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Simona Graziano

Simona Graziano
Graduate Student


"Role of Ras and SV40 LT on regulation of CTSL-mediated degradation of 53BP1 and expression of BRCA1 and RAD51"

I am originally from Rome, Italy, where I did my Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and later, my Master's degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology. During my Master's degree studies, I spent two years working in a molecular cytogenetic laboratory studying human "Common Fragile Sites." At that time, I became interested in DNA repair mechanisms, so I decided to do my Ph.D. in a laboratory working on that topic.

After my dissertation, I worked in a "Genomic Instability" laboratory at ICGB in Trieste, Italy. In May 2011, I moved to St. Louis and worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at SLU. Finally, in August 2012, I got into the Graduate School and I chose the Gonzalo laboratory to perform my Ph.D. studies.

I am trying to understand what signaling pathway is involved in the activation of CTSL-mediated degradation of 53BP1. Although I just started this adventure, I already have interesting and surprising results, opening a lot of questions needing to be addressed.

Ray Kreienkamp

Ray Kreienkamp, B.S.
M.D./Ph.D. Student


"Effect of vitamin D on signaling pathways affected in laminopathies"

My name is Ray Kreienkamp, and I am an M.D./Ph.D. student. I have lived in St. Louis all of my life, where I attended St. Louis University for undergrad, earning degrees in Chemistry and Economics. After completing my first two years of medical school, I joined the Gonzalo lab in July 2013.

Recently, I have been focusing my efforts on using immunofluorescence to look at different DNA repair factors in our cells. When I finish with my M.D./Ph.D. program, I would like to work at an academic institution where I could utilize both parts of my training by running a laboratory and seeing patients.

When I am not working in the lab, you can probably find me doing something in the outdoors, watching sports, or around the pool, playing, refereeing, or coaching my favorite sport of water polo.

Jacpui Hawkins-Salsbury

Jacqui Hawkins-Salsbury, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow


I am a post-doc after receiving my Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Washington University. As a graduate student, I studied lysosomal storage disorders and worked on therapeutic development.

In the Gonzalo lab, I am working on HGPS, both in vitro and in vivo, utilizing mouse models. I have a passion for rare diseases and truly enjoy getting to be a part of advancing therapeutic strategies for these disorders.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and came to St. Louis for graduate school, then met my husband here and decided to stay! I am the mother of one little boy and a whole zoo of animals.


Monica Croke

Monica Croke, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow


I am originally from Michigan and began my southwestern descent when I attended Beloit College in southern Wisconsin, earning my B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2000. I then moved to St. Louis to work as a technician with Dr. Maurine Linder at Washington University, which prompted me to apply for graduate school.

I entered the Molecular Cell Biology Ph.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis in 2005. My thesis focused on characterizing the role of Rac GTPase proteins in the function of osteoclasts, the cell responsible for bone resorption. I received my Ph.D. in May 2012. I have been a postdoctoral fellow in the Gonzalo lab since June of 2012 and am enjoying learning the techniques of the lab and developing my project to characterize the regulation of Cathepsin L, a key regulator of the DNA damage repair protein 53BP1.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy recreational reading, yoga, cooking, baking, and time with my husband, son, and daughter.



Martin Neumann

Martin Neumann
Research Assistant


I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I later moved with my family to Munich (Germany) where I spent about 4 years before moving here to St. Louis, right before my senior year in high school.

I did my undergraduate studies at UMSL to complete my Biology degree. Since the summer of 2010, I have been working in the Gonzalo laboratory, where I am looking at the regulation of DNA repair factors, such as BRCA1 and 53BP1, by novel mechanisms.

Past Members

  • 2013-2014: Qian Li, Ph.D., short-stay Postdoctoral Fellow; obtained Ph.D. degree from Peking University, China ("Vitamin D as a therapeutic strategy for TNBC and BRCA1-mutated breast tumors"). She is currently at John's Hopkins Medical School.
  • 2012-2013: Jesus Caceres, Technician in preparation for applications to graduate and medical school.
  • 2008-2013: David Grotsky, Graduate Student from the Genetics Program at WUSM ("Telomere defects and genomic instability in lamin-related diseases" and "Upregulation of 53BP1 protein levels: a new therapeutic strategy for breast cancer").
  • 2011-2012: Sylvia Ortega-Martinez, Graduate Student from Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain ("Genomic instability in BRCA1-deficient cells that overcome growth arrest").
  • 2007-2012: Abena B. Redwood, Graduate student from the Molecular Cell Biology Program at Washington University ("Roles for A-type lamins in telomere biology and the DNA damage response pathway"). Abena is currently a Postdoctoral trainee at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas.
  • 2007-2012: Ignacio González-Suarez Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow; obtained Ph.D. degree in 2006 from the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain ("A-type lamins functions in the preservation of genome integrity: A new pathway regulating 53BP1 stability"). Ignacio is currently a scientist at Philip Morris International.
  • 2008-2009: Lucia Morgado-Palacín, Conducted Master's degree research project supported by a grant from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain. Lucia is now doing her doctoral studies in the laboratory of Manuel Serrano in the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain.
  • 2008-2009: Stephanie Perkins, M.D., Chief Resident of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Perkins is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at WUSM.
  • 2007-2008: Kenneth Biehl, M.D., Resident of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Biehl is now a practicing physician in Radiation Oncology with Arizona Oncology Associates, P.C.
  • 2006-Present: Undergraduate students: Krista Johnson (WUSM), Hashini Gunasinghe (WUSM), Rachel Waller (UMC), Victoria Blanco (KU), Monica Carron (Truman University).

Lab Photos

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Copyright 2009 Washington University School of Medicine Department Radiation Oncology.