Research Staff

Immunotherapy & Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Research Group Members
Immunotherapy & Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Research Group Members
Immunotherapy & Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Research Group Members
Immunotherapy & Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Research Group Members
  • Adeela V. Ali
    Student Researcher

    Adeela is an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Pharmacology and Toxicology. She joined the Capitini lab in September 2018 and is studying how to optimally expand canine NK cells in vitro. She plans to graduate in May 2020 and pursue a Ph.D in Pharmacology.

     
  • Paul D. Bates
    Research Specialist

    Paul graduated from Winona State University in 2006 with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. He then spent 5 years working for the National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford, Mississippi before starting work as an Associate Research Specialist in the Capitini Lab in September 2011. Paul's primary focus is using mouse models of allogeneic bone marrow transplant to improve therapies for graft-versus-host-disease.

     
  • Monica Cho
    Monica Cho
    Graduate Research Assistant

    Monica is a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D. candidate). She joined the Capitini lab in April 2019. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a B.S.E. in biomedical engineering and spent two years working in the NIH/NCI post baccalaureate CRTA program at the Experimental Transplant and Immunology Branch. Her current research is focused on tracking natural killer cell therapies by MRI, and using allogeneic bone marrow transplant with an immunocytokine to treat osteosarcoma and neuroblastoma.

     
  • Matthew H. Forsberg, PhD
    Research Associate

    Matthew graduated from Lawrence University in 2011 with a B.A. in Biology.  He received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology in 2017 from the Medical College of Wisconsin after studying the role of the T cell costimulatory molecule CD137 (4-1BB) in the development of Type 1 diabetes in preclinical models.  Matthew joined the Capitini lab in September 2017 and is focusing on improving CAR T cell therapies for solid tumors as well as using mesenchymal stem cell-educated macrophages for GVHD and radiation injury.

     
  • Sarah Fruchtman
    Student Researcher

    Sarah is an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology and Jewish Studies. She joined the Capitini lab in January 2019, and plans to graduate in May 2021 to attend Medical School and study oncology.

     
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    Nicholas R. Mohrdieck
    Student Researcher

    Nicholas is an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Genetics and Genomics. He is also a member of the Men’s rowing team. Nicholas joined the Capitini Lab in January 2019 and is studying methods to activate murine NK cells against neuroblastoma in vivo. He plans to graduate in May 2021 with plans to attend medical school and study pediatrics.

     
  • Mallery R. Olsen, MD
    Fellow

    Mallery was a medical student at UW-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health. She graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Neuroscience in 2011. She worked in the Capitini Lab during the Summer 2012 investigating the trafficking of NK cells in mice bearing neuroblastoma. She was awarded a Pediatric Oncology Student Training award from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. After graduating medical school in 2015, Mallery enrolled in a Pediatrics Residency at Wake Forest School of Medicine with plans to enter a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. She has returned as the inaugural Ruth M. Vetter fellow in Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and BMT at UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

     
  • Aicha E. Quamine
    Graduate Research Assistant

    Aicha graduated from Cleveland State University in 2017 with a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences. There she worked on phytochemical drug synthesis and optimization by testing diterpenoid acid derivatives for their potency as Hsp27 inhibitors. She then spent 8 months at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working on KCNH potassium ion channels as potential therapeutic targets in brain tumors. She joined the Capitini Lab in December 2018 as a PhD candidate and is now focusing on using mouse models of bone marrow transplant to explore the role of murine NK cells in treating neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma.

     
  • Sean P. Rinella, MPH
    Graduate Research Assistant

    Sean is a graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Clinical Investigation PhD program. He received his BS in Biological Sciences and Anthropology, with a minor in Chemistry, at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. He then completed his MPH in Epidemiology in 2010. Sean completed summer research fellowships at the University of Colorado in 2 separate pediatric AML labs, and went on to work as a clinical research coordinator for the adult heme/BMT team in Colorado where he first fell in love with clinical trials. His current translational work involves identifying roles of JAK1/JAK2 and BCL2 in the innate cells arising after alpha beta depleted bone marrow transplant and their impact on graft-versus-host-disease and graft-versus-leukemia.

     
  • Longzhen Song, PhD
    Research Associate

    Longzhen received her PhD in Genetics in 2016 from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She then spent two years working as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University studying potential combination therapy for melanoma with Polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor and other small chemical inhibitors. Longzhen joined the Capitini lab in September 2018 and is focusing on exploring the mechanism by which ex vivo activated NK cells eliminate pediatric cancers and prevent graft-versus-host-disease.

     
  • Kirsti L. Walker
    Graduate Research Assistant

    Kirsti graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013 with a BS/MS in Biotechnology. There she focused on the interplay between cell death and axon guidance in Drosophila melanogaster. She joined the Capitini lab as a PhD candidate in November of 2014. Her current research focuses on investigating the role of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway and the anti-apoptotic molecule B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) pathway in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). The project aims at developing a novel combination therapy targeting both pathways.

     

Research Group Alumni

  • Madeline Adam
    Madeline Adam

    Madeline was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology with a certificate in Business. She joined the Capitini Lab in September 2014 and her research involved optimizing therapies for graft-versus-host-disease after allogenic bone marrow transplant. Madeline graduated in May 2016 and is now an Associate Product Manager at Medline Industries.

     
  • Myriam N. Bouchlaka, PhD
    Myriam N Bouchlaka, PhD

    Myriam was in the Capitini lab from January 2012 - July 2016. Her translational research focused on developing fluorine-19 as a means of tracking human NK cells by MRI in vivo, inhibiting lymphoma growth with novel combinations of small molecule inhibitors, and on using macrophages to treat radiation-induced injury and GVHD. She was awarded the inaugural American Association of Immunologist’s Careers in Immunology Fellowship. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, she obtained a position at Arch Oncology, an immuno-oncology company developing anti-CD47 antibodies for the treatment of solid and hematologic cancers."

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  • Brittany Bowen
    Brittany Bowen

    Brittany was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis on Child Development. Her project involved optimizing NK cell infusions after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Brittany graduated in May of 2015 and continued on to medical school to pursue a career in medicine, particularly pediatrics.

     
  • Dennis Ea
    Dennis Ea

    Dennis was a medical student at UW-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health. He graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Biology and concentration in Biochemistry in 2013. Dennis worked in the Capitini laboratory in Summer 2014. He was awarded a Pediatric Oncology Student Training award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. His project examined the ability of BCL-2 inhibitors to inhibit T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) growth and survival both in vitro and in vivo. He also worked to determine if BCL-2 inhibition makes T cell ALL more amenable to immunotherapy by NK cells. After graduating medical school in 2017, Dennis enrolled in a Family Medicine Residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN.

     
  • Thomas Esposito
    Thomas Esposito

    Tom was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Neurobiology and a certificate in Global Health Studies. Tom worked in the Capitini lab August 2012 - May 2014, and his research involved optimizing NK cell infusions after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. He graduated in May 2014 and enrolled in A.T Still University's School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, AZ.

     
  • Tara Gavcovich
    Tara Gavcovich

    Tara graduated from Duke University with a BS in Psychology in 2014 and from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2018. She worked for the Capitini Lab in Summer 2015 exploring usage of immunocytokines for neuroblastoma after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. She also studied combination therapies for T-ALL involving the JAK/STAT and Bcl-2 molecular pathways. Tara is now a Resident in Pediatrics at Holtz Children’s Hospital at University of Miami.

     
  • Katelyn Goodman
    Katelyn Goodman

    Katelyn was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology, graduating in May 2012. She worked in the Capitini Lab October 2011 - May 2012 studying GVHD and the graft-versus-leukemia response after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. After graduation, Katelyn obtained a job as a research technician at the University of Minnesota, where she is now in graduate school furthering her studies of GVHD.

     
  • Sabrina A. Kabakov
    Student Researcher

    Sabrina was an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Nutritional science with a certificate in Global Health. She joined the Capitini Lab in August 2016 and focused on optimizing therapies for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia through inhibiting the JAK/STAT and BCL2 pathways. She also worked with Miriam Kim developing novel cell therapies for GVHD. Sabrina graduated in May 2019 and planned to pursue a career in the medical field.

     
  • Sara Kelm
    Sara Kelm

    Sara was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology and Psychology. She worked in the Capitini Lab from June 2012 - May 2014, and was involved in optimizing NK cell infusions after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. She graduated in May 2014 and enrolled at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI.

     
  • Miriam G. Kim, DO
    Miriam Kim, DO

    Miriam was a fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She did her Pediatrics residency at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, IL. Miriam was part of the Capitini Lab from July 2016 – June 2018, and her research focus was on developing alternatively activated macrophages for GVHD. Miriam was supported by a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fellowship. After graduating fellowship in 2018, she went to the University of Minnesota for a specialized BMT fellowship.

     
  • Matthew Kutz
    Matthew Kutz

    Matthew graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Biology and Neurobiology in 2005. He worked in the Capitini lab as a medical student during the summer 2013 exploring trafficking of NK cells by 19F-MRI to neuroblastoma tumors. He was awarded a Summer Fellowship by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. After graduating medical school in 2016, Matthew enrolled in an Anesthesiology Residency at the University of Washington Medical Center.

     
  • Michael Martinez
    Michael Martinez

    Michael was an undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked with the Capitini Lab from October 2011 - May 2015 as part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. His research involved the inhibition of the STAT-1 transcription factor as therapeutic treatment of pediatric hematological malignancies. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he obtained a job in Quality Assurance at Epic, Inc.

     
  • Sydney L. Olson
    Sydney L. Olson

    Sydney was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology with certificates in Global Health and Gender/Women's Studies. She joined the Capitini Lab in June 2015 and her research involved treating neuroblastoma after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. She also optimized therapies for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia by targeting the JAK/STAT pathway and BCL2 molecule. Sydney graduated in May 2018 and is working in the Ratner laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis.

     
  • Seema Rao, MD
    Seema Rao, MD

    Seema was a fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She did her Pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and is board certified in Pediatrics. After residency, she worked as a General Pediatrician/urgent care physician. Seema was part of the Capitini Lab from August 2012 - June 2015, and her research focus was on targeting tumor-associated antigens of pediatric tumors using vaccines and immunotherapy after allogeneic BMT. Seema was supported by a T32 for Physician Scientist Training in Cancer Medicine. After graduating fellowship in 2015, she obtained a faculty position at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital.

     
  • Lauren Reil
    Lauren Reil

    Lauren was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Neurobiology. She worked the Capitini lab from January 2013 - May 2015, and her research involved the inhibition of the JAK1/STAT1 pathway as therapeutic treatment of pediatric hematologic malignancies. Lauren graduated in May 2015 and is now at Carroll University to become a Physician Assistant.

     
  • Erbay Salievski
    Erbay Salievski

    Erbay was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Biology. He graduated in May of 2014 and pursued a career in medicine. Erbay was part of the Capitini Lab from January 2012 - May 2014, and his research involved the inhibition of the STAT-1 transcription factor as therapeutic treatment of pediatric hematological malignancies. After graduation, Erbay obtained a M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Midwestern University and has been working at Adventist Hospital in La Grange, IL and Hinsdale, IL as a medical scribe and patient care assistant.

     
  • Kaitlyn Seibold
    Kaitlyn Seibold

    Kaitlyn was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology with a certificate in Business and Global Health. She joined the Capitini Lab in January 2016 and her research focused on optimizing therapies for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia by targeting the BCL2 molecule and JAK/STAT signaling pathway. Kaitlyn graduated in May 2018 and planned to pursue a career in the medical field, preferably in pediatrics.

     
  • Keven Stonewall
    Keven J. Stonewall

    Keven Stonewall was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology. He joined the Capitini Lab in September 2014 and his research involved optimizing NK cell infusions after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Keven graduated in May 2017 and is now a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

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  • Kyle Terry
    Kyle Terry

    Kyle was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Medical Microbiology & Immunology.  He joined the Capitini lab in June 2013 and used allogeneic bone marrow transplants (alloBMT) to optimize NK cell infusions for pediatric cancer. Kyle graduated in May 2016 and has been working as a medical scribe.

     
  • Katharine E. Tippins
    Student Researcher
    Katharine was an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology. She joined the Capitini lab in Summer 2017 and studied how allogeneic bone marrow transplant can be used to treat osteosarcoma using NK cells. She graduated in May 2019 and planned pursue a career in the medical field. She was awarded a Summer Fellowship by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
     
  • Kaitlyn Voelz
    Kaitlyn Voelz

    Katie was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Development. She worked in the Capitini Lab January 2012 - May 2012 studying the graft-versus-leukemia response after allogeneic bone marrow transplant. After graduation, Katie enrolled at the University of South Florida to pursue a M.S. In Medical Sciences. She was a medical student at St. George’s University from 2014-18, and is now a Resident in Pediatrics at University of Buffalo.