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Former Takiar Wise-Draper Laboratory Members


Layne Weatherford, BS,PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Layne completed his BS in biology at Michigan State University in 2011 where he worked in a potato pathology lab. Layne then went on to complete his PhD in cancer biology at Wayne State University in 2017. His dissertation focused on ATR, a protein central in the DNA damage response. He studied the roles of ATR in meiosis and cancer. Layne then went on to complete a short postdoc at Vanderbilt University where he studied the Myc oncogene.


Casey Norman

Undergraduate Student

Casey is an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati in the class of 2020. He is studying Biological Sciences with a Psychology minor. Following his undergraduate studies, Casey hopes to further his education by pursuing a career as a Physicians Assistant with a focus in Orthopedics. Casey joined the lab in June of 2018.


Sarah Palackdharry, MS

Lab Manager

Sarah obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Illinois in Chicago (2012). She then went on to complete her Masters in Biotechnology at Illinois State University (2016). During her graduate studies, Sarah focused understanding the role of phagocytic B cells in the reptilian immune system. She spent her summers trapping turtles in the Illinois River, taking blood samples, and later isolating peripheral blood mononuclear cells for downstream experiments in the lab. As lab manager of the Takiar Wise-Draper laboratory she helps to ensure the day-to-day runs smoothly. Her research focuses on mechanisms of resistance in head and neck cancer with an interest in immunology and the oncogene DEK.

Melissa Asman

Melissa Asman

Research Associate

Research Associate Melissa Asman has long been a member of the UC research community. Specializing in animal models and westerns, she assisted with preliminary in vivo radiation experiments as well as flow cytometry. She has taken another position within the University.

Hannah Heilman

Hannah Heilman

Undergraduate Student

Hannah is an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati in the Class of 2021. She will be receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics, and has a focus on primary prevention of cancer and preventative medicine. With this, she hopes to continue her education and pursue medical school. Hannah joined the lab in January of 2019.

Eejung Kim

Eejung Kim, MD, PhD

Former Internal Medicine Resident

As a University of Cincinnati, Internal Medicine resident, Eejung investigated changes in gene expression signatures following a single dose of neoadjuvant Pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1 therapy) in HNSCC patients. These samples were derived from Dr. Wise-Draper's UCCI-HN-15-01 study evaluating the role of neoadjuvant and adjuvant Pembrolizumab in locally advanced, resectable head and neck cancer. She began her fellowship at Yale in 2019.

Suchin Khanna

Chandler Robinson, BS

Research Assistant

Chandler is a 2018 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, receiving a BS in Neurobiology and a minor in Medical Sciences. For the majority of his undergraduate research experience, Chandler worked on preclinical validation of pharmacologic treatment in mouse models of Autism Spectrum Disorders, primarily Fragile X Syndrome, and worked to better understand disease pathophysiology by developing and implementing protocols for immunohistochemistry to assess aberrant protein localization and protein quantity. His research mainly focused on studying alterations in microglial dependent synaptic remodeling using the developing retinogeniculate system as a model. Chandler joined the lab in August, 2017.

Rachel Vachon

Rachel Vachon

Research Assistant

Rachel Vachon is a recent graduate of Ball State University where she majored in biology. Her time at Ball State included work with yeast genetics focusing on the ubiquitin-ligase pathway. She comes to UC from Eli Lilly where she served as cooperative learning intern in an oncology lab performing small molecule drug development.

Sulsal Haque

Sulsal Haque, MD

Former Hematology-Oncology Fellow

During his time as a Hematology-Oncology fellow, Sulsal completed a retrospective evaluation of prognostic factors at the time of salvage surgery for recurrent head and neck cancer. He subsequently designed an investigator initiated trial (IIT) evaluating the use of adjuvant Nivolumab (anti-PD-1 therapy) following salvage surgery in head and neck cancer patients under the mentorship of Drs. Wise-Draper and Takiar. He has since taken a position at Merck.

Vidhya Karivedu

Vidhya Karivedu, MD

Hematology & Oncology Fellow

Vidhya is designing a trial to evaluate the combination of PARP and PD-1 inhibition in Recurrent/Metastatic HNSCC and the effect on patients with increased tumor mutational burden and DNA Repair Defects.

Benyamin Yaniv

Benyamin Yaniv, BS

Research Assistant

Ben received his BS in Biology from the University of Cincinnati in 2015. During his undergraduate degree, he conducted his research under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Borchers studying the effects of cigarette smoke on COPD patients. After graduating, Ben joined the Takiar-Wise Draper lab in August 2016. Ben is currently evaluating patient samples from ongoing clinical trials and the role of the oncogene DEK in the immune system. He is currently attending medical school.

Contact Us

Vinita Takiar, MD, PhD
Department of Radiation Oncology
The Barrett Cancer Center
234 Goodman Street, ML 0757
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0757

Office: 513-584-1450

Trisha Wise-Draper, MD, PhD
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way, MSB Room 6065
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0557
Office: 513-558-2826