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Laboratory Members


Catherine Behrmann, BS, BA

Research Associate

Originally hailing from the east coast, Catherine Behrmann now calls Cincinnati home. Since joining the lab in 2006, she has worked on projects ranging from vivo Glioblastoma modeling, to in vitro molecular signaling in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, to a tyrosine kinase inhibitor screen on SARS-CoV-2 viral entry, to interrogating the S6K1 in breast cancer cell lines. Catherine leads laboratory research in the Plas Lab by generously sharing her expertise and experience from these projects with fellow lab members.


Merissa Pemberton, MA

Mrs. Pemberton worked in neuroanatomy research at the University of Pittsburgh after finishing a master's in behavioral neuroscience at Bowling Green State University. She became a part of the Plas group in 2020 and has been the primary point person for the lab's in vivo experiments. She has played an integral role in better understanding mutant IDH1 in glioma cells as well as various time course studies using patient-donated samples. Her current work involves improving drug delivery with resistant glioblastoma. In her free time she enjoys hiking and bird watching.


Kate Von Handorf

Graduate Assistant

Ms. Von Handorf received a B.S. in Biology from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 2022. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Cancer and Cell Biology. Her current projects involve exploring feedback mechanisms within the PI3K signaling pathway and investigating receptor tyrosine kinases as targets for glioblastoma immuno-oncology.


David Plas, Ph.D.

Dr. Plas received his PhD from Washington University studying lymphocyte antigen receptor signal transduction with Dr. Matthew L. Thomas. He studied tumor cell metabolism in apoptosis control with Dr. Craig Thompson at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. He has led a research laboratory at the University of Cincinnati since 2004, focusing on counteracting PTEN deficiency in cancer through the targeting of signaling and metabolic pathways.

Lab Alumni


  • Hasmik Yepiskoposyan, Ph.D.
  • Guillaume Habif, Ph.D.
  • Hongqi Liu, DVM, Ph.D.
  • Xizhi “Jerry” Feng, Ph.D.
  • Collin Wetzel, Ph.D.

Graduate Students:

  • Shikha Khatri, Ph.D.
  • Preeti Tandon, Ph.D.
  • Jennifer Barger, Ph.D.

Research staff:

  • Ashley Allemang, B.S.
  • Kelli Ennis, B.S.
  • Pranjal Sarma, Ph.D.
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Contact Us

Department of
Cancer Biology

Vontz Center for Molecular Studies
3125 Eden Avenue
PO Box 670521
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0521

Mail Location: 0521
Phone: 513-558-5323
Fax: 513-558-1190