Lab Members

High school, undergraduate, and postgraduate students
Graduate students
Staff scientists

Lab in mid 2020

Lab in early 2021


Rachel Perry, PhD

Rachel earned her Ph.D. and completed her postdoctoral training at Yale in the lab of Dr. Gerald Shulman, where she focused on the development and application of novel stable isotope tracer methods to model hepatic metabolism under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. In her own lab at Yale, Rachel studies how metabolism intersects with various physiological and pathophysiological states, including cancer and inflammation. This is, quite sincerely, her dream job.

Rachel’s CV (updated 8/11/22) can be found here.

High school, undergraduate, and postgraduate students

Dennis Owusu (remote postgraduate student)

Dennis is a recent graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, and a remote member of the Perry lab. His work involves image and RNAseq analysis in liver and tumor, aiming to identify metabolic programs important in both homeostasis and pathophysiology.

Sita Kottilil (Yale undergraduate student)

Sita is a sophomore at Yale, interested in biology, who has recently joined the Perry lab. She will be working on understanding how exercise slows tumor growth in breast cancer, with the goal of identifying new mechanisms by which we can improve the efficacy of standard breast cancer treatments.

Gautham Ramshankar (remote high school student)

Gautham is a high school student working remotely with the Perry lab. Mentored by Ryan Liu, he is examining substrate preference in cancer utilizing publicly available databases.

Ryan Liu (remote high school student)

Ryan is a high school senior working remotely with the Perry lab. He earned the prestigious NIDDK summer student fellowship in 2022, and works on several projects related to exercise and cancer, and utilizing a multimodal dataset to gain a deeper understanding of how tumor fatty lipid metabolism affects outcomes in breast cancer.

Graduate students

Ngozi Akingbesote (PhD student)

Ngozi is a third year graduate student in Cellular & Molecular Physiology, completing her PhD in the Perry lab. She is expertly juggling multiple projects related to metabolic scaling, metabolic therapy for breast cancer, and how the response to immunotherapy for breast cancer may be modulated by exercise.

See: Akingbesote et al. Communications Biology 2022.

Andin Fosam (PhD student)

Andin is an MD/PhD student completing her graduate work in Cellular & Molecular Physiology in the Perry lab. She is interested in better understanding the metabolic crosstalk that is crucial to optimizing health in physiology and pathophysiology.

See: Fosam & Perry Current Opinion in Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2020.

Zongyu Li (PhD student)

Zongyu is a fifth-year PhD student in Cellular & Molecular Physiology. Before the end of his research rotation, he was already producing publishable-quality FACS data (!), and has not slowed down from there. Zongyu’s two projects include delving into how a novel inflammatory mediator may improve hypoglycemia counterregulation, and understanding a metabolic pathway that may drive renal cell carcinoma using REGAL (REnal Gluconeogenesis Analytical Leads).

Susana Nakandakari (visiting PhD student)

Susana is a nutritionist and a visiting PhD student from Brazil. She is mentored by Dr. Dennys Cintra in Brazil, and co-mentored by Dr. Perry and Dr. Andrew Wang here at Yale. Working with this multidisciplinary team, Susana is interested in how systemic metabolism affects outcomes in sepsis, and an expert in cecal ligation and puncture (no easy feat!).

Xinyi Zhang (PhD student)

Xinyi is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Cellular & Molecular Physiology. She rotated in the lab during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were delighted that she has decided to stay! Her project focuses on the use of metabolic therapy in melanoma, a tumor type that has traditionally not been associated with metabolic changes but has given us some interesting hints of metabolic vulnerabilities that may be exploitable. Additionally, based on her own observations, Xinyi has devised a new metabolic therapy to treat cancer-related fatigue.

Staff Scientists

Stephan Siebel, MD, PhD

Dr. Siebel has considerable experience (and doctorates) in flux methodology and genetics. In the Perry lab, he works to understand how alterations in various metabolic pathways promote cancer pathogenesis. In addition, he is our local mass spec expert – a skill which cannot be undervalued! – and has developed all of the LC/MS methodologies we use for internal studies and collaborations in the area of central carbon, fatty acid, and amino acid metabolism.

Wanling is a research technician who works 20% of the time in the Perry lab. She has been a crucial participant in hundreds of our in vivo mouse studies and is a skilled surgeon: few people we know can place a catheter in a vein that’s just 0.2 mm wide with almost 100% survival rate, but Wanling can!

Lab Alumni

Aray Beisenbayeva (remote high school student, 2020-21)

Aray is a high school student in Kazakhstan. She worked with Shyryn Ospanova to perform a data analysis project to better understand the social and biochemical determinants of prognosis in lung cancer.

See: Leitner, Givechian, Ospanova, Beisenbayeva, et al. NPJ Precision Oncology 2022.

Shyryn Ospanova (remote high school student, 2020-21)

Shyryn worked with us remotely, as a high school student in Kazakhstan and in partnership with Aray Beisbenbayeva, on a data analysis project to better understand the social and biochemical determinants of prognosis in lung cancer. She is currently an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania.

See: Leitner, Givechian, Ospanova, et al. NPJ Precision Oncology 2022.

Hailey Edelman (undergraduate student, 2020-21)

Hailey is an undergraduate student at Yale. Her project in the Perry lab, in part working with Brooks Leitner, involved exploring the mechanisms that modulate exercise performance and recovery in rodents, and exploring potential therapies to enhance these processes.

Chigoziri Konkwo (MD student, 2020-21)

Chigoziri is a fifth year medical student at Yale. He worked on several projects in the Perry lab, writing a review, comprehensively investigating the whole-body transcriptional response to exercise, as well as performing hands-on work in mice, exploring how systemic metabolism affects outcomes in murine models of lung cancer.

See: Konkwo & Perry, Drugs 2020.

Brooks Leitner, PhD (graduate student, 2020-22)

Dr. Leitner is an MD/PhD student whose credentials include serving as a personal trainer to humans and – in the lab – to mice. His projects focused on how systemic metabolism affects the response to cancer and sepsis. Dr. Leitner’s first (of many) first-author paper in the lab is based on work completed during his five-week rotation, and it was far from his last!

See: Leitner & Perry JNCI Cancer Spectrum 2020

Leitner et al. NPJ Precision Oncology 2022

Leitner et al. Biochem. J. 2022

Kyle Schaubroeck (summer student, 2021) 

Kyle is currently a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the Perry lab through the Yale BioMed Amgen Scholars program, and worked hard to develop an optimized method for tissue glycogen quantification – all over a 7-week summer internship!

See: Schaubroeck et al. Physiological Reports 2022.

Alexandra Halberstam (undergraduate student, 2021-22)

Alex was a Yale Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and History of Science, History of Medicine double major, completing her senior thesis in the Perry lab. Her work, with Xinyi Zhang, sought to understand how in vitro and in vivo tumor metabolism can be modulated to improve outcomes in melanoma. She is currently a fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany, having been awarded the Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellowship to perform research investigating epigenetic changes associated with intergenerational trauma.

Briana Robles (summer student, 2022)

Briana joined us for the summer of 2022 as a BioMed Amgen Scholar. She is a student at the University of Florida interested in pursuing an MD/PhD, and worked with us on projects related to metabolism and cancer, mentored by Xinyi.

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