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Former Lab Members


Tahra K. Luther, MS: 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, MS: 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

Megan V. Beems, MD: Research Fellow

Megan is a surgical resident and was a research fellow in the Cho laboratory.  She was born at the University of Michigan Hospital and was raised in Plymouth, Michigan.  She completed her undergraduate and medical school training at the University of Michigan, during which she pursued laboratory research in the immunogenetics of type 1 diabetes.  As a surgical resident at the University of Wisconsin, Megan joined the Cho laboratory and relocated back to Ann Arbor when the laboratory moved to the University of Michigan.  Megan has been immensely productive in the laboratory, and her independent discoveries on the isolation and expansion of tumor-specific memory CD8+ T cells provided the basis of the laboratory’s most recent VA Merit Review Award.  During her research fellowship, she has presented her ongoing work at numerous national and regional research meetings, has published a book chapter, and has a first-author manuscript in press with two additional manuscripts in preparation.  Upon completion of her residency, Megan intends to pursue fellowship training in surgical oncology or surgical critical care before embarking on her own career as an academic surgeon-scientist. 

Sheeba Alam, PhD: Research Fellow

Sheeba served as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory after being recruited from another oncology research laboratory at the University of Wisconsin.  Her background experience expanded the technical repertoire of the laboratory, allowing it to move toward novel in vitro assays of T cell-cancer cell interactions that have enabled greater insight and discovery.  Sheeba returned to India following her fellowship, where she continues to work in scientific research.

Amanda M. Contreras, BS: Graduate Student

Amanda was a PhD candidate graduate student in the Cho laboratory at the University of Wisconsin.  After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, she entered the Cellular and Molecular Pathology PhD program at the University of Wisconsin.  Following a very productive laboratory rotation, she was recruited to join the laboratory to begin her thesis work on the interaction of effector and memory CD8+ T cells in adoptive immunotherapy.  She was immensely productive during her time in the laboratory, making numerous presentations at national and regional scientific meetings, publishing a book chapter, two first-author manuscripts and one manuscript in preparation.  When the laboratory moved to the University of Michigan, she elected to remain in her graduate program at the University of Wisconsin, where she is currently completing her thesis work studying activated T cell homeostasis in the laboratory of M. Suresh, DVM PhD.

David A. Mahvi, MD: Medical Student

David (Sasha) was a member of the laboratory beginning as an undergraduate student at Duke University.  He continued his participation after entering medical school at the University of Wisconsin, accumulating a level of experience and insight that enabled him to function at the level of a research fellow.  His independent work led to several research presentations at national and regional meetings, two research awards, two publications including a first-author paper, and graduation with Research Honors.  Sasha is presently a surgical resident at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Justin V. Meyers, MD: Medical Student

Justin was a member of the laboratory throughout his time as an undergraduate and medical student at the University of Wisconsin.  His long-term commitment to the laboratory effort allowed him to function at a very high level, making novel and creative contributions to ongoing experiments.  He presented his studies at several national and regional scientific meetings and published four manuscripts during his time in the laboratory.  In addition to his scholarly activities, he was heavily invested in efforts to raise awareness and heighten opportunities for Native American students at the University of Wisconsin.  Justin is awaiting the results of the residency match as he anticipates a future career in primary care medicine.

Andrew J. Russ, MD: Research Fellow

Drew joined the Cho laboratory during his surgical residency training at the University of Wisconsin.  He was recruited to the University of Wisconsin after completing his undergraduate and medical studies at Miami University of Ohio and Wright State University.  Drew was highly productive as a research fellow, presenting numerous abstracts at national and regional meetings and publishing two book chapters and five manuscripts including three first-author papers.  After completing his surgical residency, Drew went on to complete his clinical colorectal surgery fellowship at Case Western Reserve University, and he and his wife and two children presently reside in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Tennessee.

Siddhartha Sen, MD PhD: Scientist

Sid was a member of the Cho laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, where he served as a senior scientist.  He was recruited out of his postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, where he studied intracellular signaling pathways involved in the genesis of acute myeloid leukemia.  His work resulted in two manuscripts and one in press.  Sid and his wife and two children are currently in Durham, North Carolina, where Sid is pursuing a clinical fellowship in pathology at Duke University.  Upon completion of his training, he plans to pursue an independent career as an investigative physician-scientist.

Prakrithi Srinand, BS: Undergraduate Student

Praki joined the laboratory as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin.  She quickly demonstrated an unusually high level of scientific curiosity and intellect, and the laboratory benefited from her presence throughout her undergraduate years.  Her work led to two publications; she also independently initiated on a number of ongoing studies examining the effects of adjunctive thermal tumor ablation on immunotherapy.  Praki is currently a clinical and research fellow in Houston and is planning to attend medical school.

Andrew J. Tatar, BS: Laboratory Manager

Andy served as manager of the Cho laboratory at the University of Wisconsin.  He was recruited from the University of Wisconsin Research Animal Resource Center based on his expertise with murine-based research.  As lab manager, he was instrumental in all aspects of the laboratory effort ranging from mouse and cell studies to human tissue collection and analysis.  A growing interest with patient-based research motivated him to pursue his current position as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, where he works with cancer patients enrolling in clinical trials of novel therapies for gastrointestinal and hepatopancreaticobiliary malignancies.  Andy and his wife and young child presently reside in Madison, Wisconsin.

Lucy Wentworth, BS: Laboratory Manager

Lucy was a founding member of the laboratory, joining the effort at its inception.  Her organizational skills and scientific insights were instrumental in allowing the laboratory to establish itself and receive its initial funding.  Her work led to three publications, including a first-author paper of her own.  The laboratory owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Lucy, who continues to work in clinical laboratory research at the University of Wisconsin.

Kyle Xu, MD: Medical Student

Kyle joined the laboratory as a medical student at Georgetown University.  He presented his work at two national scientific meetings and published two manuscripts in the brief time he was in the laboratory.  Kyle is currently completing his combined general surgery/plastic surgery residency at St. Louis University.