Lab Members

Kimberley J. Evason

Assistant Professor (Clinical)
kimberley.evason@hci.utah.edu

Kimberley J. Evason, MD, PhD joined the University of Utah in January 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and an Investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in the Department of Oncological Sciences.  Kim is a physician-scientist whose research and clinical interests are centered on gastrointestinal (GI) and liver pathology.  She is particularly interested in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of malignant tumor that originates in the liver and a leading cause of cancer-related death.

One reason HCC is particularly deadly is the lack of effective treatments, especially for advanced disease, which is when most tumors are diagnosed. Kim’s research focuses on investigating molecular pathways and identifying drugs that influence liver tumorigenesis.  Kim uses a variety of experimental approaches including zebrafish models.

Kim completed the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) at Washington University in St. Louis in 2007.  She did residency and fellowship training in anatomic and liver/GI pathology at UCSF, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship, mentored by Didier Stainier, Andrei Goga, and J. Michael Bishop.

Gabriel DeNiro

Gabriel DeNiro

Undergraduate Student

u0940042@utah.edu

Gabriel is an undergrad here at the University of Utah, doing his BS in Cell & Molecular Biology. Before joining the Evason lab he previously worked in several other labs across the Utah campus. This includes projects associated with autophagy in mice, vascular function in human heart tissue, synaptic vesicle fusion in c. elegans, mitochondrial dysfunction in yeast, and tumor suppression in several bacterial and archaeal species. He has also worked on several Phase 1 & 3 clinical drug trials as a lab tech at PRA Health sciences. In the Evason lab he studies cellular targets that regulate liver size in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Originally from southern California, Gabriel enjoys going to the gym and travelling.

Lance Graham

Lance Graham

Zebrafish Facility Manager
lance.graham@hci.utah.edu

Lance received his B.S. in from Winthrop University in South Carolina. He majored in biology with an emphasis in environmental sciences. After graduating he and his fiancé moved to Utah while she pursues her PhD.  In the lab, Lance is responsible for management of the fish facility, which includes all aspects of zebrafish husbandry and system maintenance.

Lance was born and raised in South Carolina before moving out to Salt Lake City. In his free time, Lance is most likely with his dogs, hiking, or volunteering his time at the zoo.

Cody James

Cody James

Fish Room Manager

Cody is a native of SLC, Utah and an undergraduate at the University of Utah pursuing his BA in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He has worked in a variety of zebrafish labs at HCI throughout his undergraduate career before managing the fish facility. Cody is passionate about all things fish and would like to continue his education in aquatic fisheries. In the lab, Cody is responsible for management of the fish facility, which includes all aspects of zebrafish husbandry and system maintenance. When Cody is not in the lab, he can be found on a high mountain stream fly fishing for trout or stalking upland game. He is currently training his pup, Porter, to be an avid gun dog.

Sharanya Maanasi Kalasekar

Sharanya Maanasi Kalasekar

sharanya.kalasekar@hci.utah.edu

Sharanya received her PhD from the University of Houston, where she focused on developing zebrafish-based screening models for evaluating chemical toxicity, and mechanisms of toxicant-induced endocrine disruption and metabolic disease. She then pursued a postdoctoral position at Arizona State University, where she trained in CRISPR and stem cell technologies. In our lab, Sharanya explores potential therapies for our zebrafish models of HCC. When not in the lab, Sharanya enjoys hiking, a good book/movie, or exploring local culture.

Srishti Kotiyal

Srishti Kotiyal

Graduate Student

Srishti received her Bachelor of Technology degree in Biotechnology from India, during which she worked on a research project aimed at developing bio-pesticides from plant sources. Post-undergrad, she worked as Technical Project Assistant on an industry-funded microbiology project and completed an internship at a biotech startup developing cancer predisposition testing kits.

Cancer biology always piqued her interest and during her under-grad, she published peer-reviewed journal articles on EMT, cancer stem cells, and metastasis. She joined the Molecular Biology Graduate program at the University of Utah in 2016, and the Evason lab in 2017.

At the Evason lab, she studies the interplay of two oncogenes, beta-catenin and telomerase reverse transcriptase, in the development of HCC.

A voracious reader, she can be found reading or sharpening her culinary skills.

Chloe Lim

Chloe Lim

Undergraduate Student

Chloe is an undergraduate at the University of Utah completing her bachelor of science degree. When not working, volunteering at University of Utah campus food pantry, studying, or attending classes, she enjoys ethnic food, drawing, listening to Planet Money podcasts, watching Netflix, and taking power naps. In the Evason Lab she studies the effects of serotonin on liver size and HCC by injecting zebrafish embryos using CRISPR to knockdown serotonin pathway genes.

Liam O’Brien

Liam O’Brien

Technician

Liam received her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from the University of California Davis. She interned at the Department of Neurological Surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center as well as worked as a Barn Supervisor at the Equestrian Center on campus. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree she plans to continue her education by applying to medical school in 2018. In the Evason lab, Liam works with mutant Zebrafish in order to test hypotheses about how serotonin affects liver tumorigenesis. In her free time Liam likes to read, and run and hike with her dog.

Richard Smith

Richard Smith

Lab Specialist
richard.smith@hci.utah.edu

Richard Smith earned his BS at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.  He moved to Utah in 1998 where he first worked at Myriad Genetics on a positional cloning project to find a familial gene for prostate cancer.  After that he worked at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in the lab of Stephen Lessnick studying downstream targets of EWS/FLI, an aberrant transcription factor that causes the pediatric cancer Ewings sarcoma.  In the Evason lab he studies downstream targets of activated beta catenin in hepatocellular carcinoma. 
 
When he’s not in the lab he enjoys biking, skiing and sailing.