Lab Staff

We are a group of highly motivated professionals, graduate and undergraduate students hailing from different academic backgrounds and scientific interests but aiming towards one common goal: developing cures for pediatric diseases and cancer.

Dawn Chandler

Dawn received a B.S. in Microbiology/Chemistry from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and a Ph.D. in genes and development from the University of Texas’ Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston Texas. She conducted post-doctoral research in human and cancer genetics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. In 2005, Dr. Chandler joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and the Center for Childhood Cancer at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and has been studying alternative splicing in pediatric diseases since that time. She is the Co-Director of the MCDB Graduate Program at OSU and Co-Director of the Office of Trainee Affairs at the Research Institute at NCH. She was awarded the Outstanding Mentor Award in 2012 and 2013.

When not pondering the intricacies of RNA splicing, Dawn enjoys hiking, kayaking, checking out live music, and spending time with her husband, Hadden, and son, Augie.

Dan Comiskey

Dan received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Western Michigan University, his Bachelor of Music in Performance from Western Michigan University and his Master of Music in Performance from Miami University. Though a musician by training, his perpetual interest in molecular biology has led him to pursue a Ph.D. in the Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Graduate Program at The Ohio State University.

Dan is currently studying the regulation of the alternative splicing of MDM2 and the role of cis and trans factors that lead to the aberrant splicing seen in many types of human cancer. The purposes of this research are to develop a better understanding of RNA processing and identify potential targets for therapy in splicing correction.

When not in the lab, Dan enjoys playing cello, traveling, scuba diving and learning foreign languages.

Catey Dominguez

Catey received her B.S. from Ohio University in Biochemistry and is currently a graduate student in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology program at The Ohio State University. Her interest in RNA splicing led her to join the Chandler Lab, where she is studying splicing events in Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Her current project involves increasing the severity of the lab’s current mild SMA mouse model to mimic the more severe cases, corresponding to human SMA Types I and II and to determine at what point treatments must occur in order to be most successful in alleviating the degenerative effects of this disease.

When Catey is not in the lab she enjoys spending time riding horses, boating, running, and cycling.

Aishwarya Jacob

Aishwarya Griselda Jacob (Aish) received her Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the PSG college of Technology in Coimbatore, India in 2008. She joined the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology program (MCDB) at The Ohio State University and graduated with her Ph.D. from Dr. Chandler's lab in 2014. Her thesis was focused on understanding the mechanisms and implications of alternative splicing of the MDM2 oncogene under cellular stress and in pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher and plans to move on to a permanent post-doc position at the University of California-Santa Cruz in the lab of Jeremy Sanford.

When she is not wielding pipettes or running gels in the lab, she loves to read novels and listen to music.

Eleftheria Matsa

Eleftheria is a research assistant currently involved with multiple lab projects relevant to tumorigenesis in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma and other relevant cancers. Her primary project examines the significance of MDM2 alternative splicing under cellular stress, as well as understanding the various characteristics of resulting isoforms and their implications in the p53 pathway.

She received her B.S. in Microbiology and B.A. in English, with Honors Research Distinction in both fields, from The Ohio State University. After completing her research with the Chandler Lab, she looks forward to starting medical school. As a doctor, she intends to specialize in pediatric care, with a particular eye towards transitioning translational research to clinical trials.

In her free time, Eleftheria enjoys hiking, rock climbing, salsa dancing, and drafting the great American novel.

Brianne Sanford

Brianne is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab who received her PhD from Ohio State in 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2008. Her background is in characterization of protein:RNA interactions involved in protein synthesis using biochemical and biophysical techniques. She joined the Chandler lab in 2014 to gain experience in the field of RNA splicing and cancer and to learn cell-based and in vivo techniques. Brianne is currently working on defining mechanisms involved in alternative splicing of the insulin receptor as it relates to pediatric cancer. She is also working on defining global splicing networks that are found to be important in response to DNA damage and cancer.

When Brianne has free time from lab she enjoys walking with her dog in the park, trying new restaurants and ice cream eateries around town with her husband, and fishing with her family in Wisconsin.

Graduated Lab Staff

Axia Tapia

Aixa S. Tapia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and obtained a BA in Applied Microbiology from Universidad del Este, PR.  Aixa joined Chandler lab after relocating to Columbus to pursue a doctoral degree with Ohio State’s MCDB program, and graduated in 2011.  In her time in Chandler lab, Aixa focused on understanding the alternative splicing mechanism of the MDM2 pre-mRNA molecule under genotoxic stress, along with identifying and characterizing the cis and trans factors that might play a role in this process that relates to several types of human cancers.

Ravi Singh

Ravi received his Bachelor and Graduate degrees in India, before coming to Columbus.  Ravi graduated with a Ph.D from Chandler Lab, and the Ohio State University’s MCDB program in 2009.  His research at Nationwide Children’s in Chandler Lab involved trying to better understand the global signaling affecting regulation of RNA processing factors through the identification of the minimal cis elements and trans factors that bind to MDM2 pre-mRNA and regulate alternative splicing in response to stress. Ravi is currently performing postdoctoral research in the Cooper Lab at Baylor College of Medicine.

Jordan Gladman

Jordan Gladman graduated from the Integrated Biomedical Science Program with The Ohio State University in the summer of 2010. His thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Dawn S. Chandler consisted of researching the pediatric disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  Jordan generated a new mouse model of SMA and uncovered the factors that influence the mRNA splicing of the Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) gene. Jordan published three during his graduate studies, and is currently performing post-doctoral research studying myotonic dystrophy in the Mahadevan lab at the University of Virginia.

Ryan Rauck

Ryan graduated from Johns Hopkins with his B.S. and is currently attending Medical School at OSU.

Chase Meacham

Chase graduated from St. Charles Preparatory School and is attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Kristi Akehurst

Kristi received a B.S. in Zoology from The Ohio State University and subsequently worked as a technician in the Chandler Lab.   She maintained the mouse colony and assisted with both the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and MDM2 mouse models with graduate students Tom Bebee and Aishwarya Jacob. Kristi is currently a Nurse at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Tom Bebee

Tom is a graduate of the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Graduate Program at The Ohio State University and of the Chandler Lab. His major project in lab was the development of an inducible mouse model to determine the timing of SMN replacement in mouse models of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Tom also worked on the molecular significance of reduced SMN on splicing in response to hypoxia and its functional significance for disease.  He is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Russ Carstens at U Penn.

Mark Serpico

Mark was and undergraduate research volunteer in the Chandler Lab.  He is a graduate of the Microbiology Program of The Ohio State University.