Maria Guerra Garcia, BS
Maria Guerra Garcia studied Biomedical Engineering and Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and completed an honors thesis on the development of an animal model of Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis to examine the efficacy of Rhenium-186 Nanoliposomes and other therapeutics. She was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and is especially passionate about the fight against pediatric cancer and mental health advocacy. During her free time, she enjoys practicing piano, playing with her cat Daisy-Lu and volunteering as a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. In the Reitman Lab, Maria is investigating different brainstem glioma genotypes that are radiosensitized by the deletion of the ATM gene with the hope of increasing the therapeutic window of radiation and improving survival rates for adults and children with brainstem tumors. She aspires to become a physician scientist focused on caring for cancer patients, conducting research to improve treatments and outcomes, and advocating for her patients through non-profit organizational work.
Joshua A. Regal, MD, PhD
Joshua Regal is a resident physician in radiation oncology at Duke. Joshua completed his MD and PhD training at the University of Michigan. His PhD work with Dr. David Ferguson involved deciphering roles of dysfunction of the DNA damage response/repair factor MRE11 in carcinogenesis and human genetic disease pathogenesis. As a postdoctoral fellow at University of British Columbia with Dr. Phil Hieter, his work involved mechanistically dissecting cohesin genetic interactions to better understand the consequences of cancer-associated cohesin alterations with potential implications for cancer diagnosis, prognostication and treatment. He has joined the Reitman group for the research phase of his residency to better understand brain tumors on a cellular and molecular level, which could potentially be leveraged for better understanding of tumor development and maintenance and therapeutic management and development.
Zach Reitman, MD, PhD
Zach Reitman is a physician-scientist at Duke. As a physician, he provides radiation oncology care for patients with brain and spine tumors at the Duke Cancer Institute. As a scientist, he and his team work to understand the molecular genetics of childhood and adult brain tumors in order to develop new treatment strategies that are more effective and have fewer side effects. Zach completed his MD and PhD training at Duke where he studied brain tumor genetics in the laboratory of Professor Hai Yan, a world expert in genomic analyses of brain tumors. He completed radiation oncology residency training at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, where he completed a research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute in the laboratories of two brain tumor genomic research experts, Dr. Rameen Beroukhim and Dr. Pratiti Bandopadhayay. Now back at Duke as a junior faculty member, he is co-mentored by Professor David Kirsch, an internationally recognized expert in genetically engineered mouse models of cancer and radiation biology, and by Professor David Ashley, the Director of the Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and a worldwide expert on clinical and translational neuro-oncology. Zach and his team are now leveraging genomic analyses and mouse modeling techniques to carry out new lines of investigation in the Reitman Lab. In his free time, Zach enjoys hiking, biking and spending time with his family.
Connor Stewart, BS
Connor Stewart is a research technician in the Reitman Lab at Duke. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from North Carolina State University in 2020, with a focus on cell and molecular biology. As a biologist, Connor is interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer and cancer treatment. He is working with Dr. Reitman to investigate the genetics of brain tumors, with the goal of improving treatment options and clinical outcomes. Connor hopes to eventually earn a PhD in cancer biology and to conduct research that helps improve our understanding of cancer. In his spare time, Connor enjoys watching baseball and playing the violin and guitar.
Loren Weidenhammer, BS
Loren Weidenhammer is a research technician in the Reitman Lab at Duke. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in biology with a double major in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a biologist, Loren is interested in studying the underlying molecular mechanisms of cancer and how those mechanisms can be applied to improving cancer radiation treatment. She is working with Dr. Reitman to investigate the molecular genetics of brain cancer tumors that are found in children and adults, with the goal of improving cancer treatment and clinical outcomes for patients. In addition, she is working to identify and target the key molecular players in the pathways that promote brain tumor formation. Loren plans to earn a PhD in cancer biology and become a research professor. In her spare time, Loren likes to travel, read and play with her pets.