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Lab Members

Clifford S. Cho, M.D.Clifford S. Cho, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Principal Investigator

Cliff is the C. Gardner Child Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Hepatopancreatobiliary and Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgery at the University of Michigan.  He graduated with Honors from Brown University and attended medical school at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he met his wife Karen.  After his surgical training and Administrative Chief Residency at the University of Wisconsin, he completed the surgical oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he served as the Administrative Chief Fellow.  Cliff’s first tenured faculty position was at the University of Wisconsin, where he served as Associate Residency Program Director and Co-Director of the Gastrointestinal Disease Oriented Working Group of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.  In 2016, he and Karen and their children Marjorie and Andrew moved to the University of Michigan, where they are closer to family and home. http://surgery.med.umich.edu/general/patient/faculty/cliffcho.shtml  

Tahra K. Luther, M.S.

Laboratory Manager

Tahra manages the daily and long-term affairs of the Cho laboratory.  She received her BS in Zoology from Michigan State University and her MS in Molecular Cellular and Development Biology from the University of Michigan.  Her research career started at the University of Michigan in 2007 with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM), after which she was recruited to serve as the Assistant Program Manager of Dr. Max Wicha’s cancer research laboratory at the University of Michigan.  Her work in the Wicha laboratory focused on breast cancer stem cells, and her research included international studies in Ghana, Africa where she characterized the aggressiveness of breast cancer across different ethnicities.  Tahra’s intimate familiarity with the scientific environment and her many connections with the University of Michigan research community was instrumental in transferring the Cho laboratory to Ann Arbor.

Mariam Toma, M.S.

Laboratory Technician

Mariam joined the Cho lab in 2017.  She grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and completed her undergraduate studies with a BA in Biology at Wayne State University.  She pursued her graduate studies at North Carolina State University, where she received her MS in Physiology.  Following her training, Mariam worked as a research assistant at Duke University before she was recruited back to Michigan.

Shibin Qu, M.D., PhD candidate

Visiting scholar

Shibin is a joint PhD candidate graduate student in the Cho laboratory at the University of Michigan, visiting from China.  He received his medical bachelor degree from the Anhui University of Science and Technology.  After completing his undergraduate studies, he entered the general surgery PhD program at the Xijing hospital China.  His previous research topic is to reveal noncoding RNA biology in cancer. He has published several papers about noncoding RNA in cancer.  His interest in cancer immunotherapy and diversified research background were critical in his successful recruitment to joining the Cho laboratory, where his quick skill acquisition has enabled him to provide scientific productivity and insight.


Ashley Pepple

Undergraduate Student

Ashley is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan who joined the Cho laboratory as a member of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).  She is currently pursuing degrees in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering.  Her interest in medicine was critical in her successful recruitment to joining the Cho laboratory, where her quick skills acquisition has enabled her to provide enormous scientific productivity and insight.  Ashley is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and performs volunteer work at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.  She is planning to pursue a career in medicine, with a focus on oncology.


Alicia Kevelin

Undergraduate student

Alicia is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan who joined the Cho laboratory as a member of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).  She is currently pursuing a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and was introduced to laboratory research in the Department of Chemistry as a freshman, where she conducted studies in analytical and environmental chemistry.  After identifying a career goal in medicine, she was recruited to join the Cho laboratory, where she quickly became a critical and contributing member of the team.  Alicia serves as a peer mentor in the Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program of the University of Michigan, with hopes to encourage other young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.  Alicia is looking forward to a career in medicine upon completion of her undergraduate studies.

Subpages (1): Former Lab Members