Team

rob-signer-3Robert A.J. Signer, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Dr. Robert A.J. Signer is a stem cell biologist whose trailblazing work on protein synthesis and homeostasis in hematopoietic stem cells opened the door to unchartered areas of cellular investigation. Dr. Signer is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Regenerative Medicine at the University of California San Diego.

Previously, Dr. Signer worked alongside Dr. Sean Morrison as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He earned a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind’s lab at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science (Biomedical) from the University of Toronto. Dr. Signer has published multiple high-profile papers in top tier scientific journals, including Nature, CelleLifeCell Stem CellNature Cell Biology, Blood and Genes and Development. He has presented leading-edge scientific discoveries around the world, including at the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the American Society of Hematology, the International Society for Experimental Hematology, and numerous Keystone Symposiums, among others. Coupled with his excellent track record of grant funding, Dr. Signer is one of the foremost thought leaders in stem cell science. A sports enthusiast and adventure traveler, Dr. Signer, a native Canadian, currently lives with his family in San Diego, California.

MJMary Jean Sunshine, M.S.
Lab Manager

In her primary role as Lab Manager, Mary Jean (MJ) manages key day-to-day functions of the Signer Lab, while simultaneously investigating genetic mechanisms that regulate the regenerative activity of hematopoietic stem cells. Prior to joining the Signer Lab, MJ was Director of the Transgenic Core at New York University Langone Medical Center, a Researcher in the Transgenic Core at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an HHMI research specialist in Dan Littman’s lab at NYU, and a technician in Hal Weintraub’s lab at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She first became an expert in the art of mouse embryo microinjection in Liz Lacy’s lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. MJ earned her M.S. in Natural Science from Arizona State University and B.S. in Biology & Psychology from Pepperdine University.

BernadetteChuaBernadette Chua, B.S.
Graduate Student

Bernadette Chua is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of California San Diego studying protein quality control mechanisms in hematopoietic stem cells. Prior to joining the Signer Lab, Bernadette was a research technician at the University of California, Los Angeles where she investigated the role of macrophages in HIV infection and engineered immune cells to eliminate HIV reservoirs. Bernadette earned her B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

kent_headshot_100kKentson Lam, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical/Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kent Lam is a Hematology/Oncology fellow in the Physician-Scientist Training Program currently investigating how protein homeostasis is involved in regulating leukemia stem cells. Prior to joining the Signer Lab, Kent received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California San Diego. He performed his graduate work identifying targets of transcription factors that are critical in regulating hematopoietic stem cell function. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

HY photoHelena Yu, M.D.
Clinical/Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Helena Yu is a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellow at the University of California San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospital. She is investigating hematopoietic stem cell protein homeostasis in bone marrow failure syndromes and throughout development. Prior to joining the Signer Lab, Helena completed her pediatric residency at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She earned her M.D. from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and her B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago.

Photo IDFanny Zhou, M.S.
Graduate Student

Fanny Zhou is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of California San Diego. Her work focuses on how proteostasis mechanisms regulate hematopoietic stem cell aging. Prior to joining the Signer Lab, Fanny was a research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital studying intestinal stem cells using organoid models and at Ohana Biosciences studing male fertility. She earned her M.S. and B.S. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University.

AJAmanda Daniels, M.S.
Graduate Student

Amanda (AJ) Daniels is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of California San Diego. She is co-mentored in the labs of Dr. Robert Signer and Dr. Eric Bennett. Her work focuses on the role of translation fidelity in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell proteostasis, self-renewal, and longevity. Prior to joining the Signer and Bennett Labs, AJ studied the role of Hspa1a in lipid homeostasis. AJ earned her M.S. in Biological Sciences from California State University Fullerton and her B.S. in Biology from the University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau.

IMG_1952Dave Kim, B.S.
Graduate Student

Yoon Joon (Dave) Kim is a Master’s student in the Bioengineering program at the University of California San Diego. Dave initially joined the lab as an undergraduate and is now pursuing his Master’s thesis work, which focuses on targeting the proteostasis network in leukemia. Dave earned his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California San Diego.

Headshot-LennanConnorConnor Lennan, B.S.
Research Assistant

Connor Lennan is a Research Assistant in the Division of Regenerative Medicine. He initially joined the lab as an undergraduate, but now leads his own project aimed at uncovering mechanisms regulating cell-type-specific differences in protein synthesis amongst hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Connor earned his B.S. in Human Biology from the University of California San Diego, and is planning to attend medical school in 2022.

image0Charlotte Hou
Undergraduate

Charlotte Hou is a Sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California San Diego. She assists with multiple projects and laboratory operations.

SignerLab_Logo_DrawImpacts_1338x653px