Breanna Allen, BS
PhD Student, BMS Program
 
Bree received her B.S. in Neurobiology at Stanford University, where she studied the cellular composition of cerebral arteriovenous malformations in the labs of Dr. Steven Chang and Dr. Gary Steinberg. After graduating in 2014, she worked for 2 years as a Jr. specialist at UCSF in Dr. Donald McDonald's lab investigating Angiopoietin-2 function in inflammation-mediated vascular remodeling. Currently, she is a UCSF BMS graduate student in Dr. Matthew Spitzer's lab using Mass Cytometry and data computation to investigate how brain tumor development impacts systemic immune function & organization.

 

​​​​​
 
Joël Babdor, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
 
Joel received his M.S. at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and his Ph.D. in immunology at Paris Descartes University. There, he trained under the direction of Loredana Saveanu in the basic biology of Dendritic cells and Toll like receptors, using mouse models and confocal microscopy to identify how endosomal compartmentalization of TLR9 is responsible for the regulation of the immune response. After completing his Ph.D., he moved his interest toward cancer research in Olivier Hermine lab at IMAGINE institute where he worked as a postdoc on the effects of an experimental cancer immunotherapy strategy that reprogram tumor infiltrating mononuclear phagocytes. As a postdoctoral scholar in the Spitzer lab, he is focusing on cancer immunity and immunotherapy responsiveness in cancer patients and the interplay between the immune system and the commensal microbiota.

 

 
 
Casey Burnett, BA
PhD Student, BMS Program; NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Joint with Kole Roybal
 

Casey received her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University where she studies purified hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Department. Additionally, she collaborated with laboratories in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department and the Stem Cell Institute. Casey joined the Biomedical Science Graduate program in 2017 and is co-mentored by Dr. Spitzer and Dr. Kole Roybal. Her graduate work combines synthetic approaches to cancer immunotherapy with the systems immunology perspective pioneered in the Spitzer lab. ​​​​​​

 

 

 

 
Nam Woo Cho, MD PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Resident, Radiation Oncology
 

Nam Woo received his B.A. in Biology at Harvard College, then completed his M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied mechanisms of DNA repair at telomeres under his graduate thesis adviser, Dr. Roger Greenberg. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Spitzer lab, he is investigating how deficiencies of DNA repair in cancer affect antitumor immunity.

 

 
 
Rachel DeBarge, BS
PhD Student, BMS Program
 

Rachel received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Northeastern University, and had the opportunity to work in several research settings during her time in Boston. Much of her research experience stems from working at a couple of small biotechnology companies in Cambridge, MA developing cellular immunotherapies for cancer. In the Spitzer lab, Rachel is using systems approaches to study how tumors affect dendritic cell functionality and T cell dynamics in response to cancer and infection. 

 

 
 
Sophia Guldberg, BS

PhD Student, BMS Program

Sophia received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she studied glycoconjuate vaccine development and targeted therapeutics via virus-like particles in the lab of Dr. M.G. Finn. In undergrad, she also conducted research on topics ranging from wound healing, freshwater algal toxicity, and cancer therapeutics in a combination of government and industry labs. Currently, she is a UCSF BMS graduate student in the Spitzer lab using mass cytometry to investigate how the immune system is altered with tumor burden and during immunotherapy.

 

 

 
 
Kamir Hiam, BS
PhD Student, BMS Program
 
Kamir began his scientific training bouncing around labs at NASA, Kennesaw State University, Fred Hutch, and Georgia Institute of Technology. He studied a wide range of topics including transcriptional regulation in extremophiles, epidermal tumorigenesis, and proteolytic network dysfunction before settling at UCSF for graduate training and becoming interested in tumor immunology. Currently, Kamir is utilizing high dimensional single-cell methods and mouse models of breast cancer to understand how immune signaling networks are altered with tumor burden.

 

 
 
Rita Huang, BS
Bioinformatician
 
Rita received her B.S. in Engineering Physics at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Then, she completed her M.S. in Bioengineering with a specialization in Bioinformatics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied how environmental factors and geographic locations affect the breast cancer rates in Illinois with machine learning methods under the supervision of Dr. Roy Campbell and Dr. Saurabh Sinha. Currently, she jointly works in the Spitzer Lab and the Roose Lab to study the signaling pathway of T-cell leukemia using high dimensional single cell data analyses approaches.
 

 

 
 
Kyle Jones, DDS PhD
Assistant Professor

Dept. of Orofacial Sciences

Kyle completed his BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UCLA. He then completed his DDS and PhD degrees in the UCSF School of Dentistry. Kyle's PhD work was performed under the supervision of Dr. Ophir Klein and focused on the identification and characterization of oral epithelial stem cells. Kyle also completed sub-specialty training in oral and maxillofacial pathology at UCSF under the direction of Dr. Richard Jordan. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orofacial Sciences and Director of the UCSF Oral Dysplasia Program. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Spitzer Lab, Kyle's work currently focuses on understanding how the immune system is altered before and after immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in the setting of oral dysplasia (premalignant oral lesion) and head and neck cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma.

 

 
 
Lauren Levine, MD

Clinical Fellow, Medical Oncology; ASCO Women Who Conquer Cancer Young Investigator

Lauren received her A.B. in the Biological Sciences with a Specialization in Immunology at the University of Chicago, where she studied mechanisms of linear differentiation of CD8 memory T cells during LCMV infection in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Ashton-Rickardt. Over the course of her medical training at New York Medical College and Washington University in St. Louis in the laboratories and clinics of Drs. Jedd Wolchok and Gerald Linette, she studied innate and adaptive immune responses to diverse therapeutic strategies for melanoma including TLR9 and OX40 agonists and dendritic cell vaccination. As a fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Spitzer, she currently researches the contribution of systemic immune homeostasis in the successful rejection of solid tumors.

 

 
 
 
Diana Marquez, BS
Research Technician
 
Diana received her B.S. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz. She worked at Stanford University with Dr. Mike Angelo on the development of multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI), a new technique for measuring dozens of proteins simultaneously from intact tissue sections. In 2018, she moved to UCSF to join the Spitzer Lab, where she continues to work on MIBI as well as CyTOF-based studies of immune cell interactions with cancers. 

 

 
 
Elizabeth McCarthy, BS
PhD Student, BMI/MSTP Program

Joint with Jimmie Ye

Elizabeth McCarthy is a third year graduate student in the Bioinformatics program. She is co-mentored with the Jimmie Ye and is also a student in the UCSF MSTP program. Her research focuses on longitudinal studies of immune responses in humans to a disease or treatment. Her main questions focus on gaining biological insight through following trajectories overtime and on building predictive models to better understand drivers of particular outcomes.

 

 
 
Maha Rahim, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
 

Maha received her B.S in Chemical Engineering from UCLA, and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from UCI. There, she developed a platform to extend the multiplexing capabilities of traditional fluorescence imaging by leveraging the fluorescence lifetime of molecular probes. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Spitzer lab, Maha applies multiplexed imaging to study the immune response in breast cancer, before treatment and in response to immunotherapy.

 

 

 
 
Matt Spitzer, PhD
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor
 
Matt completed his training in Immunology at Stanford University in the laboratories of Garry Nolan and Edgar Engleman. There, he developed experimental and analytical methods to model the state of the immune system using high dimensional single-cell data. This led Matt to develop the first reference map of the immune system, providing a framework into which new data can be integrated and compared for system-wide analysis. At Stanford, he also developed new strategies for inducing powerful immune responses against cancer. Matt moved to UCSF in the summer of 2016 as a UCSF Parker Fellow and a Sandler Faculty Fellow and is now an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Microbiology & Immunology and an investigator of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

 

Iliana Tenvooren, MS
Lab Manager
 
Iliana grew up in France where she did a Master’s degree in Genetics at UCBL Lyon and Purdue University. Before UCSF she worked as an associate researcher at Wake Forest University where she studied the correlation between obesity and the initiation of breast cancer. Currently, she is a specialist in the Spitzer lab, where she uses Mass Cytometry and data computation to investigate how the immune system is organized to create a line of defense against cancer development.

 

Alumni

 

 
 
Sid Raju, BS
Research Technician
 
Sid received his B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Physics at Emory University, where he studied desmosome structure and order in the lab of Dr. Alexa Mattheyses. After graduating in 2016, he joined the electronic medical record company Epic, where he worked as a technical project manager for software implementations at Shannon Health in San Angelo, TX and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, GA. At UCSF, he was a computational research technician at UCSF, working jointly in the labs of Drs. Matt Spitzer, Alex Marson, and Jimmie Ye. He worked on ways to apply machine learning algorithms to large datasets in order to develop intuitions about immune system dynamics. Sid is now a graduate student in the Systems Biology graduate program at Harvard!