Translational Science Scholars

Michelle Howard HeadshotMichelle E. Howard, PhD 

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology

Howard is a medical physicist with research focused on improving overall outcomes of patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) by studying the synergistic effects of radiation and pharmacologic agents. She will investigate the effects of pharmacologic ascorbate (P-AscH-) for the treatment of pediatric high-grade glioma (pHGG) patients, who have limited treatment options and poor outcomes. She will use human derived pHGG cell lines to determine if P-AscH- selectively enhances radiosensitization in pHGG cells while simultaneously reducing RT-induced oxidative damage in normal neural cell populations. Her long-term goals include translating this work into a phase 1 clinical trial.




O'Shea PortraitAmy O'Shea, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine

O'Shea is a biostatistician with research focused on improving access to care. With the expansion of telemedicine, it is especially important to ensure that already underserved populations do not become increasingly disadvantaged. Her current work studies the intersection of telehealth use with broadband accessibility and other social determinants of health, especially among rural populations. She will leverage her expertise in integrating administrative data with primary data collection to explore the barriers and facilitators of telehealth adoption in the primary care or mental health settings. Her long-term goal is to evaluate healthcare delivery in the improvement of long-term health outcomes among rural and underserved populations.





Johnson Zhang HeadshotJohnson Zhang, MD

Associate of Neurology

Qiang (Johnson) Zhang is neurologist and neuroscientist who seeks to understand the fundamental mechanisms through which impaired glucose metabolism contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. He was trained with Nobel laureate Dr. Stanley Prusiner. He will leverage his expertise in animal models of neurodegeneration and explore whether improving glycolysis is neuroprotective in rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease. To enhance brain glycolysis, he will employ an existing drug, terazosin. This is an alpha-1 adrenergic antagonist, but it also binds to and enhances activity of phosphoglycerate kinase-1, the first ATP-generating step of glycolysis. Specifically, he will quantify the target engagement of terazosin in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and compare surrogates of brain energetics in animals treated with terazosin versus vehicle. He will also determine whether terazosin treatment can mitigate neurodegeneration in rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease, with the long-term goal of translational research identifying disease modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.