Sturgeon Lab Members


Christopher Sturgeon, Ph.D.

principal investigator

After completing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Michel Roberge at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Chris moved to Toronto for his postdoctoral studies with Gordon Keller. There, Chris developed a passion for embryonic stem cells and their potential for regenerative medicine and developmental biology. He then moved to St. Louis to run his own lab, as an Assistant Professor, in 2014. Chris strongly believes in having an open-door policy with his lab, and that collaboration across labs is key to success. Although his first love is to play tennis, as an ex-pat he still loves to watch hockey and listen to Nickelback, eh!

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Carissa Dege, Ph.D.

postdoctoral fellow

Carissa Dege, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher in the Sturgeon laboratory and is the lab’s resident Immunologist. She currently works on elucidating the ontological origins, phenotypes, and functions of human pluripotent stem cell-derived natural killer cells. These studies could lead to the generation of functional “off the shelf” natural killer cells used for cancer immunotherapies. Carissa originally hails from the great state of Minnesota, dontcha know. She received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Colorado-Denver where she studied the epigenetic regulation of B cell development by Mi-2/NuRD chromatin remodeling complexes. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, attending St. Louis Blues hockey games, paint nights, baking baked goods for the lab, and her French Bulldog, Ollie.


Stephanie Luff, Ph.D.

postdoctoral fellow

Stephanie Luff, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher investigating signaling cues and transcriptional modulation involved in the specification of hemogenic endothelium from its mesodermal progenitor. Through combined experimental and computational approaches, the goal of her project is to discover novel pathways that can specify HSC-competent hemogenic endothelium from human pluripotent stem cells. Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from the University of Delaware and spent her doctoral tenure investigating megakaryocyte differentiation from primary hematopoietic stem cells. In her spare time, Stephanie can be found cheering for her favorite soccer teams, reading through her stack of unfinished books, or jamming to Reggaeton.

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Philip Creamer

doctoral student

Philip Creamer is a current graduate student in the lab, working on his current project and thesis on understanding the role of mesodermal CDX4 expression in definitive hematopoietic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. He is currently using a variety of technical methods to explore this goal, including CRISPR/Cas9 editing of embryonic stem cells, zinc finger mediated editing of the AAVS1 safe harbor locus for transgene introduction, as well as high-throughput sequencing and data analysis. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Russian Studies from West Virginia University and, as true West Virginian, never misses a chance to loudly sing along to Country Roads. He also enjoys in his spare time tinkering with computers, the outdoors, and metal working.


Kendra Sturgeon, M.S.

Senior Research Technician

Kendra Sturgeon is the Lab Manager and a total science geek who loves to learn new things. After completing her undergraduate degree in Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of British Columbia, she attended graduate school at the University of Toronto earning a MSc in Molecular Genetics. She is happy to have put down roots in St. Louis, even though they don’t have real winter here. She is an avid enabler of like-minded people who get a sense of glee from organization.