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William received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of California, Los Angeles where he identified and subsequently investigated the ability of a synthetic fusion protein containing the intracellular signaling domain of the Thrombopoietin receptor to induce erythropoiesis from human hematopoietic and embryonic stem cells. Currently, he is working with collaborators from City of Hope to develop a novel dendrimer nanoparticle mediated approach to transiently manipulate gene expression during hematopoietic differentiation from human embryonic stem cells. William is also an aspiring singer/song writer but is definitely not quitting his day job anytime soon. He is also particularly fond of Puritan literature, art history, as well as traditional folk and Irish music, aside from the many other awesome things in life.
Kim W, Zhu Y, Deng Q, Chin CJ, He CB, Grieco AJ, Dravid GS, Parekh C, Hollis RP, Lane TF, Bouhassira EE, Kohn DB, and Crooks GM. (2014). Erythropoiesis from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Through Erythropoietin-Independent AKT Signaling. Stem Cells. 32(6):1503-14.
Parekh C, Sahaghian A, Kim W, Scholes J, Ge S, Zhu Y, Asgharzadeh S, Hollis R, Kohn D, Ji L, Malvar J, Wang X, and Crook G. (2012). Novel Pathways to Erythropoiesis Induced by Dimerization of Intracellular cMpl in Human Hematopoietic Progenitors. Stem Cells. 30(4):697-708.
Mukherjee T, Kim W, Mandal L, and Banerjee U. (2011). Interaction between Notch and Hif-alpha in development and survival of Drosophila blood cells. Science. 332(6034):1210-1213.
Call G, Olson JM, Chen J,…Kim W,…Banerjee U. (2007). Genome-wide clonal analysis of lethal mutations in the Drosphila melanogaster eye: comparison of the X-chromosome and autosomes. Genetics. 177(2): 689-697.
Liao TSV, Call GB, Guptan P, Cespedes A, Marshall J, Yackle K, Owusu-Ansah E, Mandal S, Fang QA, Goodstein GL, Kim W, Banerjee U. (2006). An efficient genetic screen in Drosophila to identify nuclear-encoded genes with mitochondrial function. Genetics. 174: 525-533.
Runfeng Miao (Lily) is an undergraduate student in Nanjing University, China. She is an exchange student and works in the lab as a research volunteer for a year. Currently, she is working on the gene expression of novel hematopoietic progenitors under the instruction of Chris Seet. She is an energetic girl, in her spare time, she likes to draw, read and play basketball.
Chong Bin (Edward) He obtained his B.S. degree in 2014 with a major in biochemistry and a minor in biomedical research from the University of California, Los Angeles. Edward joined Crooks lab through the UCLA undergraduate research program. Working closely with William Kim, Edward’s aim was to investigate the efficiency of controlling the timing of gene expression during the process of hematopoietic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells using various approaches including lentiviral vectors containing Tet-on inducible system and electroporation mediated RNA transfection. Upon graduation, Edward continues to work as a Staff Research Associate in the lab, where he participates in multiple projects such as engineering of a thymic aggregate for implantation, analysis of molecular factors necessary for neonatal thymopoiesis, and generation of definitive hematopoietic stem cells from pluripotent stem cells.
Yuhua (Judy) Zhu, Staff Research Associate IV, is the lab manager of the Crooks lab. Her expertise includes human embryonic stem cell cultures and transduction, cord blood, fetal liver and bone marrow processing, as well as functional assays for hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and cooking Chinese cuisines (eg. delicious dumplings) for both her family and her fellow lab members.
Staff Research Associate II
Salemiz Sandoval received her Ph.D. from the Molecular Biology Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work was focused on identifying oncogenes that cooperated with the transcription factor CREB to accelerate leukemias in a mouse model of myeloproliferative disease. Salemiz joined the lab of Dr. Crooks in September 2011. Currently, she is working to characterize the function of several stem cell specific microRNAs in the hematopoietic system. On her spare time she enjoys analyzing gene expression and flow cytometric data…while watching Walking Dead. She also enjoys hiking, watching movies and spending time with family and friends.
Sandoval, S, Kraus, C, Cho, M, Cho, E, Bies, J, Manara, E, Accordi, B, Landaw, EM, Wolff, L, Pigazzi, M, Sakamoto, KM. Sox4 cooperates with CREB in Myeloid Transformation. Blood May 2012. PMID: 22627767
Sandoval, S, Pigazzi, M, Sakamoto, KM. CREB: A Key Regulator of Normal and Neoplastic Hematopoiesis. Advances in hematology. 2009. PMID: 19960054
Cheng, J, Esparza, S, Sandoval, S, Shankar, D, Sakamoto KM. The potential role of CREB as a prognostic marker in Leukemia. Future Oncol. 3: 475-480, 2007. PMID: 17661722
Kinjo, K, Sandoval, S, Sakamoto, KM, and Shankar, D.B. The Role of CREB as a Proto-oncogene in Hematopoiesis. Cell cycle, 4:1134-1135, 2005. PMID: 16096372
Yang, SH, Toth, JI, Hu, Y, Sandoval, S, Meta, M, Bendale, P, Gelb, MH, Bergo, MO, Young, SG, Fong, LG. Blocking protein farnesyltransferase improves nuclear blebbing in mouse fibroblasts containing a targeted Hutchinson- Gilford progeria syndrome mutation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 102: 10291-10296, 2005. PMID: 16014412
Stephanie C. de Barros
Stephanie obtained her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry in 2012 at the University of Sciences and Technology in Montpellier, France. Her PhD research focused on studying the modulation of hematopoietic progenitor cell engraftment and T cell differentiation by conditioning regimen and different routes of progenitor administration. She joined Dr Crooks’ team in October 2013, where she is pursuing her interest in T-cell development from a different perspective: by investigating the mechanisms triggering thymic stroma growth and regeneration, as well as the early events leading to thymic involution. Besides being a thymus lover, Stephanie enjoys exploring the City of Angels, traveling, photography, swimming and she loves baking desserts for her friends.
Oburoglu, L., Tardito S., Fritz, V., De Barros, S.C., Merida, P., Craveiro, M., Mamede, J., Cretenet, G., Mongellaz, C., An, X., Klysz, D., Touhami, J., Battini, J.L., Dardalhon, V., Zimmermann, V.S., Mohandas, N., Gottlieb, E., Sitbon, M., Kinet, S., and Taylor, N. 2014. Coupling glucose and glutamine metabolism to nucleotide biosynthesis conditions the lineage differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. Cell Stem Cell., Nov 6;15(5):666-8.
De Barros, S.C., Vicente R., Chebli K., Jacquet C., Zimmermann V.S and N. Taylor. 2013. Intrathymic progenitor cell transplantation across histocompatibility barriers results in the persistence of early thymic progenitors and T cell differentiation. Blood., 121 (11): p.2144-53.
De Barros, S.C., Zimmermann, V.S and N. Taylor. 2013. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: Targeting the thymus. Stem Cells.
Vicente, R., Swainson, L., Marty-Grès, S., De Barros, S.C., Kinet, S., Zimmermann, V.S. and N. Taylor. 2010. Molecular and Cellular Basis of T cell Lineage Commitment. Sem. Immunol., 22:270-275.
Assistant Project Specialist
Amélie did her undergraduate studies in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Montpellier, France where she developed strong interest in hematopoietic cell biology. She received her PhD in July 2008 under the supervision of Dr Naomi Taylor at the Institute of Molecular Genetic of Montpellier (IGMM), France. Her doctoral work was mainly focused on glucose and vitamin C transport during erythropoiesis but also aimed to understand T-cell commitment and differentiation. Amélie was rewarded a post-doctoral fellowship from Europe and joined Dr Hanna Mikkola’s lab at UCLA in January 2009. She was studying the role of the transcription factor Mef2c in B cells and hematopoietic stem cells during development and aging in mice. She also led a project on the transcriptional regulation of the hematopoietic fate by SCL/TAL1 during mouse development.
Amélie decided to pursue her career in immunology; she joined Dr Crooks’ lab at UCLA in July 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow and obtained a faculty position in January 2014. Her work is focused on the biology of the thymus and specifically on the thymic microenvironment and the induction of immune tolerance. Her goal is to create a translational implantable model composed of thymic stromal cells (including thymic epithelial cells and mesenchyme) and hematopoietic progenitors in order to support T-cell development and induce tolerance through the generation of Tregs.
Outside of the lab Amélie enjoys exploring LA and Southern California with her husband Guillaume and their two boys Andrew and Damian. She likes painting, dancing, running and most of all making pastries.
Scl binds to primed enhancers in mesoderm to regulate hematopoietic and cardiac fate divergence. Org T, Duan D, Ferrari R, Montel-Hagen A, Van Handel B, Kerényi MA, Sasidharan R, Rubbi L, Fujiwara Y, Pellegrini M, Orkin SH, Kurdistani SK, Mikkola HK. EMBO J. 2015 Jan 6. pii: e201490542.
Engineering the human thymic microenvironment to support thymopoiesis in vivo. Chung B, Montel-Hagen A, Ge S, Blumberg G, Kim K, Klein S, Zhu Y, Parekh C, Balamurugan A, Yang OO, Crooks GM. Stem Cells. 2014 Sep;32(9):2386-96. doi: 10.1002/stem.1731.
Scl represses cardiomyogenesis in prospective hemogenic endothelium and endocardium. Montel-Hagen A*, Van Handel B*, Sasidharan R, Nakano H, Ferrari R, Boogerd CJ, Schredelseker J, Wang Y, Hunter S, Org T, Zhou J, Li X, Pellegrini M, Chen JN, Orkin SH, Kurdistani SK, Evans SM, Nakano A, Mikkola HK. Cell. 2012 Aug 3;150(3):590-605. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.026. *equal contribution
Erythroid glucose transporters. Montel-Hagen A, Sitbon M, Taylor N. Curr Opin Hematol. 2009 May;16(3):165-72. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e328329905c. Review.
In vivo and ex vivo gene transfer in thymocytes and thymocyte precursors. Adjali O, Montel-Hagen A, Swainson L, Marty S, Vicente R, Mongellaz C, Jacquet C, Zimmermann V, Taylor N. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;506:171-90. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-409-4_13.
The Glut1 and Glut4 glucose transporters are differentially expressed during perinatal and postnatal erythropoiesis. Montel-Hagen A, Blanc L, Boyer-Clavel M, Jacquet C, Vidal M, Sitbon M, Taylor N. Blood. 2008 Dec 1;112(12):4729-38. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-05-159269. Epub 2008 Sep 16.
Cell surface expression of the bovine leukemia virus-binding receptor on B and T lymphocytes is induced by receptor engagement. Lavanya M, Kinet S, Montel-Hagen A, Mongellaz C, Battini JL, Sitbon M, Taylor N. J Immunol. 2008 Jul 15;181(2):891-8.
Erythrocyte Glut1 triggers dehydroascorbic acid uptake in mammals unable to synthesize vitamin C. Montel-Hagen A, Kinet S, Manel N, Mongellaz C, Prohaska R, Battini JL, Delaunay J, Sitbon M, Taylor N. Cell. 2008 Mar 21;132(6):1039-48. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.01.042.
Isolated receptor binding domains of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 envelopes bind Glut-1 on activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Kinet S, Swainson L, Lavanya M, Mongellaz C, Montel-Hagen A, Craveiro M, Manel N, Battini JL, Sitbon M, Taylor N. Retrovirology. 2007 May 15;4:31.
Kenneth graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. Since graduating, he’s been working closely with Amélie Montel-Hagen on engineering a functional, implantable thymic microenvironment. He also assists Stéphanie de Barros in her project to better understand the biology of the thymus. Outside of the lab, Kenneth enjoys playing sports, biking, listening to music (including country), and eating tacos with friends after 2 A.M.
Chee Jia (Julia) Chin, MS is a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology program at UCLA. Her thesis research focuses on understanding the extrinsic factors/microenvironment that are important for hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) maintenance and that can facilitate generation of HSC from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). With funding from the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award, she has focused during the first stage of her PhD thesis on how mesenchymal components in the bone marrow niche regulate HSC. Her work led to a publication describing a novel population of cells identified as CD146+ pericytes in the human fetal bone marrow and the adult fat tissues that are functionally distinct from other mesenchymal cells in their ability to maintain repopulating HSCs. Prior to joining UCLA, Julia earned her Masters degree in Bioscience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, where she spearheaded the set-up and build-out of a new research laboratory in stem cell biology. During her free time, she loves to travel with a Lonely Planet, tries interesting food and optimizes her cooking skills with support from the lovely Crooks lab members.
Kim W, Zhu Y, Deng Q, Chin CJ, He CB, Grieco A, Dravid G, Parekh C, Hollis R, Lane TF, Bouhassira EE, Kohn DB, Crooks GM. Erythropoiesis from human embryonic stem cells through Erythropoietin-independent AKT signaling. Stem Cells. doi: 10.1002/stem.1677. 2014. PMID: 24677652
Gkountela S, Li Z, Chin CJ, Lee SA and Clark AT. PRMT5 is required for human embryonic stem cell proliferation but not pluripotency. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports. 10(2):230-9. 2014. PMID: 24477620
Corselli M, Chin CJ, Parekh C, Sahaghian A, Wang W, Ge S, Evseenko D, Wang X, Montelatici E, Lazzari L, Crooks GM, Pe´ault B. Perivascular support of human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Blood. 121(15):2891-901. 2013. PMID: 23412095
Chris did his undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Chicago, and graduate medical studies at the University of Sydney. He is currently a Fellow in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UCLA and is pursuing a PhD through the UCLA Special Training in Advanced Research (STAR) Program. Chris’s project focuses on cellular and molecular aspects of human immune development within the bone marrow and thymus, with a particular interest in the immunologic basis of hematologic malignancies. His overall goal is to develop novel approaches to modulate immune development to improve cellular therapies, including stem cell transplantation.
Kohn L.A., Seet C.S., Scholes J., Codrea F., Chan R., Zaidi-Merchant S., Zhu Y., De Oliveira S., Kapoor N., Shah A., Abdel-Azim H., Kohn D.B., Crooks G.M., Human lymphoid development in the absence of common γ-chain receptor signaling. J Immunol. 2014 Jun 1;192(11):5050-8. Epub 2014 Apr 25. PMID: 24771849
Zhang, J.*, Seet, C.S.*, Sun, C., Li, J., You, D., Volk, A., Breslin, P., Li, X., Wei, W., Qian, Z., Zeleznik-Le, N.J., Zhang, Z,, Zhang, J., p27kip1 maintains a subset of leukemia stem cells in the quiescent state in murine MLL-leukemia. Molecular Oncology, 2013 Dec;7(6):1069-82. Epub 2013 Aug 20. PMID: 23988911. *Equal authorship
Seet C.S., Brumbaugh R.L, Kee B.L. Early B Cell Factor Promotes B-Lymphopoiesis with Reduced Interleukin-7 Responsiveness in the Absence of E2A. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2004 Jun 21;199(12):1689-700. PMID: 15210745