About Us

Lab Members

Melanie Cobb

Melanie H. Cobb, Ph.D

Principal Investigator
Email: melanie {dot} cobb {at} utsouthwestern.edu

 
Ankita Jaykumar

Ankita Jaykumar, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: Ankita {dot} Jaykumar {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: I am interested in understanding how the With No Lysine kinase 1 (WNK1) regulates endothelial cell migration and proliferation.

 
Sachith Perera

Sachith Gallolu Kankanamalage, Ph. D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: sachith {dot} gallolukankanamalage {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: I'm working on finding the molecular mechanisms of how the protein kinase With No Lysine (WNK) 1 regulates the intracellular degradation pathway autophagy.

 
Carlos Paz

Carlos Paz, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: carlos {dot} paz {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: I’m currently working on a particular kinase (smSTK25) that is essential for survival in the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni, the causative agent of the human disease Schistosomiasis, AKA Bilharzia. My goal is twofold, to elucidate the physiological role of smSTK25 in schistosomes, and in the process to explain its essential function in the worms’ biology. This kinase is particularly exciting to study given that its mammalian homolog, STK25, can be knocked out in mice and results in seemingly no developmental or other defects by gross inspection. Outside of lab, I like to spend time with my wife and two kids, eat delicious street tacos, and play soccer.

 
Clint Taylor

Clint Taylor, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: clinton {dot} taylor {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: Using structural biology and classical biochemical approaches, I study how interactions between protein kinases and their signaling partners facilitate pathway regulation.

 
Jiung Jung

Jiung Jung, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: jiung {dot} jung {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest:I am interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of WNK1 in developmental and cellular processes, and specifically how crosstalk between the WNK1 and other signaling pathways affects major characteristic of cancer malignancy such as cancer invasion and metastasis.

 
Michael Kalwat

Michael Kalwat, Ph.D

Assistant Instructor
Email: michael {dot} kalwat {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: My research is focused on growth factor and nutrient signaling pathways that regulate pancreatic islet cell function and developing novel in vitro models to monitor secretion and expression of insulin and glucagon.

 
Pearl Chonlarat

Chonlarat (Pearl) Wichaidit, Ph.D

Research Scientist
Email: chonlarat {dot} wichaidit {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: Image processing, data analysis, and bioinformatics

 
Steve Stippec

Steve Stippec

Research Associates: Cloning guru and WNK specialist
Email: steve {dot} stippec {at} utsouthwestern.edu

 
Svetlana Earnest

Svetlana Earnest

Sr. Research Associate: Project generator and Jane-of-all-trades
Email: svetlana {dot} earnest {at} utsouthwestern.edu

 
Magdalena Grzemska

Magdalena Grzemska

Graduate Student

Email: magdalena {dot} grzemska {at} utsouthwestern.edu

Research Interest: I am focused on investigating the implications of WNK1 signaling in breast cancer and cell invasiveness by exploring novel protein-protein interactions of its downstream kinase OSR1. Meanwhile, I work towards better understanding of the function of WNK1 as a scaffolding protein.

 
Sakina Plumber

Sakina Aziz Plumber

Green Fellow

Email: sakina {dot} plumber {at} utdallas.edu

Research Interest: I am interested in investigating interactions between OSR1 and critical cellular proteins in order to understand their role in the WNK1 signaling pathway​.​

 

 

Staff

 
Dionne Ware

Dionne Ware

Sr. Administrative Associate
Pharmacology department
Email: dionne {dot} ware {at} utsouthwestern.edu

 
Joel Villarreal

Joel Villarreal

Lab Technician Assistant I: Miniprep specialist
Email: joel {dot} villarreal {at} utsouthwestern.edu