Current Lab Members

Elizabeth Lawlor, MD, PhDlawlor_headshot_jpeg2.jpg

Russell G. Adderley Professor of Pediatric Oncology
Associate Director for Education & Training, University     of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
Director, Cancer Biology PhD Program
Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and             Pathology University of Michigan

Phone: (734) 615-4405
Office: NCRC building 520, Room 1352

Dr. Lawlor received her M.D. from McMaster in 1989 and her PhD in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine from UBC in 2002. She completed clinical training in Pediatrics, at CHEO, and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship, at BC Children’s. She then pursued post-doctoral research training at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lawlor began her independent lab at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/University of Southern California in 2004, and since 2010 has been at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Hobbies: Hiking, travel, cats, good food & wine


Elise Pfaltzgraff, PhD13189.jpeg

Postdoctoral fellow,  

 Elise received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Lawrence University and graduated with a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Vanderbilt University. Elise studied neural crest and heart development as a graduate student and postdoc before she joined the Lawlor lab in 2017. She is specifically interested in the developmental origins of Ewing sarcoma and what conditions make certain progenitor cells permissive to EWS-FLI1 transformation. Elise is also passionate about STEM education and spends part of her time working as Education Coordinator for the Rogel Cancer Center working with trainees and the community to improve the future of cancer care and research.

Hobbies: Elise enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter on their farm.


Ramón Ocadiz Ruiz, PhDLab Pics 5-21-6.jpg

Postdoctoral fellow, Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology

Ramón obtained a Masters and PhD in Molecular Pathology from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav, Mexico) studying virulence factors of E. histolytica. He then worked at the University of Michigan as a postdoc studying the role of ZBP-89 in colon cancer in the Merchant’s Lab. He is currently in Dr. Lawlor’s group and is interested in understanding how Menin contributes in the development and maintenance of Ewing sarcoma.

Hobbies: outdoor activities with my daughter and wife, soccer, travel, photography and music


Kelsey Temprine

Postdoctoral fellow, Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology

Kelsey received her bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin before spending a year as a post-baccalaureate IRTA trainee in Dr. Hari Shroff’s super-resolution microscopy lab at the National Institutes of Health. She then received a PhD in Cancer Biology from the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. There Kelsey studied the role of stress-induced mutagenesis in tumor progression and drug resistance using human melanoma cell lines and a zebrafish model of melanoma. Her current work in the lab focuses on understanding how interactions between the tumor and bone microenvironment promote a more aggressive phenotype in Ewing sarcoma.

Hobbies: crocheting, baking, science outreach, volleyball, and ice cream

Allegra HawkinsIMG_9794.JPG

Graduate Student, Cancer Biology

Ally completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Lawlor lab in 2014. She is completing a PhD in the Cancer Biology Doctoral Program and M.S. in Bioinformatics. Her work in the lab focuses on understanding the role of Wnt/beta-catenin in dictating tumor: tumor microenvironment interactions to promote metastasis in Ewing sarcoma. 

Hobbies: She skated for the University of Michigan Synchronized Skating Team, ice cream expert.


April ApfelbaumLab website.jpg

Graduate Student, Cancer Biology

April completed her bachelor’s at Beloit College, WI and received a degree in Cellular, Molecular, and Integrative Biology. She is currently in the Cancer Biology Program at the University of Michigan in the lab of Beth Lawlor. Her research focuses on understanding how hijacking of normal developmental pathways lead to oncogenesis in Ewing Sarcoma (ES). She is interested in the role of the posterior HOX genes, specifically HOXD13, in ES and how they promote tumorigenicity.

Hobbies: Crocheting, Biking, Snowboarding, and being around animals


Jennifer JiménezIMG_6787.JPG

Graduate Student, Cancer Biology

Jennifer graduated from Oberlin College in 2017 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She joined the Lawlor lab in 2018 and is completing her PhD in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program as a Rackham Merit Fellow. Her research focuses on understanding the metabolic reprograming that occurs in Ewing sarcoma to promote tumorigenicity. She is specifically interested in the scaffolding protein menin, and its role in the activation of the serine biosynthetic pathway (SSP), a critical metabolic pathway that’s aberrantly activated in many cancers.

Hobbies: Latin dance, cooking, running, and exploring new places.


Sudha SudIMG_4863

Lab Manager

Sudha loves doing research and has been since 1989. She currently is the lab manager for the Lawlor Lab. She enjoys working with the dynamic group of people and making sure the work in the lab goes smoothly. She trains students and loves to see them grow. 

Hobbies: When she is not working she likes to go for long walks and have fun with family and friends. 


Wei Jiang, PhDIMG_4865

Research Lab Specialist, Senior

Wei received her bachelors and master’s degree in engineering in China and then pursued her PhD in Australia studying the interaction of protein and affinity ligands. Then, driven by the urge to connect her basic research to the “real life”, she moved to the field of translational cancer research in the USA. She is currently in charge of the in vivo studies on the mechanisms of Ewing sarcoma tumorigenesis and metastasis in Lawlor lab.

Hobbies: Her hobby is cooking since she likes making food for her family and friends.  In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, and spends alone time reading, crafting, and making jewelry.


My profile pic.jpgTahra (Luther) Suhan, MS

Research Lab Specialist, Intermediate

Tahra received her BS in Zoology from Michigan State University and her MS in Molecular Cellular and Development Biology from the University of Michigan.  She worked at the University of Michigan with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM), after which she was recruited to serve as the Assistant Program Manager of Dr. Max Wicha’s cancer stem cell research laboratory at the University of Michigan. She was then recruited as lab manager to Dr. Cliff Cho’s cancer immunotherapy lab and  now enjoys continuing her research career in the Lawlor lab focusing on in vivo studies on the mechanisms of Ewing sarcoma tumorigenesis and metastasis.

Hobbies: volunteering, spending time with her hubby Dan and sweet fur baby Cedella (a little Schipperke), hanging out with family and friends, movies, reading.


Lab photo.jpgAbhijay Kumar
Research Technician

Abhi graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 with a BS in Molecular & Cellular Biology and a minor in Spanish. His research in the Lawlor lab focuses on the role of menin, a scaffolding protein, in the development and maintenance of Ewing sarcoma.

Hobbies: Photography, spy movies, obsessing over corgis and spending time with friends and family.


Sydney Treichel tempimageforsave1.jpg


Sydney is pursuing a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in music anticipated in April 2019. In the lab, she is investigating the role of Wnt and TGF-beta in promoting Ewing sarcoma metastasis.

Hobbies: playing tuba in the Michigan Marching Band, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends


Andrew KassaIMG_5721.jpg


Andrew is entering his junior year pursuing a B.S. in Biology, Health, and Society and a B.S. in Spanish. In the lab he contributes to investigating the role of posterior HOX genes in Ewing Sarcoma tumorigenesis. 

Hobbies: Spend time with friends and family, participate in student organizations, run , and cook. 


Sonja Konzen23622386_1812769775417437_4210219056001952829_n.jpg


Sonja is pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience anticipated in April 2020. In the lab, she is investigating the role of Wnt and TGF-beta in promoting Ewing sarcoma metastasis. 

Hobbies: Sonja is a member of the University of Michigan Synchronized Skating Team and the Water Ski Team. She also loves to cross country ski and snowboard.



Past Lab Members

Laurie Svoboda, PhDlmyrant.jpg

Laurie is currently a Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.





Beth Pedersen, MD, PhD


MSTP Student, Pathology

Beth worked on the Wnt signaling pathway and its contribution to Ewing sarcoma pathogenesis, with a particular focus on the heterogeneous nature of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and the interactions between Wnt signaling and EWS/ETS fusion proteins.

Beth is currently starting her Dermatology residency at the University of Michigan.

Hobbies: Fly fishing, wine, amateur botany



Melanie Krook, PhDIMG_9194_MElanie.jpg

Graduate Student, Cancer Biology

Melanie is currently working as a post-doc at Ohio State.





Katherine Ryland, PhD


Graduate Student, Pharmacology

Katherine is currently working at Jannsen Pharmaceuticals.






Natashay BaileyIMG_9131_Shay.jpg

Laboratory Technician






Ashley Harris, MSIMG_9135_Ash.jpg

Lab Manager





Raelene Van Noord, MSIMG_9190_Raelene-001.jpg

Lab Manager

Raelene currently works at the University of Michigan doing work with Clinical Trials.





Jack Mosher, PhDIMG_9188_Jack.jpg

Associate Research Scientist