Post-Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Nicolette Fonseca, Ph.D.

Nicolette completed her BSc and MSc in Microbiology at Goa University (India) and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and immunology at the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral thesis investigated the regulation of the CD4+ T cell response to influenza infection. During this time, she became interested in the clinical and translational aspects of immunology research, especially for the treatment of ‘cold’ tumours such as prostate cancer. She was also keen on further developing her bioinformatics skills which led to her joining the Wyatt lab team in September 2019. Her current projects seek to characterize genomic alterations in prostate cancer-derived lung metastases and to dissect the immune cell infiltrate in prostate tumours with DNA repair defects. 

Dr. Edmond Kwan, M.D. Ph.D.

Edmond received his M.D. in 2009 and completed his Medical Oncology Training in Melbourne, Australia in 2017 with a strong interest in caring for patients with genitourinary cancers. He completed his Ph.D. at Monash University in July 2020 focusing on whole blood transcriptomics to identify biomarkers in advanced prostate cancer. His studies were supported by a scholarship from the National Health and Medical Research Council. During his Ph.D., he was actively involved in clinical research as a Principal Investigator and led various local and international clinical trials. In July 2021, supported by a UBC Killam Fellowship, he joined the Wyatt Lab to systemically study the genomic landscape of de novo metastatic prostate by analyzing ctDNA and tumor tissue.

Dr. Gillian Vandekerkhove, M.Sc Ph.D.

Gillian obtained her MSc from the University of Toronto in 2015 and joined the Wyatt laboratory in 2016. In 2022, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia on the use of circulating tumour DNA in metastatic bladder cancer. She received several awards during her studies, including a three-year CIHR CGS-D scholarship. Gillian is continuing her research as a postdoctoral fellow, leveraging tissue and liquid biopsies to study the molecular landscape of aggressive bladder and prostate cancer, and relating genomic changes with clinical outcomes. She is a co-investigator on our recently awarded 2021 CIHR project grant titled “Refining the clinical utility of circulating tumour DNA in metastatic bladder cancer”.

Dr. David Müller, M.D. Ph.D.

David graduated from medical school in Bonn, Germany in 2010. As part of his M.D. thesis, he first encountered biomarker-driven research using liquid biopsies. After splitting time between residency in urology and his Ph.D. studies on pathomechanisms of disease progression in urological malignancies, David obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Basel, Switzerland in 2021, and his board certification in urology through the Swiss Society of Urology in 2022; the same year he joined the Wyatt Lab. His research focuses on the clonal evolution of urothelial cancer under the selective pressure of anti-cancer therapy and is driven to improve clinical decision-making by implementing new biomarkers and advancing our understanding of the biological processes behind therapy resistance.

Dr. Sofie Tolmeijer, Ph.D.

Sofie obtained her BSc in Biology and MSc in Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University (The Netherlands). During her Ph.D. at the Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands), she studied the potential of serial circulating tumour DNA measurements to monitor treatment response in prostate cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma. Keen on improving her bioinformatic skills and broadening her knowledge of circulating tumour DNA technologies, she joined the Wyatt Lab in July 2023. Sofie’s research involves the investigation of homologous recombination repair (HRR) defects in prostate cancer and the use of serial liquid biopsy during novel therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer.

Dr. Jack Bacon, Ph.D.

Jack holds a BSc. with distinction in biology from the University of British Columbia. Having completed a summer studentship at the Vancouver Prostate Centre in 2015, Jack decided to return for his MSc. in Genome Science and Technology in 2017. In 2019, he transferred into the Ph.D. program. Jack’s research involves interrogation of circulating tumour DNA and clonal hematopoiesis in patients with metastatic kidney cancer, via a collaboration with Drs. Nappi and Kollmannsberger at BC Cancer. He is also working with collaborators at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland on a non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer sequencing project. Jack holds a UBC 4-Year Doctoral Fellowship and has won various travel awards from CIHR and the UBC Genome Sciences and Technology program.

Cameron Herberts

Cameron completed a BSc in biophysics at the University of British Columbia and joined the Wyatt laboratory in 2018 to pursue his PhD. His graduate work involved establishing novel ctDNA analysis methods for predictive and prognostic (epi)genomic biomarker development, and leveraging serial ctDNA to discover treatment resistance mechanisms to standard-of-care drugs for metastatic prostate cancer. Cameron has received several awards during his PhD, including a three-year CIHR CGS-D scholarship and merit awards from AACR and ASCO. He is extending his tenure in the Wyatt laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow.

Graduate Students

Andrew Murtha

Andy completed his B.Sc. at UBC in a combined major between microbiology and computer science. He is a Ph.D. candidate after originally joining the lab as a co-op student in 2019. Andy works on the bioinformatics aspects of several projects, including the characterization of evolution in de novo metastatic prostate cancer and metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Andy is partially funded by the BC Cancer Rising Stars Award, worth $70,000 over 2 years.

Asli Munzur

Asli finished her B.Sc. in biology at the University of British Columbia and started her graduate studies in genome sciences at the Wyatt Lab. She is interested in various aspects of prostate cancer, including using various bioinformatics methods to characterize the genomic changes during tumour progression. Asli is partially funded by the BC Cancer Rising Stars Award, worth $70,000 over 2 years.

Karan Parekh, M.E.T

Karan achieved his B.Sc. in Biochemistry and M.E.T. in Molecular Toxicology from Simon Fraser University. Karan initially joined the lab as a laboratory technician in 2019 and has since transitioned to his role as a Ph.D. student. His research focuses on investigating circulating tumor DNA in patients with metastatic prostate cancer, employing a wide array of wet-lab and bioinformatic techniques.

Wilson Tu

Wilson is a Master’s student in the Computer Science program at the University of British Columbia and is currently co-supervised by Dr. Jiarui Ding. Wilson mainly focuses on Computational Biology, particularly in applying probabilistic models in sequencing data. He is currently working on the spinal metastasis project to study the cancer microenvironment.

Maria Stephenson

Maria Stephenson finished her BSc. in computer science, with a minor in microbiology and immunology, at the University of British Columbia. In 2023, she joined the Wyatt lab as a master’s student in genome science and technology. She is interested in the clonal evolution of urothelial cancer, and the identification of novel biomarkers.

Yi Jou (Ruby) Liao

Ruby earned her B.Sc. in Computational and Systems Biology at UCLA. She became a M.Sc. student at the Wyatt Lab in 2023, following a rotation as part of the UBC Genome Science and Technology Research Rotation Award. Ruby is broadly interested in leveraging computational methods to characterize and exploit potential vulnerabilities in prostate cancer.

Tampere University Members

Matti Annala

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 characterizations 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.

Staff bioinformatician

Sarah Ng

Sarah graduated with her BSc. in Combined Honours Microbiology & Immunology and Computer Science at the University of British Columbia in 2022. She carried out a 16-month co-op term with the Wyatt Lab during her undergraduate degree inferring gene expression from nucleosome positioning in prostate cancer ctDNA, and is now continuing her research as a bioinformatician. She is currently working on correlating genomic alterations with clinical outcomes for various treatments of advanced prostate cancer, leveraging serial ctDNA samples from clinical trials around the world.

Undergraduate Students

Catherine Wang

Catherine is a 4th-year undergraduate student studying Biology at the University of British Columbia. She is currently completing an 8-month co-op placement in the Wyatt lab, working on several projects related to the use of liquid biopsies in the study and treatment of prostate cancer.

Research Technicians

Cecily Bernales

Cecily is a laboratory research assistant who 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.

Grainne Donnellan

Gráinne completed her MSc in Infection, Immunity and Human Disease at the University of Leeds in 2017. Gráinne joined the Wyatt lab in Feb 2021 as a laboratory research technician and is primarily responsible for library construction and next-generation DNA sequencing from liquid and tissue biopsy samples from prostate, bladder and kidney cancer patients.

Chris Tam

Chris is a senior student at Simon Fraser University studying molecular biology and biochemistry. He is responsible for blood processing and DNA extractions of liquid and tissue biopsy samples from prostate, bladder, testicular and kidney cancer patients accrued to our province-wide collection program.

Key Collaborators

  • Dr. Kim Chi –  Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, BC Cancer
  • Dr. Felix FengVice Chair for Translational Research, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, UCSF
  • Dr. Piet OstAdj Head of clinic – Radiation oncology (UZ Gent)
  • Dr. Bernie EiglMedical Oncologist, Provincial Director – Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials, BC Cancer
  • Dr. Peter BlackAssociate Director, Clinical Research, Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • Dr. Martin GleaveDirector, Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • Dr. Himisha BeltranPhysician & Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Cyrill Rentsch – Head of Clinical Research Urology at University of Basel, Basel

Laboratory Alumni

Shannen Arviola: Former lab technician (2022-2023)

Kimia Rosti: Former co-op research assistant (2023)

Dr. Evan Warner: Ph.D. graduate (2015-2022)

Dr. Elie Ritch: Ph.D. graduate (2017-2022)

Emilia Chen: Former co-op research assistant (2020-2022)

Dr. Takayuki Sumiyoshi: former post-doctoral fellow (2019-2022)

Elena Schönlau: former lab manager (2019 – 2021)

Kevin Beja: former lab technician (2015 – 2020)

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)

Dr. Simon Fu: former medical oncology fellow (July 2018 – March 2020)