Speaker Biographies

Melissa Davis
Melissa B. Davis, PhD

Melissa B. Davis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor (Interim) of the Department of Surgery and Scientific Director of the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. She holds adjunct faculty appointments in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia in Athens and in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Davis received her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Georgia and postdoctoral training at Yale School of Medicine and the University of Chicago, where she completed groundbreaking genomics work related to steroid hormone functions during development. At the University of Chicago she also trained at the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, where she began her current research program: To identify biological mechanisms of racial disparities in cancer risk and clinical outcomes of cancer diagnoses. The Davis Lab has produced findings that have proven that unique genetic signatures in both breast and prostate tumors of African and African American patients are enriched for mechanisms that correlate with aggressive tumor progression, which generate novel opportunities for precision medicine applications in minority populations. She will present findings emerging from her breast cancer research, where she has identified that an African ancestry allele, and the recently discovered tumor expression, of a gene named DARC (ACKR1) are linked to the tumor-specific immune/inflammatory response. She has utilized Imaging Mass Cytometry™ (IMC) to characterize spatial distinctions among ethnically diverse patient groups.


Daniela Quail
Daniela F. Quail, PhD

Daniela F. Quail, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre and the Departments of Physiology and Experimental Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She earned her PhD from the University of Western Ontario. Her doctoral research focused on the role of embryonic proteins on microenvironmental regulation of cancer stemness, invasion and metastasis. She completed her postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Her postdoctoral research focused on how the microenvironment impacts cancer progression and prognosis, with particular interest in the immune compartment. She contributed to a body of research characterizing the effects of the innate immune system in cancer, including the role of macrophages in brain tumors and neutrophils in breast cancer metastasis.

Since opening her lab at McGill, Quail served as Director of the Single Cell and Imaging Mass Cytometry Platform, where she developed multiplex imaging protocols to comprehensively immunophenotype the tumor microenvironment of lung and brain tumors. She was the Early Career Representative for the American Association for Cancer Research Tumor Microenvironment Working Group and currently holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in the Tumor Microenvironment (2018–2023). The Quail lab studies cancer immunology through three major themes, including (1) the impact of chronic inflammatory conditions such as obesity on cancer progression and immunotherapy; (2) the role of diet and energy balance in shaping the immunological response to cancer; and (3) tissue-specific influences of the tumor microenvironment. By addressing these research gaps, her team hopes to contribute to improving and discovering new tools and therapies in immuno-oncology.


Dan Traum
Daniel Traum

Daniel Traum received his BS in microbiology and zoology from the University of Florida. He studied the biology of bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages and mast cells before joining the laboratory of Kyong-Mi Chang, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Specialist to study the pathogenesis of hepatitis B infection. Since 2017 he has concurrently been utilizing the Hyperion™ Imaging System in the lab of Klaus Kaestner, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania to study the pathogenesis of type I diabetes and has been using Imaging Mass Cytometry to investigate immune cell interactions in HBV-infected liver biopsies.


Marieke E. Ijsselsteijn
Marieke Ijsselsteijn

Marieke Ijsselsteijn is a researcher at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), where she is set to obtain her PhD in the coming months. For the past 5 years, she has been working in the Noel de Miranda group, which focuses on neoantigen-targeted therapies, deep immunophenotyping of colorectal cancer and the search for immune cell subsets with antitumor activity. Ijsselsteijn has been implementing and improving deep immunophenotyping technologies such as multispectral immunofluorescence microscopy and Imaging Mass Cytometry. She has developed a ready-to-use 40-marker IMC panel for FFPE tissue, which allows the characterization of the tumor immune microenvironment, as well as an optimized workflow for maximum antibody performance. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Department of Radiology at the LUMC, she investigated the effects of signal variability between samples on IMC analysis and phenotype identification. Using publicly available tools, the team created a workflow for the normalization of IMC data by semi-automated background removal, directly applicable to previously obtained datasets. Aided by these tools, the De Miranda Lab collaborates with many research groups within and outside the LUMC to advance understanding of the spatial tissue microenvironment.


Anthony Colombo
Anthony Colombo

Anthony Colombo, who attended the University of Southern California for undergraduate training in applied mathematics, is a biostatistics PhD student at the Keck School of Medicine Department of Population and Public Health Sciences in collaboration with the Cedars-Sinai Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. His graduate research involves Dr. Akil Merchant and Dr. Kevin Kelly studying spatial modeling and single-cell analysis of Imaging Mass Cytometry at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Keck School of Medicine. Current research aims involve developing clinical models at single-cell resolution in order to profile the tumor microenvironment in terms of treatment response and interactions between tumor and immune phenotypes and prediction modeling.


Eric Swanson
Eric Swanson, PhD

Eric Swanson, PhD, is a Hyperion Imaging System Senior Field Application Specialist for Fluidigm. Before he took a customer-facing role within the organization, he worked in the research and development group to advance Imaging Mass Cytometry instrumentation and customer workflows. Prior to joining Fluidigm, Eric earned his PhD in Cell Biology at University of Massachusetts Medical School in the lab of Jeanne Lawrence, PhD, where he studied nuclear organization and gained extensive imaging experience. Swanson earned his BS in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.


Andre Rendeiro
André Rendeiro, PhD

Andre Rendeiro is a computational biologist with a background in molecular and developmental biology.

Originally from Portugal, he studied in Portugal, Austria and Norway for his undergraduate degrees. He earned his PhD in molecular medicine from the Center for Molecular Medicine in Vienna, developing methods for high-throughput cellular profiling and perturbation at single-cell resolution and their application to chronic leukemia.

He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Precision Medicine and Institute for Computational Biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, where he develops computational methods for the analysis of highly multiplexed imaging that incorporate expression, morphology, micro-anatomy and clinical covariates. He led the first tissue-level, single-cell resolution maps of lung pathology during COVID-19, and now he focuses on studying lung development, chronic disease and cancer using deep learning.

Rendeiro is a grantee of the T32 postdoctoral Molecular Translational Oncology Research Training grant awarded by the US National Cancer Institute (NIH) to Weill Cornell Medicine.


Michele Bortolomeazzi
Michele Bortolomeazzi

Michele Bortolomeazzi earned a degree in molecular biology from the University of Padua in 2016, with a thesis on the improvement of a bioinformatic method for the detection of microRNA and microRNA-offset RNAs from RNA sequencing data. In 2017 he joined the Cancer Systems Biology laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute as a Cancer Research UK and King’s Health Partners PhD student. During his PhD work, Bortolomeazzi has developed a computational approach for the analysis of high-dimensional imaging data, focusing on Imaging Mass Cytometry. This approach was applied in a study of the immunobiology of normal gut mucosa in synchronous and solitary colorectal cancer patients. He applied this method to analysis of the immunological determinants of response to immune checkpoint blockade in colorectal cancer.


Lucia Montorsi
Lucia Montorsi, PhD

Lucia Montorsi earned a master’s degree in medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology at the University of Modena. She earned a PhD there in 2016, and during her work toward that degree uncovered a novel role of the post-transcriptional regulator ZFP36 in colorectal cancer progression. She also developed an interest in the use of primary organoids as a model to study pharmacological compounds and oncogenic pathways. In 2017 she joined the Cancer Systems Biology laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, where she switched her focus to cancer immunology and used Imaging Mass Cytometry to dissect the immunological determinants of response to immune checkpoint blockade in colorectal cancer. She is now a postdoc at the Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology at King’s College London, where she will study the immunobiology of normal and cancerous gut by integrating transcriptional and imaging data with a particular focus on lymphoid follicles and local immunity.


Wendell Smith
Wendell A Smith, PhD

Wendell Smith received his PhD from the University of California San Diego working in the laboratory of Flossie Wong-Staal, PhD. His areas of focus were cell and molecular biology with an emphasis in molecular virology.

Smith completed his postdoctoral studies at the La Jolla Institute (formerly the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology) under Carl Ware PhD, specializing in virology and immunology.

Smith’s tenure at Fluidigm started as a Field Application Scientist for Helios™, a CyTOF® system, before he transitioned to support the Hyperion Imaging System. He currently serves as a Senior Field Application Scientist in proteomics.


Hiran Ravichandran
Hiranmayi Ravichandran, MS

Hiranmayi Ravichandran manages the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine (EIPM) mass cytometry core facility at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York. (The acquisition of CyTOF technology at EIPM was made possible through a generous donation from Igor Tulchinsky, Founder, Chairman and CEO WorldQuant, LLC, and the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction.) She leads translational research in immuno-oncology and infectious diseases including COVID-19 through the application of multiplexing imaging modalities. Ravichandran spearheads the development of high-dimensional imaging methods using Imaging Mass Cytometry to elucidate the spatial proteomics basis of human disease and physiology. Ongoing research includes single-cell-level characterization of the tumor-immune microenvironment of lymphomas, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, triple-negative breast cancer and COVID-19. Ravichandran worked as a flow cytometrist at Massachusetts General Hospital Flow Cytometry Core Facility in Boston for three years, where she was also trained on novel CyTOF technology. Her contributions to the field are reflected through publications in journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. She completed her MS in pharmacology at Northeastern University.


Aida Meghraoui-Kheddar
Aida Meghraoui-Kheddar, PhD, PharmD

Aida Meghraoui-Kheddar graduated with a PharmD degree in 2008 from the University of Constantine. She completed her MS degree in cellular and molecular biology at Paris-Sorbonne University in 2011, and in 2015 she received her PhD in immunology from the University of Reims, where she trained in inflammatory disease biology and immunology. She completed postdoctoral training in immunology of infectious disease and computational biology at the Institut Pasteur Paris and at the Cimi-Paris in the C. Combadiere lab. During this time, she identified an early diagnosis biomarker candidate of sepsis using mass cytometry technology in collaboration with the Irish Lab team at Vanderbilt University (Meghraoui-Kheddar et al., in revision).

Meghraoui-Kheddar is now a senior postdoc in Braud and Anjuere Lab at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology in Sophia-Antipolis, France. She uses computational analysis and high-dimensional technologies including Imaging Mass Cytometry to study immune responses during skin and oral cavity squamous cell carcinomas, focusing on the interactions between immune cells and tumor cell-free components: nerves and extracellular matrix proteins (Elaldi et al., 2021). The central goal of her research is to identify new targets for immunotherapy as well as mechanisms of resistance to current immunotherapy treatments.


Corrine Ramos
Corinne Ramos, PhD, MBA

Corinne Ramos, PhD, MBA, is ImaBiotech Innovation & Marketing Director. She is responsible for managing strategic sale business positioning and supporting clinical programs. Ramos is a biomarker expert with more than 20 years of operation management experience leading innovative research and clinical programs in oncology diagnostics. Ramos has been dedicated to driving biomarker development to successful commercialization, and she served as Head of Clinical Research and Operations at Theragnostic Health and Median Technologies. Ramos holds an MBA from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in Washington, DC, USA, specializing in finance, and a PhD from the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France, specializing in molecular biology.


Ron Cohn
Ron Cohn, MA

Ron Cohn has 20 years of experience in multiple microscopies including TEM, SEM, fluorescence, confocal and light microscopies, and 15 years of flow cytometry experience, 13 of those as core facility manager for Roche Pharmaceuticals. He joined DVS Sciences, later acquired by Fluidigm, as a Field Applications Specialist in 2012 soon after the commercial launch of the CyTOF 1. He has also worked with customers using CyTOF 2 and Helios suspension mass cytometers, and has worked almost exclusively with the Hyperion Tissue Imager since its commercial launch in October 2017. Cohn earned a BA in Biology at University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Microbiology at San Francisco State University.


Jay Hirota
Jeremy “Jay” Hirota, PhD

Jeremy “Jay” Hirota obtained his BSc and PhD from McMaster University in Physiology and Pharmacology at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health. He did postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia at the James Hogg Research Centre and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. International training with Professor Philip Hansbro, PhD, at the University of Newcastle in Australia immediately preceded transition to faculty at UBC in 2015. In late 2016, Hirota returned “home” to McMaster University, where he is the Canada Research Chair in Respiratory Mucosal Immunology with Assistant and Adjunct Professor appointments at UBC and University of Waterloo. Hirota has a broad interdisciplinary program focused on cell biology, tissue engineering, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and translational lung research, all merging on mucosal immunity. Hirota and Kjetil Ask, PhD, are Co-Directors of the McMaster University Molecular Phenotyping and Imaging Core Facility (MPIC).


Kjetil Ask
Kjetil Ask, PhD

Kjetil Ask obtained his MSc from the University of Nancy and his and PhD from the University of Burgundy, both in France. He completed postdoctoral work at McMaster University, where he is currently an Associate Professor, and at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. His research lab focuses on the elucidation of molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in fibrotic lung disease, target identification and modulation, using a translational approach. He is also involved in educational programs and is the founder and Director of the McMaster Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series. Ask and Jeremy “Jay” Hirota, PhD, are Co-Directors of the Molecular Phenotyping and Imaging Core Facility (MPIC) at McMaster University.


Brit Boehmer
Brit Boehmer, PhD

Brit Boehmer is the Technical Sales Specialist for Visiopharm® in the US west, based in Denver, CO. Boehmer completed a master’s degree and PhD in physiology at Oklahoma State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado Perinatal Research Center before joining the university’s research faculty. During his tenure in academia, he performed research in reproduction, nutritional physiology and fetal growth biology. Throughout his research career, he has gained expertise in the optimization of histopathology workflows and digital pathology image analysis. In September, 2020, Boehmer joined Visiopharm, where he engages and supports prospective and current clients with pre-sale APP development, capability demonstration and consultative advisement for image analysis and histopathology workflows.


M. Caleb Marlin
M. Caleb Marlin, PhD

Dr. Caleb Marlin is a Senior Scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) working in the Phenotyping Core and the laboratories of Judith James, MD, PhD, and Joel Guthridge, PhD, in the Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program. The Phenotyping Core is a Rheumatic Disease Resources and Cores Center funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). It also serves research projects from the Oklahoma Autoimmunity Center of Excellence and the Oklahoma Clinical and Translational Science Institute under the NIH Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, and it has provided phenotyping services for the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® in RA/SLE. Imaging Mass Cytometry is one of many technologies this core brings to bear to advance autoimmune disease research at the single-cell and spatial multi-omic levels.

Dr. Marlin received his BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Cameron University and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). His early work focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of vesicular trafficking, including specialized endocytic and recycling endosomes named “signaling endosomes,” employing basic molecular and advanced light microscopic techniques. He joined OMRF in 2019, where he has focused his talents in microscopy and biochemistry to quickly advance workflows utilizing the Hyperion Imaging System for both human and mouse tissue analytics, paralleling the ever-advancing spatial multi-omics approaches for autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases. Through his work in the Phenotyping Core, Dr. Marlin is focused on maximizing the information one can collect from limited and extremely valuable tissue from clinical specimens.


 

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