Systems Biology Research Labs

David Chen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and the director of the Division of Epigenetic and Transcriptional Engineering in the Department of Systems Biology. His research focuses on combinational epigenetic therapies for multiple types of hematopoietic malignant diseases. Combining patient-derived leukemia and lymphoma xenografts, dCas9- technology for genetic engineering, and computational modeling, Chen and his team will interrogate the genome-wide effects of modifiers that write and erase epigenetic marks and their contribution to malignant leukemia and lymphoma.
Jianjun Chen, Ph.D., is a professor and vice chair of the Department of Systembs Biology. Chen is also the holder of the Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in Systems Biology and a scholar of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Chen’s research program is mainly focused on integrated analyses of noncoding RNAs regarding both genetic and epigenetic changes in the development of leukemia and lymphoma. Most recently, his group discovered the role of the fat mass- and obesity-associated protein as N6- methyladenosine RNA demethylase and as a driver of leukemogenesis.
Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Systems Biology. In the early '80s, Heisterkamp, along with her colleagues, uncovered the structure of the so-called “Philadelphia chromosome” (Ph), the first known genetic lesion that was discovered as a cause of cancer in humans. Her lab is currently investigating molecular mechanisms through which precursor B-lineage ALL cells are protected against eradication by therapy when they interact with nonleukemia cells in their environment.
Vu Nguyen Ngo, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Systems Biology. Ngo’s laboratory focuses on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of cancer mutations and their interactions in driving tumor development. His laboratory will employ large-scale functional genetic screens using RNA interference technology in combination with genomics and proteomics approaches to dissect disease mechanisms in lymphoid malignancies. He also has a special focus on developing animal tumor models for aggressive lymphomas including mantle cell lymphoma.
Srividya Swaminathan, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Biology. The goal of her research is to develop targeted immunotherapies against aggressive lymphoid malignancies. Towards this end, her laboratory will delineate the differences in cell autonomous processes, and the immune microenvironment, during normal and malignant B and T cell lymphopoiesis. Using mass cytometry (CyTOF), flow cytometry, and CIBERSORT, on samples from transgenic lymphoma/leukemia mice and patients, her laboratory will generate immune fingerprints of normal and malignant lymphocyte development. This knowledge will be applied to identify the Achilles Heel of malignant lymphocytes in lymphoid neoplasia including, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphomas.
Lili Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Systems Biology. Wang’s laboratory focuses on a clinically heterogeneous blood disease, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of adult leukemia in North America. The Wang laboratory has developed genetic mouse models for CLL and intends to dissect somatic mutations contributing to the disease phenotype utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 technology and single-cell sequencing, which will be coupled with murine models as well as human CLL samples. The ultimate goal will be to discover novel prognosis markers and design better therapeutic approaches for this heterogeneous disease.