Lab Staff

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Dawn Chandler
Principal Investigator

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.

Nationwide Children's Researcher

Safiya Khurshid
Postdoctoral Fellow

Safiya's research interests include alternative splicing in childhood cancer.

Nationwide Children's Research Professional

Matias Montes
Graduate Student

Matias' research interests include RNA splicing, miRNA and cancer.

Graduated Lab Staff

Dan Comiskey

Dan studied 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 were to develop a better understanding of RNA processing and identify potential targets for therapy in splicing correction. Dan obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2016 is currently a postdoc in Dr. Albert de la Chapelle’s lab at OSU.

Catey Dominguez

Catey was enrolled in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology program at The Ohio State University and graduated with her PhD in 2016. In the Chandler Lab, she studied splicing events in Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Her project involved increasing the severity of the lab’s 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. Catey is currently a molecular epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Public Health.

Aishwarya Jacob

Aishwarya, who was enrolled in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology program (MCDB) at The Ohio State University, graduated with her PhD from Dr. Chandler's lab in 2014. Her thesis focused on understanding the mechanisms and implications of alternative splicing of the MDM2 oncogene under cellular stress and in pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma. Aishwarya performed a post doc at UC-Santa Cruz and is currently a postdoc in Dr. Chris Smith’s lab at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Eleftheria Matsa

Eleftheria studied tumorigenesis in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma and other relevant cancers. Her primary project examined 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. Eleftheria left the Chandler lab to attend medical school at The Ohio State University.

Brianne Sanford

Brianne was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab who received her PhD from Ohio State in 2014. She joined the Chandler lab to gain experience in the field of RNA splicing and cancer and to learn cell-based and in vivo techniques. Brianne worked to define mechanisms involved in alternative splicing of the insulin receptor as it relates to pediatric cancer. She is strove to define global splicing networks found to be important in response to DNA damage and cancer. Brianne is currently an Assistant Professor at Viterbo University in Wisconsin. 

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 worked as a postdoc in Dr. Tom Cooper’s lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas and is now an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaulkee, WI.

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. Jordan moved on to a postdoc with Dr. Mani Mahadevan at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and is currently a Project Specialist at the National Institutes of Health. 

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 2012 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. Tom worked as a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania in the lab of Dr. Russ Carstens.  Tom is now a biomedical consultant.

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.