Principal Investigator

Adetunji Toriola, Professor of Surgery. MD, MPH, PhD

As a molecular cancer epidemiologist, I address methods for the use of biomarkers of energetics, metabolic imbalance, and inflammation, and their application in cancer etiology and prognosis, with a focus on breast and gastrointestinal cancers. My hobbies include traveling, playing cricket and soccer.


Dr. Alena Ahrens

I joined the Toriola Lab in 2018 as a public health research coordinator. I have a diverse background that includes communications, management, and transdisciplinary research. I received my Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in teaching and learning processes from The University of Missouri – St. Louis. My prior education includes an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in which I explored connections between mindfulness and arts-based practices. I enjoy spending time with my family, painting, and running.

Ava Weibman

I graduated from Oberlin College in 2015, where I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. Since then, I’ve worked as a clinical research coordinator in diverse areas of research, including psychiatry and otolaryngology. I joined Dr. Toriola’s lab in May 2019 so that I could gain experience working on chemoprevention clinical trials. In my free time I enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and baking.

Dante Chao

I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology. I then went on to the University of Chicago where I received my M.A. in Social Sciences in 2019, researching the concept of the perception of manipulation and what its effects were. I joined the Toriola Lab in 2019 because I wanted to gain more experience in clinical research and helping patients in a healthcare setting. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, watching shows and movies, and playing video games.

Graduate Students

Yingwen (Jane) Shi

I am a second-year MPH student specializing in biostatistics and epidemiology. By joining the lab, I hope to practice my statistically analytic skills on clinical research and to gain more experience in cancer epidemiology. My research interest is incorporating biologic, genetic, and environmental elements into a greater understanding of disease etiology and its translation into cancer control. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family/friends/dogs, traveling, and swimming.

Undergraduate Students

Sarah Ning

I am currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Anthropology: Global Health & Environment and minoring in Dance. I joined the lab to gain insight into how clinical research is conducted and to gain some overall experience. In my free time, I enjoy trying new restaurants, watching movies, and spending time with my friends.

Yousaf Malik

I am currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Political Science and minoring in Biology. By joining the lab, I hope to learn more about the patient experience partnered with research at an academic institution. In addition, I wish to gain insight into the clinician’s role as an educator for both patients and other team members. In my free time I enjoy reading, rock climbing, and discovering new music.

Recent Lab Alumni

Irene Wang, BA

Polly Haun, MPH

Shuai Xu, MPH

Hasan Salim, BA

Kerem Yucebas, BA

Trisha Grewal, MPH