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Scientific Team


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Scientific Team


Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon, Ph.D. ~ Principal Investigator
Scott was born in Ottawa, Canada. He completed a Ph.D. in medical genetics with Peter Roy studying worm neuromuscular development (University of Toronto, 2007).  As a postdoc, he investigated yeast genetic interaction networks with Charlie Boone (University of Toronto, 2007-2008), and then cell death with Brent Stockwell (Columbia University, 2008-2013).  Scott opened his lab at Stanford in 2014, and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. He is affiliated with the ChEM-H initiative, the Chemical/Biology Interface predoctoral training program, and the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. He currently teaches the undergraduate Biochemistry & Molecular Biology foundation course (BIO83) with Or Gozani and Judith Frydman. In the lab, Scott enjoys helping out a bit with every project. Outside the lab, Scott consults for biotech and pharmaceutical companies interested in cell death.


Leslie Magtanong

Leslie Magtanong

Leslie Magtanong, Ph.D. ~ Research Associate
Leslie obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Queen's University and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto.  She joined the Dixon lab as a Research Associate following postdoctoral studies with Bill Jacobs at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In the Dixon lab, Leslie has investigated the regulation of ferroptosis by exogenous monounsaturated fatty acids, and co-authored our paper on p53 and ferroptosis, our work on MRP1 and ferroptosis, and a review on the role of lipid metabolism in non-apoptotic cell death. Leslie was the primary mentor for former Stanford undergrad Alexis Kahanu, now a medical school student at Tufts.


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Joan Ritho, Ph.D. ~ Postdoctoral fellow
Joan obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Simpson College and completed her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The focus of her previous work was on the regulation of AMPK function by SUMO modification, and the involvement of complex II dysfunction in oxidative cancer cell death. Joan’s current interests center on how cancer cell growth and survival is regulated by changes in intracellular metabolism and protein post-translational modification.


Amy Tarangelo

Amy Tarangelo

Amy Tarangelo, B.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Cancer Biology Program)
Amy holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Biology and Visual Studies and, before enrolling at Stanford, worked studied the function of the tumor suppressor Rb in human and mouse cancer models. Amy's Ph.D. thesis project concerns the regulation of ferroptosis by the p53 pathway. Her work has won presentation prizes at the 2016 Stanford Cancer Biology retreat and the 2017 Fusion Cell Death and Metabolism meeting in Cancun, Mexico, and her first paper on p53 and ferroptosis was published in 2018. Amy also co-authored our study of monounsaturated fatty acids and ferroptosis, and a News & Views on iron and cancer cell death. Amy mentored Stanford VPUE undergrad Carson Poltorack (2016), SSRP summer student Myshal Morris (2017), and most recently our High School student Edo Biluar (2018). Amy has supported her work with a Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF), an F31 predoctoral fellowship from the NIH/NCI and most recently a highly competitive F99/K00 award which will fund the remainder of her graduate studies and the first few years of her postdoctoral work.


Pin-Joe Ko

Pin-Joe Ko

Pin-Joe Ko, B.A. ~ Graduate Student (Department of Biology)
Pin-Joe obtained a B.A. in Biology from Columbia University, where he was an I.I. Rabi Scholar. In the Dixon lab, Pin-Joe is investigating the regulation of cell death by lipid metabolism and especially protein palmitoylation. His work in this area was recently posted online. Pin-Joe also co-authored our study of monounsaturated fatty acids and ferroptosis, and reviewed the connection between protein palmitoylation and cancer and more generally links between lipid metabolism in cell death. Pin-Joe's work garnered a prize for best poster at the 2016 Stanford Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Symposium, and his PhD thesis was awarded the 2019 Yanofsky Prize in Molecular Biology, which goes to the most outstanding graduate student working in this field. Pin-Joe was the primary mentor for Stanford undergrad Claire Woodrow (2016 VPUE summer student, Bio 199 student, etc), and also was recognized in 2019 for his many contributions to the Biology Department, including organization of the graduate student seminar series and the 2018 Department Retreat.


Zintis Inde

Zintis Inde

Zintis Inde, B.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Cancer Biology Program)
Zintis graduated from Brown University with a B.Sc. in Biology.  Prior to joining the Cancer Biology Program at Stanford, Zintis worked for two years in the Greengard lab at Rockefeller University, studying the cellular and molecular features of depression. For his Ph.D. thesis, Zintis is studying cell death in response to metabolic perturbations at the single-cell level. Zintis was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his work in the the lab. His preliminary work won a presentation prize at the 2017 Stanford Cancer Biology retreat. In 2018, Zintis published a comprehensive review on the impact of non-genetic heterogeneity on drug-induced cancer cell death.  In addition to his own experiments, Zintis has mentored Stanford undergrad and 2017 VPUE summer student Kyle Denton. Outside the lab, Zintis is past-president of the Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA).


Giovanni Forcina

Giovanni Forcina

Giovanni Forcina, B.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Biology, Chemical Biology Interface program), joint with Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry)
Giovanni completed his B.Sc. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University.  As an undergraduate with Scott Strobel, Giovanni isolated and characterized a number of new fungal species and natural products from the Ecuadorian rainforest. He then worked as a technician in the Dixon laboratory for two years, and was first author on our study describing scalable time-lapse analysis of cell death kinetics. Gio then joined the Dixon and Bertozzi labs as a joint graduate student as part of the Department of Biology and also the Chemical/Biology Interface training program. As a Ph.D. student Gio is investigating the regulation of cell death by protein glycosylation. To date, he co-authored our study of monounsaturated fatty acids and ferroptosis, and a review of the role of GPX4 in ferroptosis. His work in the Dixon and Bertozzi labs is supported by a Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) and a Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 


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David Armenta, B.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Biology)
David holds a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard. As an undergraduate researcher in Andrew Murray's lab he studied the impact of genetic instability on the evolution of S. cerevisiae. In 2015, as a summer intern at the Natural History Museum of London he helped transcribe the letter of the early evolutionary biologist Alfred Russell Wallace.  For his Ph.D. thesis research he is interested in understanding the relationship between cancer cell nutrient uptake and survival, and was recently invited to given an oral presentation about his preliminary findings at the 2019 Fusion Cell Death, Cell Stress and Metabolism conference. David has also won Excellence in Teaching Awards in both 2018 and 2019, for his outstanding contributions as a teaching assistant in the Department.


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Jason Rodencal, M.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Cancer Biology)
Jason received a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of South Florida. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2015 to study Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Leicester in England, where he earned an M.Sc. In Leicester, Jason worked in the laboratory of Dr. Salvador Macip and conducted his thesis research on the impact of physiological oxygen tensions and reactive oxygen species on senescence induced by p53, p21, and p16. After completing his thesis, Jason worked as a Research Associate for one year in the laboratory of Dr. Elsa Flores at Moffitt Cancer Center, studying the role of TAp63-induced microRNA in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. For his Ph.D. thesis research, Jason is investigating the regulation of cell death by the p53 pathway.

 


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Lauren Pope, B.Sc. ~ Graduate Student (Biology)
Lauren was a Centennial Scholar at James Madison University, where she earned her B.S. in Biology in 2017. While at JMU, she studied the biochemical structure and function of starch degrading enzymes in the model plant Arabidopsis. Lauren was a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow for the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2017 and completed an internship at Corteva Agrisciences before starting graduate school at Stanford in 2018. Lauren’s Ph.D. thesis project concerns the regulation of non-apoptotic cell death, and this work is supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awarded in 2019.


Carson Poltorack

Carson Poltorack

Carson Poltorack, B.Sc. ~ Research Assistant
Carson is a recent graduate from the Biology program at Stanford with interests in cancer biology and non-apoptotic cell death. He first joined the lab in 2016 as a VPUE summer student and has continued on since then in the school year as a BIO 199 student and in the summer with the support of a Major grant (2017) and of Bio-X (2018). His senior thesis was recently awarded the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, which recognizes the top ten percent of all honors theses in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences. Carson was mentored in the past by Amy Tarangelo and Megan Conlon, and is currently studying how amino acid metabolism regulates cell death.


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Julie Lee ~ Undergraduate Researcher
Julie is a sophomore with interest in protein biochemistry and cell death. She joined the Dixon lab as a B-SUPRS summer researcher in 2018 and has continued working in the lab into 2019. Her research focus is on the post-translational regulation of ferroptosis. She is mentored primarily by Giovanni Forcina.


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Grace Mueller ~ Undergraduate Researcher
Grace is a rising junior majoring in biology with interests in the biochemical regulation of cell death. She joined the Dixon lab in 2019 as a BSURPS summer researcher and is mentored primarily by David Armenta and Leslie Magtanong.


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Lab Support
The Dixon Lab is supported by the outstanding efforts of our shared administrative assistant, Janet Elder, and our shared Laboratory Technician, Marcela Gona-Nogueira.


Former lab members

Postdocs:
Jennifer Cao, Ph.D.
Jen was the first postdoc to join the Dixon lab and her main paper on MRP1, glutathione and ferroptosis was published recently. Jen also co-authored our study of monounsaturated fatty acids and ferroptosis, and our scalable time-lapse analysis of cell death kinetics paper. Jen also published a review of ferroptosis and co-authored a study from the Carette lab at Stanford investigating the regulation of necroptosis. Additionally, Jen mentored Stanford undergrads Daisy McKim and Trevor Mileur, as well as Aunoy Poddar, a high school student and subsequent visiting summer student. Jen is currently working as a senior scientist at Pharmacyclics in Sunnyvale.

Graduate students:
Megan Conlon, Ph.D. Megan was the first graduate student to join the Dixon lab and received her Ph.D. in 2018. Her project focused on the biochemical regulation of ferroptosis, and her main paper on this subject is forthcoming. Megan also published a commentary on ferroptosis in plants and co-authored our study describing scalable time-lapse analysis of cell death kinetics. During her time in the lab, Megan mentored Stanford undergrad Carson Poltorack and also filled various posts in the Stanford Bioscience Student Association and the Stanford Graduate Student Council. Megan is currently working at Prellis Biologics, a Bay Area biotechnology start-up.

Undergraduates:
Kyle Denton,
2017 VPUE summer undergraduate, Bio 199 2017, summer researcher 2018.
Claire Woodrow, 2016 VPUE summer student, Bio 199 2016-2018, summer researcher 2018.
Myshal Morris, 2017 SSRP summer student from Langston University.
Trevor Mileur, ChEM-H undergraduate researcher 2016. Trevor co-authored our study linking MRP1 expression and glutathione efflux to ferroptosis sensitivity. Trevor did a lot of the CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis in this paper.
Andrew Chen, Bio 199 student 2015-2016.
Alex Wells, VPUE summer student 2014, Bio 199 student 2014-2016. Alex a co-author on our study describing scalable time-lapse analysis of cell death kinetics. Alex developed the entire computational pipeline making the analysis of data in the paper possible. 
Alexis Kahanu, Bio 199 student 2014-2015, Bio-X summer student 2015.
Daisy McKim, Bio 199 student 2014-2015, VPUE summer student 2015.
Kristina Bassi, Summer student 2014.

High School Students:
Aunoy Poddar, Volunteer student 2014-2015. (Columbia University, Rabi Scholar). Aunoy is co-author on our paper about the regulation of ferroptosis by MRP1 and glutathione efflux. Aunoy did many of the Westerns for this paper.