DR. KATJA LINHER-MELVILLE
Katja earned a B.Sc. degree in Biological/Animal Sciences in 1996 from the University of Vermont, after which she worked for Senator James Jeffords of Vermont in his Washington, DC office as a legislative correspondent and as a research assistant at the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Maryland. After completing her M.Sc. degree at McGill University in 2000, Katja worked at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, exploring the molecular relationship between naturally occurring mutations in the human gonadotropin releasing hormone receptor (GnRH) gene and clinically relevant reproductive disorders. As an associate scientist at Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Katja optimized regulated gene expression and cell signaling technologies for human gene therapy applications. Her broad range of scientific experiences proved to be invaluable during the pursuit of her Ph.D. degree at the University of Guelph, where Katja characterized primordial germ cell (PGC)-like cells differentiated from porcine skin-derived stem cells, while also investigating the effects of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) on oocyte in vitro maturation and PGC proliferation. After completing her doctoral degree in 2009, Katja joined the laboratory of Dr. Singh as a post-doctoral fellow, investigating the putative role of prolactin in breast cancer cell metabolism. She was awarded a Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) Fellowship commencing in August 2012. In 2015, Katja became a Research Associate in the lab. Outside of the lab, Katja enjoys gardening, hiking, reading (particularly within the genre of science fiction/fantasy), and spending time with her daughter.