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Waltz Laboratory Members

Image of James Davis

James Davis

Graduate Assistant

James received his BS in Chemistry and BS in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2020. Once he graduated, he went straight to the University of Cincinnati’s Cancer and Cell Biology PhD graduate program in the Fall of 2020. James joined the Waltz lab in 2021 and focuses on RON’s role in radiation resistance in breast cancer.

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Angelle Jones

Graduate Assistant

Angelle received her BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Fisk University. During her undergraduate career, she studied the role of Type I Melanoma Antigen Genes (MAGE) in lung and colon cancers. After graduation, she joined the Cancer and Cell Biology PhD program and became a member of Dr. Waltz’s lab. She currently focuses on understanding the role of the RON receptor tyrosine kinase in metastatic prostate cancer.

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Carissa Lester, RVT

Research Scientist

Carissa obtained her Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology at the University of Cincinnati in 2008. She completed certification with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board and earned her Registered Veterinary Technician license. After graduating in 2008 she worked at the University of Cincinnati in Laboratory Animal Medical Services, during which she earned her Registered Laboratory Animal Technologist certification with American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. In June of 2020 she transitioned into the Waltz Lab as a Research Assistant. Currently she is involved in a number of active research projects with her primary focus being on RON's role in prostate cancer development and metastasis.

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Demetrios Georgiades

Student Worker

Meechi is an undergraduate student researcher who joined the Waltz Laboratory in August 2022. He is a Medical Sciences Major at the University of Cincinnati and will graduate in 2024. His 2023 summer research focused on investigation of modes of apoptotic pathway regulation by RON in human Triple Negative Breast Cancer cells.

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Zhixin Lu

Graduate Assistant

Zhixin received her MS in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Science from the University of Pacific, CA in 2018. Her master's thesis research focused on the discovery of small molecule inhibitors for cancer therapy. After graduation, Zhixin followed a career in the biotech industry and then joined the cancer and cell biology graduate program as a PhD student in 2021. In the same year, she joined the Waltz lab where she studied interactions between tumor cell-intrinsic RON with Type I IFN signaling components. Now, she is focusing on studying the therapy resistance role of RON in breast cancer.

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Levi Fox

Graduate Assistant

Levi received his undergraduate degree (BS) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Cedarville University in May 2021. He was involved in a number of research projects including a study of cell signaling proteins in T. thermophila and an interdepartmental study of nerve degeneration in Ohio-native frog species. After graduation, he joined the Cancer and Cell Biology PhD program in July 2021 and joined the Waltz laboratory in January 2022. Levi has since studied the functional implications of IFN-I suppression by RON in breast cancer. Specifically, his research focus and dissertation work include characterizing differential STAT activation by RON and discerning mechanisms of RON mediated apoptotic evasion in breast cancer.

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Jillian Covell

Student Worker

Jillian Covell is a third-year undergraduate student at UC in the Medical Sciences Program. She was introduced to the Waltz Lab through the Cancer Research Scholars Program over the summer when she began working with lab member Angelle Jones on a project looking at the role of the RON receptor in macrophage recruitment and metastasis of prostate cancer.

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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