Alessandro Vindigni, PhD

Principal Investigator, Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Immunology

Director, Center for Genome Integrity
Siteman Cancer Center

I completed my graduate training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in Italy at the University of Padua and my postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. In 2002, I was appointed Group Leader in Genome Stability at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), which is an intergovernmental organization aligned with the United Nations system and based in Trieste, Italy. In 2011, I relocated to Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where I worked as Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Since 2015, I have been serving as Co-Leader of the DNA Metabolism and Repair (DMR) program of the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine. In 2019, I accepted my current position as Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine with the goal of fostering interactions and new collaborations between laboratories working in the closely related areas of DNA damage response, DNA replication and repair, telomere biology, and gene regulation. I have always been fascinated by the mechanisms that bridge DNA and people together! Outside the lab, I enjoy running, going to art exhibits and spending time with my family!

Alice Meroni, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

I completed my PhD in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Milan, where I worked in the Muzi Falconi-Lazzaro group, investigating yeast TLS polymerases and RNases H. In 2018, I started my postdoctoral studies in the Vindigni’s lab. In our lab, I study how human cells adapt to Topoisomerase 1 inhibitor treatments.

Sumedha Agashe, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am a post-doctoral research associate in the lab. I am originally from India, I did Masters in India and then moved to Italy to join as a PhD student in IFOM-Milan. During PhD I worked on mechanisms to regulate natural replication fork pausing and fragile regions of the genome. In the Vindigni lab, my project focuses on the role of proteins that regulate DNA methylation and subsequent oxidation in replication fork dynamics. We are particularly interested in understanding how this regulation changes in hematopoietic malignancies. Along with research, I am interested in paper quilling and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.

Isabelle Seppa

PhD Student

I’m a PhD Cancer Biology candidate originally from Massachusetts and grew up hiking and kayaking. I did my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Fairfield University in Connecticut and am interested in ways we can use the DNA damage repair pathways to understand chemoresistance. My current project in the Vindigni lab seeks to elucidate the mechanism by which MRE11 resects single-stranded DNA gaps. I enjoy being in book clubs with other graduate students and currently play in a pinball league. Since moving to STL, I have been to many indie concerts and like watching hockey games even though I’ve never quite gotten the hang of skating. In lab I would most likely be voted “the lab jukebox and resident dancer”.

Sierra Wallace

PhD Student

I am a graduate student in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics (MGG) PhD program. I grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where I received my BS in Biological Sciences. Currently, I am testing the mechanisms by which BRCA1, UBC13 and RAD18 play a role in fork recovery using breast cancer cells as a model. One of my interests is studying the mechanistic differences in fork protection and recovery in BRCA1 and BRCA2 deficient cells. I have the tendency to binge watch several seasons of a show and never finish it (I keep telling myself I’ll finish it eventually). Sometimes you’ll find me attempting to remake my mom’s recipes with some success. I’m always in the mood to check out blown glass artwork. In lab I would be voted most likely to take random breaks to get chai lattes.

Emily Cybulla

MD/PhD student

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Loyola University Chicago before moving to St. Louis to join the MD/PhD program at St. Louis University School of Medicine. After finishing my first two years of medical school, I joined the Vindigni lab for my graduate work. My research in the lab centers on defining mechanisms of replication stress response in BRCA1-deficient ovarian and breast cancers and linking these molecular pathways to chemotherapy response. I am now back to medical school to finish the clinical portion of my dual-degree program, but I still love connecting basic science in the lab with translational questions that aim to address challenges in clinical cancer care. Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking and baking, being outdoors, and spending time with family in my home state of Michigan.

Jessica Jackson

Lab Manager

My name is Jessica Jackson and I am the Lab Manager for the Vindigni Lab. I have over 20 years of experience working in a lab setting and have been with the Vindigni Lab for over 7 years now. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri including acquiring both my degrees in Missouri with an undergrad from the University of Missouri – Columbia (MIZZOU) and a graduate degree from Saint Louis University. I enjoy crafting in my spare time including sewing, quilting, woodworking and home decor projects. I also love spending time with my sweet, adorable children, Emily and Connor and spoiling my gorgeous cat, Cricket.

Mangsi Limbu

Lab Technician

Mangsi graduated with a BS in Biology from Truman State University. She joined our lab in 2021 as a Research Technician II and is currently working on a project to identify the factor(s) that helps sustain DNA replication when both fork reversal and repriming are abrogated. Outside the lab, you’ll find Mangsi in her kitchen trying new recipes or in her living room playing guitar. In the lab, she would be voted the “lab (self-timer) photographer.”

Elamathi Kumaran

Lab Technician

I did my integrated masters in Life Sciences with Biotechnology specialization at Bharathidasan University, Trichy and 6 months dissertation project at Centre for Stem Cell Research, Christian Medical College, Vellore. I joined Vindigni lab as a Research Tech. I am intrigued in understanding the mechanisms of replication stress response and also how cancer cells adapt to repeated doses of chemotherapeutics, the factors underlying in replication fork reversal and investigating fork protection by BRCA1/2. Initially my kind of basic research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing. Now I am fascinated in playing with the cells. Outside the lab I sing and dance and sometimes do pencil drawings. I enjoy playing badminton as well.

Nidhi Athreya

Undergraduate Student

I am a second-year undergraduate student at WashU majoring in microbiology and global health. I am very passionate about medicine and medical research. In the Vindigni lab, I am working on a project to better understand how TET2 mutations cause increased sensitivity to specific cancer therapies, especially in the context of hematopoietic malignancies. Outside of research, I enjoy reading, running, and yoga. In lab I would be voted coolest undergraduate!