Principal Investigator

Robert Kridel, MD PhD

Robert is a Clinician-Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He trained in medical oncology in Geneva, Switzerland, prior to moving to Vancouver where he obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia and completed a lymphoma fellowship at the BC Cancer Agency. Robert’s research interests lie in the application of genomic approaches to lymphoma samples, aiming to better understand how genetic alterations contribute to prognosis, treatment resistance and tumour evolution.

Scientific Associate

Kit Tong, PhD

Kit is a Scientific Associate and Lab Manager in our lab. She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and her PhD from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Kit has extensive experience with cell biology, animal models, molecular biology and biochemistry. She won several awards during her training and has first- or co-authored over 40 publications.

Staff Computational Biologists

Ting Liu, PhD

Ting is a Senior Bioinformatics Analyst, having previously worked as a bioinformatics staff both at SickKids and the University of Toronto. Ting has extensive experience with large-scale data analysis and genome biology.

Victoria Shelton, MHSc, BSc (Hons)

Victoria is a Junior Bioinformatic & Data Analyst, and a graduate of the MHSc Medical Genomics program at the University of Toronto. Her primary focus has been the investigation of genetic biomarkers of follicular lymphoma. She recently presented this work at the 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition, and was honoured to receive an ASH Abstract Achievement Award.

Research Technician

Mehran Bakhtiari, MSc

Mehran is a Research Technician in our lab. He holds a MSc degree in Biological Sciences from Laurentian University. Mehran has extensive experience with managing large-scale projects, molecular biology and screening of primary tissue and serum samples. He oversees accrual, processing and inventory of primary patient samples in our lab.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Michael Hong, MSc

Michael is a Clinical Research Coordinator who facilitates consenting of patients for translational research studies and liaises with the pathology department for all tissue requests.

Clinical and Research Fellow

Tomohiro Aoki, MD PhD

Tomohiro is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He trained in hematology and oncology in Japan. From his front-line experience as a hematologist and oncologist, he felt a strong desire to pursue translational research to improve patient survival for refractory lymphoma patients. Then, he obtained PhD at Nagoya University in Japan and moved to Vancouver where he learned cutting-edge translational research skills. The central focus of his research is to understand how interactions between immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and tumor cells regulate the development and treatment resistance of lymphoid cancers. The ultimate research goal is to discover biomarkers and novel treatment targets.

Post-doctoral fellows

Rajesh Detroja, PhD

Rajesh completed his Ph.D. studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, where he developed a novel fast, and an accurate tool called ChiTaH to identify known human chimeric sequences from high-throughput sequencing data. ChiTaH was later used to study the expression of recurrent chimeric RNAs in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. Rajesh is interested in studying the multi-omics of cancer by applying bioinformatics and machine learning technologies. His current research includes the study of multi-omics profiling of B-Cell lymphoma and circular tumor DNA using Next-Generation Sequencing data analysis. This will help classify the types of lymphomas for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Michael He, PhD, BSc (Hons), BPharm (Hons)

Michael completed his BSc (Hons) and PhD training at the University of Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia; after obtained a BPharm (Hons) at Monash University, Australia. During his PhD, he developed a novel 3D CRISPR screening platform to understand blood endothelial cell response to cancer therapy, which further revealed epigenetic interactions with anti-angiogenesis for understanding of drug resistance. Michael’s current focus is on (1) investigating immunomodulating mechanisms to potentiate epigenetic therapy, (2) characterizing tumor microenvironment interactions, and (3) defining precision medicine/novel therapeutics in B-cell lymphoma. The ultimate goal is to uncover strategies for more effective therapy finally toward improved patient outcomes.

Graduate students

Noorhan Ghanem, MSc

Noorhan graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at Beirut Arab University and obtained her Master’s of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She was working on investigating therapeutic opportunities in treating colorectal cancer by targeting the pentose phosphate pathway and sensitizing resistant cells to 5-Fluorouracil. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Toronto in the Dept. of Medical Biophysics, working under the co-supervision of Dr. Robert Kridel and Dr. Aaron Schimmer. Noorhan’s current research interest focuses on deciphering treatment resistance in Adult T cell Leukemia-Lymphoma (ATLL), a rare type of virally induced lymphoma with a severe and dismal prognosis

Mohamed F. Alias

Mohamed is a PhD student in the department of Medical Biophysics at UofT. He is interested in cancer genomics and how we can leverage machine learning tools on biological samples. His project involves working with cell free DNA (cfDNA) for our lymphoma samples; looking at methylation patterns to determine whether they can be used as biomarkers for detection of lymphoma. He works under the co-supervision of Dr. Robert Kridel and Dr. Scott Bratman. He has a Master’s in Biology from New York University and a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Science from The University of Western Australia.

Davidson Zhao, BSc (Hons)

Davidson graduated with a Bachelor’s in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Before joining the lab, he was working on the identification of molecular genetic aberrations with prognostic relevance in acute myeloid leukemia. Currently, he is a graduate student in the Department of Medical Biophysics under the co-supervision of Dr. Robert Kridel and Dr. Federico Gaiti. Davidson is interested in deciphering the cell-cell interactions within the lymphoma tumour microenvironment.