Woyach Lab

The Woyach Lab at the OSUCCC – James, led Principal Investigator Jennifer Woyach, MD, is dedicated to studying novel therapeutics in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with the goal of translating preclinical findings to patient care.

As healthcare providers, members of the Woyach Lab help patients fight CLL daily by conducting meaningful research that changes lives.

As researchers, this internationally recognized team has the opportunity to move discoveries from the lab to application in the clinic. Conversely, these experts also utilize observations and interactions with patients to further advance research in the lab.

There is no routine blood cancer, and today, cancer is no longer solely defined by location or stage. Each patient is different, with unique genetic biomarkers driving his or her cancer, and the Woyach Lab uses their dynamic symbiotic relationship between patient care and lab investigation to change, impact and improve people’s lives with innovation and compassion.


At the OSUCCC – James, the Woyach Lab is part of the Experimental Hematology Lab, and their mission is to work collaboratively to better understand the biology of CLL and preclinically test novel therapeutics with the goal of applying findings to CLL patient care.

These world-renowned experts are conducting unique, state-of-the-art research to study experimental therapeutics with novel agents, known as kinase inhibitors, and the role of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) in the CLL microenvironment. The Woyach Lab is also focused on understanding mechanisms of resistance to novel therapies in CLL, with the goal of developing strategies to prevent overcome resistance to life-saving drugs.

By understanding how patients become resistant, as well as those who are at high risk, these scientists and researchers can more effectively tailor interventions and new therapies for patients, providing them with the most effective treatment available.

How We Do It

As part of the OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab, several projects conducted in the Woyach Lab have translated directly into clinical trials investigating novel agents.

These internationally recognized researchers have successfully utilized patient samples to identify how patients become resistant to ibrutinib. Additionally, they are using those same samples to see if new drugs will be effective in those same patients.

The team’s extensive work helps identify which patients will do well on ibrutinib or BTK inhibitors and which patients would have better outcomes with different intervention therapies.

Who We Are

An integral part of the OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab – one of the largest leukemia research centers in the country – the Woyach Research Lab is led by The Ohio State University associate professor of medicine Jennifer Woyach, MD, and comprises researchers across numerous medical and research disciplines.

Principal Investigator:

Jennifer Woyach, MD

Research Assistants:

Shrilekha Mishra, PhD
Djudelie Charms, BA
Parviz Kanga, BA

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Shanmugapriya Thangavadivel, PhD

Graduate Research Assistants:

Elizabeth Muhowski
Abigail Beer

The Details

The OSUCCCC – James Woyach Lab is dedicated to intensive research designed to gain further understanding of patients’ resistance to the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib and the role of proactive therapy in treating patients with CLL.

The lab’s findings allow them to identify which patients will do well on an ibrutinib drug or BTK inhibitors and which patients are at high risk and would benefit from different interventions and therapies.

This internationally renowned team of experts is passionate about translating lab findings to the clinic to empower healthcare providers to make the best possible choices in determining individualized patient care.

Breakthroughs and Discoveries

At the OSUCCC – James, the Woyach Lab is unique to the region. It is the only group in Ohio testing novel kinase inhibitors in CLL.

Based on research to date, the Woyach Lab, collaborating with internationally recognized leukemia expert John C. Byrd, MD, discovered the first mechanism of resistance to BTK inhibitors ibrutinib and acalabrutinib. Publications related to this have been published in New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA Oncology and Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Scientists in this lab are working on novel therapies to overcome resistance to irreversible BTK inhibitors. They have published preclinical data in Cancer Discovery and Blood showing that reversible BTK inhibitors can overcome resistance to irreversible inhibitors, These findings have led to clinical trials with these agents.

The lab’s expert scientists and researchers are also working on the second-generation BTK inhibitor, acalabrutinib, and other agents targeting the B cell receptor signaling pathway.

Collaboration With Other Ohio State Labs and Research Teams: Grants and Drug Studies

The Woyach Lab’s research is funded through the National Institutes of Health, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Pelotonia.

When the Woyach Lab is looking for collaborative researchers working in adjacent areas, they look for experts engaged in innovative work, bringing a component to the group that will complement other researchers’ expertise.

Enthusiasm is important, as are researchers who are interested in exploring intricate problems and finding new ways to answer complex questions.

For more information on collaborations, please contact Stephanie Thoma at stephanie.thoma@osumc.edu or 614-685-5667.


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