Kai Kessenbrock, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dennis Ma, Ph.D.

CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow

Dennis received his PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, characterizing the anti-cancer activity of natural and synthetic compounds in cell and animal models. A major focus of this work has been on cancer cell mitochondria and oxidative stress and how these are exploited in the induction of apoptosis by these anti-cancer agents. He is currently studying the early systematic changes in epithelial homeostasis and the mammary stem cell niche during breast cancer initiation using single cell analyses. Dennis is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellows Program.

Quy Nguyen

Graduate Student (CMB Program)

Quy received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently focused on identifying and characterizing the spectrum of heterogeneity within the breast epithelium on the single cell level.

Nicholas Pervolarakis

Graduate Student (MCSB Program)

NIH-T32 MCSB Training Grant


Nick received his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently focusing on investigating breast epithelial heterogeneity through the lens of single cell ‘omics technology on the epigenetic and transcriptional level. His combinatorial approach is thought to give a unique look into potential subpopulations within the tissue, as well as provide evidence for epigenetic and regulatory reasoning for the observed subpopulations.

Hamad Alshetaiwi

Graduate Student (CMB Program)

Fellowship from the Saudi Arabia Cultural Mission


Hamad received his B.S from Qassim University in Saudi Arabia. He then got his M.S. in Biomedical Science from Kansas State University, where he focused on using neutrophil granulocytes that infiltrate breast tumors as a novel tool for cancer detection. Currently, Hamad is studying the intricate roles of neutrophil granulocytes in the context of anti-tumor immunity during breast cancer progression and metastasis.

Kevin Nee

Graduate Student (MSTP program)


Kevin received his B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently in the UCI Medical Scientist Training Programm (MSTP). His graduate research is focused on the metabolic and paracrine interactions of the breast microenvironment in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.

Kerrigan Blake

Collaborating Graduate Student (MSCB Program)

(Devon Lawson Lab)


Kerrigan received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Kansas. Her collaborative efforts with the Kessenbrock lab are using pseudotemporal analysis pipelines to reconstruct cellular differentiation trajectories based on single cell gene expression data.

Jan Rath

Master student (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden)


Jan received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Freiburg (Germany) and is studying towards his M.S. in Biomedicine at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). He joined the lab as an exchange researcher in 2018. His research is focused on studying the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in breast cancer development using single-cell RNA data and live cell imaging.

Nathan Ryan James

Lab Manager


Nathan recently received his B.S. from the University of California, Irvine, and he is currently working as lab manger in the Kessenbrock and Lawson labs.

Regis Lee

Undergraduate Researcher (shared with Lawson Lab)


Regis is studying towards his B.S. at the University of California, Irvine. He is currently working as undergraduate researcher for the Lawson and Kessenbrock laboratories.