Laboratory of Robert Burk

Current Lab Members

Robert Burk, MD - Principal Investigator

Robert Burk, MDRobbie is a physician-scientist with extensive expertise in molecular biology, clinical medicine, epidemiology, and medical genetics. He has devoted his career to understanding and studying the causal factors of cancer.


Ana Gradissimo, PhD - Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Ana Gradissimo, PhDWorks currently in: Risk stratification based on methylation of HPV genomes. Graduated in Biology in 2005, with special interest in clinical research. Started working at a virology laboratory in the Portuguese National Institute of Health, with a 3-year fellowship regarding the study of human papillomavirus (HPV) prognostic markers to precancerous cervical lesions development. As a way to gather knowledge and to pursue specialization, initiated a PhD in 2009 with the project “New approaches to the diagnosis of human papillomavirus infection: relevance for clinical practice and cancer prevention”. Included an 5-week internship at National Cancer Institute (Frederick, MD, USA) learning serologic techniques applied to HPV research. The main areas of interest are to improve screening strategies for cervical cancer prevention; to use molecular / prognostic markers for better management of HPV-infected women; to identify novel sequences of diagnostic and therapeutic relevance for prevention of cervical cancer development. Considered as intuitive, with critical judgment, and aiming to use research as impact in public health and women’s welfare; proactive and keen for embracing new challenges; hard worker and fast learner, with teaching and communication skills.

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Ayax Pérez Gallegos, PhD - Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Ayax Pérez Gallegos, PhDAyax graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Chemistry School in 2008. For his dissertation, he conducted research on the modeling of the mineral solid–water interface physicochemical processes from molecular, structural, and morphological details, in Mario Villalobos lab at UNAM Geography Institute. In 2010, he obtained his MS degree from UNAM Chemistry School, working in Juan R. Álvarez Idaboy lab at the Theoretical and Physical Chemistry Unit. His dissertation focused on the quantum-mechanical modeling of atmospheric chemical processes initiated by the hydroxyl radical. Interested in the study of biologically relevant chemical processes, in 2011 he joined the Theoretical Molecular Biology group at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) with a 5-year PhD fellowship from the Mexican Science and Technology Council. His dissertation, supervised by Àngels González Lafont and Mireia García Viloca, focused on the development and application of multiscale theoretical methodologies to study the mechanism of the reaction catalyzed by protein kinases. Ayax started working in the Burk lab in the spring of 2017 and is currently investigating HPV genome evolution through the structure of the proteins and their association with carcinogenicity. He is interested in a multidisciplinary formation to study complex biomolecular systems with pharmaceutical relevance.

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Mykhaylo Usyk, MS - Bioinformatics Analyst

Mike_ProfilePicMykhaylo graduated with a BS and MS from NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2016. While studying at NYU he conducted research on developing polyaniline functionalized electrodes and non-specific protein binding with industry professor Kalle Levon. Once he was accepted into the joint BS/MS program and working on his thesis, Mykhaylo started working at NYU's college of dentistry as a Bioinformatics analyst. There he designed high throughput metagenomic analysis pipelines. Most of his work focused on microbial community variation in pancreatic cancer. Mykhaylo started working in the Burk lab at the beginning of 2016 and is currently working on NGS HPV studies. He is interested in building a wide skill set in the field of bioinformatics which can then be incorporated into a career in medicine.



Christopher Sollecito, BS - Research Technician

Christopher SollecitoChris graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences from Fordham University in 2015. Before joining the Burk Lab in 2016, Chris worked in the laboratory of Qize Wei, MD, PhD, studying how MyoGEF, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, regulates cytokinesis and breast cancer cell invasion. He is interested in cancer biology, biochemistry, and translational medicine. Chris hopes to pursue a PhD in the biomedical sciences.



Rebecca Emmerich, BA – Bioinformatics Analyst

rebeccaRebecca joined the lab in August 2018. She received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Computational Cognitive Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Burk Lab Rebecca interned as a web developer at Skadden Arps in NYC and at MyndYou, a healthcare analytics start up in Tel Aviv. Rebecca enjoys painting and drawing and is an avid reader.



Evan Grassi, BS - Research Technician

evanEvan joined the lab in October of 2018. He received his B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Fordham University. During his time at Fordham, Evan worked with Edward Dubrovsky, PhD. studying the function of Juvenile Hormone induced genes in Drosophila as well as Donald Clarke, PhD studying intramolecular forces in small molecules via NMR spectroscopy. In his free time he enjoys biking, reading, and running


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