Jennifer Cassano

Jennifer Cassano
Field of Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Fortier

Current Position: Intern in Large Animal Medicine/Mass Equine at Tufts University

Brief Biography
Jennifer Cassano grew up in Valley Stream, NY, right next to Queens at the beginning of Long Island.  As an undergraduate, she became interested in adding the idea of becoming a teacher to her dream of being a veterinarian. Her undergraduate research thesis involved a project using genetics, immunology, and virology to analyze equine sarcoid in the laboratory of Dr. Doug Antczak. She applied to the degree program to realize her dream of combining her passions for veterinary medicine, teaching, and research.  After completing her DVM degree in May 2013 she joined Dr. Lisa Fortier’s laboratory with the support of the College’s Graduate Research Assistantship.  This past fall she passed her A-exam and is looking forward to continuing her studies on how macrophages and mesenchymal stem cell’s interact in tissue regeneration.  She is an alumna of the Cornell Veterinary Investigator Program and the Cornell Leadership Program. 
Jennifer enjoys horseback riding, running with her dog Riley, and playing fetch with her toothless cat Tegan. She loves Ithaca, from the gorges to the farmers market, where there is nothing better than breakfast burritos, except perhaps the flatbread pizza.

PhD, Comparative Biomedical Sciences, 2016
DVM, Cornell University 2013
BS in Animal Science, Magna Cum Laude, Distinction in Research, Cornell University 2009

Research Interests
Jennifer researched the role of immunology in relation to equine mesenchymal stem cells in the Fortier laboratory.  By using the horse as a model, she looked at how manipulating the immunological environment of stem cells impacts their ability to facilitate healing.

Publications and Presentations
Lang HM, Schnabel LV, Cassano JM, Fortier LA. Effect of needle diameter on the viability of equine bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells. Vet Surg. 2017 Mar 22. PMID: 28328147. Staiger EA, Tseng CT, Miller D, Cassano JM, Nasir L, Garrick D, Brooks SA, Antczak DF. Host genetic influence on papillomavirus-induced tumors in the horse. Int J Cancer. 2016 Aug 15;139(4):784-92. PMID: 27037728.Cassano JM, Kennedy JG, Ross KA, Fraser EJ, Goodale MB, Fortier LA. Bone marrow concentrate and platelet-rich plasma differ in cell distribution and interleukin 1 receptor antagonist protein concentration. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Feb 1. PMID: 26831858. 
Pezzanite LM, Fortier LA, Antczak DF, Cassano JM, Brosnahan MM, Miller D, Schnabel LV. Equine allogeneic bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells elicit antibody responses in vivo. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2015 Apr 12;6: PMCID:PMC4414005.

Schnabel LV, Abratte CM, Schimenti JC, Felippe MJ, Cassano JM, Southard TL, Cross JA, Fortier LA. Induced pluripotent stem cells have similar immunogenic and more potent immunomodulatory properties compared with bone marrow-derived stromal cells in vitro. Regen Med. 2014;9(5):621-35. PMCID: PMC4352342.

Tseng CT, Miller D, Cassano J, Bailey E, Antczak DF. 2010. Identification of equine major histocompatibility complex haplotypes using polymorphic microsatellites. Anim Genet 41:150-3.

poster presentations
“Induced pluripotent stem cells have similar immunogenic and more potent immunomodulatory properties compared with bone marrow-derived stromal cells in vitro.” at the International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada (July, 2014)

“GTPase Activating Proteins in Equine Articular Chondrocytes” at the Merck-Merial Veterinary Student Conference at North Carolina State University (Aug, 2009)

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