2017 GLIIFCA Speakers

Nima Aghaeepour, PhD

Stanford University School of Medicine

Back when I was a Computer Science B.Sc. student in the University of Tehran, among other things, I was making a soccer team of robots. After our team won a gold medal in the 2006 Robocup Worldcup, I decided that live cells are more interesting than our robots and joined the dark side (a.k.a. life sciences). My graduate research, mentored by Ryan Brinkman and Holger Hoos, was focused on bioinformatics analysis of single cell data. Together with Mario Roederer and Pratip Chattopadhyay, we established the very first pipeline that could identify cellular correlates of clinical outcomes from high-dimensional flow cytometry datasets. Also, we established the very first objective benchmark for evaluation of algorithms that could automatically identify cell-types (and, eventually, correlate them with clinical outcomes). As a postdoc with Garry Nolan, and now an independent faculty member, I am generally interested in the intersection of data sciences, immunology, and clinical phenotyping.

Michał Bonar, PhD

Case Western Reserve University

Having come to the U.S. from Poland, Michał attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied plant molecular biology and horticulture. He holds a master’s degree in biotechnology from the premier Canadian research institution, McGill University, where he studied novel approaches to influenza vaccination, and a Ph.D. in molecular virology from Case Western Reserve University. With prior research experience with multiple diseases and model organisms in environments ranging from startups to the academe, Dr. Bonar currently works in the Tilton laboratory at Case Western Reserve on questions related to the impact of viral phenotypic heterogeneity on HIV pathogenicity.

Lisa Butterfield, PhD

University of Pittsburgh

Lisa H. Butterfield, Ph.D., is a Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Immunology and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL) at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). She obtained her PhD in Biology at UCLA, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in Cellular Immunology and Cancer Gene Therapy also at UCLA. She is the President of the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), and on the Immune Biomarkers Task Force Steering Committee, after serving on several committees, as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice President. She is a member of AAI and AACR and serves on committees and participates in educational efforts for those societies. Dr. Butterfield also serves as Director of the ECOG-ACRIN National Clinical Trials Network Immunology Reference Laboratory, as well as Melanoma Committee Lab Liaison and on the Immune Biomarkers Committee. She investigates immunotherapy and cancer vaccines for hepatocellular cancer and for melanoma, involving peptides, dendritic cells and adenoviruses, and effector responses to tumor antigens. As Associate Director (2005-2010) and Director of the UPCI IMCPL (2010-present), she oversees the cellular product clinical trial production for multiple trials and multiple types of products involving dendritic cells, NK cells and T cells. She also develops and standardizes immunotherapy biomarker assays for clinical trials. Dr. Butterfield has published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews and book chapters, teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, and has mentored over 20 postdocs and students.

Phillip Galbo, MS

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Phillip Galbo graduated from Niagara University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. During his undergraduate education, Phillip worked at Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Department of Flow and Image Cytometry where he was the recipient of the Barbara S. Zimmer Memorial Research Grant (2014) and the Nancy McGlen Undergraduate Research scholarship (2015). While working in the Department of Flow and Image Cytometry, Phillip studied exosomes isolated from the ascites fluid of ovarian cancer patients; comparing the data obtained from conventional flow cytometry (cFCM) with ImageStream X imaging flow cytometry (ISX). After graduating, Phillip continued his studies on cancer derived exosomes in the Department of Neuro-Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 2017, Phillip accepted a position at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where he studied the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to therapy resistance in aggressive prostate cancer. Currently, Phillip is a first-year graduate student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he continues his interest and focus in oncology.

Heather Gibson, PhD

Wayne State University

Heather Gibson is a Research Scientist in the lab of Wei-Zen Wei, PhD at Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University. She obtained her PhD in Immunology and Microbiology at Wayne State University under the mentorship of Henry Wong, MD, PhD in 2011. Her postdoctoral work with Dr. Wei was concentrated on cancer vaccine design and manipulation of the tumor microenvironment to enhance anti-tumor immunity. In collaboration with Nerissa Viola-Villegas, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology at KCI/WSU, she is currently focused on development and adaptation of innovative non-invasive imaging tracers to evaluate immune activity in situ.

Lisa Green, MS


Lisa Green has led the Translational Biomarker Solutions flow cytometry team at Covance Laboratories, based in Greenfield, Indiana since joining Covance in 2008. She began her work in flow cytometry at Eli Lilly & Co. in 1991, following 10 years of general clinical laboratory experience and graduate studies in immunology. Lisa has been responsible for developing diverse, novel flow cytometry applications for cell analysis including novel biomarker assays based upon functional and phenotypic responses of peripheral blood leukocytes and circulating tumor cells. Lisa and colleagues have applied these assays to multiple stages of drug development including in vitro screening, small and large animal studies, and Phase I/II clinical trials. This research provides important examples of how flow cytometric biomarker assays drive translational research and development of novel research programs and drug candidates.

Joshua Lang, MD

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

Dr. Lang is a medical oncologist specializing in the care of patients with genitourinary malignancies. He completed graduate school and medical school at the University of Illinois-Chicago followed by residency, fellowship and post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin. His laboratory is focused on developing novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for patients with advanced cancer. He has received funding from NIH, the DOD, Prostate Cancer Foundation and others.

Mike Loken, PhD, H-CLD (ABB)

Hematologics, Inc.

Dr. Loken received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Johns Hopkins University (Biochemistry, Biophysics) followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University (Genetics, Immunology). He began working in the field of flow cytometry in 1973 on the first fluorescence activated cell sorter. He has been involved with both the technological development of flow cytometers as well as their application to immunology and experimental hematology. He developed the techniques used by everyone in the field to quantify multiple antibodies simultaneously. He developed monoclonal antibodies to study normal cells in bone marrow while on the faculty at the University of Chicago and as one of the founding scientists at Becton Dickinson Monoclonal Center. Dr. Loken was the first to show that neoplastic cells are not a frozen state of normal maturation but exhibit aberrant antigen expression. He has applied the understanding of normal hematopoiesis and antigen dysregulation to the diagnosis of hematological abnormalities and monitoring their treatment. As an Affiliate Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since 1993, Dr. Loken has demonstrated the utility of flow cytometry in the detection of low levels of tumor both pre and post hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Recent studies have extended these findings to the diagnosis and prognosis of myelodysplasia. Dr. Loken was recently recognized for his contributions to the field of flow cytometry by election as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Jason Muhitch, PhD

Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Jason Muhitch received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He performed his post-doctoral research within Dr. Thomas Schwaab’s laboratory at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), where he honed his expertise in the field of dendritic cell vaccination. A collaboration with Dr. Joseph Skitzki during this time undertook the first intravital microscopic observations of human tumors in melanoma patients prior to resection. Dr. Muhitch joined faculty as an assistant professor of oncology at RPCI in the Department of Urology in 2015. His laboratory is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms that limit renal cell carcinoma patient responses to immunotherapy. Dr. Muhitch’s current studies are designed to optimize dendritic cell vaccination protocols and uncover whether the starting material used in this form of immunotherapy impacts dendritic cell function and anti-tumor immune responses in patients. His laboratory’s most recent findings, from a pilot trial in metastatic renal cell carcinoma combining high-dose radiation of kidney tumors with surgical resection, provide a glimpse into the immune activating effects of radiation in human cancer.

Howard Shapiro, MD, PC

One World Cytometry, Inc.

Dr. Howard Shapiro received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard in 1961 and an M. D. from New York University in 1965. He has been involved in developing cytometric instrumentation and methodology since the late 1960s, when he and colleagues at NIH built the first interactive computerized optical microscope. At various Boston-area institutions and as a consultant to industry since 1975, he has designed and used both elaborate and rudimentary flow cytometers, focusing on studies of lymphocyte activation and bacterial and parasite physiology and response to drugs. This led him toward development of much simpler, cheaper imaging cytometers on which his efforts are now concentrated. He is the author of a widely used textbook, Practical Flow Cytometry (4th Edition, John Wiley and Sons, 2003), the full text of which can be read or downloaded from Beckman Coulter’s website [check for the URL, which keeps changing].

Gautam Shenoy, PhD

University at Buffalo

I received my PhD degree from the Mucosal Immunology Lab at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India, where I worked on the dissecting the mechanisms regulating B cell death & differentiation. This was followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Aging (at the NIH) in Baltimore, MD in the laboratory of Dr. Sebastian Fugmann, where I worked on the molecular regulation of somatic hypermutation in B cells. I then made the transition from B cells to T cells and also from basic to translational science by joining Dr. Richard Bankert’s group at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where I am currently working as a research scientist. My work here has included the development and use of novel tumor xenograft models for ovarian tumors, melanomas & B cell lymphomas to study the immune-suppressive activity of the tumor microenvironment and to pre-clinically test the efficacy of chemotherapeutic or immunotherapeutic protocols. More recently, I have focused upon the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which tumor-associated exosomes mediate the immune-suppression of T cells in tumor microenvironments.

Josef Spidlen, PhD

FlowJo, LLC

Josef Spidlen received his MSc in computer science and his PhD in biomedical informatics from the Charles University in Prague. He started his career at the Institute of Computer Science, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In 2005, Josef joined the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, Canada to develop data standards and software tools for automated flow cytometry data analysis. He is an active member of ISAC, an ISAC Marylou Ingram Scholar and the first author of several cytometry standards including the latest version of the FCS file format, Gating-ML and MIFlowCyt. In the last decade, Josef developed or contributed to several R/BioConductor packages for flow cytometry data analysis, such as flowCore, flowUtils, flowQB, flowClean and others. In addition, he developed the GenePattern Flow Cytometry Suite containing 34 open source modules covering methods from basic processing of FCS files to advanced algorithms for automated gating, normalization and quality assessment. Finally, Josef also lead the development of FlowRepository - currently the largest open source database of public flow cytometry data.

In October 2016, Josef joined FlowJo, LLC as a senior bioinformatics software engineer, initially responsible for the design and implementation of data processing algorithms inside the computing engine of SeqGeq - FlowJo’s new single cell sequencing data analysis application. In June 2017, Josef has been promoted to the Director of Bioinformatics at FlowJo. With the main goal of bringing computational biology to the bench-top scientists, Josef and his team are researching cutting-edge approaches, developing advanced algorithms and integrating state-of-the-art methods into FlowJo’s data analysis products.

Aleksandar Stanic-Kostic, MD, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Stanic studies the immunology underlying reproductive disorders, with a special interest in the decidual immunobiology underlying normal placental development/function, with the aim of preventing adverse maternal/neonatal outcomes. Dr. Stanic has extensive basic research experience in molecular and cellular immunology necessary for elucidation of innate and adaptive immune-regulatory mechanisms at the maternal-fetal interface. He has initially applied his insight into immunological processes to mechanisms governing endometriosis establishment, as well as inflammatory bias of the Toll-like receptor system in preeclampsia. These studies led him to a dedicated interest into the immunoregulation of decidual biology as a fundamental organizing principle of placentation. His lab employs both human and mouse models of reproductive physiology and disease. They also use genetic targeting of immune cell development and function to dissect their role in reproductive tissue organization and disease. They collaborate closely with computer scientists and biostatisticians to develop novel workflows for analysis of our high-dimensional flow cytometry data sets and model the reproductive immune cell networks. Clinically, Dr. Stanic is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, subspecializing in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Stanic’s clinical training greatly informs his research endeavor towards questions of critical importance to deciphering the modifiable pathobiology underlying pregnancy pathology.

John ‘Chip’ Tilton, MD

Case Western Reserve University

My laboratory has a long-standing interest in factors that regulate the susceptibility of cells to HIV infection. We developed a combination flow cytometry assay that enables precise determination of viral entry into cells and whether the viruses successfully infect the target cell, measured by expression of a fluorescent reporter gene. We have identified several factors that regulate susceptibility to infection, including histone deacetylases, methyltransferases, and Rho-family GTPases. Furthermore, we are able to assess the relative susceptibilities of different CD4+ T cell subsets. Through these studies, we demonstrated that a particularly long-lived subset of CD4+ T cell known as a memory stem cell can be productively and latently infected by HIV, helping to explain how virus persists in patients on antiretroviral therapy, the primary barrier to eradicating HIV infection.

Unexpectedly, we found that viral fusion with target cells, as measured by delivery of b-lactamase protein, is far more efficient than delivery of a reporter gene that must integrate into the host chromosome. Based on these findings, we have been rationally engineering viral particles for protein and mRNA delivery into cells, increasing safety, reducing immunogenicity, and maximizing cargo protein delivery for therapeutic purposes. This platform is compatible with in vivo use, it enables targeted delivery to specific tissues and cell types, and it delivers proteins to the cytoplasm of cells - unlike cell penetrating peptides and many nanoparticle methods where proteins are trapped in endosomes. We believe this approach - or a similar approach based on co-opting viruses for therapeutic purposes - could significantly expand the applications for protein therapies.

Page updated on 2017-09-21 23:21:16 -0400