Bio

Honors & Awards


  • Member of the DARPA Shredder Challenge winning team ?All Your Shreds Are Belong to Us?, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (2011)
  • 4th prize in speed poster competition, ImmunoVancouver conference (2011)
  • 2nd prize in the Life Sciences Institute junior poster competition, University of British Columbia (2009)
  • Graduate entrance scholarship, University of British Columbia (2008)

Professional Affiliations and Activities


  • Member, International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015 - Present)
  • Reviewer, PLoS One (2013 - Present)
  • Member, Golden Key Honor Society (2008 - Present)
  • Member, Canadian Society for Immunology (2009 - 2012)
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009 - 2011)
  • Member, Student Biotechnology Network (2005 - 2011)

Education & Certifications


  • M.Sc., University of British Columbia, Microbiology & Immunology (2012)
  • B.Sc., University of British Columbia, Microbiology & Immunology (2008)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work


  • Wikipedia Editor, Wikimedia Foundation (January 2007 - Present)

    Contributed to and/or edited several Wikipedia articles, participated in editing events at the main Wikimedia Foundation office, strived to promote Wikipedia at various events, for example by staffing Wikipedia booth at the Maker Faire.

    Location

    149 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

  • Invited Mentor, Beyond B.Sc. Conference, University of British Columbia (March 2010 - March 2011)

    Shared experiences and strived to give good advice to the Life Sciences undergraduates at the University of British Columbia about post-graduate employment and study opportunities, as well as possible actions that could help them get there.

    Location

    2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada

  • Performer, Living Lab Theater Troupe, University of British Columbia (January 2009 - May 2010)

    Performed the role of a teaching assistant in several interactive theater performances, participated in play development, completed several teacher training courses.

    Location

    1961 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada

  • Rollerblader, Vancouver Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Winter Olympic Games 2010 (August 2009 - February 2010)

    As a volunteer performer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, participated in all rehearsals and the final performance. The role was to emulate an ice skater by rollerblading on a stadium stage covered by a white carpet representing ice. All rollerbladers lit up their red costumes towards the end of the piece, emulating fire that gave rise to the beautiful mountains of Canada.

    Location

    777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6B 4Y8, Canada

  • Organizing Member, World AIDS Day Organizing Committee, University of British Columbia (September 2008 - December 2009)

    Participated in organizing activities for the World AIDS Day on December 1, 2008 and 2009. Invited Dr. Julio Montaner, the President of the International AIDS Society, to give a keynote talk for the 2008 World AIDS Day at the University of British Columbia.

    Location

    2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada

  • Graduation Coordinator, Microbiology and Immunology Student Association, University of British Columbia (March 2007 - May 2008)

    As an elected member of the Microbiology and Immunology Student Association, led organization of the graduation ceremony for the 2008 Microbiology and Immunology class, participated in fundraising activities, and contributed to other events aimed at helping other students succeed.

    Location

    6174 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1, Canada

  • Green Genes Club Member, Genentech, Inc. (May 2007 - December 2007)

    Participated in meetings and club activities that aimed to improve environmental sustainability efforts at Genentech.

    Location

    1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

  • Wellness Peer Educator, UBC Wellness Center, University of British Columbia (August 2004 - May 2006)

    Volunteered 5-10 hours per week at the University of British Columbia Wellness Center to help students with various wellness issues and/or questions (contraception methods, healthy eating, time management, environmental sustainability, etc.), completed all the necessary training courses and leadership exercises, participated in student reach-out events, such as poster sessions.

    Location

    6138 Student Union Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z7, Canada

Personal Interests


? Research: human hematopoiesis, cancer immunotherapy, tumor immunology, immunological memory, oncolytic viruses, normal and cancer stem cells, circulating tumor cells, localized translation, translational control, technology development.
? Other: Editing Wikipedia, hiking, skiing, gymnastics, ballet.

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Ph.D. project: Mechanisms of hematopoietic stem cell transitions in the human
Advisors: Sean C. Bendall and Garry P. Nolan
Thesis committee: Sylvia K. Plevritis, Michael L. Cleary, and Marius Wernig

My long-term research interest is to understand the mechanisms controlling the development of human immune system and its function, as in the context of cancer immunotherapy. I am particularly interested in utilizing novel high-content single-cell analysis methods, such as mass cytometry, and computational immunology tools in order to build continuous developmental trajectories for human developmental hematopoiesis and downstream T lymphocyte differentiation. These trajectories will be crucial for identifying novel intermediate cell types and developmental coordination points, the discoveries critical to improving current clinical protocols for hematopoietic cell transplantation and blood transfusion.

Here, as a part of the Computational and Systems Immunology track, I am fortunate to have the exceptional mentorship of Drs. Sean C. Bendall and Garry P. Nolan, in order to pursue my goals of interrogating the mechanisms of immune system development and becoming an independent scientist focused on generating and altering the functionality of human lymphocytes.

Professional

Work Experience


  • Research Associate, Discovery Oncology, Genentech, Inc. (January 2013 - July 2013)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Kevin G. Leong.
    ? Project: Identify potential strategies to target tumor-reinitiating cells in colorectal cancer by characterizing selected properties of tumor cells remaining after chemotherapy in orthotropic and subcutaneous xenograft models.
    ? Outcome: By means of flow cytometry, FACS, high-throughput live-cell imaging, microfluidics, confocal microscopy, and tumor growth studies in mice, successfully analyzed cell cycle, apoptosis, migration, invasion, and tumor forming potential of specific colorectal cancer cell populations; the details of the project remain confidential until publication.

    Location

    1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

  • Contractor, Discovery Oncology, Genentech, Inc. (January 2012 - January 2013)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Kevin G. Leong.
    ? Project: Identify potential strategies to target tumor-reinitiating cells in colorectal cancer by characterizing selected properties of tumor cells remaining after chemotherapy in orthotropic and subcutaneous xenograft models.
    ? Outcome: By means of flow cytometry, FACS, high-throughput live-cell imaging, microfluidics, confocal microscopy, and tumor growth studies in mice, successfully analyzed cell cycle, apoptosis, migration, invasion, and tumor forming potential of specific colorectal cancer cell populations; the details of the project remain confidential until publication.

    Location

    1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

  • Intern, Discovery Oncology, Genentech, Inc. (June 2011 - January 2012)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Kevin G. Leong.
    ? Project: Identify potential strategies to target tumor-reinitiating cells in colorectal cancer by characterizing selected properties of tumor cells remaining after chemotherapy in orthotropic and subcutaneous xenograft models.
    ? Outcome: By means of flow cytometry, FACS, high-throughput live-cell imaging, microfluidics, confocal microscopy, and tumor growth studies in mice, successfully analyzed cell cycle, apoptosis, migration, invasion, and tumor forming potential of specific colorectal cancer cell populations; the details of the project remain confidential until publication.

    Location

    1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

  • M.Sc. Student, Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia (August 2008 - June 2011)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Michael R. Gold.
    ? Project: In order to facilitate the development of effective vaccines, characterize mRNA processing bodies (P-bodies) in lymphocytes and determine if P-bodies play a role in immune memory by storing pre-synthesized effector mRNAs.
    ? Outcome: Designed a protocol for dual analysis of proteins and/or mRNAs in lymphocytes by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy; successfully completed the project and found that P-bodies in memory CD8+ T cells store IFN-? mRNA; taught the ?Introduction to Immunology? tutorial and received 2 nominations for a teaching award; served as a mentor to 4 undergraduate students; currently preparing a manuscript for publication.

    Location

    2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada

  • Intern, Process Virology, Genentech, Inc. (May 2007 - December 2007)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Bin Yang.
    ? Project: Establish the mechanism of virus removal during late stage purification of therapeutic antibodies to facilitate clinical trials of novel therapeutic antibodies in Europe.
    ? Outcome: Identified the forces responsible for clearance of 3 model viruses by anion-exchange chromatography and found that electrostatic interactions are primarily responsible for removal of non-enveloped viruses, whereas non-electrostatic forces contribute to the clearance of the model enveloped virus; initiated a productive collaboration with GE Healthcare; organized a group picnic and a hike on the local Angel Island, which brought group members closer together.

    Location

    1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

  • Intern, Medical Biophysics, British Columbia Cancer Research Center (January 2006 - August 2006)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Aly Karsan.
    ? Project: Investigate the roles of heterotrimeric G proteins in Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling pathway of endothelial cells in order to identify potential drug targets in tumor angiogenesis and sepsis that are triggered by TLR4 signaling.
    ? Outcome: Gathered experimental data supporting the role of two novel cytoplasmic proteins in the TLR4 signaling pathway of endothelial cells, created a scientific report, organized a group hike that increased positive attitude and team spirit.

    Location

    675 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada

  • Laboratory Assistant, Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia (April 2005 - June 2005)

    ? Laboratory of Dr. Erin C. Gaynor.
    ? Assisted with the analysis of various treatment options on biofilm formation by the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni.
    ? Maintained the laboratory: prepared antibiotics, media plates, and buffers; autoclaved biohazard waste, glassware, and solutions; calibrated and cleaned laboratory devices and glassware.

    Location

    6174 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1, Canada

Publications

All Publications


  • Lymph node-independent liver metastasis in a model of metastatic colorectal cancer NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Enquist, I. B., Good, Z., Jubb, A. M., Fuh, G., Wang, X., Junttila, M. R., Jackson, E. L., Leong, K. G. 2014; 5

    Abstract

    Deciphering metastatic routes is critically important as metastasis is a primary cause of cancer mortality. In colorectal cancer (CRC), it is unknown whether liver metastases derive from cancer cells that first colonize intestinal lymph nodes, or whether such metastases can form without prior lymph node involvement. A lack of relevant metastatic CRC models has precluded investigations into metastatic routes. Here we describe a metastatic CRC mouse model and show that liver metastases can manifest without a lymph node metastatic intermediary. Colorectal tumours transplanted onto the colonic mucosa invade and metastasize to specific target organs including the intestinal lymph nodes, liver and lungs. Importantly, this metastatic pattern differs from that observed following caecum implantation, which invariably involves peritoneal carcinomatosis. Anti-angiogenesis inhibits liver metastasis, yet anti-lymphangiogenesis does not impact liver metastasis despite abrogating lymph node metastasis. Our data demonstrate direct hematogenous spread as a dissemination route that contributes to CRC liver malignancy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms4530

    View details for Web of Science ID 000334302800003

    View details for PubMedID 24667486

  • Biomarkers of Residual Disease, Disseminated Tumor Cells, and Metastases in the MMTV-PyMT Breast Cancer Model PLOS ONE Franci, C., Zhou, J., Jiang, Z., Modrusan, Z., Good, Z., Jackson, E., Kouros-Mehr, H. 2013; 8 (3)

    Abstract

    Cancer metastases arise in part from disseminated tumor cells originating from the primary tumor and from residual disease persisting after therapy. The identification of biomarkers on micro-metastases, disseminated tumors, and residual disease may yield novel tools for early detection and treatment of these disease states prior to their development into metastases and recurrent tumors. Here we describe the molecular profiling of disseminated tumor cells in lungs, lung metastases, and residual tumor cells in the MMTV-PyMT breast cancer model. MMTV-PyMT mice were bred with actin-GFP mice, and focal hyperplastic lesions from pubertal MMTV-PyMT;actin-GFP mice were orthotopically transplanted into FVB/n mice to track single tumor foci. Tumor-bearing mice were treated with TAC chemotherapy (docetaxel, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide), and residual and relapsed tumor cells were sorted and profiled by mRNA microarray analysis. Data analysis revealed enrichment of the Jak/Stat pathway, Notch pathway, and epigenetic regulators in residual tumors. Stat1 was significantly up-regulated in a DNA-damage-resistant population of residual tumor cells, and a pre-existing Stat1 sub-population was identified in untreated tumors. Tumor cells from adenomas, carcinomas, lung disseminated tumor cells, and lung metastases were also sorted from MMTV-PyMT transplant mice and profiled by mRNA microarray. Whereas disseminated tumors cells appeared similar to carcinoma cells at the mRNA level, lung metastases were genotypically very different from disseminated cells and primary tumors. Lung metastases were enriched for a number of chromatin-modifying genes and stem cell-associated genes. Histone analysis of H3K4 and H3K9 suggested that lung metastases had been reprogrammed during malignant progression. These data identify novel biomarkers of residual tumor cells and disseminated tumor cells and implicate pathways that may mediate metastasis formation and tumor relapse after therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0058183

    View details for Web of Science ID 000318679900052

    View details for PubMedID 23520493

  • Heterotrimeric G(i)/G(o) proteins modulate endothelial TLR signaling independent of the MyD88-dependent pathway AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-HEART AND CIRCULATORY PHYSIOLOGY Dauphinee, S. M., Voelcker, V., Tebaykina, Z., Wong, F., Karsan, A. 2011; 301 (6): H2246-H2253

    Abstract

    The innate immune recognition of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is mediated by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and results in activation of proinflammatory signaling including NF-?B and MAPK pathways. Heterotrimeric G proteins have been previously implicated in LPS signaling in macrophages and monocytes. In the present study, we show that pertussis toxin sensitive heterotrimeric G proteins (G?(i/o)) are involved in the activation of MAPK and Akt downstream of TLR2, TLR3, and TLR4 in endothelial cells. G?(i/o) are also required for full activation of interferon signaling downstream of TLR3 and TLR4 but are not required for the activation of NF-?B. We find that G?(i/o)-mediated activation of the MAPK is independent of the canonical MyD88, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase, and tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 signaling cascade in LPS-stimulated cells. Taken together, the data presented here suggest that heterotrimeric G proteins are widely involved in TLR pathways along a signaling cascade that is distinct from MyD88-TRAF6.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajpheart.01194.2010

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298325200009

    View details for PubMedID 21949112

  • Understanding the Mechanism of Virus Removal by Q Sepharose Fast Flow Chromatography During the Purification of CHO-Cell Derived Biotherapeutics BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOENGINEERING Strauss, D. M., Lute, S., Tebaykina, Z., Frey, D. D., Ho, C., Blank, G. S., Brorson, K., Chen, Q., Yang, B. 2009; 104 (2): 371-380

    Abstract

    During production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in mammalian cell culture, it is important to ensure that viral impurities and potential viral contaminants will be removed during downstream purification. Anion exchange chromatography provides a high degree of virus removal from mAb feedstocks, but the mechanism by which this is achieved has not been characterized. In this work, we have investigated the binding of three viruses to Q sepharose fast flow (QSFF) resin to determine the degree to which electrostatic interactions are responsible for viral clearance by this process. We first used a chromatofocusing technique to determine the isoelectric points of the viruses and established that they are negatively charged under standard QSFF conditions. We then determined that virus removal by this chromatography resin is strongly disrupted by the presence of high salt concentrations or by the absence of the positively charged Q ligand, indicating that binding of the virus to the resin is primarily due to electrostatic forces, and that any non-electrostatic interactions which may be present are not sufficient to provide virus removal. Finally, we determined the binding profile of a virus in a QSFF column after a viral clearance process. These data indicate that virus particles generally behave similarly to proteins, but they also illustrate the high degree of performance necessary to achieve several logs of virus reduction. Overall, this mechanistic understanding of an important viral clearance process provides the foundation for the development of science-based process validation strategies to ensure viral safety of biotechnology products.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/bit.22416

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269846900015

    View details for PubMedID 19575414

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