affects ALS. At WashU she has participated in the SEA-PHAGES program. Paige joined the Mitra lab in 2022 and is looking at transposons as a factor in transcription events and somatic cell lineage tracing. Post-graduation, Paige hopes to earn a PhD in biology. In her free time, Paige enjoys reading, writing, and playing tennis.

Josh Langmade

Josh Langmade

Staff Scientist

Lab Members

Josh Langmade received a B.S. in genetics and an M.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology both from The University of Kansas.  He has worked at Washington University for over 17 years, with the majority of that time spent in the Ory/Schaffer lab within the Cardiology department.  Through his previous research experiences, he developed an interest in projects involving next-gen sequencing and bioinformatics, which helped lead him to his current position.  Josh joined the Mitra and Milbrandt labs as a staff scientist in May of 2019.  His current research, through the MGI pilot project, involves helping to develop a method to encode cellular phenotypes with fluorescence.  When not working in the lab, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, enjoying a variety of outdoor activities and cooking BBQ.

Contact

Email: jlangmade[at]wustl.edu

Lorida Llaci

Lorida Llaci

Graduate Student

Lab Members

Lori Llaci, originally from Albania, moved to the United States to get her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Arizona State University. She worked in the Neurogenomics Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Dr. Vinodh Narayanan’s laboratory studying mitochondrial dysfunction in patients with epileptic encephalopathy where she discovered the beauty of clinical research. She decided to start graduate school at Washington University because of her interest to incorporate a bioinformatic approach to her work while applying it to clinical research and joined the Mitra lab because of their expertise in technology development. Her work will focus on understanding the epigenetics of sex differences in glioblastoma at a single cell level. In her free time, she likes to read, explore new cuisines, travel and play the piano.

Contact

Email: l.llaci[at]wustl.edu

Daniel Lyon

Daniel Lyon

Undergraduate student

Lab Members

Daniel is currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis and hopes to attend graduate school in the bioinformatics field.  His research is focused on creating long strands of recombinant DNA using scaffold DNA structures.  In his free time, he likes to hang out with his cat and take day trips to the woods.

Contact

Email: dlyon[at]wustl.edu

Waleed Minzal

Waleed Minzal

Post Doc

Lab Members

Waleed received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where he studied the intracellular signaling mechanisms underlying abnormal proliferation in the setting of blood cancer transformation. Waleed became interested in the basic questions regarding the role of mitochondria biology and its contribution to neuronal death and axon degeneration and joined the Milbrandt and Mitra labs. Combining a functional genomics approach using CRISPR technology and induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)-derived neurons, Waleed is aiming to help uncover fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying axonal degeneration under multiple cellular stress and disease conditions. Outside the lab, Waleed enjoys hiking, swimming, and reading.

Contact

Email: minzel[at]wustl.edu

Brian Muegge

Brian Muegge

Post Doctoral Fellow

Lab Members

Brian Muegge is an Instructor in the Division of Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Princeton University. He earned his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine. Brian’s graduate thesis work was performed in the laboratory of Jeffrey Gordon, where he used experimental and computational methods to study the interplay between host diet and mammalian gut microbiome. He joined the Mitra lab in 2019 where his research interests are to understand how cells in the intestine respond to injury, with a special emphasis on the rare intestinal endocrine cell population. In the Mitra lab, Brian is defining the binding targets for key intestinal transcription factors using novel in vitro methods of development and injury. The goal of this work is to identify new mechanisms of injury repair and translational therapies that would help patients suffering from intestinal and metabolic diseases. Brian is a practicing Physician-Scientist and treats patients with Endocrine diseases at the St. Louis VA Medical Center.

Contact

Email: mueggeb[at]wustl.edu

Pamela Recio

Pamela Recio

Graduate Student

Lab Members

Pamela graduated from CSU Monterey Bay with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology in 2018. After graduating, she participated in a year long post baccalaureate research program called Opportunities in Genomics Research in the Mitra lab. The goal of her yearlong project was to understand how gene expression is a function of TF binding in budding yeast. Pamela enjoyed her post baccalaureate experience so much that she decided to start a PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis in 2019, and then joined the Mitra lab. She is interested in better understanding the determinants of GAL4p in vivo binding in budding yeast. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her dog Lola, collecting plants, and drawing.

Contact

Email: p.recio[at]wustl.edu

India Reiss

India Reiss

Graduate Student

Lab Members

India Reiss received a B.S. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the genomics of fruit fly color vision. As a graduate student in the Mitra lab, she is working to adapt Calling Card technology to the Sleeping Beauty transposase, which will improve the ability of Calling Cards to record transcription factor binding over time.

Contact

Email: ihreiss[at]go.wustl.edu

Reilly Sample

Reilly Sample

Graduate Student

Lab Members

Reilly earned his Bachelors of Science in biochemistry and his Bachelors of Arts in English literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He then started his medical training at UT Southwestern Medical School, and took a leave of absence to obtain a Masters of Science at WashU. During his masters year, Reilly studied head and neck cancer genetics in the Puram lab. Now as a PhD student, he joined both the Mitra and Puram labs. In his graduate studies, Reilly plans to leverage transposon calling cards technology to understand the genetic and epigenetic factors that drive cancer invasion and metastasis. In the future, Reilly hopes to have a career as a physician-scientist to search for new therapies that are better and safer for cancer patients. In his free time, Reilly enjoys reading, cooking, swimming, and exploring the great outdoors.

Contact

Email: r.a.sample[at]wustl.edu

Jieun Seo

Jieun Seo

Post Doc

Lab Members

Jieun received her Ph.D. from the Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea, where she investigated the genetic mechanisms of human neurological disorders through next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis. Jieun joined the Milbrandt and Mitra labs with interests in characterizing potentially pathogenic genome variants identified in neurodegenerative disease patients and finding genetic/epigenetic modifiers affecting pathological feature of disease. Using CRISPR screening and iPSCs-derived neurons, she aims to discover underlying mechanism of mitochondia dysfunction and axon degeneration of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Outside of lab, she enjoy playing with her cat and cooking.

Contact

Email: seo.j[at]wustl.edu

Christian Shively

Christian Shively

Staff Scientist

Lab Members

Christian Shively began his postdoc training in the lab in 2014, after completing a B.S. in biology at Indiana University and a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Michigan. His work in the Mitra lab is focused on understanding how transcription factors “know” where to bind DNA.  Paralogous transcription factors often recognize the same consensus binding site in vitro, yet bind to distinct genomic targets and regulate disparate cellular processes in vivo, and Christian’s research seeks to delineate the mechanisms that enable this specificity by studying a well-conserved pair of paralogous transcription factors in a model organism.

Contact

Email: cshively[at]wustl.edu

Lloyd Tripp

Lloyd Tripp

Research Technician

Lab Members

Lloyd earned his Bachelor of Science in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California – Berkeley in 2018. In his undergrad, he volunteered at two labs: 1) EvoLab to study mechanisms of spider speciation 2) Medina lab to research lipid metabolism pathways in the liver. Lloyd is interested in developing simple-to-use but data-rich assays to help researchers in biomedical research. He worked at 10x Genomics for 3 years to engineer the fabrication of microfluidic devices for single-cell genomic analysis. As part of the MGI, Lloyd now works in the Mitra lab to build the next generation of genomic assays to answer fundamental questions. In his spare time, Lloyd likes road cycling, watching movies, and making espresso.

Contact

Email: lloydt[at]wustl.edu

Michael Wilkinson

Michael Wilkinson

Graduate Student

Lab Members

Science has always been an extension of Michael Wilkinson’s passion for tackling real-world problems. He was a participant in the MARC scholars program at Hunter College in NYC, where he not only learned how to address scientific problems but to also have fun while doing it.

The Mitra Lab is Michael’s home in St. Louis, where he and other researchers develop molecular tools to help better understand biological problems. He is fortunate to use such tools in understanding the transcriptional networks that govern cell fates, whether in development or in disease. Michael’s personal interests are to elucidate the inter- and intra-cellular mechanisms that govern cell state in a heterogeneous population, whether it be in regeneration or in cancer. Outside of the lab, he enjoys fitness and music. Michael likes applying his understanding of science to bring well-being to others. As a previous participant of many minority support programs over the years, he hopes to share his opportunities with those in underserved communities.


Lab Alumni

  • Vincent Gillespie, Graduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Alara Sutcu, Graduate Student, Columbia
  • Justin Melendez, Post Doc, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wesley Agee, Graduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Jiayue Liu, Scientist, Guardant Health
  • Jesse Cohn,
  • David Song, Medical School
  • Arnav Moudgil, Washington University in St. Louis, MSTP
  • Matt Lalli, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry,
    Division of Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment
  • Denis Avey, Postdoc, Rush Medical School
  • Rafael Feliciano, Graduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis, MGG program
  • Sumithra Sankararaman, Staff Scientist at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Kristy Shady
  • Zongtai Qi, Postdoc, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Maxim Schillebeeckx, Scientist, Appistry
  • Francesco Vallania, Postdoc, Stanford University
  • Scott Higdon, Staff Researcher at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Michael Brooks, Postdoctoral fellow with Max Wicha at University of Michigan
  • Arjun Bahl, Resident, Internal Medicine, University of Washington
  • Lee Tessler, Project Manager at Millipore
  • David Mayhew, Scientist, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Tom Cohen, Senior Analyst, BioGenerator Ventures
  • Gabe Bien-Wilner, Medical Director, MolecularHealth
  • K-T Varley, Postdoctoral fellow with Rick Myers at Hudson Alpha Institute
  • Haoyi Wang, Postdoctoral fellow with Rudy Jaenisch at MIT
  • Yue Yun, Pioneer Hybrid
  • Kay Tweedy, Retired
  • Todd Druley, Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, Pediatrics and Center for Genome Sciences
  • German Leparc, Postdoctoral fellow with David Kreil, Universitat fur Bodenkultur Wien