Kitajewski Lab

Welcome!

We are housed in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

We are a highly collaborative lab focused in several areas related to vascular biology. As a team, we strive to uncover the roles of a number of pathways including Notch, Chloride Intracellular Channels (CLICs), and Anthrax Toxin Receptors in developmental and pathological angiogenesis.

Our lab includes a healthy mix of people from several backgrounds in various stages of their careers. Our lab promotes scientific discovery while aiding in the professional development of all members.

If you would like to know more about us, please continue to explore our website.

Recent News

Welcome to our newest lab members!

Over the last several months, we have had three new students join the lab! Kate Alexander is a graduate student who is bringing her passion for cancer immunology to our studies on Notch4 signaling within the tumor microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Rishi Patel is an undergraduate student who is working with Tanner on his ACKR1 project, and Bhavya Vegesna is an undergraduate student who is currently assisting Ben with the final stretch of his thesis work. We are excited to welcome everyone to the team!

1/20/2023

Krishna recognized for outstanding research at Society for Developmental Biology meeting!

We are thrilled to announce that Krishna won the third-place presentation award last weekend at the Midwest Regional Society for Developmental Biology meeting! This open competition included postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students, which made this achievement even more impressive.

The other Angiogeniuses also had a great time at their first external conference, receiving many compliments and meeting a lot of other scientists in the field.

Congratulations to Krishna and the Angiogeniuses team on their outstanding achievements at the Midwest Regional Society for Developmental Biology conference!

11/18/2022

Exciting research on Notch1 and Notch4 peptibodies published by Tim Sargis!

We are excited to announce that Tim Sargis has published "Notch1 and Notch4 core binding domain peptibodies exhibit distinct ligand-binding and anti-angiogenic properties" in the journal Angiogenesis.

The article examines the distinct ligand-binding and anti-angiogenic properties of these peptibodies, and the results have important implications for the understanding of how these peptibodies can be used for therapeutic Notch inhibition.

This publication is a testament to the Tim's hard work and dedication and we are proud to share his achievement with the scientific community.

11/15/2022

Lab members take home top prizes at CCVR research day!

We are thrilled to announce that our lab members received awards at the CCVR research day!

Stephanie won first prize in the postdoc talk category for her outstanding presentation. Ben also took home first prize in the predoc talk category. And Taliha earned first prize in the postdoc poster category for her excellent research.

We are incredibly proud of Stephanie, Ben, and Taliha for their hard work and dedication to their research. These awards are a testament to their skills and contributions to the scientific community.

10/20/22

Congratulations to Chinwe on receiving the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer travel award!

Congratulations to Chinwe, on receiving the travel award from the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer! This prestigious award is a testament to Chinwe's hard work and dedication to the field of cancer immunotherapy.

As a recipient of the travel award, Chinwe will have the opportunity to attend the society's annual meeting and present her research to a group of top experts in the field. We are proud of Chinwe for this accomplishment and look forward to hearing about her experience at the annual meeting.

10/20/2022

Ben Gordon wins Poster Prize at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Defining and Defeating Metastasis conference!

Congratulations to MSTP student Ben Gordon for winning a poster prize at the first ever EMBL Defining and Defeating Metastasis conference!

6/22/2022

Kitajewski lab selected for UIC Chancellor's Translational Research Initiative award!

Graduate student Tim Sargis led a project to develop new Notch decoys which has resulted in a Chancellor's Translational Research Initiative for the Kitajewski lab. Awesome work Tim!

5/2/2022

Jumobi Arowolo and Rahul Vadakath receive UIC's LASURI award

Jumobi Arowolo and Rahul Vadakath, both undergraduate researchers in the Kitajweski lab received LASURI awards from UIC! Jumobi's was awarded for her project entitled "Role of Rnd1 in Notch-Mediated Regulation of Arteriovenous Malformations" and Rahul was awarded for his project "Inhibition of Endothelial Notch4 Enhances Anti-Tumor Immune Activity."

4/27/2022

Ahana Gupta places second at Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium oral presentation competition

Ahana Gupta, an undergraduate researcher, in the Kitajewski lab placed second in the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) oral presentation competition. The CAURS is one of the largest undergraduate research symposiums across the country which hosts highly competitive poster and oral presentation competitions for students across the Chicagoland area.

4/15/2022

Jumobi Arowolo selected for 2022 Summer Research Opportunities Program

Jumobi Arowolo, an undergraduate researcher, has been awarded funding for research this summer as part of the 2022 Summer Research Opportunities Program at UIC. She will continue working in the Kitajewski lab this summer developing her skills as a scientist.

3/17/2022

Stephanie Niemczyk receives NINDS K99/R00 - NIH Pathway to Independence Award

Stephanie Niemczyk, PhD, was awarded the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke K99/R00 - NIH Pathway to Independence Award for her work titled "Investigation of cerebrovascular Notch as a novel modulator of cognitive function." This award will support her mentored research in the Kitajewski lab and support her as an independent researcher following her time in the lab. We are incredibly proud of Stephanie's major accomplishment and excited to see her future independent research!

2/28/2022

Jason Eng awarded UI Cancer Center’s Clinical Fellows Pilot Program

Jason Eng, MD, PhD, was awarded UI Cancer Center's Clinical Pilot Program for his work "Investigating the Role of VEGF-C in the Progression of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma." The UI Cancer Center's Pilot Project Program funds members' cancer research projects, leading to competitive grant applications for external funding. We are excited to see how Jason's project advances.

2/27/2022

Ahana Gupta places first at UIC Impact Day and Honors Research Symposium

Ahana's poster titled "Unc5b has anti-angiogenic activity downstream of Notch activity in the retinal vasculature" won UIC Impact Day and Honors Research Symposium poster competition, which included over 75 UIC student poster presentations.

2/26/2022

"Endothelial Notch signaling directly regulates the small GTPase RND1 to facilitate Notch suppression of endothelial migration" accepted by Scientific Reports!

We are excited to announce the paper "Endothelial Notch signaling directly regulates the small GTPase RND1 to facilitate Notch suppression of endothelial migration" has been accepted by Scientific Reports. The report was co-first authored by Bhairavi Swamination, PhD, Naiche Adler, PhD, and Seock Won Youn, PhD. Stay tuned for a link to the published article when it comes out!

1/19/2022

Tanner places second in UIC College of Medicine Research Forum poster competition!

We are proud to announce Tanner Roach, an MD/PhD candidate in our lab, was awarded Silver Medal honors in the graduate, MD/PhD, and Other Combined Degrees category at the UIC COM Research Forum poster competition. View his poster entitled "The Role of Endothelial ACKR1 in Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and others from the research forum here: https://collegeofmedicine.webhost.uic.edu/ResearchForum2021/medical-students-2-21.html.

1/19/2022

Chinwe E-Amankwah receives American Cancer Society Post-Doctoral fellowship.

Chinwe was awarded the ACS fellowship for her project entitled "Effects of Racial/Ethnic Variation in ACKR1 on Breast Cancer Progression and Treatment."

1/19/2022

Dr. Adler appointed Faculty Fellow in Honors College

Dr. Naiche Adler has been appointed as a faculty fellow in the Honors College at UIC. Dr. Adler was awarded this position due to her excellent standing in UIC's science community and distinguished record in mentoring and teaching students. As a faculty fellow, Dr. Adler will continue mentoring students throughout their undergraduate years, especially helping them navigate various scientific fields.


Tanner and Chinwe win Center for Cardiovascular Research Virtual Research Day Awards

Congratulations to Tanner for winning Runner-up best oral presentation in the MD/PhD category and Chinwe for winning Honorable mention best oral presentation in the Post-Doctoral group at this year's CCVR Research Day! Both presentations were exciting to watch and highlighted the exciting work from our team focusing on the role of ACKR1 in Triple-Negative breast cancer.


Congratulations to Benjamin Gordon for receiving the F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowship

Congrats to Ben for being awarded the prestigious F30 award for MD/PhD students for his project entitled "The Study of Jag1-Notch in the Extravasation of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells in Metastasis." We are all very proud of his accomplishment and excited to watch his project develop!


Quanber new position at Fluidigm

July 8, 2021

Quanber will be moving on from the Kitajewski lab and returning to his home country of Canada to join Fluidigm imaging team. At Fluidigm Quanber will be advancing the Hyperion Imaging System CyTOF® technology a highly multiplexed imaging and single-cell analysis technique allowing for incredible observation of tumor microenvironment down to a single-cell resolution. Congratulations Quanber and we are excited to hear about your future work!

Congratulations Chinwe and Tanner for being awarded VBST fellowships.

July 8, 2021

Congratulations to Chinwe and Tanner for being awarded postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees in the Vascular Biology, Signaling, and Therapeutics training program, respectively. The VBST training program develops an exceptionally talented and diverse group of graduate and postdoctoral fellows in vascular biology. The program engages fellows in multidisciplinary vascular research that has translational potential. Find out more about the VBST training program here!



Dr. Kitajewski interview on HB1779 Biomarker Testing Bill

June 28, 2021

Check out Dr. Kitajewski's latest interview discussing the Illinois Biomarker Testing Bill HB1779 with Tom Miller on WJPF Morning NewsWatch. Dr. Kitajewski covers the importance of biomarker testing in the early treatment of cancer, transformations in the field of cancer medicine due to biomarker research, and the impacts biomarker testing will make on healthcare costs and outcomes.

https://www.wjpf.com/episode/newsradio-wjpf-interview-with-jan-kitajewski-june-29-2021/



Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Kleinjan!

May 25, 2021

MD/PhD student Matthew Kleinjan successfully defended his thesis to earn his doctoral degree! Matt was the first graduate student in the Kitajewski lab at UIC and has paved the way for many students to come. Matt will be continuing his MD/PhD training with clinical rotations during his M3 and M4 years of medical school. We are incredibly proud of all your accomplishments in the lab and know you have many more great achievements ahead of you as a physician-scientist!


Bhairavi awarded 23andMe statistical genetics fellowship

May 14, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Bhairavi Swaminathan for being awarded a major 10-week fellowship with 23andMe in statistical genetics to use fine-mapping to pinpoint causal variants in breast cancer. We are very excited to hear about your fellowship and will miss you while you are gone!

Krishna and Ahana awarded LASURI undergraduate research scholarships

April 29, 2021

A big congratulations to undergraduate students Krishna and Ahana for receiving LASURI undergraduate research awards for the 2021-2022 academic year! The UIC Liberal Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Initiative (LASURI) provides an opportunity for students to apply for scholarship to assist in developing their research skills and progressing their project. We are so proud of their amazing accomplishment!

New paper published in Science Signaling

April 20, 2021

We are very excited to announce that Brian has a new paper titled "CLIC1 and CLIC4 mediate endothelial S1P receptor signalng to facilitate Rac1 and RhoA activity and function" just published in Science Signaling! This study establishes an exciting new role for CLIC1 and CLIC4 in regulating GPCR signaling pathways that link to the small GTPases Rac1 and RhoA. Read more about it here: stke.sciencemag.org/content/14/679/eabc0425

Welcome new lab members!

January 7, 2021

We've had a few new additions to the lab as we transitioned to the new year. We are excited to welcome two new undergraduate students; Rahul Vadakath and Jumobi Arowolo! We also welcome Shreya Deb who is a first-year PhD student joining us for a rotation.

Congratulations Naiche and Bhairavi on their promotions!

December 15, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Naiche Adler for her promotion to Research Assistant Professor! As the lab's scientific director Naiche plays a key role in writing and managing grants and protocols, advising on experimental designs and mouse colony management, mentoring students and scientists at all levels of training, and keeps the lab running smoothly in countless ways. Also a big congratulations to Dr. Bhairavi Swaminathan on her promotion to Research Assistant Professor! Bhairavi is an integral part of all of our bioinformatics analyses and is expanding her skill set to also become a major contributor to the UIC Cancer Center.

Matt receives ePoster award at NAVBO's Vascular Biology 2020 meeting

October 29, 2020

MD/PhD student Matt received an Award for Oustanding ePoster for his virtual poster presentation at Vasular Biology 2020. The title for his poster is "Endothelial CLIC4 is necessary for thrombin/PAR1 signaling". Congrats to Matt!

Qanber selected for NAVBO e-poster award at IVBM 2020

Septmeber 23, 2020

We are very excited to announce that Qanber was selected for the NAVBO e-poster award for his virtual presentation at IVBM 2020! In his acceptance note he writes "In his acceptance speech he said "I am honored to receive the e-poster award and thankful to the IVBM 2020 organizing committee and reviewers for acknowledging my research. Newton once wrote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. With that in mind, I would like to thank my mentor Jan Kitajewski, wonderful co-authors, amazing lab members and my loving family for playing the role of giants. This award will undoubtedly fuel my desire to continue on exploring the world of vascular biology in hopes of discovering novel biological mechanisms and therapeutics. Thank you again and peace to all!" You can find the award posting at https://www.ivbm2020.org/abstracts/abs_05.html.

Review article published in Vaccines

Septmeber 17, 2020

Congrats to MD/PhD student Ben Gordon for publishing a review article titled "The role of the tumor microenvironment in developing successful therapeutic and secondary prophylactic breast cancer vaccines" in the journal Vaccines. Give it a read for an informative look into efforts to produce vaccines for the treatment of breast cancer and how the tumor microenvironment challenges these efforts. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8030529

Brian and Qanber win awards at CCVR Research Day 2020

Septmeber 9, 2020

Congratulations to Brian and Qanber for winning ePoster presentation awards at the Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCVR) Research Day 2020! CCVR Research Day was a virtual event this year but that didn't stop record participation in the annual competition. Brian was awarded "Best Presentation" in the Post-Doctoral category and Qanber was awarded "Honorable Mention" also in the Post-Doctoral category. Keep up the great work!

Welcome new lab members!

August 1, 2020

A very big welcome to our newest lab members postdoctoral fellow Chinwe E-Amankwah and graduate student Tanner Roach! We are excited to be working with them and can't wait to see all the amazing work they will accomplish.

More News

Qanber selected for NAVBO e-poster award at IVBM 2020

Septmeber 23, 2020

We are very excited to announce that Qanber was selected for the NAVBO e-poster award for his virtual presentation at IVBM 2020! In his acceptance note he writes "In his acceptance speech he said "I am honored to receive the e-poster award and thankful to the IVBM 2020 organizing committee and reviewers for acknowledging my research. Newton once wrote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. With that in mind, I would like to thank my mentor Jan Kitajewski, wonderful co-authors, amazing lab members and my loving family for playing the role of giants. This award will undoubtedly fuel my desire to continue on exploring the world of vascular biology in hopes of discovering novel biological mechanisms and therapeutics. Thank you again and peace to all!" You can find the award posting at https://www.ivbm2020.org/abstracts/abs_05.html.

Review article published in Vaccines

Septmeber 17, 2020

Congrats to MD/PhD student Ben Gordon for publishing a review article titled "The role of the tumor microenvironment in developing successful therapeutic and secondary prophylactic breast cancer vaccines" in the journal Vaccines. Give it a read for an informative look into efforts to produce vaccines for the treatment of breast cancer and how the tumor microenvironment challenges these efforts. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8030529

Brian and Qanber win awards at CCVR Research Day 2020

Septmeber 9, 2020

Congratulations to Brian and Qanber for winning ePoster presentation awards at the Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCVR) Research Day 2020! CCVR Research Day was a virtual event this year but that didn't stop record participation in the annual competition. Brian was awarded "Best Presentation" in the Post-Doctoral category and Qanber was awarded "Honorable Mention" also in the Post-Doctoral category. Keep up the great work!

Welcome new lab members!

August 1, 2020

A very big welcome to our newest lab members postdoctoral fellow Chinwe E-Amankwah and graduate student Tanner Roach! We are excited to be working with them and can't wait to see all the amazing work they will accomplish.

New paper published in PLOS ONE

June 11, 2020

MD/PhD student Jessica Price has a new paper out in PLOS ONE demonstrating that Notch3 makes ovarian cancer more lethal by increasing its ability to bind collagen extracellular matrix: “Notch3 signaling promotes tumor cell adhesion and progression in a murine epithelial ovarian cancer model”. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233962

Survivors Advising Scientists Educational Program

May 26, 2020

MD/PHD student Ben Gordon has become a founding member of the "Survivors Advising Scientists" program, which pairs doctoral students with community advocates. Go here to see his informative and layman-accessible videos on how cancer researchers develop hypotheses and design experiments, and the whys and hows of clinical trials.

https://cancer.uillinois.edu/new-cancer-educational-program-pairs-scientists-survivors/?mc_cid=afdace70f2&mc_eid=586a43b74c

College of Medicine entering phase 3 re-start of research

June 8, 2020

Our department is officially reopening and new research can begin! We are excited to start welcoming everyone back while following our new safety precautions.

Congratulations to Daniel Shaye for new CLIC R01

April 1, 2020

A big congratulations to our collaborator Dr. Daniel Shaye and to us for receiving a new NHLBI R01 award so our labs can jointly investigate the function of CLICs in GPCR-mediated Rac/Rho signaling.

Sponsored Research Agreement with Eisai Ltd.

March 20, 2020

We are pleased to announce that we have renewed our collaborative Sponsored Research Agreement with Eisai Ltd. - we look forward to ongoing work in potential biotherapeutics!

Congratulations to Dr. Parvani on research award

March 4, 2020

Congratulations to Research Assistant Professor Jenny Parvani on receiving the UIC Chancellor's Research Initiative award!


Dr. Parvani receives UIC Clinical and Translational Science award

November 10, 2019

Great job by Research Assistant Professor Jenny Parvani, who just received a UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) award for "The influence of Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) on immune-checkpoint inhibition in African American patients with triple negative breast cancer."


Brian selected for Outstanding Poster Award

October 31, 2019

We're very proud that Postdoctoral Fellow Brian Mao was selected for the 2019 Outstanding Poster Award by a Postdoctoral Fellow at the 2019 North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) annual meeting. His poster "Chloride Intracellular Channel (CLIC) proteins function to modulate Rac1 and RhoA downstream of endothelial G-protein coupled receptors signaling" had great data and great design!


Matt selected as Center for Cardiovascular Research Day best student speaker

September 19, 2019

Congratulations to MD/PHD student Matt Kleinjan, who was selected as the best student speaker at the Center for Cardiovascular Research Day for his presentation of "Chloride Intracellular Channel (CLIC) proteins function as modulators of RhoA activity and function downstream of endothelial thrombin/PAR1 and S1P/S1PReceptor signaling"


New paper published in ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science

September 4, 2019

PhD student Natalie Kofler has a new paper out in ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science demonstrating that Notch ligand Jag1 can have opposite effects on angiogenesis depending on context: "Inhibition of Jagged-Specific Notch Activation Reduces Luteal Angiogenesis and Causes Luteal Hemorrhaging of Hormonally Stimulated Ovaries" https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsptsci.9b00050


UIC Patient Brigade visits the Kitajewski lab

August 14, 2019

The Kitajewski lab welcomed the UIC Patient Brigade, a passionate group of patient advocates committed to bridging the communication gap between cancer patients, doctors, and researchers and making sure that all of Chicago's residents get quality care. We listened to Brigade members talk about their medical experiences and then met with them individually to explain the research that we do. Learn more about the Brigade at https://cancer.uillinois.edu/community/community-engaged-research-and-implementation-science/


Congrats to Stephanie and Tim

July 1, 2019

Congratulations to Postdoctoral Fellow Stephanie Niemczyk and PhD student Tim Sargis for their appointments to the Training Program in Personalized Cardiovascular Medicine and Vascular Biology, Signaling and Therapeutics Program, respectively. Fantastic young scientists who deserve this support!


Big congratulations to our newest doctor, Brian Mao!

April 11, 2019

Amazing job by our newest Doctor, Brian Mao, who just defended his thesis "Chloride Intracellular Channel (CLIC) proteins function to modulate Rac1 and RhoA downstream of endothelial G-protein coupled receptors signaling". Brian joined the Kitajewski lab as a PhD student at Columbia University, and we're excited that he will be staying with us for a while as a postdoc at UIC.


New CLIC data presented at International Vascular Biology Meeting in Helsinki

June 8, 2018

Brian traveled to Helsinki, Finland to present his latest findings at the 2018 International Vascular Biology Meeting (IVBM). The next IVBM will be held in Seoul, Korea in 2020.


Welcome new graduate student

May 2, 2018

The Kitajewski lab is excited to welcome our newest graduate student Tim Sargis! Tim will be working on developing notch decoys with the goal of inhibiting cancer tumor growth by blocking notch signaling.


DOD grant to test promising treatment for triple-negative breast cancer

March 21, 2018

The Kitajewski lab has received a three-year $1.17 million Department of Defence grant to develop a new therapeutic to treat triple-negative breast cancer. Read more

Contact Us

Kitajewski Lab

University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

835 South Wolcott Avenue

E202 MSB

Chicago, IL 60612