Research Team

 

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Sen Hou
 
Technician

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Ahmed Yassen Ali

M.Sc., Ph.D.

 
Postdoc

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is the most prevalent hematologic malignancy among the aging population in the Western world and remains largely incurable. Besides chronic B-cell receptor activation to ensure their survival, CLL cells interact with and shape a microenvironment favourable to their survival and proliferation. CLL cells migrate to favourable niches (lymph nodes and bone marrow), where they interact with resident stromal cells and actively recruit T lymphocytes through soluble factors, and in turn T-cells ensure CLL cell survival. The protective microenvironment enhances CLL cell resistance to conventional therapeutics. The aim of my project is to decipher the processes regulating CLL cell migration to and retention in protective niches. We will attempt to delineate the underlying molecular mechanisms regulating these processes, and in particular the involvement of the PI3K pathway in the context of ZAP-70 overexpression. A better understanding of the processes governing CLL cell interaction with its microenvironment will aid in the design of targeted therapeutics that disrupt it, enhancing CLL cell vulnerability.

Samantha D Pauls
 
Ph.D. Student

Samantha obtained her BSc. Hon. in Biochemistry at the University of Manitoba in 2009. Since then she has studied regulatory signaling mechanisms in immune cells with a particular interest in lipid phosphatases. She specializes in confocal microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology and protein-protein interactions.

Hongzhao Li
 
Ph.D. Student

My current research interest is mainly in the intracellular signaling mechanisms controlling migration and spread of cancer cells, a devastating problem in many types of cancer including B lymphocyte – derived lymphoma and leukemia. My favorite molecule is a mysterious small lipid messenger called PI(3,4)P2 (phosphatidylinositol-3,4-bisphosphate), one of the products of PI3K, an enzyme that initiates signaling pathways frequently implicated in malignant transformation and cancer progression. My projects have revealed a previously unappreciated role of PI(3,4)P2 in regulating directional migration of  malignant B lymphocytes and identified part of the signaling pathways linking PI(3,4)P2 to cell migration function

Nipun Jayachandran
 
Ph.D. student

Nipun’s primary research interest is to understand the mechanisms that regulate B cell activation in health and diseases. He completed his Masters from India and worked as a Junior Research Fellow at National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi. His previous research was on immune modulatory effects of HCG on Lupus. He joined the Marshall Lab as a PhD student in 2010 summer. Since then his research was focused on identifying the role of a PI (3,4)P2 interacting  adapter protein called TAPPs (Tandem PH domain containing proteins) that regulates PI3K signaling in B cells and control autoimmunity. 

Xun (Grace) Wu
 
Ph.D. Student

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