Dr. Martin McMahon grew up in Scotland, and attended Glasgow University graduating with a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry in 1981. As a Ph.D. student, he studied mechanisms of interferon action at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF, London) and at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), and was awarded a doctorate from King’s College, University of London in 1985. He received postdoctoral training as a fellow under the mentorship of J. Michael Bishop at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) investigating the mechanisms of action of oncoprotein kinases such as SRC, ERBB and RAF. In 1991 Dr. McMahon established an independent research group at the DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto working on the RAF family of protein kinases, which are mutationally activated in many human cancers. In 1998 Dr. McMahon was recruited to the faculty of the UCSF/Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center where he served as the Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology, Co-Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program and Associate Director for Professional Education. During that time, Dr. McMahon’s lab developed new genetically engineered mouse models of BRAF-driven cancer. In 2015, Dr. McMahon was recruited to the faculty of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah where he currently serves as the Cumming-Presidential Chair of Cancer Biology in the Dept. of Dermatology, Senior Director for Preclinical Translation and Co-Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program in Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Sumeya Abdalla was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and is a sophomore at the University of Utah majoring in Health, Society, and Policy. She is currently doing an internship with the PathMaker Scholars Summer Research Program at HCI working with Dilru Silva to study the role RB plays in the regulation of autophagy. In her free time, Sumeya enjoys spending time with her friends and family, painting, and going on long walks.
Ben is a senior in the University of Utah Honors College studying philosophy in preparation for a career as a physician-scientist. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, running, and spending time in the mountains with his dogs.
Kali is a master in transcriptional regulation of the MAPK pathway with a focus on delayed-early response genes. Kali is an avid puzzler and reader. Outside of the lab, you will find her enjoying the mountains, canyons, or deserts lands of the Paiute, Ute, Shoshone, and Dine peoples.
Mona Foth, PhD
Mona Foth was born and raised in Germany and was awarded a Diploma in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Hamburg in 2010. She was awarded a PhD in 2014 for research conducted at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow where she studied the role of FGFR3 mutations in the aberrant behavior of bladder cancer. Mona joined the McMahon Lab at Huntsman Cancer Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016 initially investigating the role of mutationally-activated RAC1(P29S) in melanoma. In her free time, Mona enjoys spending time in the great outdoors hiking and skiing, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and their dog, Ruby.
Phaedra grew up just outside of Boston Massachusetts and completed her undergraduate studies in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In the McMahon lab, she is interested in investigating how KRAS mutant lung cancer cells upregulate autophagy after targeted therapy and if we can use small molecule inhibitors that target both KRAS and autophagy signaling to regress tumor growth. Outside of science, she loves to hike, swim and watch live music.
Maebh graduated from University College Cork, Ireland, in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Genetics. She moved to Salt Lake City in 2020 and joined the McMahon lab as a Lab Technician with hopes of broadening her research experience. Her study interests include genetics and cancer signaling pathways. Her other interests include skiing, hiking and mountain biking.
Annie (Xiaoqing) Liu, PhD
Annie graduated from Sun Yat-Sen University in 2008 with a PhD in Pharmacology. She joined the McMahon Lab in 2016. She is a member of AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science) and has AALAS LAT certification. She has work experience with mouse, rat, rabbit animal studies and patient clinical trial studies. She is interested in lung and skin Cancer gene- target therapy and immunotherapy research. Her current job is focus on mouse colony management, medicating transgenic mouse, cross breeding, harvest tissue, PCR mouse genotype and cancer mouse model development and lab supply maintaining. She likes dancing, hiking, walking, bicycling, she enjoys garden and yard work in sunny weather.
Kayla is a Vermont native that appreciates sharp cheddar and good maple syrup. She completed her undergraduate degree in 2017 in Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Vermont. Her project in the McMahon Lab focuses on the biochemistry and proteomics of RAF family kinases in cancer. When not in lab, Kayla loves taking advantage of all the outdoor activities that Utah has to offer through trail running, downhill skiing, hiking, and spending time with 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 worked at Huntsman Cancer Institute as a lab technician before beginning her graduate career in 2017. 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.
Michael moved to Utah from Kentucky after doing cancer biology research for his master's in Engineering degree. His project focuses on how missense mutations in the P53 gene differentially alter lung tumor progression. When not working, Michael likes to experiment in the kitchen and explore the outdoors.
Dilru graduated in 2015 from the University of Georgia with undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology. She moved to Utah in 2017 for graduate school and currently studies the molecular mechanisms underlying CDK4/6 regulated autophagy in pancreatic cancer. She aspires to become a research scientist focusing on cancer metabolism and signaling pathways in industry or a government institution. Outside of the lab, Dilru enjoys throwing pots, hiking, and yoga.
Whitney is born and raised in Utah. She attended Weber State University with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising. Whitney began her career with Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2016 and has loved every minute of it! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, exercising (indoors and outdoors), good food/conversation and spending time with her family and friends.
Aria Vaishnavi, PhD
Aria completed her PhD in the lab of Dr. Robert Doebele at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus on oncogenic fusion kinases in lung cancer in 2017. Upon joining the McMahon Lab, Aria has been researching novel signaling mechanisms, targeted therapeutic approaches and minimal residual disease, as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor progression in mouse models of both pancreatic and lung cancer. Her personal interests include running, hiking, snowboarding, and cooking. She has been funded by the National Cancer Institute through both F32 and an early K99 fellowship, as well as HCI’s internal Susan Cooper Jones Endowed Fellowship in Cancer Research.
Native American Research Intern
Kristen grew up in Northern Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. She earned two bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from the University of New Mexico in 2020 and 2021. Kristen strives to give back to her community by serving as medical physician. The Native American Research Internship (NARI) offered Kristen an opportunity to conduct research under Dr. McMahon in the summer of 2019. During that time, co-mentor Kali Dale and her studied the function of Integrin Beta 3 (ITGβ3) in Metastatic Melanoma. Kristen earned a second opportunity to conduct research in the summer of 2021. She is studying the regulatory mechanisms of ITGβ3 induction by sustained MAPK Pathway activation. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, long-distance running, hiking, and eating tacos.
Conan Kinsey, MD, PhD
Dr. Kinsey’s primary clinical responsibilities are in Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. He initially set out on the path to become a physician-scientist by conducting undergraduate research at Bucknell University studying Osteosarcoma. During his Medical Scientist Training Program training at the University of Rochester he was mentored by Hartmut K. Land PhD investigating the role of PLAC8 in autophagy and gastrointestinal malignancies. The major emphasis of his recent research has been to discover new therapeutic opportunities for pancreatic cancer with the combination of MAP Kinase signaling inhibition and autophagy inhibition in Dr. Martin McMahon’s Laboratory and continues this work in his own laboratory. This has resulted in two clinical trials targeting MEK/ERK and autophagy in RAS mutated gastrointestinal malignancies of which Dr. Kinsey is the Primary Investigator.
Daphne Pringle, PhD
Dr. Pringle is a West Virginia native who received her bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University in 2008. She completed her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at The Ohio State University in 2013, at which time she became a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. McMahon’s lab at the University of California-San Francisco. During her time in Dr. McMahon’s lab, Dr. Pringle earned a F32 post-docotoral research award from the NIH while studying potentially therapeutically exploitable mechanisms of oncogene addiction and drug resistance. Dr. Pringle followed Dr. McMahon to and continued her training at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2015. In 2018, Dr. Pringle took a position in Research and Development at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City. She is currently the Lead Scientist for the R&D Anatomic Pathology group. Dr. Pringle loves to take advantage of Utah’s many outdoor activities with her husband and dog.
Amanda Truong, PhD
Amanda completed her graduate work in the McMahon lab as a MD-PhD student. Prior to joining the lab, she obtained an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Weber State University and completed a research fellowship at the NIH as part of the Medical Research Scholars Program. She hopes to continue doing translational research as a physician scientist. In her free time, she likes to explore new restaurants and play with other people's dogs.
Ed van Veen, PhD
Before coming to the McMahon lab, Ed van Veen earned B.S. degrees in genetics and mathematics at the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in molecular biology at MIT. Ed was a post-doctoral fellow in the McMahon lab at UCSF from 2012-2015 and at the Huntsman Cancer Institute from 2015-2016. In the McMahon lab, Ed worked on molecular characterization of lung cancer using genetically engineered mouse models, and led the production of a new mouse model for studying BRafdriven cancers. Currently, Ed is a Project Scientist at UCLA researching how the chemotherapeutic drug, tamoxifen, causes deleterious side effects. View a full list of Ed’s publications.