Principal Investigator

Kevin Haigis 

Director, Cancer Genetics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

During his graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Haigis studied the somatic genetics of intestinal tumor initiation under the guidance of Dr. William Dove. In his post-doctoral work, Dr. Haigis studied the oncogenic properties of the RAS GTPases in the laboratory of Dr. Tyler Jacks in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research (now the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research).

Contact: khaigis at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

 

Instructor in Medicine

MOON HEE YANG 

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Education:
B.S. in Biology, Sookmyung Women's University (2001)
M.S. in Biology, Sookmyung Women's University (2003)
Ph.D. in Biology (Genomics), Sookmyung Women's University (2007)
Research Topic: Regulation of Ras oncogenicity by post translational modification
Research Interests: Cancer biology, cell biology, posttranslational modification, cancer mouse model, CRISPR
Contact: myang3 at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

 

Postdoctoral Fellows

LUCIA SUAREZ-LOPEZ 

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Education:
B.Sc. in Biology, Oviedo University, Spain (2006)
M.Sc. in Biomedicine, Barcelona University, Spain (2008)
Ph.D. in Biomedicine, Barcelona University-Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, Spain (2013)
Research Topic: Identification and translational validation of novel therapeutic targets for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 
Research Interests: mucosal immunology, systems biology, kinase signaling networks.
Project Description: 
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a related group of incurable chronic inflammatory disorders characterized by the uncontrolled inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Despite the breakthrough of biological treatments, such as antibodies targeting tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), the a4b7 integrin, and the cytokines IL-12 and IL-23, only 10 to 30% respond to these treatments and 23-46% of them develop resistance over time. Critically, it is currently impossible to predict whether a patient will respond efficiently to the treatment or if he/she will develop resistance over time.

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Contact: lsuarez1 at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

CHRISTIAN JOHNSON 

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Education:
B.S. in Biology, UNC Asheville (2009)
M.S. in Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, NC State (2012)
Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University (2015)
Research Topic: Rare oncogenic mutations in K-Ras colorectal cancers
Research Interests: Models of cancer, oncogenic mutants of Ras, signal transduction, enzyme structure and kinetics
Project Description:
I study rare oncogenic mutations in K-Ras colorectal cancers using a combination of protein chemistry, molecular biology, and mouse modeling. Using these techniques, I hope to discover novel functions of K-Ras that can be targeted for the treatment of cancer.
Contact: cwjohnso at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

OLESJA POPOW 

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Education:
B.S. in Biomedical Science, University of Marburg, Germany (2010)
M.S. in Biomedical Science, University of Groningen, The Netherlands (2012)
Ph.D. in Cancer Biology, University of Dundee, UK (2016)
Research Topic: Analysis of proteome-wide changes in KRas-mutant cells and tissue by mass spectrometry (Co-advised by Steven Gygi, HMS)
Research Interests: Cancer biology, cell biology, proteomics
Project Description:
Title: Tissue-specific oncogenic activity of KRas.
Oncogenic KRAS mutations occur frequently in some human cancers (e.g. pancreas, colon, lung), but are rarely detected in other cancer types (e.g. liver, kidney, brain). Based on this and other observations we hypothesize that some tissues are sensitive to the oncogenic activity of mutant KRas whereas other tissues are resistant. To identify the tissue-specific mechanisms underlying KRas sensitivity and resistance I am measuring the effects of mutant KRas expression on the (phospho-)proteome by mass spectrometry in a variety of tissues from genetically engineered mice.

In addition, I am using proximity labeling and AP-MS to better understand how post-translational modifications and the interactome of KRas contribute to its distinct signaling outputs in different tissue contexts.

Contact: opopow at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

DOUG BRUBAKER 

Education:
B.S. in Mathematics, Case Western Reserve University (2013)
Ph.D. in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics, Case Western Reserve University (2016)
Research Topic: Computational translation of insights from mouse models and cell lines to human in vivo biology in inflammatory bowel disease and cancer (Co-advised by Douglas Lauffenburger at MIT). 
Research Interests: Computational biology, network analysis, machine learning, systems biology, and precision medicine. 
Contact: dkb50 at mit dot edu

ALINA STARCHENKO 

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Education:
B.S. in Biological Engineering, Cornell University (2010)
M.Eng in Biomedical and Tissue engineering, Cornell University (2011)
Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University (2017)
Research Topic:  Analysis of immune system deregulation in autoimmune and inflammatory disease
Research Interests: Immunology, Systems Biology, Extracellular matrix signaling (co-advised by Douglas Lauffenburger, MIT)
Contact: astarch at mit dot edu

 

Graduate Students

Yi-Jang Lin 

Education:
B.A. in Biology, Specialization in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Boston University (2011) 
B.A. in French Language and Literature, Boston University (2011) 
Research Topic: Characterization of K-RasG13D as a unique activating mutation in cell line and murine models of colorectal cancer.
Research Interests: Broadly in cancer biology, specifically in cancer genetics, cancer immunology, and translational research for colorectal cancer
Contact:  yijanglin at g dot harvard dot edu

SHIKHA SHETH  

Education:
B.S. in Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Irvine (2013)
Research Topic: Characterization of K-Ras mutants in colorectal cancer; regulation of Ras acetylation
Research Interests: Cancer biology, signaling pathways, mechanism, gene regulation
Contact:  ssheth at g dot harvard dot edu

 

BING SHUI  

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Education:
B.A. in Biology, Carleton College (2016)
Research Topic: Investigating the role of Ras in colorectal cancer and intestinal epithelium regeneration. Characterizing Ras alleles competition within different genetic backgrounds and disease contexts.
Research Interests: Cancer signaling, tissue regeneration, mechanism of cancer invasion and metastasis
Project Description:
I am working on elucidating the interplay between K-Ras signaling activation and downstream miRNAs. This is done in the context of colon homeostasis and mutant K-Ras-driven colorectal cancer in GEMMs, focusing on physiological interactions between miRNAs and target mRNAs. Using a multi-omics approach, I hope to uncover a network of miRNA-mediated regulation of gene expressions downstream of K-Ras pathway.
Contact: bshui at bidmc dot harvard dot edu

JOSHUA COOK 

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Education:
B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of California, Irvine (2017)
B.S. in Chemistry, University of California, Irvine (2017)
Research Topic: somatic mutational evolution in cancer; tissue specificity of cancer driving mutations (Co-advised by Peter Park, HMS)
Research Interest: cancer biology, pathway analysis, genetic interactions of mutations
Project Description:
I’m studying the effects of the various KRAS mutations on the behavior and mutational landscape of cancers. I’m using computational methods to uncover patterns of dysregulation unique to each KRAS variant. Also, I’m interested in how KRASmutations are highly prevalent among a select few cancer types, whilst vanishingly rare in most others.
Contact: jhcook at g dot harvard dot edu

KEVIN DERVISHI  

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Education: B.A. in Biology (Biochemistry Emphasis), University of California, Santa Barbara (2016)
Research Topic: Investigating novel methods to perturb the immune system in the treatment of Ras-driven cancers
Research Interest: Cancer immunology, therapeutic development, genetic screens, mutation allele analysis, tumor microenvironment
Contact: kdervishi at g dot harvard dot edu

SHAYNA STEIN  

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Education: B.S in Mathematics of Computation, University of California, Los Angeles (2015)
Research Topic: Characterizing oncogenic properties of different KRAS mutants in colorectal cancer (Co-advised by Franziska Michor, DFCI)
Research Interest: Cancer evolution, mechanisms of resistance and metastasis 
Contact: sstein at g dot harvard dot edu

Beatrice Awasthi  

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Education: B.S. in Biology, Cornell University (2017) ; M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University (2018)
Research Topic: Integration and functional annotation of omics datasets
Research Interest: Cancer and metabolic signaling, omics analysis methods
Contact: bawasthi at fas dot harvard dot edu

Research Technicians

BETHANY HUNT 

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Education: B.A. in Integrative Biology, Skidmore College (2017)
Project Description:
I am currently working with Dr. Moon Hee Yang on characterizing K104 mutant Kras in the context of normal colon epithelium and colorectal cancer. We are also using orthotopic injection mouse models of colorectal cancer to compare Kras mutant alleles at the cellular level.
Contact: bhunt3 at bidmc dot harvard dot edu



 

AISHA LAGUNA MERCED 

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Education: B.S. in Biochemistry, Ithaca College (2015)
Research Interests: cancer biology, signaling pathways, molecular mechanisms of autoimmunity and precision medicine
Contact: amerced at bidmc dot harvard dot edu




 

Lab Manager

HYOSOO LEE 

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Education:
B.S. in Biology, Sookmyung Women's University (2003)
M.S. in Bioinformatics, Sookmyung Women's University (2005)
Contact: hlee11 at bidmc dot harvard dot edu