July 2013

Cancer Researcher, Core Technician Named Research Administration Fellows


The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs recently announced the selection of two new research administration fellows. Radhika Iyer, PhD, a research associate in the lab of pediatric cancer expert Garrett Brodeur, MD, and Christian Mercado, MS, a technician in the Nucleic Acid / Protein Research core facility, began their fellowships in early July.

The Research Administration Fellowship is a part-time, unpaid, six-month program that fellows complete concurrently with their research duties. The overall goal of the fellowship is to provide the fellow with a broad overview of CHOP Research Administration through rotations with administrative directors in the fellows’ areas of interest.

After receiving her doctorate in molecular and cellular biology from Ohio University in 2006, Dr. Iyer joined Dr. Brodeur’s laboratory. Dr. Iyer has assisting Dr. Brodeur in his investigation of receptor tyrosine kinases (TRK), a family of signaling proteins. Dr. Brodeur has been working with TRK inhibitors to treat neuroblastoma, an often-complex solid cancer that causes 10 to 15 percent of all childhood cancer-related deaths. Dr. Iyer has also been studying the possibility that nanoparticles could be used to deliver drugs to treat childhood cancers.

The Research Administration Fellowship “will provide me with the opportunity to learn the administrative aspect of establishing a successful research lab as well as the details that go into the managing a successful research institute,” Dr. Iyer said.

The second new Research Administration Fellow is Christian Mercado, a senior technical specialist in the Nucleic Acid / Protein Research (NAP) core facility. The NAP core “provides a centralized source for specialized services, technical expertise and reagents to support investigators’ molecular biology research needs.” Services provided by the core include DNA sequencing analysis, microarray services, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography, and RNA analysis.

After receiving his Bachelor’s from Penn State, Christian went on to earn his Master’s of Science in Biotechnology from Drexel University in 2008. Christian, who first came to CHOP in 2007, is currently working toward his MBA and Master’s of Science in Finance at Drexel.

During his time as a Research Administration Fellow, Christian hopes to “learn how the research institute works as a business.” Because the Research Institute is quite large — comprising approximately more than 500 investigators and a staff in the thousands — he is also interested in learning more about how “the different admin groups accomplish their goals and cooperate with one another.” Overall, Christian said that he hopes to take on a project that will benefit the Institute during his fellowship.

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