Silvia B. Ramos, MD PhD
We are interested in interconnecting medical standpoints with basic research concepts to ask relevant scientific questions. As an MD/PhD, I have the training and experience to approach these questions from both clinical and basic science perspectives. I acquired clinical experience treating patients as a clinical immunologist in Brazil and in the US as a clinical embryologist at UNC. My PhD training was in Immunology. During my post-doctoral work at NIEHS-NIH in Dr. Perry Blackshear lab, using genetically-engineered mouse models, my findings led me to the intriguing field of reproductive biology and female infertility. We brought this new research endeavor implicating the role of Zinc Finger Protein 36 Like 2 (ZFP36L2, “L2”) an RNA-binding protein in mouse infertility to set up an independent research program at UNC-CH in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and run the clinical IVF lab. Then, most of our time was devoted to clinical activities and in acquiring knowledge and advanced skills on human embryology. In 2010, by passing the ABB examination, I became a fully certified Embryology Lab Director. In 2012, I obtained an NICHD K08 award, mentored and co-mentored by Drs. William Marzluff and Kathleen Caron, respectively. During my K08 award, I published seven papers, including some in high impact journals such as Nature, PNAS and NAR. On the summer of 2014 I joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics with the goal of expanding the role of ZFP36L2 from ovarian infertility (ovulation and oocyte maturation defects) to novel biological and biochemical connections. Our most recent findings confirm that ZFP36L2 is essential for life, due to its role in hematopoiesis differentiation during mouse post-natal period. Our work has been scientifically recognized as exemplified by receiving a Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority (CSURM) Fellowship to the Gordon Research Conference on Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation in 2022, invitation to chair a section and give a talk at the FASEB RNA Decay meeting in 2022, an RNA travel award in 2019 from the RNA Society, NSF Talk Award at the FASEB RNA Decay meeting in 2018. As a NIH new investigator, to successfully accomplish the goals of our research proposal, we count on a multidisciplinary team comprising accomplished UNC colleagues from departments of Biology and Bioinfromatics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology. We established collaborations with Drs. Alain Laederach, Kevin Weeks and Jean Cook from UNC and with Dr. Raymond Cho from UCSF. I am delighted to lead our research team and extend our collaborations, with the goal of defining the molecular functions of ZFP36 L2-mediated mRNA turnover in physiologycal conditions and human diseases. Since 2019, I am the Diversity Liaison for the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department. Jointly with the Diversity Committee, we aim to foster and support minorities by creating equitable opportunities during all stages of their career development.
A full list of my publications can be found here.
Hilal Hekimoglu, upcoming visiting PhD Student
Received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from International University of Sarajevo and a M.S. in Genetics at Istanbul University, where under the mentorship of Dr. Selcuk Sozer Tokdemir, she studied thrombotic effects of JAK2V617F mutation in endothelial cells. She is third year PhD student in Istanbul University Genetics Department. She is interested in hematological malignancies, cancer stem cells, immunogenomics and gene therapy. In her off hours, she likes to listen to music, cooking and hanging out with family.
Kara Lopez-Lengowiski, UNC Medical Summer Internship
Kara is a second-year medical student at UNC. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2018 with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry. Prior to Medical School, she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital where she investigated the molecular underpinnings of psychiatric disorders using IPSC-models. As a part of the Ramos lab, she hopes to further investigate the role of Zinc-finger protein ZFP36L2 in hematopoiesis through the L2-fKO mouse model. She plans to integrate biomedical research into her career as a physician.
Abegael W. Johnson, UNC Undergrad
Abegael is a second-year undergraduate at UNC majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and minoring in Mathematics. She is interested in researching biochemical pathways and the various ways in which these pathways can be disrupted. After graduating, she intends to pursue a Ph.D. and study the interactions between pathogens and host cells. As a member of the Ramos lab, Abegael genotypes mouse samples, assists in experiments, and performs data analysis.
Colony Management Core (CMC) team, Janee Cadlett-Jette our Colony Management Specialist
The Colony Management Core (CMC) was founded in 2014 with the mission of accommodating labs by managing all their breeding needs. The Core prides itself on assisting with common issues such as overproduction and providing productive outcomes for difficult strains. CMC if fully staffed with a PhD manager and a variety of AALAS accredited supervisor, specialists, and technicians. Supervisor Janee Cadlett-Jette has had the pleasure of working alongside the Ramos lab since 2017. After graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University she has been furthering her knowledge and career in the field of animal science since 2010. Janee began working at UNC in 2015 and has played an intricate role in the start of CMC. She continues to enjoy working with the Ramos lab and hopes to further the success of her team and the research community.