Meet Our Trainees

Our MS and PhD candidates share details about their research and academic experiences with faculty in the Department of Cell & Molecular Medicine.

Postdoctoral fellows

  • Frank Ko
    My current work is to determine the origin of intramembranous bone regeneration and the genetic basis of spontaneous high bone mass phenotype.  I use rodent models and assess their microarchitectural, functional, and biological properties.  Through these studies, I hope to enhance our scientific knowledge to improve osseointegration, fracture healing, and bone biology.
    I completed my BS in Bioengineering at Rice University, PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, and postdoctoral training in molecular biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.  I began my postdoctoral training at Rush in 2018.

Medical students

  • Kyle Anderson
    I am particularly interested in understanding changes in bone biology in specific disease states and unique physiological environments. My work examines a wide variety of topics regarding bone alterations in: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), X-linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH), hindlimb suspension, and spaceflight related osteopenia. The studies utilize back Scatter Electron Microscopy (bSEM) and microcomputed tomography (µCT) to evaluate changes in bone quality.
    The primary objective of my work is to better understand bone mineralization in these specific physiological states and how medications such as bisphosphonates as well as sclerostin-antibody (romosozumab) can better manage them.
    While I was born in Chicago, I grew up in southeast Michigan and attended Michigan State University and studied human biology and philosophy. I then attended the University of Michigan for a master’s in physiology with a research focus on adrenal endocrinology. I am now happily back in Chicago as of the fall of 2016 where I began medical school at Rush Medical College.

Graduate students

  • Sarah Calhoun - Maki lab

    My research with Dr. Carl Maki is currently focused on hormone therapy resistant of estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. 70% of all breast cancers are ER+ and about 40% of women diagnosed with ER+ breast cancer will acquire resistance to hormone therapy, resulting in increased risk of advanced disease, reduced survival, and increased mortality. My current research focuses on identifying the mechanisms by which breast cancer cells may develop hormone therapy resistance and promote cell survival.  The goal of my research is to discover hormone resistance mechanisms so targeted therapies may be developed to better treat resistant ER+ breast cancers.
    I was born and raised in Colorado before moving to Iowa to earn my BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Cornell College. Post-graduation, I worked at Integrated DNA technologies as a Custom Quality Control Analyst for a year before moving to Chicago to start my PhD in August 2017. My hobbies outside of school include playing soccer on the weekends, reading, spending time outside, and exploring Chicago.

  • Kelsey Carpenter - Sumner lab

    I grew up in southeast Michigan and earned a Bachelor of Science in anthropology at Michigan State University. I then attended Mercyhurst University where I completed a Master of Science in biological and forensic anthropology. My graduate education in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD program at Rush University began in the fall of 2017.
    My dissertation research is focused on X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), a rare metabolic bone disease. XLH is the most common form of heritable rickets and is first diagnosed in children who present with shortened stature, leg bowing, low bone mass, and increased fracture risk. My project involves using a mouse model of XLH to investigate different treatment options for the disease. Methods used to complete this study include micro-computed tomography, ELISA, quantitative PCR, and histology. The goal of this study is to improve phosphate metabolism and skeletal mineralization, ultimately leading to improved stature, bone mass and overall quality of life for patients with XLH.

  • Ahmad Othman - Pratap lab
    My dissertation is focused on the relationship between Runx2 and autophagy in bone metastatic breast cancer. The bulk of my project will be aimed at understanding how these two factors are related and function together to promote metastasis. Using immunofluorescence, ELISA, and viral transduction techniques we aim to better understand the mechanisms of metastasis and potentially offer a more effective therapy for this frequent complication of breast and other cancers.    
    Originally from south suburban Oaklawn, I Graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007 with a degree in Biological Sciences, and completed my Masters in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Rush in 2015. I am currently completing my PhD in Integrated Biomedical Sciences at Rush. The training I have received at Rush has been exceptional and has been instrumental in helping develop my future career, I am happy to call Rush my home institution.
  • Nicollette Purcell - O’Keefe lab
    I am working with Dr. Joan O’Keefe for my dissertation project focusing on the relationship between balance, gait, cognitive, and oculomotor dysfunction in Huntington’s disease (HD) with the use of wearable inertial sensors and eye-tracking technology.   Additionally, I will investigate how visuomotor and visuospatial function in HD differs from healthy individuals during ambulation and how these differences influence fall risk.
    I received a BS in human biology from Michigan State University in 2013, a BMS in pre-medical studies from Dominican University in 2014, and an MS in Anatomy and Cell Biology from Rush University in 2017.
  • Brittany Wilson - Sumner lab
    My dissertation project involves using biomarkers for early detection of peri-implant osteolysis after primary total joint arthroplasty. The majority of my work will focus on our lab’s rat model of wear-particle induced peri-implant osteolysis, and will utilize diagnostic tools like ELISA and proteomics approaches such as two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to measure circulating biomarkers. The major objective of this work is to verify a biomarker panel for early diagnosis of peri-implant osteolysis, which may postpone the need for revision total joint arthroplasty and allow for non-surgical rescue of implant fixation.
    I am originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago where I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Biology with minor study of Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Art in Psychology. I began my graduate education at Rush University in the fall of 2012.

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