Leona W. Ayers, MD, manages the Ayers Lab. Research focuses on these areas:

Biospecimens and Biorepositories

Dr. Ayers is principal investigator of the Midwestern Division of the Collaborative (formerly Cooperative) Human Tissue Network (CHTN), which is managed from her lab.

The Collaborative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) is a national research tissue procurement group that assists translational investigators in both the academic and commercial research setting with emphasis on cancer research. National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded investigators receive priority for service through this group.

The Midwestern Division of CHTN (MW CHTN) is located at The Ohio State University and has been granted funds from the NCI/NIH to distribute prospectively procured, investigator-defined, high-quality surgical remnant pre-malignant, malignant, benign, diseased and normal biospecimens to funded, IRB-approved investigators. This research service is subsidized but not fully supported by the NCI grant. A small fee set by the national CHTN and the NCI is collected from investigators to supplement the cost of specimen procurement.

Biospecimens are procured for the MW CHTN-supported investigators by the Research Tissue Procurement Service (RTPS) of the Department of Pathology/Human Tissue Research Network (HTRN). The MW CHTN disbursed 49,372 high-quality biospecimens with associated limited data sets to 924 investigators from 2008 to 2012. The national CHTN (five divisions) has disbursed over 1 million biosamples since the initiation of this NCI-supported program in 1987.

Individual research consultation and additional laboratory services are available to interested investigators or investigators who need assistance at any time during their research protocol development and deployment.

The Midwestern Division also works with the NCI and other CHTN divisions to advance biospecimen science, as well as to improve data management and the availability of quality biospecimens for cutting-edge translational research.

Tissue Feature Quantification Using Digital Image Analysis

Tissue features can be specifically stained in mounted tissue sections, digitized and quantified using tissue morphometric software such as Definiens Tissue Studio. Quantified results can replace visual imprecise qualitative assessments. The Ayers Lab has helped investigators use this software-based approach to quantify tissue vascular density, cell types in tissue, nuclear size and other features.

HIV/AIDS-Related Lymphoma

Dr. Ayers was principal investigator of the AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR), 1995-2014, and Sub-Saharan Africa Lymphoma Consortium (SSALC/ACSR), 2007-2014. She participated in NCI clinical trial: Epidemiology of Burkitt Lymphoma in East Africa Children or Minors (EMBLEM).

Contact Us

Ayers Lab
Innovation Centre
2001 Polaris Parkway
Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-293-8106
Email: ayers.1@osu.edu

CCC Members

William Carson, III, MD

Dr. Carson is a surgical oncologist with clinical interests in breast cancer, melanoma and general cancer surgery. His primary research focus is the immunotherapy of tumors, which can be thought of as using drugs and other treatments to boost the human immune system's innate ability to fight tumor.

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Robert Wesolowski, MD

Dr. Wesolowski's research interests include breast cancer immunology, in particular myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and early phase trials of experimental therapeutics. MDSC are important inhibitors of anti-tumor immune response.

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Researchers and Lab Staff

Zhiwei Hu

Zhiwei Hu, MD/PhD

Zhiwei is a Research Associate Professor in Surgical Oncology at Ohio State. Dr. Hu is one of first few scientists who proposed to target both the tumor cells and tumor neovasculature.

Nicholas Latchana

Nicholas Latchana, MD

Nicholas is a part of the Masters of Medical Science Program, Surgical Resident, in the Carson lab. His research focus is on the role of MicroRNAs in melanoma.

Kala Levine

Kala Levine, BS

Kala is the laboratory manager and research assistant in the Carson lab. She enjoyed conducting biochemistry research during college and joined the Carson Lab to get back into academic research. She believes that Dr. Carson’s translational research is fascinating and necessary.

Joseph Markowitz

Joseph Markowitz, MD/PhD

Joseph is a Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellow in the Carson lab. His research focus is on inhibiting immune suppressor cells in pancreatic cancer.

Prashant Trikha

Prashant Trikha, PhD

Prashant is a Senior Research Scientist in the Carson lab. The focus of his research is to investigate the role of signaling pathways that contribute to the expansion of immune cells in tumor microenvironment. Currently, he is investigating the role of signaling pathways that contribute to the expansion of immunosuppressive myeloid cells (MDSC) in the tumor stroma and understanding the molecular mechanisms that contribute to suppression of natural killer cell (NK) functions in cancer patients. Furthermore, he is conducting pre-clinical studies using immunotherapeutic agents (antibodies and cytokines) that can attenuate tumor growth by augmenting NK cell activity.


Lakhvir Atwal

Lakhvir Atwal

Lakhvir is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.

Megan Duggan

Megan Duggan, BS

Megan is part of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the Carson lab. Her current research involves the GTPase NRAS, its signaling pathways and its potential role in BRAF inhibitor-resistant melanoma.

Amanda Harper

Amanda Harper, BS

Amanda is part of the Medical Scientist Training Program in the Carson lab. As a MD/PhD trainee in the Carson laboratory, she is studying the role of natural killer (NK) cells in the immune response to cancer. In particular, she is interested in developing therapeutic strategies to promote NK cell activity in the setting of melanoma and triple negative breast cancer.

Vince Hsu

Vincent (Jyh-Haur) Hsu

Vincent is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.

Liz McMichael

Elizabeth McMichael, BS

Elizabeth is a part of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the Carson lab. She is currently investigating the role of combination immunotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, the upregulation of the IL-21 receptor on natural killer (NK) cells following FcR stimulation, the role of MDSCs in melanoma, the creation of novel conjugate antibodies for the treatment of folate receptor positive cancers, looking at correlative studies for several clinical trials ongoing at Ohio State, and the role of “super” cytokines in combination with mAb therapy.

Tiffany Noel

Tiffany is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.

Kallan Opheim

Kallan Opheim

Kallan is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.

Nico Salavaggione

Nico Salavaggione

Nico is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.

Andrew Stiff

Andrew Stiff, BS

Andrew is part of the Medical Scientist Training Program in the Carson lab. He is currently investigating cancer immunology with an emphasis on understanding mechanisms of tumor induced immune suppression. Through better understanding of these mechanisms, the goal is to be able to design more optimal immune based therapies for patients.

Sarvani Uppati

Sarvani Uppati

Sarvani is an Undergraduate Research Assistant is the Carson lab.


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