The Dawson Lab

Members

David Dawson, M.D., Ph.D.
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Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Associate Director, UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program
Associate Vice Chair of Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
 

David Dawson is a basic/translational research scientist with a focused interest in pancreatic cancer, as well as a practicing surgical pathologist. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as well as the Associate Director for the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program.

Dr. Dawson received his B.S. degree from Duke University in 1991 and his MD/PhD degrees from Northwestern University MSTP in 1999, where he worked under Dr. Noel Bouck in the Department of Micrbiology-Biology studying angiogenesis. After completing a residency in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship training in Gastrointestinal Pathology at UCLA in 2002, he joined the UCLA Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine as a clinical instructor and postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Teitell. From 2002 to 2006 he was a combined clinical instructor in surgical pathology and postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Pathology at UCLA, where he worked on epigenetics and lymphomagenesis. He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. His laboratory explores molecular and biochemical signaling events involved pancreatic tumor progression, as well as the development of improved diagnostic and predictive biomarkers for clinical decision-making.

Current Postdoctoral Fellows

Kristina Aguilera, Ph.D.
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Kristina is currently a postdoctoral researcher in UCLA’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2015 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas working with Dr. Rolf Brekken in the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology in the department of Cancer Biology. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2010 with a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry. She worked for the biotech company BerGenBio ASA in Bergen, Norway as a research scientist (2015-2017) of cancer therapeutics before joining the Dawson lab.

Complete List of Published Work: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Aguilera+KY[Author]

Current Graduate Students

Katie Kershaw
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Katie is currently a graduate student in UCLA’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She came to UCLA under the ACCESS program, the predecessor to UCLA’s Graduate Programs in Bioscience. She graduated from Santa Clara University (SCU) with a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She went on to work for Stanford Research Institute’s Immunology department before joining the Dawson Lab in 2013. Currently Katie is researching the roles of TCF7L1 in pancreatic cancer.

Former Graduate Students

Michael Arensman, Ph.D.
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Michael joined the Dawson Lab in 2011 under UCLA's ACCESS program and received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pathology in 2015. While in the Dawson Lab, Michael studied the role of WNT7B in autocrine Wnt/β-catenin signaling and the effects of ICG-001 and calcipotriol in pancreatic cancer. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at Pfizer investgating the effects of autophagy manipulation in tumor cells on the immune response to cancer.

Current Undergraduate Students:

Edris Saadat
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Edris joined the Dawson Lab in 2017. He is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology (MCDB) at UCLA. He plans on pursuing graduate school and a career that involves research.

 

Former Summer Students (Amgen Scholars):

Rachel Sabol
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Rachel was a summer student through the Amgen Scholars Program and researches alterations of lipid metabolism in pancreatic cancer. She majored in Biology at University of New Hampshire and has recently been accepted to Case Western Reserve University for graduate school in their Biomedical Sciences Training Program. During her stint in the lab, Rachel researched the effects of various lipid metabolism drugs on TCF7L1.

Claire Ostertag-Hill
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Claire was a summer student through the Amgen Scholars Program and researched the effects of calcipotriol in pancreatic cancer. She graduated from Oregon State University with a BS in Biology and a BA in International Studies in 2015 and is attending Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.

Former Undergraduate Students:

Bridgette Ho
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Bridgette joined the Dawson Lab in 2015. She is currently majoring in Bioengineering at UCLA with plans to attend medical school.

Missael Vasquez
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Missael joined the Dawson Lab in 2015. He is currently majoring in Biochemistry at UCLA with plans to attend dental school.

Philip Nguyen
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Philip joined the Dawson Lab in 2014 as an undergraduate researcher. He has since graduated from UCLA with a BS in Biochemistry in 2015 and is currently at Cornell University in the Department of Biochemistry. While at the Dawson Lab, he studied the roles of SUMOylation in pancreatic cancer.

Carla Wohlforth
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Carla joined the Dawson Lab in 2012 as an undergraduate researcher. She has since graduated from UCLA with a BS in Psychobiology. During her time in the Dawson Lab, she studied the role of WNT7B.

 

Current Staff

 

Anna Rose Lay
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Anna joined the Dawson Lab in 2011 and is currently a research associate and the laboratory manager. She received her BS in Biochemistry at UCLA, where she worked on creating phylogenies of the Canidae family in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Former Staff

Anne Nguyen-Kovochich
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