Lab Members

Brandon Pierce (PI) is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago and a Member of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center.   His undergraduate and Masters training was done at Washington University in St. Louis, and his doctoral training was completed at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Meytal Chernoff is an MD/PhD student in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She completed her Undergraduate Studies at Washington University in St. Louis in Anthropology and Biology with a minor in English and is pursuing her MD at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Her research interests  include tissue-specific genetic influences of telomere length, the genetic mechanisms underlying arsenic metabolism efficiency in diverse human populations, and the influence of ancestry on epigenetic patterns in the prostate tissue of prostate cancer patients.

Lizeth Tamayo is a PhD student in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She completed her Undergraduate studies at Augustana College in Biochemistry and French and her Masters in Public Heath with a concentration in Epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is interested in addressing health disparities and high risk populations through the interweaving of genetic epidemiology with socio-behavioral research.

James Li is an MD/PhD student in the Department of Public Health Sciences. He completed his undergraduate studies in Microbiology at The Ohio State University. His research interests include the impact of arsenic exposure and aging on the DNA methylome and the genetic epidemiology of breast cancer. He is currently a member of the UChicago Piano Program.

Niyati Jain is a PhD student in the Committee on Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biology at Imperial College London and Masters in Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research interests include genetic mechanisms underlying arsenic toxicity and the mutagenic impact of arsenic in human cancers.

Lin Tong (Biostatistician)


Past Members

Meritxell Oliva (postdoctoral scholar 2019-2021) focused on identifying methylation QTLs in diverse tissue types and linking those to susceptibility for human diseases and traits.  Meri is current at AbbVie pharmaceuticals.

Dayana Delgado (PhD student in Public Health Sciences 2016-2021) is a Translational Scientist at Tempus Labs, Inc.  Her dissertation work focused on rare variant effects on arsenic metabolism and methylation QTLs related to prostate cancer risk.

Kathryn Demanelis (post-doctoral 2017-2020) is now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her work in our group focused on biomarkers of aging and characterizing (1) their variability across tissue types and (2) their relationships  with exposures and disease phenotypes.

Chenan Zhang (PhD student 2013-2016) earned her PhD in 2016.  After completing her post-doc at UCSF, she is now a Cancer Epidemiologist at Syapse in San Francisco.  Her dissertation work investigated the genetic and environmental determinants of telomere length and the role of telomere length as a prospective biomarker of cancer risk.

Rick Jansen (post-doc 2014-2015) is now an Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University

Jianjun Gao (Data Analyst 2012-2014) is currently a Bioinformatics Scientist at Denovo Biopharma

Samantha Dean (Undergraduate Research Assistant 2016-2018) is currently a doctoral student studying epidemiology at Yale University.

Anthony DiGiovanni (Undergraduate Rsearch Assistant 2018-2019) is currently a doctoral student studying statistics at the University of Michigan