University of California, Irvine
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, where I am affiliated with the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UCI Stem Cell Research Center and the Center for Cancer Systems Biology. I received my Ph.D. in 2009 from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany, and completed my postdoctoral training in Dr. Zena Werb’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2015. My work is focused on how cells communicate and integrate signals from their local microenvironment during normal tissue homeostasis and cancer. My lab uses an interdisciplinary approach utilizing a combination of single-cell genomics and computational analysis pipelines that will enable us to understand the role of the microenvironment during breast cancer initiation in unprecedented resolution. We have recently created the first cell atlas defining the cell types and states within the breast epithelium under normal homeostasis in human (Nguyen, Pervolarakis et al, Nat. Commun., 2018) and mouse (Pervolarakis et al, 2020, Cell Reports), which has started to serve as a reference to delineate how the breast microenvironment goes awry during breast cancer, for example through the emergence of immunosuppressive myeloid cells (Alshetaiwi et al, Science Immunology, 2020). Specifically, we have explored the pre-malignant changes in the human breast microenvironment of germline BRCA1 mutation carriers, which revealed distinct changes in stromal cell populations that drive breast cancer initiation through specific paracrine interactions (Nee, Ma, et al, Nature Genetics, in press; Biorxiv: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.20.465221 ). Over the last five years, my lab has spearheaded efforts to build a comprehensive Human Breast Cell Atlas (funded by a Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative Seed Network), and I am currently serving as the Breast Bionetwork Coordinator for the international Human Cell Atlas project.
CollaborationCommunity & Culture