Upstate students share their research far and wide

Two Upstate graduate students who conduct research in stem cell biology have showcased their work from California to Greece.

SUNY Upstate Microbiology Immunology SHIP enzyme cancer

Upstate graduate students Sonia Iyer and Robby Brooks have traveled far and wide to give presentations on the research they conduct in the lab of William Kerr, PhD, Murphy Professor of Children's Oncology Research.

Sonia Iyer and Robert (Robby) Brooks, students in the lab of William Kerr, PhD, Murphy Professor of Children’s Oncology Research (Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pediatrics), received travel awards that enabled them to attend prestigious conferences earlier this year.

In June, Sonia presented a poster at the International Conference on Osteoimmunology in Corfu, Greece and – closer to home – gave a 15-minute presentation at a New York Academy of Sciences conference.

Robby presented a research poster at the New York Academy of Sciences conference and received a Keystone Symposia scholarship to showcase his project at a stem cell conference held at Squaw Valley, CA in March – as did Sonia, who also presented a research poster on her work with mesenchymal stem cells in bone biology.

Robby was additionally honored by being selected to give an oral presentation describing his work on hematopoietic stem cells.

In addition to receiving travel grants, Robby and Sonia’s research is supported by multiple federal NIH grants awarded to Dr. Kerr as well as the Paige Arnold Butterfly Run, the 5-kilometer fundraising race held in Syracuse every year.

The Kerr lab in Weiskotten Hall has also developed novel chemicals that turn off a gene called SHIP and find that these inhibitors of the SHIP gene kill multiple myeloma and breast cancer cells.  These SHIP inhibitors may represent cancer therapies of the future as they cure nearly 40% of mice with a deadly form of multiple myeloma.

Testing in mouse models of pediatric leukemia and breast cancer are planned if additional funding can be secured.


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