Charles Keller Laboratory welcomes summer students!

We are thrilled to have such talented high school, college and visiting graduate students this summer. A particular focus is personalized osteosarcoma therapy — you can watch a video of our vision for personalized cancer therapy here.

Lara Davis, M.D., the adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology fellow in our lab, is leading students Claire, Olivia, Melissa and Noah (see bios below) in the effort to develop rapid and reliable ways that children with osteosarcoma can have their tumor cells grown, analyzed and treated – in a personalized approach.

We aren’t quite ready for clinical trial, but the work isn’t far off. In fact, Olivia’s own dog has osteosarcoma and is enrolled in the canine osteosarcoma trial at Oregon State University in collaboration with veterinarian Bernard Seguin, D.V.M.

Claire, Olivia, Melissa and Noah are sponsored by the Faith Fulmer Foundation for this work. Faith’s parents follow our progress regularly and keep us accountable!

To be able to bring bright young minds to the challenge of sarcoma research while trying to achieve personalized cancer therapy for children is really the best of all worlds.

Claire Turina


“I grew up in the Portland area attending Jesuit High School and am currently a sophomore in the Oregon State University Honors College majoring in Biochemistry & Biophysics with the hope of attending medical school. My interest in pediatric oncology began six years ago when I began volunteering and fundraising for the Children’s Cancer Association, a small Portland-based nonprofit. My experience with children with cancer along with my passion for chemistry are what make me so excited to become a part of the Keller lab team and have the opportunity to learn from the other lab team members.” Read more here.

Oliva Recht


Olivian, Sy and Grace (Courtesy of Melanie de Silva)

“My interest in pediatric oncology began with my father, Dr. Michael Recht, who is an incredibly passionate pediatric oncologist at Oregon Health Science University. I have spent all my life listening to him talk about these various forms of cancers and have been intrigued by the science behind them. I hope to further my understanding of cancer throughout my undergraduate years at Smith College, where I am majoring in biology. I aspire to work in the medical field someday, although not yet sure where my career is taking me.  Read more here.

Melissa Jaffe


“I am a student at Sheldon High School, where my main concentrations are math and science, particularly chemistry. The area that most fascinates me at this time is neuroscience, because the brain is the most complex organ in the body and works in such advanced and amazing ways. I find it riveting that I could study the brain for my entire life and never completely understand how it works. A related interest is oncology. Like the brain, there is much about this field that remains unknown. I consider cancer one of life’s greatest mysteries that I believe be solved through the hard work of enthusiastic scientists in medical laboratories.  I have the enthusiasm that comes from knowing the pursuit of a cure will have a profound affect on everyone.” Read more here.

Noah Berlow


“I am a recent graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Electrical Engineering and currently a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering program under Dr. Ranadip Pal. Though trained as an Electrical Engineer, I have been involved in Biomedical research since 2009, with a focus in bridging the gap between Engineering theory andPersonalized Cancer Treatment strategies. The challenge of working in a field mostly removed from my training, and the tangible benefits to the medical community and society at large, captured my attention in my undergraduate career and has kept me heavily involved in this field of research!” Read more here.

Michelle Buncke


“I am going to be a senior at Lakeridge High school and am looking forward to an enriching, informative experience at Dr. Keller’s Lab this summer. Throughout my education, I have always loved science. In my AP Biology and Human Physiology classes during my junior year, I became enthralled in the study of the human body. I aspire to pursue a career in medicine in my future. Dr. Keller’s Lab is an ideal place to start my journey in the field of medicine and science. Read more here.

Mac Ehlen


“I am currently a student at the University of Oregon going into my senior year and I am studying Human Physiology.  I plan on attending medical school and becoming a surgeon.  I have seen many other aspects of medicine but have not been involved in research of any kind.  I look forward to working with the team on various research projects and seeing a different side of the medical field.  Hopefully along the way I’ll pick up some knowledge that I would not have learned anywhere else.  I am a Portland native and I am excited to be working here for the Summer.”

Charles Keller, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Leader, Pediatric Biology Program, Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital