School of Medicine

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  • Vincent Michael Alford

    Vincent Michael Alford

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy interest in science and research was fostered at a young age after losing a family member to colorectal cancer. At that young age, it was made apparent to me that cancer remains poorly understood which is reflected in the total lack of target-specific treatment regiments available to this patient population. This disparity in patient care is what inspired me to pursue a Ph.D in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Stony Brook University (SBU). During my time at SBU, my dissertation research focused on the development of a standard approach for rational drug design against the functional activity of individual matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Results from this work led to the successful development of the first small molecule inhibitor specifically targeting the hemopexin domain of MMP-9. Additionally, I was also given the opportunity to assist in the development of a cell based High-Throughput Screen assay for the identification of small molecules with activity against cancer cell invasion. This work was done in collaboration with large biotechnology companies such as Millipore.

    After obtaining my Ph.D, I pursued a postdoctoral scholar position at Stanford University within the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Currently, my projects have slowly become broader and more focused around protein chemistry. More specifically, my research interest lies in identifying protein targets or cell populations responsible for chronic illnesses such as Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. After identifying the target, my passion lies in understanding the biological function of said target in various biological signaling cascades and cell niche population maintenance. Another area I specialize in is assigning function to the various domains of individual proteins and prioritizing drug development against the most promising targets. Upon identification of the target and validation of the domains responsible for protein activity- it becomes my mission to develop specific inhibitors against them. To this end, I use techniques such as protein mutagenesis, expression, and purification systems in addition to x-ray crystallography and chemical-protein structure activity relationships to understand, rationally design, and optimize these small molecule inhibitors for potential use in clinical trials.

  • Ash A. Alizadeh, MD/PhD

    Ash A. Alizadeh, MD/PhD

    Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research is focused on attaining a better understanding of the initiation, maintenance, and progression of tumors, and their response to current therapies toward improving future treatment strategies. In this effort, I employ tools from functional genomics, computational biology, molecular genetics, and mouse models.

    Clinically, I specialize in the care of patients with lymphomas, working on translating our findings in prospective cancer clinical trials.

  • Lay Teng Ang

    Lay Teng Ang

    Instructor, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

    BioAs a stem cell biologist, my overall goal is to understand the mechanisms through which stem cells differentiate into progressively-specialized cell-types and to harness this knowledge to artificially generate pure populations of desired cell-types from stem cells. My work over the past 10 years has centered on pluripotent stem cells (PSCs, which include embryonic and pluripotent stem cells), which have the remarkable ability to generate any of the hundreds of diverse cell-types in the body. However, it has been notoriously difficult to guide PSCs to differentiate into a pure population of a given cell-type. Current differentiation strategies typically generate heterogeneous cell populations unsuitable for basic research or clinical applications. To address this challenge, I mapped the cascade of branching lineage choices through which PSCs differentiate into a variety of endodermal and mesodermal cell-types. I then developed effective methods to differentiate PSCs into specific lineages by providing the extracellular signal(s) that specify a given lineage while inhibiting the signals that induce the alternate fate(s), enabling the generation of highly-pure human heart, bone (Loh & Chen et al., 2016; Cell) and liver (Loh & Ang et al., 2014; Cell Stem Cell) from PSCs. In particular, I have focused on generating pure populations of liver progenitors from PSCs; these PSC-derived human liver progenitors regenerated human liver tissue, and improved the survival of, mouse models of liver failure (Ang et al., 2018; Cell Reports). My goal is to complete the preclinical development of PSC-derived liver progenitors as a potential cellular replacement therapy for liver failure. This project will be facilitated by my experience with PSC differentiation, assays of liver cell identity and function, and mouse models of liver failure.

    I earned my Ph.D. jointly from the University of Cambridge and A*STAR and was subsequently appointed as a Research Fellow, and later, a Senior Research Fellow, at the Genome Institute of Singapore. At Singapore, I was an independent group leader and received extramural funding support as PI or co-PI on three government grants. In April 2018, I moved my laboratory to Stanford University as a Siebel Investigator and Instructor at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine.

  • Jane Antony

    Jane Antony

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAlthough varying degrees of progress has been made to treat the heterogenous subtypes of breast cancers, metastasis and recurrence remains a major cause of breast cancer-related deaths. My research focuses on drivers of tumor growth and testing new targets for these breast cancers to prevent metastasis and recurrence; specifically, profiling and validating genes enriched in the self-renewing tumorigenic compartment.