Current Lab Members
Sheri Holmen, PhD, is a Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator and Co-Director of the Melanoma Disease Oriented Research Team (MDOT). She is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences. Dr. Holmen’s Lab aims to defin... Read More
Specialties: Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology, Neuro-Oncology
Anagha Gurjar, PhD
Anagha moved to Salt Lake City from Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey. She joined Penn State in June 2018 as a postdoctoral scholar with Dr John Elfar. Her area of research at Penn State was to study the neuromuscular effect of peripheral nerve injury and evaluate the protective effects of 4 Aminopyridine. Before moving to the United States, Anagha completed her PhD in the lab of Dr Sabyasachi Sanyal at Central Drug Research Institute in India where she studied the myogenic and anti-atrophy effect of liraglutide in preventing skeletal muscle atrophy in rodents. Anagha joined the Holmen Lab in Jan 2020 where she will assess the effectiveness of mutant IDH1 inhibitors in preventing the growth of glioma cell and in the development of glioblastoma. Her interests include music, Indian classical dance, travelling and cooking vegan culinary delicacies during her free time.
Richard Heinz, PhD
Rick completed his PhD in the lab of Jennifer Richer at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2016. He did postdoctoral training with Ben Spike, where he studied fetal oncogenes that are normally expressed during prenatal mammary gland development but are oncogenic in breast cancer. The goal of his current project is to evaluate the role of genetic alterations found in human oligodendroglioma and to develop a mouse model that can be used to test novel treatment strategies for this disease. Rick hails from the Chicago area and enjoys skiing, hiking with his dog, and cooking/baking.
David Kircher, PhD
David graduated from the University of Utah in 2013 with a degree in biology and joined the Holmen lab in May 2014. He successfully defended his thesis in May 2019 and has continued on in the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. He has a background in law enforcement as a police officer, a position that he resigned to pursue a PhD in cancer biology. His interests include astronomy, chess, sports, and traveling with his wife and daughters. David aspires to one day run a laboratory of his own or work in the industry as a research scientist studying signaling pathways in cancer.
Zia is an undergraduate student at Westminster College majoring in Neuroscience. She joined the Holmen Lab in February 2020 as a Lab Aide with the hopes of broadening her research experience. Her study interests include biochemistry and neuroscience and their medical applications. After graduation she hopes to enter into a dual degree MD/PhD program. Her other interests include the outdoors as she is originally from BC Canada as well as spending time with family and friends.
Gennie moved to Salt Lake City from Missouri in 2014 and completed her undergraduate degree in Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Utah. She joined the Holmen lab as a lab technician in December 2015 before applying to graduate school and has continued on in the lab as a graduate student. Her project focuses on the role of the PI3K lipid effectors in melanomagenesis and particularly AKT’s role in melanoma initiation. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, hiking, biking, traveling, and cooking.
Initially from southern Missouri, Chris moved to Salt Lake City in 2017 to study biomedical engineering at the University of Utah. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, he hopes to continue his studies in a PhD program and contribute to research in cancer biology, with an emphasis on using bioinformatics and computational research methods. He loves attending and watching all kinds of sporting events (especially those involving his beloved Minnesota Vikings), watching movies, reading and writing, and spending time with his friends and family.