The Weidhaas Lab

About Us

We are a small but enthusiastic group of scientists passionate about using genetics to directly improve patient care in the near term.

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Our Team

Joanne B. Weidhaas, MD, PhD, MSM, Principal Investigator

Dr. Weidhaas came to UCLA from Yale Cancer Center where she has specialized in women's health, as head of the Breast and Gynecological services during her tenure there. She has successfully sustained NIH grant funding in microRNAs, and her laboratory works to best define the applications of microRNAs in personalized medicine. Dr. Weidhaas is a leader in translational research and holds several patents, is a co-founder of MiraDX, a molecular diagnostics company, and a founder of MiraKind, a non-profit focused on advancing the application of microRNA discoveries for cancer prevention. She is a frequently invited speaker to medical conferences throughout the world. Dr. Weidhaas attended Yale University as an undergraduate, Tufts Medical School to earn her MDPhD, completed residency training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and most recently earned a Masters in Business Management at the Stanford Business School. Publications:


Graham Read,  PhD Candidate

Emily Rietdorf, SRA II

Tiffany Yang, Undergraduate Student


Weidhaas Lab Alumni


Swetha Ampabathina

Jennifer Lathrop

Lobna Abdulrahman

Cynthia Tsang

Ethan Pak

Kiana Nguyen

Avanka Gunatilaka


Postdoctoral Researchers

Poonam Malhotra

Ye Yuan

Song-yi Jung

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Our Research

The Weidhaas Lab primarily studies the effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms in microRNA-related regions in cancer. Most notably, the Weidhaas Lab has been instrumental in identifying and characterizing the KRAS-variant, the first example of a pathogenic microRNA-binding site variant, which was co-discovered by Joanne Weidhaas and Frank Slack. Through a combination of basic and clinical methods, our lab characterizes the effects of miRNA-related pathogenic variants on cellular biology.

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Selected Publications

Kishan AU, Marco N, Schulz-Jaavall MB, Steinberg ML, Tran PT, Juarez JE, Dang A, Telesca D, Lilleby WA, Weidhaas JB. Germline variants disrupting microRNAs predict long-term genitourinary toxicity after prostate cancer radiation. Radiother Oncol. 2022 Feb;167:226-232. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2021.12.040. Epub 2022 Jan 3. PMID: 34990726; PMCID: PMC8979583.


Weidhaas JB, Marco N, Scheffler AW, Kalbasi A, Wilenius K, Rietdorf E, Gill J, Heilig M, Desler C, Chin R, Kaprealian T, McCloskey S, Raldow A, Raja N, Kesari S, Carrillo J, Drakaki A, Scholz M, Telesca D. Germline biomarkers predict toxicity to anti-PD1/PDL1 checkpoint therapy. Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. 2022 Feb. PMID: 35115362  PMCID: PMC8804679  DOI: 10.1136/jitc-2021-003625.


Jung SY, Malhotra P, Nguyen KC, Salzman D, Qi Y, Pak EH, King J, Vlashi E, Ann D, Weidhaas JB. The KRAS-variant and its impact on normal breast epithelial cell biology. Cell Death Differ. 2019 Dec;26(12):2568-2576. doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0320-y. Epub 2019 Apr 1. PMID: 30932013; PMCID: PMC7224195.


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