About Us / Clinical Research Fellows

Clinical Research Fellows

The Nghiem lab has benefited enormously from having clinical research fellows on staff. Clinical research fellows respond to patients’ questions, needs and concerns throughout the difficult journey of diagnosis, referral to Seattle (some travel a very long way), and treatment. In a typical week, fellows will see 8-10 patients in clinic, present 4-8 patient cases at a tumor board discussion, and manage 300-400 messages regarding patient care. Fellows also participate in novel research, helping bridge the gap between science and medical care.

In addition to being valuable to patients, the fellowship is valuable to the careers of the gifted medical students, physicians, and postdoctoral fellows who hold these positions. Our fellows have come from across the United States, France, Germany, India, Japan, Colombia, and South Korea. At this point, the funding for this position is unpredictable, but necessary. To benefit patients and research efforts, Dr. Nghiem and his colleagues would like to ensure the lab can hire fellows to have an impact in the world of MCC research, well into the future. A gift to our clinical research fellows is an investment in the next generation of MCC researchers and clinicians.

Giving link: Get Creative: Merkel Cell Carcinoma Research in the Nghiem Lab – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Meet our Fellows

Ariel Finberg, MD - Clinical Research FellowAriel Finberg, MD

Pronouns: he/him/his
Hometown: Kula, Hawaii
Undergraduate: University of Hawaii – BS in Microbiology
Medical School: University of Virginia
Additional Training: Preliminary Medicine Year at Virginia Mason Medical Center

Research Experience: Research Fellow to Dr. Adrien Eshraghi; Led a project on preventing noise induced hearing loss in rats, Co-authored numerous publications regarding cochlear implantation, tinnitus and hearing loss

Clinical & Research Interests: Cutaneous Oncology, Interactions between the immune system and malignancy

Why did you choose to pursue a fellowship with the Nghiem Lab?

With my background in Microbiology, I found the topic of oncogenic viruses to be fascinating. My roommate in medical school was an undergraduate in the Nghiem lab and he was the first to introduce me to Merkel cell carcinoma. During my time in medical school, I continued to learn about the disease and became more interested in the idea of setting aside time to pursue research in oncology. After matching in Seattle for my intern year, I was excited to be in the same city as Dr. Nghiem and applied for the fellowship.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Being from Hawaii, I have always loved spending time in the water doing activities such as going out on a stand-up paddle, free diving, cliff jumping, and body surfing. I also love hiking and have started to cycle more. I’m always excited to play tennis, soccer and most recently Spikeball. I love to cook and am always looking for inspiration.

Austin Jabbour, MD - Clinical Research FellowAustin J. Jabbour, MD

Pronouns: he/him/his
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Undergraduate: SUNY Geneseo (Geneseo, NY), Major in Biology, Minor in Business Studies
Medical School: University of Queensland-Ochsner Health in Brisbane, QLD, Australia and New Orleans, LA
Additional Training: Internal Medicine-Preliminary (PGY-1) at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY

Research Experience: Research during medical school included remote work on Merkel cell carcinoma through the Dermatology Branch of the NIH with Isaac Brownell, MD, PhD, and inflammatory skin disorders at Columbia University with Lynn Petukhova, PhD.

Clinical & Research Interests: Cutaneous oncology, Merkel cell carcinoma, inflammatory dermatoses

Why did you choose to pursue a fellowship with the Nghiem Lab?

I was first introduced to Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) as a medical assistant in a private dermatology office in New York before starting medical school, where we diagnosed a personal friend at the age of 22 years old. Since that time, my interest in the niche field has grown exponentially and I have been able to contribute to several projects within Merkel cell research at the NIH. I was introduced to Dr. Nghiem through these collaborations, and my story was destined to continue in the field.

What do you hope to gain from your experience in the Nghiem Lab?

I hope to develop a thorough and holistic approach to and appreciation of the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma. This experience will prepare me for the rigors of treating complex dermatologic and oncologic patients with a multidisciplinary level of understanding while also being given the opportunity to publish novel research in the field.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Adventures with my dog (Cavapoo named Wiley), scuba diving, pickleball, soccer, and golf.