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Current Members

Sam Stam

Sam Stam

Postdoctoral fellow

Sam received a PhD in biophysics from the University of Chicago and a BS in biochemistry and molecular biology from Michigan Tech. She is interested in the roles of mitochondrial and metabolic reprogramming in cellular invasiveness.

Rebecca Goldstein

Rebecca Zitnay

Graduate Student

Becca is a PhD student in biomedical engineering. Her training includes an emphasis in biomaterials and participation in the med-into-grad clinical translational medicine program. She is studying how the three-dimensional tumor microenvironment influences lung cancer invasion and metastasis. 

Andrew Shepherd

Andrew Shepherd

Graduate Student

Andrew is a PhD student in oncological sciences.  Andrew graduated from Bridgewater College with a BS in biology.  He is studying ERK’s regulation of focal adhesions and associated cytoskeleton dynamics during cell migration.

Akib Khan

Akib Khan

Graduate student

Akib is a PhD student in oncological sciences. He completed his BS and MS in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Akib is studying the ERK effectors that promote cell migration and lung cancer metastasis.

Mary Shaelling

Mary Shaelling

Undergraduate Researcher/Lab Assistant

Mary is interested in understanding how radiation treatments impact tumor initiation and progression. She is studying applied mathematics at the University of Utah.

Shiela Samson

Shiela Samson

Senior Laboratory Specialist/Lab Manager

Shiela is a graduate of the U of U’s MB graduate program (PhD with Dr. Joseph Yost). She is interested in cell movements that shape development. She participates in multiple projects aimed at deciphering the signals that control cell movement and how these normal processes are hijacked to promote cancer metastasis.


Wontak Kim

Lab Specialist

Wontak is a graduated from BYU with a degree in biophysics.  He is a molecular and cell biologist interested in advancing cancer treatments.

Keith Carney

Keith Carney

Senior software Engineer

Keith received his MS from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in physics. His interests are bio-engineering and MATLAB software development for biological analysis.

Past Members

  • Jared Bergman—postdoctoral fellow in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to become a Research Scientist at Meissa Vaccines, 2020.

  • Marzieh Chaharlang—Research Associate in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to become a
    Postdoctoral fellow Yale University, 2020.

  • Kelley Ingram—Laboratory Specialist in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to get a doctorate in osteopathic medicine, at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, 2020.

  • Andrew Elliott—postdoctoral fellow in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to become a Research Scientist, Caris Life Sciences, clinical oncology, 2019.

  • Bella Ohran—undergraduate in the Mendoza lab

  • Kimberly Coffman—master’s student in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to become a lab technician at the University of Utah, School of Medicine.

  • Brian Mueller—laboratory specialist in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to become a Ph.D. student in Biology, University of Utah, 2017.

  • Yung Kim—laboratory specialist in the Mendoza Lab; now on staff at University of Minnesota Imaging Center and a biomedical engineering graduate student, 2017.

  • Jesus Juarez—laboratory technician in the Mendoza Lab; moved on to medical school, UCLA, 2015.

Michelle C. Mendoza, PhD

Principal Investigator


The Mendoza lab has a funded collaborations with the Weiss lab in the Biomedical Engineering department. The collaboration applies computational modeling to understand the mechanics of tumor growth within the lung.