About Us – Meet the Lab!

Selma Masri, Ph.D.  Principal Investigator

Selma received her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the City of Hope in 2009 and completed her postdoctoral training in Circadian Biology and Metabolism, with an emphasis on circadian disruption and tumorigenesis. Selma is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at UC Irvine, a member the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a member of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism. Selma was named a V Foundation Scholar in 2018.

Amandine Verlande, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral Fellow

Amandine received her M.S. in Biology and Biotechnology from Lille University of Science and Technology, France, and her Ph.D. in Medical Biology from Masaryk University, Czech Republic, where she studied the regulation of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway by metabolic stress in melanoma. Amandine is investigating the relationship between tumorigenesis and disruption of circadian rhythms in peripheral tissues. Amandine is the Hitachi-Nomura Postdoctoral Fellow.

Sungkook Chun, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

Sungkook completed his PhD in Circadian Biology at the Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea, discovering small molecule inhibitor of Cryptochrome as putative modulator of molecular circadian clockwork. His current research interests include studying how circadian disruption could affect hepatic glucose metabolism in pathological condition.

Natalie Larson, M.Sc Associate Specialist

Natalie received her M.Sc. in Computer Science from UCSD, B.Sc. degrees in math and computer science from Vanderbilt University, and B.A. in studio art from Grinnell College.  She has worked with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, MIT’s Haystack Observatory, NASA’s Langley Research Center, the US Navy, and Norway’s Simula Research Lab.  Her interest in biology was deepened by her competitive marathon and ultra running.  She currently holds the Fastest Known Time on the 1,200 mile California Coastal Trail.  She is excited for the ways computational techniques can accelerate biological research.

Bridget Fortin, Graduate Student

Bridget received her bachelors of science in biochemistry with a minor in computational science from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her previous research focused on elucidating pathways hijacked by cancer cells to promote pro-inflammatory macrophage polarization. Bridget’s current research focus is discerning how circadian disruption accelerates colorectal cancer with a focus on the inflammatory response.

Alisa Mahieu, Graduate Student

Alisa received her bachelors of science in molecular biology from Brigham Young University. Her undergraduate research utilized halophytic bacteria to increase plant tolerance to saline stress. She then worked in a laboratory performing gene expression screenings for cancer patients. Now, she is happy to join oncological research at UCI!

Shannon Pfeiffer, Rotating Graduate Student

Shannon studied archaeology at UC Berkeley during her undergraduate career, but after graduating she discovered data science and an interest in cancer research. She received her masters degree in bioinformatics from Northeastern University and then worked in industry for a couple years, analyzing multi-omics data collected from clinical trials to determine mechanisms of response and resistance to immunotherapies.

Kalei Guillermo, Rotating Graduate Student

 Kalei received her Bachelor’s in biology at Whittier College where she studied the effects of an unknown potential anti-cancer drug has on prostate cancer. She then continued her education and received her Master in Science from California State University Fullerton where her research focused on elucidating the link between zinc transporters and a rare neurodegenerative disease called Mucolipidosis Type IV. She’s excited to be rotating into the Masri lab to learn more about the mechanism the circadian clock has on the progression of colorectal cancer.

Amy Song, Lab Assistant II

Amy completed her bachelors of science in molecular biology at Cal State Long beach and is currently the lab manager and lab assistant for the Masri Lab.

Fareeha Ameen

Fareeha is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors degree in psychology and is a pre-med student.

Jillian Tayag

Jillian is a current UCI second year pursuing a bachelors degree in biology.

Jordan Wimberly

Jordan is a current highschool senior.

Alumni:

Sarah Menaa

Sarah is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors in biology.

Rachel Fellows, Ph.D. Postdoctoal Fellow

Rachel received her B.Sc in Biochemistry from Bath University and her PhD from Cambridge University in the UK, where she studied the influence of intestinal microbial metabolites on host intestinal epithelial cell epigenetics. Rachel is currently interested in the relationship between circadian rhythms, cancer and microbiota in the intestine.

Aiman Hasan

Aiman is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors in psychology.

Willie Yeh

Wille is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors degree in biological science.

Lauren Evans

Lauren is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors degree in biological science and dance .

Melissa Loh

Melissa is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors of science in pharmaceutical sciences.

Ashley Kaku

Ashley is a current UCI third year pursuing a bachelors in chemical engineering with a goal to work in the biotech or pharmaceutical industry .

Maggie Goodson, Lab Assistant III

Maggie completed her bachelors of science in human biology at UC San Diego and was the lab manager and lab assistant for the Masri Lab.

Giulia Giammo, M.S. Graduate Student

Giulia received her B.S. in Biochemistry and M.S. in Biotechnology from Northeastern University in Boston. She then worked in industry for a number of years focusing on profiling covalent kinase inhibitors and developing novel assays and platforms to aid drug discovery. Giulia is investigating how disruption of the circadian clock affects metabolic processes in colorectal cancer. Giulia is funded by the Cancer Biology T32 Training Grant.

Lu Tian, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

Lu completed her PhD in Cancer Biology at the University of Lille, Lille, France,  investigating the function s-SHIP promoter as a putative mammary cancer stem cell marker in transgenic mouse models. She is currently studying how circadian processes affect colorectal cancer development, progression, and response to therapy.

Alyssa Perry

Alyssa is a current UCI senior pursuing a bachelors of science in biological sciences with a minor in psychology.

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