Meet Our Members

Current Members


Photo of Sanghee Lim
Sanghee Lim, MS
Animal Biologist

Sanghee earned her Master's degree from Seoul National University in Neuroscience. Prior to the NIH, she performed cGMP and GLP cell manufacturing and drug therapy on neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy animal model with mechanism research at Johns Hopkins University and Millipore Sigma dedicated to neuroscience, cancer research, molecular biology and cell biology. Her current research explores the permeability of the blood-tumor barrier among malignant gliomas in in vitro and rodent glioma models.


Photo of Minhye Kwak
Minhye Kwak, MS
Animal Biologist

Minhye earned her B.S. in Biological Science from Sungkyunkwan University and an M.S. in Medicine from Seoul National University in South Korea where she performed molecular biology and genomics research. She then worked at Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Proteomics and worked at Johns Hopkins University in Neuroscience. Her current work focuses on the role of transient blood-tumor barrier disruption to enhance CNS drug delivery, using allograft and xenograft rodent glioma models.



Photo of Melissa Cesaire
Melissa Cesaire, BS
Post-bac fellow

Melissa Cesaire earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Developmental Biology and Genetics from Penn State University. Her undergraduate thesis explored researchers’ views on how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), epigenetic mechanisms, and poor health-related outcomes are interrelated. In the Summer of 2021, she investigated the causes behind hyperinsulinism and helped characterize the ABCC8 inactivating mutation in the Zebrafish model at the Laboratory of Dr. Diva D. De León Crutchlow, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Melissa Cesaire was selected as a National Institutes of Health, Undergraduate Scholarship Program Scholar (UGSP), and was hired by the NIH Office of the director as a full-time federal employee upon graduation. Her current work focuses on evaluating drug proteins that can transiently disrupt tight junctions between endothelial cells of the BBB to improve drug delivery to malignant glioma. Melissa is currently applying to MD and MD/PhD programs for a future career in medicine.


Photo of Kayen Tang
Kayen Tang, BS
Post-bac fellow

Kayen is originally from Seattle and earned his B.A. from Vassar College in neuroscience and behavior with a minor in chemistry. As an undergraduate, he investigated the role of prelimbic astrocytes in a spatial working memory paradigm. Currently, he is focusing on understanding the migratory patterns of cancer cells with different chemotherapeutic agents and evaluating drug entry using glioma model intratumoral microdialysis sampling. Kayen is currently applying to MD and MD/PhD programs for a future career in medicine.



Dominique Ferguson, Ph.D.
Dominique Ferguson, Ph.D.
Post-Doc fellow

Dr. Ferguson earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a concentration in Pharmacology from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Her dissertation research evaluated chemical carcinogenesis to delineate the potential impact imposed by the mutagen Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and assessed the ability of the nutraceutical garlic organosulfide Diallyl Trisulfide (DATS) to further elucidate breast carcinogenesis initiation in non-tumorigenic and premalignant human breast epithelial cells. During her graduate studies, Dr. Ferguson was a recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship and Merck Pathways to Successful Biomedical Careers Fellowship. She has also interned in the Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics project team at Bristol Meyers Squibb and mentored undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Ferguson’s current research explores the drug induced metabolic stimuli to the blood-tumor barrier and tumor progression.


Photo of Taylor McDonald
Taylor McDonald, BA
Post-bac fellow

Taylor earned her B.A. in Neuroscience and Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University. Her undergraduate thesis centered on establishing patient-derived glioma stem cell lines that effectively recapitulate prognostic phenotypes in GBM. Currently, her research focuses on exploring the role of drug-induced activation of canonical signaling pathways to alter the phenotype of endothelial cells within the BBB, with the aim of enhancing drug delivery for malignant gliomas. Taylor is currently applying to MD and MD/PhD programs for a future career in medicine and biomedical research.


Mahalia Dalmage, BS, Special volunteer


Lab Alumni

  • Christina Conrad, PhD, Post-doc fellow
  • Brandon Foster, BA, Post-bac fellow
  • Caitlyn Meek, MS, Graduate fellow
  • Matthew McCord, MD, MRSP fellow
  • Amelie Vezina, MS, PhD, Post-doc fellow