Research Assistant Professor
Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Georgia, followed by a PhD from Emory University in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis program. She moved to Utah to explore MHC and T cell function in Peter Jensen’s lab. She next worked as a scientist at Myrexis, where she gained experience in the fields of cancer and drug discovery. Lisa joined the Schiffman lab in September of 2011. As lab research leader, she oversees the lab’s many bench science projects. Most recently, with the help of collaborators and other lab members, she demonstrated that elephant cells have an increased apoptotic response to DNA damage compared to human cells, potentially related to multiple copies of TP53. Lisa is very excited to follow up on these discoveries to further our understanding of mechanisms related to cancer suppression and also to explore the potential for evolutionary mechanisms to improve human health. In addition, she is committed to identifying genetic risk factors and how these factors function to increase risk for all types of pediatric cancer, including Ewing sarcoma.
Brayden earned a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from the Utah Valley University. Brayden joined the Schiffman lab in 2022 and currently works on the EP53 project trying to increase our understanding of p53 and its role in cancer prevention and treatment. Brayden has always been curious about the world, with a particular passion for biology and how life works. Brayden hopes to use this passion to help better the world through a career in cancer research. In his off time, Brayden enjoys spending time with his wife and family, as well as hobbies such as repairing electronics, video games, and travelling.
Aaron earned a bachelor of science in political science and a bachelor of arts in French. He earned a master of e-business from the University of Wyoming. Aaron has spent several years working in business management and IT support and taught business management courses for several years at an automotive trade school. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, working on and learning about cars, cooking, making various crafts, and spending time with his family. Aaron joined the lab in January of 2020 and is excited to assist and support the lab members in their work.
Jared earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Utah State University, followed by a PhD from Colorado State University in cell and molecular biology (cancer biology specialization). While at Colorado Jared studied the similarities of molecular pathways in human and canine cancers and designed gene expression prediction models of chemosensitivity that resulted in a prospective veterinary clinical trial for dogs with osteosarcoma. Most recently Jared completed a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis studying human hematologic cancers through single cell approaches such as mass cytometry and scRNAseq. Jared is excited to join the Schiffman lab back in his home state and work on comparative and translational oncology projects. When not in the lab, Jared enjoys the sublime chaos of family life with his wife and four kids, and on the rare occasion when he finds extra time he enjoys drawing, writing, board games and singing with his guitar.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Lucy earned a bachelor’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health from New York University. Lucy has worked in pediatric research at the University of Utah since 2009 and joined the Schiffman Lab in July 2012. As a Clinical Research Coordinator, she oversees operations for Project GenESis: Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma International Study and appreciates her interaction with study participants. At home, Lucy loves spending time with her toddler son and very old dog.
Research Assistant Intern
Ryan is currently working on earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Delaware in biology. During his undergraduate studies, he worked as a volunteer in the Dr. Sims-Mourtada Lab at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center to develop his skills in translational research. Ryan joined the Schiffman Lab in the summer of 2018 and again in the summer of 2019 as a research assistant intern. As an osteosarcoma survivor, Ryan is fascinated by the Schiffman Lab’s research and is motivated to help develop a potential new treatment for osteosarcoma.
Dr. Maese received his medical degree from Kansas City University. He then completed his pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and went on to complete a clinical fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Utah. He joined the faculty in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology as an Assistant Professor in July of 2015. The primary focus of Dr. Maese’s clinical care is providing care for children with malignant hematopoietic disorders and rare solid tumors. Along with his faculty appointment Dr. Maese also joined the Schiffman lab. His interests in investigation are translating the genomics of cancer to the pediatric oncology clinic initially focusing on the genetic profiling of relapsed and rare tumors in pediatric patients. He seeks to answer if the genetic information obtained can be used clinically to better understand relapsed/rare tumors, therefore informing future treatment.
Gareth Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in education and music performance from Cornerstone University. Before joining the Schiffman Lab in 2018, he worked in research administration as a trainer and team lead in population sciences for Huntsman Cancer Institute. As a research manager, Gareth coordinates, organizes, and administers the Schiffman Lab research projects.
Brad Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in microbiology and a minor in history from the University of Utah. He has worked in the Karasov lab studying how plant secondary metabolites affect bacterial growth, and he has volunteered in the Williams lab to study how CD4+ T cells respond to cancer. He is passionate about science and plans to attend graduate school to study Immunology. In his free time he enjoys hiking, camping, mountain biking and aquascaping.
Emily completed her bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Utah. Since graduating, Emily has worked for various labs and clinics on campus where she gained experience in researching pediatric cancer and neurology, genetics, and type 1 diabetes. Emily's previous work experience has cultivated a passion for cancer research and genetics. She is excited to be joining the Schiffman lab and help progress their cutting-edge research. In her spare time, Emily enjoys yoga, ballet, trying new restaurants, and spending time outdoors.
Senior Lab Specialist
Aaron earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Brigham Young University in 2002. Since then, he has worked for several pharmaceutical companies and the University of Utah. Aaron joined the Schiffman Lab in 2018 as a senior lab specialist, and he uses his broad technical expertise to move the EP53 project forward. At home, Aaron enjoys spending time outdoors fly-fishing and camping with his family as well as collecting and restoring retro arcade machines.
Senior Lab Specialist
Maddie earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering in May, and is currently finishing up her Master of Engineering, both at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. During her undergrad, she researched neuroblastoma and developed a microfluidic chip using silk scaffolds to model the 3D tumor microenvironment. Before joining the Schiffman lab in the fall of 2023, she worked at a startup biotechnology company as a molecular biology intern, and used genetic engineering techniques to generate transgenic mice to produce antibodies. As a Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, Maddie is excited about the potential therapeutic value of Ep53 in the treatment of cancer. In her free time, she enjoys walking her rabbit Sampson, baking, rock climbing, and reading.
Miranda enjoyed exploring the world around her since childhood. She loved looking at nature when she lived on the east coast and grew up watching science fiction and learning about any science-related topics she could find. These experiences led to her love of exploring the unknown and figuring out how things worked. She earned a degree in biotechnology from Utah Valley University and her desire to learn and help people brought her to the Schiffman Lab. Miranda spends her time studying p53 mRNA and how to apply it as a therapeutic. When she is not busy trying to figure out the universe, she is at home with her amazing husband and escape-artist hamster.
Schuyler O’Brien was a committed scientist who worked tirelessly with the conviction that all data had the potential to become a stepping stone in cancer research. He was not content making a small contribution to the field. Rather, he was singularly focused on dedicating all of himself to finding a cure—specifically for Ewing sarcoma, a cancer he was diagnosed with at 12 years old. Schuyler’s cancer relapsed multiple times during his short life. Facing so many relapses gave Schuyler a unique perspective: he enjoyed gently and insightfully challenging his peers to work harder and better to understand the origins of childhood cancer.
Despite years of physical suffering and intellectual exertion, Schuyler maintained optimism and steadfast confidence in the power of science and in his own ability to push through difficulty to achieve his goals. Though Schuyler was often—silently and unflinchingly—in pain from cancer treatments, he conducted his work masterfully, with an obsessive yet joyful passion. Schuyler never hesitated to patiently listen or lend a hand to his colleagues and friends. We are honored to have shared in his good-natured scientific zeal. And we marvel at his ability to conduct his life, like so many people with cancer, with simultaneous cynicism and hope, agony and joy.
We continue our work in the Schiffman Lab in Schuyler’s memory. We hope to honor this young, brilliant scientist and take up his legacy of inspiring our friends, family, and colleagues to pursue greatness in all we do.
- Department of Pediatrics (Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology)
- Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation Cancer Center Program
- Department of Oncological Sciences (adjunct)
- High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic (Medical Director)
- High Risk Genetics Multi-Disciplinary Group
- Neurologic Cancers Center
- Melanoma Center
- Program in Personalized Health Care (Education Director)
- Molecular Biology Graduate Program