The SCSAP Leadership Team
Evan T. Keller, DVM, PhD is a Professor of Urology and Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Michigan. He is Director of the Single Cell Spatial Analysis Program; Associate Director for Shared Resource for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Rogel Cancer Center; Directs an NIH-funded Program Project on Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis; and Co-Director of the Single Cell Analysis Core. Dr. Keller obtained Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) degrees at University of California and attained American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine certification in Oncology and a PhD in Developmental Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His areas of research include (1) prostate cancer metastasis research, with a special emphasis on bone metastasis and the tumor microenvironment and (2) single cell and spatial analytic methods. Key research accomplishments include (1) defining importance of osteoclastic activity and targeting it in prostate cancer leading to clinical use of RANKL inhibitor (Denosumab); (2) identification of raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) as a novel metastasis suppressor gene; (3) determining the importance of the Wnt pathway in bone metastasis; and (4) defining interleukin-6 as a contributor to castration resistant prostate cancer.
Specific interests in single cell /spatial:
Using single cell analysis to determine mechanisms and targeting drug resistances; Spatial analysis to improve prostate cancer grading; Single cell and spatial analysis of the tumor microenvironment
Dr. Justin Colacino is the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and an Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences in the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Additionally, he is an Assistant Professor in the Program in the Environment in the University of Michigan College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts. His research focuses on understanding environmental and dietary factors in carcinogenesis and cancer prevention. Specifically, the goal of his research is to characterize the environmental susceptibility of normal human stem cell populations, elucidating the etiology of sporadic cancers. Of particular interest is understanding the changes that occur at the epigenetic and transcriptional level, changes which affect not only gene expression but also how progenitor cells differentiate and divide. His research group combines wet lab bench work and bioinformatic and statistical analysis of large scale genomic and epidemiologic data sets to translate findings from in vitro models to the population level.
Dr. Colacino’s research group is using spatial analyses to understand how environmental stressors alter the stemness state in precancerous cells. His lab integrates methods including 3D human primary organoid cultures, in vivo models, high content imaging, and single cell ‘omics to determine effects of chemical exposures on the cellular and tissue level.
Dr. Wilson is a practicing pathologist who specializes in Molecular Diagnostics. He is Associate Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, which focuses on detection of clinically significant genetic alterations in patient specimens, and has close ties to colleagues practicing in tissue pathology. In research, Dr. Wilson’s main interests are in understanding the mechanisms of DNA repair and associated mutagenesis in the germline and cancer genomes, as well as how those outcomes depend on DNA repair, transcription, replication and tissue dynamics in normal biology and disease. Many of his research directions depend heavily on genomic and transcriptomic approaches, which led to Dr. Wilson becoming Faculty Director of the Advanced Genomics Core to advance the availability of these tools to all Michigan researchers. He expands this role as head of the core services support team of the Single Cell Spatial Analysis Program. Dr. Wilson has a strong interest in bioinformatics and computational sciences. He is a member of the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and his research projects often involve the development of custom data analysis tools. He is very interested in bringing novel concepts to bear on spatial data analysis.
Dr. Wilson’s main specific interests in spatial analysis are improved modeled of mutation acquisition in living tissues with respect to underlying genetic and environmental perturbations, but he also has extensive experience and interests in using RNA expression as a means of tracking biological responses and cell identities.
Website: Rao’s Michigan Medicine Bio
Lab website: Systems Imaging & Bioinformatics Lab website
Arvind Rao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Arvind received his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Bioinformatics from the University of Michigan, specializing in transcriptional genomics, and was a Lane Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, specializing in image informatics. He was previously on the faculty in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Texas MD Andersen Cancer Center. His research group uses image analysis and AI/machine learning methods to mine and integrate different kinds of data sources for health applications like drug repurposing, spatial systems biomedicine, imaging diagnostics and health informatics.
Interest in Single Cell Spatial Analysis:
Building bioinformatics and data science approaches for the interpretation and integration of data from spatial transcriptomics, proteomic & imaging platforms
Jun Li is Professor in the Department of Human Genetics, Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. His group tackles data science challenges in genetic and genomic studies of human diseases. Among his interests are classification problems and the evolution of complex genomes, in the contexts of human population history, disease patterns in space and time, cellular heterogeneity in organ development and its disorders, including infertility and cancer. He leads the Michigan Center for Single-Cell Genomic Data Analytics and is affiliated with the Michigan Data Science Institute.
Interest in Single Cell Spatial Analysis:
Apply spatial analysis technologies to study developmental processes and cancer; build robust analysis approaches for single-molecule imaging data with combinatorial coding.
Specific interest in single cell spatial analysis: computational analyses of highly-multiplexed spatial data; integration with scRNAseq data.
Dr. Nagrath is the leading scientist who designed the mems based technology, “CTC-chip” for the sensitive isolation of circulating tumor cells (ctcs) from the blood of cancer patients. her work challenged and changed the then-current paradigm of ctc isolation and concurrently increased the relevance of ctcs in cancer research, thereby accelerating the pace of ctc research. Her laboratory is focused on engineering innovative microfluidic devices and nanomaterials for implementing personalized precision medicine via liquid biopsy. Dr. Nagrath’s major focus of research is on understanding cell trafficking in cancer through isolation, characterization and study of circulating cells and exosomes in peripheral blood of cancer patients. Dr. Nagrath co-directs the single cell analysis core of rogel cancer center at UMich, where Dr. Nagrath and her laboratory provides innovative microfluidic tools for handling cells at single cell resolution.
Dr. Nagrath’s lab specific interest in single cell spatial analysis program is developing next generation platform technologies to study tumor cell dissemination into circulation to identify the key metastatic players of invasive disease