McArdle 'Blog' photoMcArdle Blog L7 ~ 09/16/2013

Welcome to the brand new McArdle Blog, L7! We are very excited that you are here visiting us, and we have a great series of posts planned for the rest of the semester. In this introductory post we will tell you a bit about why we have started this blog, what you can expect to read on it, and how you can contact us with comments, suggestions and ideas. Oh, and we will introduce ourselves; the graduate students who will be writing these posts.

So, why did we start this blog? There are three main reasons.

First, we hope that this blog can increase your awareness of the great research being conducted in labs across the Cancer Biology department. As graduate students – and maybe even as post-docs – we are usually immersed in our own research with not a lot of time to pay much attention to what is going on in the other labs around us. Of course, we are here, in McArdle, to primarily drive our own research forward. But, through blog posts like “Research Snapshots” and “McArdle Papers” we will try to give you a glimpse into some of the interesting and elegant work being done in McArdle (and WIMR; we haven’t forgotten all you scientists over at WIMR).

Second, we want to highlight the people who are an integral part of the Cancer Biology community; your colleagues and associates and friends. Personally, a huge benefit of working in a place like McArdle is the opportunity to interact with intelligent and thoughtful people all day. Through posts like “Personal Profiles” and “Unsung Heroes” we hope to give you insights into the stories of the amazing people who work with you in the Cancer Biology department.

Finally, it is our hope that through this blog we can foster interactions and exchanges between the various stakeholders of cancer research. The work that we do in the Cancer Biology department can and often does affect people in profound and incredible ways. Many people are involved in cancer research in different ways: scientists, clinicians, patients, families, and the public. We will have posts from different perspectives giving us a more well-rounded view of the importance and value of the research that we so zealously pursue here at McArdle.

But who are we? I guess it’s about time we did some introductions.

EmilyChinEmily Chin: I’m a graduate student in the CMB program. I work on the 8th floor of McArdle Laboratory in Dr. Caroline Alexander’s lab, where I am investigating the roles of Lrp5 and Lrp6 in Wnt signaling in the mammary gland. Among other things, I enjoy playing soccer, riding my bike, watching TV, and reading.



JohnCollettiJohn Colletti: I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and I attended Purdue University before starting grad school at UW-Madison.  I work in Dr. James D. Shull's breast cancer genetics lab, where our primary goal is trying to understand the genetic basis of how the sex hormone, estrogen, contributes to breast cancer incidence and progression. Aside from the lab, I enjoy fishing, playing volleyball, and hanging out with friends, especially on Badger Game Days!  I also enjoy watching a movie on the couch with my cat, Princess, or visiting my girlfriend, Melissa, in Chicago with her puppy, CC.  I have enjoyed my time in Madison immensely, but look forward to finishing my PhD within the next year and can't wait to see what the future holds.


SajaFakhraldeenSaja Fakhraldeen: I am a graduate student in Dr. Caroline Alexander’s lab in the Cancer Biology department. I study RNA-protein interactions and their role in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. Besides research, I enjoy teaching, reading, running, and playing tennis.


NateWlodarchakNate Wlodarchak: My dissertation research in the Xing lab is focused on elucidating the structure of the PP2A-PR70 holoenzyme and analyzing its interaction with Cdc6.  I am also searching for other PP2A substrates as well as attempting to determine binding sites and sequences. My overall research interests focus on structural biology and biochemistry and I have particular interest in elucidating the structure and function of targets of therapeutic compounds that have been shown or suspected to prevent or treat disease. When not doing research, my interests include various construction projects (home improvement), landscaping, and gardening.  I also enjoy many outdoor activities in warm weather, such as camping, hiking, and biking, and when there is snow on the ground, I can be found snowboarding as often as possible.


AdityarupChakravortyAdityarup Chakravorty: I am graduate student in Dr. Bill Sugden’s lab in McArdle Laboratory. I work on a human tumor virus – the Epstein Barr Virus or EBV. Through my graduate research I have been trying to determine how EBV persists in tumor cells and develop therapies for the cancers caused by EBV. When I am not in lab I am usually cooking, reading, writing or traveling with my lovely wife, Patricia. I also enjoy playing tennis, softball, cricket and soccer.


Now for some logistics; there will be a new post every Monday or Tuesday and frequently a second post later on during the week. So don’t forget to visit us often. Of course, if you have any ideas about what you would like us to write about or if you would like us to cover a specific paper or person (or if you would like to write a guest post) please, please email us. We would love to hear from you! If you would like to join us as a writer for the blog, it’s never too late. You can email us at or call 608-220-0568.

We will leave you with a video that illustrates the progress and developments that are an inevitable and exciting part of scientific research. This video was made in 1966 (that’s before the discovery of human tumor viruses and the advent of HIV), and discusses research going on in McArdle at that time. Several people you may only have heard of, or seen portraits of in the Temin Room, are present in this video. So take a step back in time and enjoy. We will see you again next week.

~Adityarup Chakravorty