Robby Teis found himself drawn to science following his younger brother’s diagnosis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable brain tumor. The personal connection to this disease has driven him to participate in multiple, varied research opportunities to gain the experience necessary to investigate this illness.
Teis earned his bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Michigan State University, with an additional major in genomics and molecular genetics. During his time in East Lansing, Mich., he conducted research on the behavioral effects of mast cells in the brain, receiving funding and awards from MSU along the way. He intended to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s Introduction to Cancer Research Careers program during his undergraduate studies, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon receiving his degree, Teis joined a lab at the University of Michigan studying potential drug targets in DIPG. Since then, he has been conducting research at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he studied the metabolism of ketone bodies in tumors and the immune system. He decided to join the St. Jude Graduate School due to the unparalleled pediatric cancer research occurring there, as well as the personal connection of his brother, who was treated at St. Jude in 2011. His research interests include investigating pediatric cancers through immunology and developmental biology.
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Duque-Wilckens N, Teis R, Sarno E, Stoelting F, Khalid S, Dairi Z, Douma A, Maradiaga N, Hench S, Dharshika CD, Thelen KM, Gulbransen B, Robison AJ, Moeser AJ. Early life adversity drives sex-specific anhedonia and meningeal immune gene expression through mast cell activation. Brain Behav Immun. 2022 Jul;103:73-84. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.03.009.