Arizona Cancer Evolution Center (ACE)

Somatic Cell Evolution in Small Human Replicative Units Investigators

Darryl Shibata Co-PI

Darryl Shibata Co-PI

Professor, University of Southern California

After attending UCLA for his undergraduate degree, Dr. Shibata obtained his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. After completing his internship training in pediatrics from UC San Diego, Dr. Shibata returned to USC for his residency and fellowship at LAC+USC Medical Center. Currently, Dr. Shibata has clinical appointments at both LAC+USC Medical Center and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition to his wide array of responsibilities in the research, education and practitioner capacities, Dr. Shibata sits on the editorial board of the BMC Cancer Journal and the American Journal of Pathology.

Joshua Schiffman

Joshua Schiffman

Professor, University of Utah

Dr. Schiffman is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH) and Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah.  He attended the Brown University School of Medicine, followed by Pediatric Residency and Chief Residency at Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his Fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Stanford University.  While at Stanford, he began their Pediatric Cancer Genetics Program. Dr. Schiffman has been on the faculty at the University of Utah since 2008, where he is Professor in Pediatrics and an Adjunct Professor in Oncological Sciences. He serves as the Medical Director for the Family Cancer Assessment Clinic at the University of Utah, where he cares for children and families with inherited risk for cancer.  Dr. Schiffman also is the Education Director for the Program in Personalized Health, where he oversees the teaching of translational and individualized clinical medicine to physicians and their patients. Dr. Schiffman’s research focuses on the development of pediatric cancer and he runs a translational genomics laboratory to identify which children are at risk for cancer and why. Dr. Schiffman works closely with epidemiologists, population scientists, and molecular biologists to try to answer this question.  Most recently, Dr. Schiffman has recognized the power of comparative oncology to advance the field of cancer research. Teaming up with collaborators from across the country, the Schiffman Lab is now actively involved in comparing the genomics and functional biology of different species across the animal kingdom and using this information to generate hypotheses to guide experimental design in cancer research. Dr. Schiffman holds the inaugural Edward B. Clark, MD Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research.

Trevor Graham

Trevor Graham

Professor, Barts Cancer Institute, QMUL

Professor Trevor Graham leads the Evolution and Cancer laboratory at the Barts Cancer Institute, QMUL in London, UK. The lab focuses on measuring the dynamics and drivers of somatic evolution in human tissues, particular in the gastrointestinal tract, and tries to use these measures to better predict cancer development risk in premalignant disease, and determine prognosis and optimise treatment regimes in established cancers.

His multidisciplinary lab combines expertise in both theory (maths, physics, computer science, evolutionary biology) together with empirical measurement (molecular genetics, histopathology, bioinformatics). Trevor’s background is similarly multidisciplinary. His undergraduate training was in mathematics (Imperial College London, 2002) and he has a PhD in Mathematical Biology (University College London, 2009, supervised by Ian Tomlinson and Karen Page). It was during his PhD he had his first experience of the wet-lab as part of a (fantastically inspiring) sabbatical placement with Darryl Shibata. Post-PhD, Trevor was a postdoc in Nick Wright’s Histopathology laboratory (London Research Institute, 2008-2011 the forerunner of the Crick Institute) before spending two more years as a postdoc with Carlo Maley (UCSF, 2011-2013). He joined the Barts Cancer Institute as a lecturer (assistant professor) in late 2013. His lab is principally funded by Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust.

Lisa Abegglen

Lisa Abegglen

Visiting Instructor, University of Utah

Dr. Abegglen earned her PhD from Emory University in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis program in 2005. Her research interests as a Postdoctoral Fellow included MHC and T cell function, working in the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah. During her position as a drug discovery scientist at Myrexis, Inc. from 2008-2011, Dr. Abegglen shifted her interests to translational science and oncology. Dr. Abegglen returned to academia as a Research Associate at Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2011.

Dr. Abegglen joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 2016, where she is currently a Visiting Instructor in the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics. Her laboratory research interests include genetic cancer predisposition syndromes and comparative oncology. Dr. Abegglen’s current research focuses on further understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer resistance in elephants, with the hope that these mechanisms might someday be translated into better cancer treatments for human patients. She also has an interest in developing clinical assays to better define cancer risk in patients with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.

Somatic Cell Evolution in Small Human Replicative Units

This Project studies somatic cell evolution in human colon crypts and tumor glands to determine whether gene selection or neutral genetic drift is more common during normal human aging and tumor progression.