Dr. Shimamura directs the Bone Marrow Failure and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Program of the Dana Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Her research focuses on translational studies spanning clinical through basic science investigations to understand the genetic and molecular basis of bone marrow failure, MDS, and leukemia predisposition with the goal of developing more effective and less toxic treatments. Dr. Shimamura had previously directed the Bone Marrow Failure Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital and then at Seattle Children’s Hospital before returning to Boston Children’s Hospital in the fall of 2015.
Dr. Shimamura has mentored numerous students and post-doctoral fellows who have moved on to careers in academics, medicine, or the biotechnology industry.
Elissa Furutani, MD Clinical Fellow
Elissa grew up in Concord, MA before obtaining her BA in the History of Science at Princeton University. She received her MD from Dartmouth Medical School where she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Society. She worked in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Childs (NHLBI) as part of the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars program during medical school, then completed her Pediatrics residency through the Boston Combined Residency Program. She is currently a clinical fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber and Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Elissa is obtaining further training in clinical trial design with the goal of running clinical and translational trials for bone marrow failure disorders.
Melisa received her BA degree in Biochemistry and Russian Language/Literature from Smith College. She obtained her MD and PhD degrees in the MSTP program at Mount Sinai. Following her pediatrics residency and hematology oncology fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Melisa traveled with the Shimamura Lab to its new location at Boston Children’s Hospital. In collaboration with Dr. Eirini Papapetrou (Mount Sinai) Melisa has developed iPSC models of Shwachman Diamond syndrome to study bone marrow failure and clonal evolution.
Ozge Vargel Bolukbasi, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Ozge received her B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bilkent University in Ankara Turkey. She completed her Ph.D. through the European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL) program in Monterotondo, Italy and the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She is joining the Shimamura Lab as a postdoctoral fellow working on high throughput screens to identify novel therapeutic agents for bone marrow failure.
Kamlesh Bisht Research Associate, PhD Kamlesh has extensive experience in diverse areas of biological research, including chromatin organization, telomere biology, genomics and genome editing. After earning his PhD from JNU, India. He worked with Prof. Susan Smith at New York University (NYU) to study the mechanism/regulation of telomere cohesion. In Dr. Nandakumar’s lab at University of Michigan (UMICH) in collabaoration with Dr. Sharon Savage (NIH) he recently co-discovered a unique mutation in a telomeric gene ACD/TPP1 and studied its role in causing bone marrow failure.
In 2016 he joined Dr. Shimamura’s lab to further pursue his interest in studying the inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (BMFS). In Shimamura lab he is working towards identifying the new gene mutations responsible for causing BMFSs and modeling human BMFSs in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using CRISPR Cas9 mediated genome engineering.
Alyssa Kennedy, MD, PhD Clinical Fellow
Alyssa received her BS degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Haverford College. She then worked at the NHGRI in Francis Collin's lab on a project on multiple endocrine neoplasia before pursuing her MD and PhD at Drexel University College of Medicine and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Her decision to pursue pediatric oncology research was inspired by time spent in Dr. Jim Downing’s laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her pediatrics residency was in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston University and Harvard Medical School. She is currently completing a hematology/oncology fellowship the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders center.
Her interests in the Shimamura lab are to better understand the causative mutations and molecular features of Pediatric Myelodysplastic Syndrome and predisposition to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia using iPSC as a model system.
Kaitlyn (Kiki) Ballotti Research Technician
Kiki received a BS in Biology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina where she conducted research in Immunology. She subsequently pursued a research internship in the Engert Lab at Harvard University before joining the Shimamura Laboratory in December 2014. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dog and cheering on all of Boston sports teams.
Out and about as a team:
Clinical Research Team:
Allyson McCrary Clinical Research Coordinator
Allyson McCrary is a clinical research coordinator working on several of Dr. Shimamura’s bone marrow failure studies. She joined the study team in February 2016 after working with the Division of Critical Care Medicine and the Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice at Boston Children’s Hospital. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Stonehill College (majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy). In her free time, Allyson enjoys cooking, traveling and gardening.
Brian Sheehan Clinical Research Coordinator
Brian Sheehan is a clinical research coordinator for Dr. Shimamura’s studies focused on bone marrow failure, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, and aplastic anemia. He joined the study team in October 2015 after his time as a research coordinator in the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Brian spends his free time riding his bike and baking.
Maggie Malsch Research Nurse Project Manager
Maggie Malsch is currently the nurse project manager for the Bone Marrow Failure program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her initial work with Dr. Shimamura was in the lab where she worked on Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. Maggie then went back to school to get her nursing degree from Simmons College and her Masters in Clinical Trials from Drexel University. She worked as a bone marrow transplant nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital and eventually moved into the role of research nurse. When Dr. Shimamura returned to Boston Children’s, Maggie jumped at the chance to work with her again.
Nolan Neu Nolan Neu received his BA in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross in 2015. He began work as a clinical research coordinator in the Bone Marrow Failure program in October of 2015 with Dr. Inga Hofmann, and happily transitioned to Dr. Shimamura’s team in July of 2016 after Dr. Hofmann’s departure. He spends his free time working out and reading, and plans to matriculate to medical school in the fall of 2017.
Past Trainees and Current Position:
John Svenson, PhD Faculty Associate, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Arizona State University
Rebecca Leary, PhD Lab Head in Next Generation Diagnostics at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA
Karyn Austin, MD PhD Received MD/PhD degrees, Pediatric Resident at Boston Children’s Hospital
Karthik Ganapathi, MD PhD Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology Columbia University
Trisha Wong, MD Assistant Professor, Oregon Health Science University
Tomoka Nakamura, MSPH PATH, global health nonprofit
Michael Zhang University of Washington MD PhD program
Sioban Keel, MD Assistant Professor in Hematology, University of Washington
Nicholas Burwick, MD Acting Instructor in Hematology, University of Washington
Phoenix Ho, MD Associate Medical Director, Clinical Development Seattle Genetics