Lab Members

Brett Shook, PhD Headshot

Brett Shook, PhD

Assistant Professor
Dr. Shook received a B.S. in Biology from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. As a New York Stem Cell Foundation – Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Valerie Horsley at Yale University, he investigated tissue maintenance and repair in mammalian skin. His work revealed functional cellular heterogeneity within fibroblasts and macrophages in skin wound beds. Additionally, his work has identified distinct molecular interactions between skin resident mesenchymal cells (adipocytes and fibroblasts) and immune cells that promote successful inflammation and repair after injury. He joined George Washington University’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in 2019 as an Assistant Professor.

 

Paula Cooper, PhD Headshot

Paula Cooper

Postdoctoral Scientist
Paula graduated from Purdue University in 2020. Her PhD studies focused on the impacts of inflammation on adult prostate stem cells. Adult stem cells possess tremendous proliferative capacity and have been implicated in benign and malignant prostate diseases. The signaling pathways that inflammation activates in these rare cells provide clues to tumor initiation and progression. Ultimately, her goal is to study epithelial, immune, and stromal cell interactions to identify molecular targets to prevent the onset and progression of hyperplastic disease. In her free time, she likes to draw, walk, and spend time with her family.

 

Veronica Balick headshot

Veronica Amuso

Ph.D. Candidate
Veronica graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Mount St. Mary's University in 2020 and a Master's degree in Cancer Immunology from the University of Nottingham in 2021. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. Her current research explores how fibroblasts contribute to inflammation after injury. In her time outside the lab, Veronica enjoys engaging in activities at her church and experimenting with baking and cooking recipes.

 

 
Sarah Kleb

Sarah Kleb

Ph.D. Student
Sarah graduated with a B.S. in Biotechnology from Elizabethtown College in 2022. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences on the Microbiology and Immunology track. Her research focuses on signaling mechanisms that support keratinocyte function during skin wound healing. Outside of the lab, Sarah enjoys going on walks and hikes with her dog and being on the water.

 

 

Vu Nguyen's headshot

Vu Nguyen

Research Assistant
Vu graduated with a B.S majoring in Biotechnology from James Madison University in 2021. During this time, he assisted in developing a project proposal that aimed to use bacterial models to degrade plastic accumulation. After graduating from JMU, he enrolled in the Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine Master's program at GWU. His thesis work focuses on understanding how RNA polymerase pausing contributes to epithelial cell function during the healing response. In his free time, he likes to exercise and enjoys playing video games.

 

Lab Alumni

Satish Noonepalle headshot

Satish Noonepalle

Postdoctoral Scientist
Satish graduated from Augusta University in 2015 with a PhD in Biochemistry & Cancer Biology. Satish is an Assistant Professor - Research Track at Georgetown University. 

 

 

 

 

 
Khatereh Khorsandi's headshot

Khatereh Khorsandi

Postdoctoral Scientist
Khatereh (Kate) has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Tehran. After leaving the lab, Kate joined Children's National as a Postdoctoral Scientist.

 

 

 

 

Najuma Babirye

Master’s Student at GW
After graduating from GWU, Najuma became a Research Associate II in Cell Bio R&D at Arcellx, Inc.

 

 

 

 

MaryEllen Haas Headshot

MaryEllen Haas

Research Assistant
MaryEllen graduated with a Biochemistry degree from Marymount University in 2020. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

 

 

 

 

Darlene Nguyen Headshot

Darlene Nguyen

Research Assistant
Darlene graduated from Scripps College in 2019 with a bachelor's in Neuroscience. After leaving the lab, she entered a program at VCOM.