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Welcome to Silva-Fisher Lab

Exploring the Wonders of RNA

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Jessica Silva-Fisher, Ph.D. (she/hers/ella)

Assistant Professor
Assistant Director DEI Oncology
Director MEDA

Dr. Jessica Silva-Fisher obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Cancer Biology from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Her multi-disciplinary approach using bioinformatics and molecular biology has led to some of the first identified functionally relevant long non-coding RNAs in cancer when she was a graduate student. Her postgraduate career focused on gaining bioinformatic skills at the McDonnell Genome Institute and continued with a postdoctoral fellowship in translational research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Silva-Fisher is a NIH K22 Scholar and NIH NRMN SETH Program Scholar. She evaluates how RNAs promote multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. She continues to integrate RNA biology, genomics, epitranscriptomics, and molecular biology to better understand the basic mechanisms of long non-coding RNA:protein interactions for potential future use as diagnostics, prognostics, and novel therapies.

Dr. Silva-Fisher is also a leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department of Medicine. She is Assistant Director of DEI for Oncology and the Director of the Mentorship to Enhance Diversity in Academia (MEDA), the first mentorship program for connecting senior level faculty with under-represented trainees. She is also a Faculty Advisor for the Diversity in Cancer Research High School Initiative at WUSTL. More recently she helped create the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Women Physicians and Scientist Group and is currently on their Board as Secretary.

She served as the Co-Chair of the Trainee Inclusion and Cultural Awareness Task Force, is a mentor and role model for many URiM students at WUSM and within the scientific community. She has also been highlighted in Molecular Cell on her thoughts and efforts in DEI work.

Dr. Silva-Fisher is a faculty of Washington University in St. Louis Division of Biology and  Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) Cancer Biology Program.

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Prasanth Thunguntla, M.S. (he/him/his)

Senior Research Technician

Prasanth is a Master's graduate of Texas Tech University. He has extensive experience in molecular biology and genetic techniques. His work focuses on determining the importance of downstream regulation of lncRNA-protein interactions. 

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Richa Mishra, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Richa Mishra received her Ph.D. in the field of Immunology and Infectious Disease Biology. She is an expert in characterizing viral-derived miRNAs and host immunity. She is currently focusing on miRNA-lncRNA interactions in late-stage relapse breast cancer.

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Katelyn Bagwill, M.S. (she/her/hers)

Bioinformatic Research Assistant

Katelyn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University where she recently received her Master’s in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She was a SLU intern in Dr. Jess lab in 2021 and joined the lab in June 2022, is excited to work on identifying novel non-coding RNA biomarkers in patients who receive High-dose Melphalan with autologous stem cell transplant (HDM-ASCT) therapy with 3-drug regiment.

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Dhanusha Duraiyan (she/her/hers)

Bioinformatic Research Assistant

Dhanusha has a Master of Science in Bioinformatics from Indiana University. She joined the lab in 2023 and is applying computational methods to determine the importance and mechanisms of lncRNAs.

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Alyssa Weinstein (she/her/hers)

Cancer Biology Rotation Student​

Alyssa is highly interested in studying cancer metastasis. She will be learning about RNA modifications of lncRNAs in breast cancer and drug resistance.


Steve Daly (he/him/his)

WUSTL Thesis Honors Student

Steve is a undergraduate student at WUSTL majoring in Biology. He is completing his Thesis honors research project on RNA modifications.

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Mahdote Abebe


WUSTL Thesis Honors Student

Mahdote is an undergraduate Thesis student at Washington University in St. Louis in the Eureka Program studying Biochemistry and Psychology.

Mahdote research focuses on understanding lncRNAs and RNA mods in breast cancer.

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Alani Perkin


Opportunities in Genomics Research Scholar (Postbac)

Alani is a recent Harris Stowe graduate who is interested in studying cancer health disparities.

She will be working on  cell cycle regulatin of late-stge relapse breast cancer and lncRNAs.

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Yash Rajana 


WUSTL Thesis Honor Student

Yash is an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis studying Biochemistry and Anthropology in Global Health and Environment.

Yash research focuses on understanding lncRNAs and protein stability.

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Layan Salman (she/her/hers)

WUSTL Thesis Honors Student

Layan is a Wash U computational biology undergraduate student working in Silva-Fisher lab on identifying lncRNAs using single-cell sequencing. She started in the lab as a MARC U-STAR Summer scholar. 

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Yoon Jae Chang (he/him/his)

Cancer Biology High School Student

Yoon Jae is a Marquette High School rising senior in the Science Coach WUSTL Cancer Bio program. He is creating computational pipelines for image analysis. 

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Dr. Yessica (she/her/hers)

RNA Biologist

Dr. Yessica loves learning about RNA. 

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Dr. J Lego (she/her/hers)


Dr. Lego is always by Dr. Bobble-Heads side. She cant wait to put down her flask.

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Dr. Jess Sassy Bobble-Head (she/her/hers)

Bobble-head Investigator

Dr. Bobble-Head oversees the lab from her high position on the shelf. Nodding away at the crazy exciting science going on in the lab.

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Silva-Fisher Lab Alumni

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Vanessa Brizuela (she/her/hers)

MGI OGR Summer Scholar

Vanessa is an undergraduate from California State Domingues Hills in the Opportunities in Genomics Research Program working on RNA binding proteins in multiple myeloma.


Maddie Turner (she/her/hers)

MSTP Student

Maddie is a second year MSTP student doing her rotation project targeting lncRNAs in late-stage relapse breast cancer.

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Savannah Gonzales (she/her/hers)

McDonnell Genome Institute OGR Extensive Research Program Scholar

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Savannah Gonzales recently graduated from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Bioinformatics. She is a post-bacc researcher in the McDonnell Genome Institute's Opportunities in Genomics Research Program. Her research interests include hematology, oncology, biomedical data science, and  computational medicine. In her free time, Savannah enjoys exploring nature and reading memoirs. She hopes to attend graduate school and become a professor. She is focused on multiple projects studying drug resistant lncRNAs in multiple myeloma and late-stage relapse breast cancer.

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Haley Hashemi (she/her/hers)

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Alex Benton (he/him/his)

Alex is currently a DBBS Cancer Biology student.

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Alexander Miller, M.S. (he/him/his)

Bioinformatic Research Assistant (now in BioIndustry)

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DeAnna Wells (she/her/hers)

WashU U-STAR Summer Program (current WashU undergraduate)

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Kyla Gelev, B.S.  (she/her/hers)

OGR Extended Program Fellow (now PhD candidate at UCLA)

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AJ Murphy (he/him/his)

McDonnell Genome Institute Opportunities in Genomic Research Summer Scholar (now Sophmore Brown)

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Tormey McManaman (he/him/his)

Washington University Diversity High School Initiative Science Coach (now High School Senior)

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Joshua Wilson (he/him/his)

MARCuSTAR student (now WUSTL  graduate)

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Sydney Anderson, B.S. (she/her/hers)

Opportunity in Genomics Research Extended Study Program Fellow (now PhD candidate at Ohio State)

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