Kai Kessenbrock, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
kai.kessenbrock@uci.edu

Dennis Ma, Ph.D.

CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow
dennim1@uci.edu

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)
quyhn@uci.edu

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

npervola@uci.edu

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

halsheta@uci.edu

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)

knee1@uci.edu

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)

kerrigab@uci.edu

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.

Yanwen Gong

Graduate Student (MCSB Program) joint with Weining Shen’s lab

yanweng@uci.edu

Yanwen received her B.S. in Microbiology from Colorado State University. Then she got her M.S. in Biotechnology from UC Irvine, where she focused on bioinformatic analyzis of RNA-seq data. Her current research interests include investigating gene regulatory networks by single-cell multi-omics technology, and constructing differentiation trajectories from single-cell genomics data. Her long-term passion is to explore new perspectives and invent methods to analyze genomics data combining ML algorithms and statistical analysis.

Justice Williams

Graduate Student (CMB Program)

justicew@uci.edu

Justice received his B.S. in Nutrition Science from the University of California, Davis. He then worked on NGS-based early cancer detection diagnostic assays for 2 years at the biotech startup Grail. His research is currently focused on understanding the role that specific breast microenvironmental factors play in regulating mammary stem cell activity, particularly in the context of early cancer initiation and progression.

Grace Hernandez

Lab Manager (shared with Lawson Lab)

graceah@uci.edu

Grace received her B.S. in Human Biology from the University of California, Irvine. As Lab Manager for both the Lawson Lab and the Kessenbrock Lab, she is involved in various different research projects focusing on mammary development, breast cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis.

Former Lab Members:

Nathan Ryan James (now UCI Medical School)

Jan Rath (now Graduate Student at Lausanne University, Switzerland)

Josh Mo (now MSTP student UCI)