Leach Lab Members

 Bidyut Ghosh, Ph.D

Bidyut Ghosh received his Ph.D. degree from Calcutta University, Calcutta, India and did his post-doctoral training at Medical University Of South Carolina, SC and Yale University, CT before joining Steven Leach’s lab as a faculty in 2001. His research interests include interaction between Notch signaling and pancreatic transcription factor (Ptf1a ) in pancreatic cancer and development. Ghosh is also interested in microRNA regulation of pancreas development. Ghosh and other Leach lab member’s  have identified stage specific microRNAs in mouse developing pancreas  through the combination of microarrays and quantitative RT-PCR techniques and currently we are analyzing the functions of each of these microRNAs by loss of function and gain of function studies.

Meritxell Rovira Clusellas

Meritxell Rovira Clusellas is a post doc for the Leach Lab.  Originally from Barcelona,Spain; Meritxell received her Bachelor degree at University of Spain.  She received her PhD from University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona Spain.  Her research interests are pancreatic development and cancer and stem cell research.

Megan Cleveland

Megan Cleveland is a graduate student in the Human Genetics Pre Doctoral Training Program. She is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2007 from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.  She joined the Leach Lab in March 2008 and is currently studying the epigenetic regulation of pancreas development.

Shu Liu

Shu graduated with B.S. in Biochemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from University of Illinois at Chicago. After her first postdoc fellowship with Dr. Andrei Gudkov in Cleveland Clinic, Shu joined Dr. Leach’s lab in the summer of 2007. Shu’s main interest is in developing zebrafish models for pancreatic cancer. Currently she is using transgenic fish to study the role of human KRAS mutant in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer.

Hiroki Matsuda

Hiroki Matsuda is a research fellow for the Leach Lab.  Originally from Japan, Hiroki received his PhD at Tohoku University.  His research interests are pancreatic development and regeneration.

Hirak Biswas

Hirak Biswas is a full time graduate student (M.S. Biotechnology) at the JHU Homewood Campus. He started with this program in Fall 2008 and expects to graduate in Spring 2010. Hirak has completed his B.Sc and M.Sc in Biotechnology from University of Mumbai, India and also holds a diploma in Industrial Chemistry.

In India, he has worked on two research projects on thermostable enzymes and marine biofouling. The latter has been published and has won a national prize.  Hirak has some research experience in tumor immunology. His current project is titled: Global Transcriptional Profiling of the Mouse Pancreas. He is hoping to fully characterize all the major subpopulations of acinar and duct cells in the pancreas.  Hirak plans to attend graduate school for his PhD and work towards finding novel therapeutics for cancer.

Sherri-Gae Scott

Dani Blake

Danielle Blake is the Leach lab’s Lab Manager.  From New Orleans, she received a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University.  She studied otolith formation in zebrafish at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her MS in Molecular and Integrative Physiology.  With the Leach lab she has been happy to provide support for its’ members and their mouse colon.

Jennifer Bailey- Lundberg

Jennifer is devoted to translational research and the application of basic science to the clinic. In her pre-doctoral research, she studied the role of miRNAs, inflammation, the tumor microenvironment and aberrantly activated developmental programs (e.g. Sonic Hedgehog) in the progression of pancreatic cancer.  Jennifer is now studying the initiating cell types in pancreatic cancer using transgenic mouse models and technologies to study gene expression in single cells. Her long-term goal is to develop diagnostic and therapeutic applications for pancreatic cancer from these discoveries.


 2004-2009     Eppley Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE Cancer Research Graduate Program (Ph.D.)

                        Tumor-Stromal Interactions Mediated by Paracrine Hedgehog Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer

2002-2004     University of Nebraska-Omaha, Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biology.

Structural Determinants of Virulence in the RNA Genome of CoxsackievirusB3

 1998-2002     University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biological Sciences

 Zhuo Li

Zhou Li is a visiting graduate student from Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, China.  She is participating as a research trainee in the Leach Lab.  Zhuo attended China Medical University where she completed her Bachelor of Medicine.  Her research interests are pancreatic cancer and pancreatic stem cell research.

Joon Tae Park

Elayne Provost

1998 B.S. Hope College, Holland, MI

2004 PhD Molecular Medicine, Yale University, Hamden, CT

Elayne Provost grew up in Michigan. She studies the role of ptf1a in pancreas development.  One goal of her project is identifying novel transcriptional targets of Ptf1a during pancreatic organogenesis.  Additionally, Elayne is studying post-translational regulation of Ptf1a to better understand its dynamic regulation during development.  Finally, she is interested in diseases of the pancreas.  Currently, Elayne is evaluating the role of the Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome gene, sbds, during normal pancreas development.  She uses both in vitro molecular biology and in vivo approaches in the zebrafish to conduct these studies.