Team

Lab Members

Kevin Beja (research technician)

Kevin is a technician with expertise in next-generation sequencing of patient material. He has a bachelors degree in biology from Simon Fraser University and several years of technical experience. In the Wyatt laboratory Kevin performs sample extraction, library construction and targeted sequencing on liquid and tissue biopsy samples from men with advanced prostate cancer. He also focuses on assay development and novel approaches to profile cell-free tumor DNA.

Gillian Vandekerkhove (PhD student)

Gillian obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto in 2015 and joined the Wyatt laboratory in 2016. She has a background in biology and DNA sequencing. Gillian leverages tissue and liquid biopsies to study the molecular landscape of aggressive bladder cancer, and to relate genomic changes with clinical outcomes. She began a PhD in September 2017. Gillian has won several awards including a prestigious 3 year CIHR doctoral award worth $105,000, and a VCHRI Rising Star Award.

Elie Ritch (PhD student)

Elie completed an honors B.Sc. with distinction in molecular biology and biochemistry at Simon Fraser University in 2016. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in Genomics Science and Technology at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Wyatt. Elie has established a series of bioinformatics pipelines to analyze ctDNA in metastatic prostate cancer. In particular he is studying the relationship between genome hypermutation, mismatch repair deficiency and patient response to immunotherapy. Elie holds a 4-year fellowship from UBC.

Evan Warner (PhD student)

Evan completed a B.Sc. with distinction, in integrated sciences at the University of British Columbia, during which he spent a 16-month co-op tenure with the Wyatt lab (2015-2016). In 2017 he returned to pursue an M.Sc. in the Genome Science and Technology program, transferring to the PhD program in 2019. Evan’s research interests include the study of DNA damage repair defects in aggressive disease. In 2018, Evan won a CIHR Master’s Award worth $17,500. He also won a VCHRI Rising Star Award, a CIHR Travel Award and a UBC Genome Sciences and Technology Travel Award ($1,200).

Jack Bacon (PhD student)

Jack completed his BSc. with distinction in biology at the University of British Columbia. Having completed a summer studentship at the VPC in 2015, Jack decided to return for his MSc. in Genome Science and Technology in 2017. In 2019, he transferred to the PhD program. Jack’s research involves interrogation of ctDNA and tissue in patients with metastatic kidney cancer, via a collaboration with Drs. Nappi and Kollmansberger at BC Cancer. He is also working with the University of Basel on a non-muscle invasive bladder cancer sequencing project. Jack has won travel awards from CIHR and the UBC Genome Sciences and Technology program.

Cameron Herberts (MSc student)

Cameron completed his BSc. in Biophysics at the University of British Columbia in 2018. In 2017 he spent 8 months in the Wyatt lab as a bioinformatics co-op student and completed an honors thesis in the lab in summer 2018. Cameron began his MSc in September 2018. The main focus of his work is to computationally identify genomic alterations in metastatic prostate cancer patients undergoing docetaxel treatment both in the castrate-sensitive and castrate-resistant setting. Cameron won a UBC Genome Sciences and Technology Program Rotation Award worth $17,333, travel awards from CIHR and the UBC Genome Sciences and Technology program, and in 2019 won a CIHR Master’s Award worth $17,500.

Matti Annala (senior bioinformatician)

Matti is a senior bioinformatician at the University of Tampere. He has a wealth of experience across several different cancer types including prostate and bladder cancer. Matti was involved in some of the early characterization of ctDNA in men with mCRPC, working closely with Dr. Wyatt. He continues to spearhead the bioinformatic aspects of several cell-free DNA sequencing projects. In particular, he is currently studying the evolution of metastatic prostate cancer genomes over time, under the selective pressures of therapy.

Sinja Taavistainen (PhD student)

Sinja is a graduate student at the University of Tampere, under the primary supervision of Dr. Matti Nykter. Sinja leads the bioinformatics and genomics work around a phase II trial of mCRPC patients randomized to cabazitaxel vs. AR-targeted therapy.

Elena Schönlau (research technician)

Elena obtained a Master`s degree with honors from Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany) in Biology with focus on Bioinformatics and Infection Biology in 2018. As a laboratory research assistant she is mainly responsible for library construction and targeted sequencing of liquid and tissue biopsy samples from metastatic prostate cancer patients accrued to our province-wide collection program.

Andy Murtha (undergraduate co-op student)

Andy is pursuing a BSc at the University of British Columbia, and is currently carrying out a full time 8 month co-op term in the Wyatt lab. Andy works on the bioinformatics aspects of several projects, including the characterization of PI3K/AKT pathway alterations in mCRPC.

Key Collaborators

Dr. Kim Chi

Dr. Chi is a medical oncologist and experienced translational researcher in prostate cancer. He has led numerous phase I-III clinical trials including those with heavy correlative components, and chairs the NCIC CTG GU disease Site Group. He oversees collection of clinical data and tissue or liquid biopsy collection from patients with prostate cancer. Dr. Chi also directs a series of transformative clinical trials where the Wyatt laboratory leads the correlative genomics analyses.

Dr. Daniel Khalaf

Daniel completed his Medical Oncology and Hematology training at the University of Montreal in 2015, and afterwards worked at as Hematologist-Oncologist at the Centre Hospitalier Regional du nord de Lanaudiere, in Joliette Quebec. He has just completed a Genitourinary Oncology fellowship with Dr Kim Chi at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. He works with the Wyatt lab investigating the correlations between clinical outcomes and genomic results obtained from ctDNA analysis.

Dr. Simon Fu (medical oncology fellow)

Simon is a Genitourinary Oncology fellow with Dr Kim Chi at BC Cancer, in Vancouver. He studies the clinical relevance of mismatch repair gene defects in advanced prostate cancer.

Alumni

Amanda Wong: former co-op student (May-December 2016)

Dr. Edmund Chedgy: former urology clinical fellow (July 2015 – June 2017)

Dr. Werner Struss: former urology clinical fellow (July 2016 – June 2018)

Dr. Stephen Yip: former medical oncology fellow (July 2017 – January 2019)

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