Welcome to Silva-Fisher Lab

Exploring the Wonders of RNA

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

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jessica Silva-Fisher was born and raised in San Antonio, TX where she received her B.S. in Biology at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. She began her training as an undergraduate cancer biologist working for five years in Dr. Linda DeGraffenried’s molecular oncology breast cancer lab at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She next obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science under the mentorship of Dr. David Smith. RNA biology, genomics, epigenetics, and molecular biology and are the amazing areas of research Dr. Silva-Fisher uses to study how non-coding RNAs promote aggressive forms of cancer. Her multi-disciplinary approach 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 computational skills at the McDonnell Genome Institute under Drs. Elaine Mardis and Richard Wilson and continued with a postdoctoral fellowship in translational research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis under Dr. Christopher Maher.

Dr. Silva-Fisher started her lab in the Division of Oncology in 2020 and has focused on characterizing and evaluating how RNAs can regulate the genome in aggressive forms of cancer including multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. She continues to integrate RNA biology, genomics, epigenetics, 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) efforts in the Department of Medicine. She is a Diversity Faculty Scholar, has served on 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.

In addition, is the Co-Director of the Mentorship to Enhance Diversity in Academia (MEDA). MEDA aims to connect senior level faculty with under-represented (URM) trainees for mentorship and provide valuable resources for career development.

She is also a Faculty Advisor for the Diversity in Cancer Research High School Initiative at WUSTL. 

Dr. Silva-Fisher is also associated with Washington University in St. Louis Division of Biology and  Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) General Program.


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. 


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

Bioinformatic Research Assistant

Alex has a Bachelors Degree in Economics from University of Houston and a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. He is excited to be the lead bioinformatician working on analyzing multiple sequencing platforms and becoming an expert at scRNA-seq, meRIP-seq and CLIP-seq experiments in the lab!


Kyla Gelev, B.S.  (she/her/hers)

OGR Extended Program Fellow

Kyla has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Southern California. She has interest in personalized medicine and cancer genomics. She wants to use computational tools to understand changes to the genome and how they can result in cancer and alter therapies. She is currently working on lncRNAs that bind to proteins in late stage relapse breast cancer that affect cell cycle.


Joshua Wilson (he/him/his)

MARCuSTAR student


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

Computational Science Intern

Katelyn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University where she is studying to earn her Master’s in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She 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.


Dr. Jess 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.


Dr. Yessica (she/her/hers)

RNA Biologist

Dr. Yessica loves learning about RNA. 


Dr. J Lego (she/her/hers)


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


Silva-Fisher Lab Alumni


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

Opportunity in Genomics Research Extended Study Program Fellow

Sydney has a bachelor's degree from University of Pittsburgh in chemical engineering. She is focused on identifying differentially expressed lncRNAs in multiple myeloma using single cell sequencing data.