Meet our Alums
BRIAN CRAWFORD, BMB GRADUATE 1982, PHD PROGRAM
Brian completed Ph.D. program, while working on a thesis project focused on the cellular and molecular aspects of neoplastic transformation as initiated by DNA-damaging agents and other chemical carcinogens. Dr. Crawford is the President of the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society, the world’s leading non-profit publisher in the field of chemistry and its allied sciences. Dr. Crawford holds general management responsibility for both the Society’s portfolio of 47 peer-reviewed journals, and the magazine publishing operations of the Society’s industry-leading news periodical, Chemical & Engineering News. Brian represents the professional publishing industry on the Board of Directors of the AAP, serving as Chair of the Board in 2014-2015.
“I am thankful that by providing valuable training and touchstones, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology focused my intellectual curiosity and honed my critical thinking skills in a fashion that prepared me well for my chosen career path,” says Dr. Crawford. I continue to admire the fine work of the devoted faculty and talented students within the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which continues to progress from strength to strength under Professor Pierre Coulombe’s leadership.”
Kathryn Zoon, BMB GRADUATE 1976, PHD PROGRAM
Kathryn completed her Ph.D. training in 1976 with John Scocca, who taught her to ask the right scientific questions and being as creative as possible in generating a plan to address them, which have helped her achieve her career goals. Currently, Kathryn holds her dream job as Scientific Director of the intramural program of the NIAID, leading one of the world’s premier immunology and infectious disease programs. Throughout her career, she has worked to support public health, a dedication that was instilled and cultivated during her training at JHSPH.
Following JHSPH, Kathryn took a fellowship at NIH with Nobel Laureate Christian B. Anfinsen performing research on human interferon. Our group was one of the first to purify a human interferon and was the first to obtain the N-terminal amino acid sequence of human interferon alpha. She then took a position at the FDA where she advanced until she was selected as the Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, a position which she held for 10 years.
“I am proud to have had my training in BMB,” says Dr. Zoon. “Thank you John Scocca and BMB.”
Robert H. Newman, BMB GRADUATE 2006, PHD PROGRAM
Rob completed the BMB PhD program in 2006 under the direction of Dr. Roger McMacken, where he used a combination of biochemical and biophysical approaches to better understand how the E. coli molecular chaperone, DnaJ, recognizes and promotes the active remodeling of the bacteriophage lambda pre-replicative complex. After graduating from BMB, Rob pursued postdoctoral training with Dr. Jin Zhang in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During his postdoc, Rob used strategies based on functional protein microarrays, bioinformatics analysis and live cell imaging to gain a systems-level view of human phosphorylation networks. Based on these studies, Rob received the A. MacGehee Harvey Award at the 2012 Johns Hopkins University Young Investigators’ Day.
Rob is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University, where he continues to study the organization and regulation of cellular signaling pathways, with a particular emphasis on phosphorylation-dependent signaling. Research in his lab is organized around two central questions: 1) which cellular proteins are phosphorylated by a given kinase under physiological conditions and 2) how the specific kinases and phosphatases—and ultimately the signaling networks of which they are a part— are regulated in the native cellular environment. While the primary focus in the lab is on ROS- and protease-mediated modulation of signaling networks involved in diabetes and the immune response, the insight that is gained through these studies is likely to be broadly applicable to a variety of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Rob is currently the lead PI on research projects funded by the NIH and NSF and was recently honored with the 2016 NC A&T Outstanding Young Investigator Award. Learn more.
ERICA HLAVIN BELL, BMB GRADUATE 2010, PHD PROGRAM
Erica completed BMB’s PhD program in 2010. She completed her doctoral project in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Miller and focused on studying the mechanisms involved in the repair of DNA interstrand cross-links, lesions that are created by environmental and some cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Her next career step took her back to her home state of Ohio with her husband Caleb. Erica immediately secured a fantastic position as a research assistant professor and Barbara Hughes Fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital.
“Cancer research has always been an intriguing field to me for both intellectual and personal reasons”, Erica says. She describes her position as managing multiple research projects, publishing scientific manuscripts, presenting research at national and international conferences, and teaching lectures on topics that pertain to her research. The goal of her research is to detect novel tumor biomarkers that correlate with treatment efficacy and survival. Knowing that the research she is doing could significantly impact the lifespan and quality of life of cancer patients is, in Erica's view, the most rewarding part of her job.
Genevieve Wortzman-Show, BMB GRADUATE 2005, PHD PROGRAM
Genevieve Wortzman-Show, was encouraged to apply to the BMB Ph.D. program as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California working in the lab of Dr. Steve Goodman, a BMB alum. Once at Hopkins, she focused on reproductive biology in Dr. Janice Evans’ lab and under her mentorship, Genevieve’s thesis studies characterized the post-fertilization changes to the mammalian egg plasma membrane that prevent polyspermy.
Genevieve graduated from BMB in 2005, and accepted a post-doctoral fellowship position in the laboratory of Dr. Jay Levy, a co-discoverer of HIV, at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. During her time in Jay’s lab, her research studying agonist-induced secretion of interferon in HIV-infected individuals received funding through a 2-year IDEA grant for innovative AIDS research.
Most of Genevieve’s career has been in diabetes therapeutic space. In March of this year, Genevieve was promoted to a Regional Director role for the Diabetes Field Medical Team, where she is leveraging her experience to lead and support a team of Medical Science Liaisons and Clinical Science Liaisons covering the states of California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Eight years prior, she left academia to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry. She has been an MSL, or the face of medical affairs, for Amylin Pharmaceuticals and later, Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. While there she enjoyed working with researchers studying new uses for existing therapies, influential endocrinologists, and decision-makers, and educating health care providers about the safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of her company’s drugs.
Genevieve is grateful to BMB faculty for the rigorous training and opportunities she received to present her research during her graduate career. As an alum, it’s her role to support the department’s leadership to ensure the next generation of scientists have the same opportunities she did.
MICHAEL HAUSER, BMB GRADUATE 1991, PHD PROGRAM
Dr. Hauser completed the BMB Ph.D. program in 1991.Under the tutelage of the late Dr. John Scocca, Hauser worked on substrate requirements in site-specific recombination as a doctoral student in the department. He continued his training with a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan and followed with a faculty position at Duke University Medical Center.
Dr. Hauser currently is an Associate Professor in the Duke Center for Human Genetics. His work there includes the investigation of the genetic basis of various diseases, with a primary focus on glaucoma. Dr. Hauser is co-principal investigator of the recently completed NEI Glaucoma Human genetics collaBORation (NEIGHBOR), which performed a genome-wide association study of more than 5500 Caucasian glaucoma cases and controls. Dr. Hauser is also using whole exome sequencing to identify mutations leading to muscular dystrophy, and has recently completed a genetic study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Genetic variants identified through these studies are being functionally analysed in zebrafish and other model systems.
SARA BEESE, BMB GRADUATE 2012, PHD PROGRAM
“I am currently a postdoc in Dr. Monica Colaiacovo’s lab in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, where I am studying the role of histone demethylases in meiosis using C. elegansas a model system. Our laboratory has found that a group of these proteins are important for proper maintenance of the germline in this model organism. I am working to develop a mechanistic understanding of the way histone methylation orchestrates crucially important chromosomal events during meiosis.”
Sara adds: “The mechanistic insight gained from this work is likely to be conserved in humans due to the considerable homology shared between the biological processes of C. elegans and mammals. BMB’s supportive and collegiate atmosphere, its wealth of scientific resources, and the structure of its graduate program helped me develop my skills as a critical thinker and scientist and prepared me well for postdoctoral training.”
NEIL B. SHAH, BMB GRADUATE 2008, MHS PROGRAM
“After JHU, I went back home for medical school where I attended the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine/Midwestern University. My master's work at Johns Hopkins was the hot topic of conversion at all my interviews and I feel that my master's work really helped distinguish me from other medical school applicants. While in medical school, BMB helped lay the foundation from which I was able to build success. At BMB I took classes like biochemistry, endocrinology, and reproductive biology which helped tremendously during medical school and the USMLE/COMLEX step 1 board exam. Looking back, I feel so blessed to have gone to school at Hopkins. I have made many amazing friends who I still keep in contact with four years later. I recently started a residency in Chicago in the field of Emergency Medicine and I recently got engaged to my college sweetheart who is a Radiology Resident. We are looking forward to our wedding next year!”
MONA REZAPOUR, BMB GRADUATE 2008, MHS PROGRAM
"My path to become a physician has been an arduous journey. I started the BMB masters program in 2006 because of a curiosity in public health that I had only partially explored during my undergraduate education. I never expected to finish the program with an immense understanding of the urgent public health issues that we face both domestically and internationally, being better prepared to enter the medical field, having a better understanding of the role I wanted to play in medicine and, most importantly, having lifelong mentors that have played a crucial role in my path to becoming a physician. After finishing my masters in Reproductive and Cancer Biology in the BMB department, I entered the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2008. I was involved in HIV/AIDS research and traveled to Nepal and Bangladesh during medical school to work in community hospitals. I just started my residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Southern California and hope to continue into a fellowship program in Gastroenterology. My dream is that my future work in medicine involves working in marginalized communities where resources are limited, whether it’s here at home or internationally."
Amandip Cheema, MB GRADUATE 2016, MHS PROGRAM
"My year at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has proven to be the most beneficial experience I have had in my academic career, to date. Beginning medical school, I did not feel very nervous, or anxious, but more excited. I credit this to the confidence that was instilled in me during my MHS year. The fast-paced program at JHSPH, prepared me very well for the rigors of medical school. Not only this, but a lot of the content we covered during the MHS year was the same material presented to me during my first semester courses. I was given a great framework to succeed, and was able to get Honors in all my first semester courses."