Our paper describing the first cell atlas of the human breast epithelium is out

Our work utilizing single cell transcriptomics to reveal hidden cellular variation within the normal human breast epithelium is now online at Nature Communications. Congrats to the first authors Quy Nguyen and Nick Pervolarakis, as well as to our other lab members (Dennis Ma, Nathan James) and the co-authors from the Lawson Lab (Devon Lawson, Kerrigan Blake, Ryan Davis, Anh Phung)  who contributed to this study! Thanks also to our collaborators at UCSF and Northwestern University as well as ProteinSimple (formerly Zephyrus) for their significant contributions.

Please check out our work using the following link:


Certainly a good occasion to pop some fancy bubbly

Dennis secured postdoctoral fellowship from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) program

Dennis Ma successfully secured the highly competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) postdoctoral fellowship.  The prestigious CIHR Fellowship Program provides support for highly qualified applicants in all areas of research at the post-PhD degree or post-health professional degree stages to add to their experience by engaging in health research either in Canada or abroad. CIHR provides funding opportunities for four themes of health research: biomedical, clinical, health systems services & social, cultural, environmental and population health. Congrats to Dennis!

2018 UCI Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS) Retreat in Downtown Los Angeles

The annual 2018 UCI CCBS Retreat took place at the Omni Hotel in the exciting area of Downtown Los Angeles, which offered the perfect balance of extensive scientific discussions across multiple disciplines, and fun evening shenanigans including culinary excursions into the Grand Central Market. This occasion was also used to announce the successful competition for a new NIH-funded U54 Center focusing on Cancer Systems Biology (CaSB@UCI), which will make UCI part of the nation-wide Cancer Systems Biology Consortium. All members of the Kessenbrock Lab will be excited to contribute to this endeavor.

Congratulations as well to Nick Pervolarakis and Dennis Ma for their great presentations on the opportunity award project using doublet RNAseq for the identification of stem cell niche components.

Lab Holiday Party in Laguna Beach

The first lab holiday party (joined between Villalta, Lawson, Kessenbrock Labs) took place at our house in Laguna Beach. Due to persistent Santa Ana winds and 84F (~30C) warm weather we switched our theme from Xmas Sweaters and Snow Boots to Hawaiian Flower Leis and Flip Flops – Mele Kalikimaka everyone!

Lab secured funding from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on building a comprehensive cell atlas of the human breast tissue

Image result for human cell atlas

Together with Nick Navin’s lab at MD Anderson and Devon Lawson’s lab at UCI, we have secured pilot funds from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to build the first comprehensive cell atlas of the human breast tissue in single cell resolution. This project is based on multimodal analyses of breast tissues that bring together diverse assays, including single cell transcriptomics, spatial genomics, epigenetics, and histology.

Please check out the following links for more information:


Collaborative project funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Our collaboration with Dr. Eva Lee’s Lab on “Hormonal modulation and genetic alterations in breast carcinogenesis” got funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The BCRF is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. We are grateful for their generous support and we are excited to get to work on this important research project exploring the biology of breast cancer formation in BRCA1 mutation carriers.

Dennis Ma and Nick Pervolarakis win Opportunity Award from the UCI Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS)

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s CCBS Opportunity Awards competition based on the theme of Crossing Scales with Cell-Level Data! This collaboration with Ali Mortazavi’s Lab focusing on “Doublet Cell Sequencing to Elucidate Stem Cell Niche in Mouse Epithelium ” will be carried by Dr. Dennis Ma and Nick Pervolarakis (Kessenbrock Lab) and Camden Jansen (Mortazavi Lab). Each winning proposal will receive $10,000 to be shared between the faculty for lab project expenses; and a $1,000 award for research supplies to be shared between student and/or postdoctoral participants. We look forward to hearing about the projects at next year’s annual CCBS retreat scheduled for Spring quarter 2018, due to be held in the Los Angeles area!

Lab Beach Day – July 2017

Seminar Speaker Long Cai visiting from Caltech

The Kessenbrock lab and the Department of Biological Chemistry is hosting Dr. Long Cai from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Cai shared his exciting findings on “Spatial Genomics: single cell in situ and lineage analysis” on May 17th, 2017, 11:00AM-12:00PM in the Hitachi Lecture Hall. Thanks to Andrew Komoto for helping to organize Long’s visit, and to Quy Nguyen for serving as student host.

Komen Breast Cancer Educational Series hosted at UCI

Susan G. Komen® Orange County, in partnership with leading Orange County breast centers has created a comprehensive breast health education series to inform and empower breast cancer patients to take charge of your breast health. On Oct 18th, 2016, it was our turn to host this event focusing on “Metastasis Research, Treatment, and Prevention Advances: From Bench to Bedside” at the UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center organized by Dr. Devon Lawson with talks by Dr. Ritesh Parajuli and Dr. Kai Kessenbrock. Close to 100 breast cancer patients, survivors and advocates signed up for this event. Thanks to the students in the Kessenbrock and Lawson labs for helping to organize this event.