Biomedical Research


Endocrine Research Staff

Hershel RaffHershel Raff, PhD

Scientific Director and Clinical Supervisor, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center

Professor of Medicine, Surgery, and Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin. Endocrinology – Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center

Hershel Raff received his PhD in Environmental Physiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1981. He did a post-doctoral fellowship in Endocrinology at the University of California San Francisco (USCF) from 1980 to 1983. He joined St. Luke’s Hospital (now Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center) in 1983 to establish the Endocrine Research Laboratory. Dr. Raff is also a professor (with tenure) of Medicine, Surgery, and Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. His basic research focuses on the adaptation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and metabolic control systems to hypoxia in the neonate and adult. The current research is focusing on a model of the apnea of prematurity using intermittent hypoxia in newborn rats. His clinical research focuses on using salivary cortisol and alpha amylase as indices of the stress response in humans. The current collaborative projects include studies of cyclic vomiting syndrome in children and adults. He just completed a major study on the HPA axis in patients with end-stage renal disease designed to establish that late-night salivary cortisol is a useful method to rule out Cushing’s syndrome. He also is involved in developing new diagnostic approaches to disorders of the HPA axis. Dr. Raff is the co-author of two leading physiology textbooks – Vander’s Human Physiology and Medical Physiology: A Systems Approach (both published by McGraw-Hill). Hershel Raff Bio (PDF, 33 KB)

Eric BruderEric Bruder, MS

Chief Research Laboratory Technologist (Sr.)

Eric received a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison and an MS in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has 15 years experience at the Endocrine Research Laboratory and more than 25 peer-reviewed publications and 20 abstracts presented at various scientific meetings.


Barbara JankowskiBarbara Jankowski, MS

Research Laboratory Technologist

Barbara received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Physiology and MS in Paleobotany from the University of N. Copernicus in Poland. She has more than 25 years of experience in endocrine research lab-based clinical assays and basic research projects, and is an expert in macro- and microsurgical techniques.


Peter HomarPeter Homar

Chief Research Assay Technician

While earning his BS in Biology from UW-Green Bay, Pete also worked as a quality control technician at Proctor & Gamble. He has worked as a clinical and research assay tech at Aurora for the past 12 years.


Johnathan PhillipsJonathan Phillips

HPLC Mass spectrometry Technician

Jonathan graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a BS in Chemistry. He has more than 10 years of HPLC experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is currently developing a testosterone analysis method for LC/MS.



Catherine WarnerCatherine Warner

Laboratory Assistant

Kate received her BA at St. Norbert College and did additional education at UW- Milwaukee. She has been a laboratory assistant for two years.



Immunology Research Staff

Martin OaksMartin Oaks, PhD

Diplomate, American Board of Histocompatability and Immunogenetics

Director, Biomedical Research

Martin Oaks received his PhD in Experimental Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1984. Dr. Oaks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Microbiology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He joined Aurora in 1989 to establish a Clinical Histocompatibility Laboratory in support of the Cardiac Transplant Program. Since then, his clinical laboratory has grown to include support of multi-organ transplantation including: heart, liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. The clinical lab is accredited by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Dr. Oak’s basic research is focused on the role of soluble receptors, specifically, soluble CTLA-4 and its role in transplant immunology. His clinical research is focused on the functional effects of glycosylation on IgG molecules and their significance in the human immune system.

James ShafferJames Shaffer, MS

Senior Research Associate

Jim received a BS and MS in Applied Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. He has been with Aurora Health Care for eight years.



Immunotherapy Research Staff

John RichardsJohn Richards, PhD

Research Scientist Senior

John Richards received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arizona in 2002.  He did a post-doctoral fellowship in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan from 2002-2003. He did a second post doctoral fellowship in Pathology at The Ohio State University from 2003-2006. He worked in the biotech industry at Xencor, Inc. from 2006-2009. He came to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in 2009 to establish tumor infiltrating lymphocyte research. His basic research focuses on:  tumor immunology with specific interests in activating the immune system against cancer, and understanding how tumors influence the immune response. Additional interests include the development of primary tumor models that allow for tumor characterization and to evaluate different therapeutics.

Karen KozinskiKaren Kozinski

Research Associate Senior