Peter Adams Lab

Epigenetics of Cancer and Aging

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Peter Adams

Adams is expert in biology of aging and cancer. This joint interest can be traced back to his time as a post-doc in the lab of Prof. William G. Kaelin, Jr., joint winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In Kaelin’s lab Adams studied pRB, E2F and cell cycle control, and identified the HIRA histone chaperone in a screen for novel cyclin/cdk2 substrates. This drew Adams into studies of cell senescence as a tumor suppressor mechanism, and also cell senescence as a driver of aging. Peter Adams has been Full Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute since 2016. Adams' goal is to contribute to development of epigenetic-based interventions that promote healthy aging and suppression of disease, including cancer. Adams has made a number of significant discoveries in the area of epigenetics of aging and cancer. His lab coined the term "chromostasis" to describe the presumptive mechanisms that confer chromatin and phenotypic stability to achieve healthy aging; discovered "cytoplasmic chromatin fragments (CCF)" produced by senescent cells as pro-inflammatory signals; published the first DNA methylation clock in the mouse, from his studies of aging mouse liver. In 2016 Adams was awarded the Tenovus Scotland Medal, in 2017 a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, and in 2018 a Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award, in recognition of his research achievements. Adams is co-Editor-in-Chief of the leading aging journal, Aging Cell.

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Aaron Havas

Aaron completed his PhD from the University of Arizona Cancer Biology program. His previous studies assessed mechanism of response and resistance to histone deacetylase inhibitors in lymphoma. Aaron joined the Adams lab in February 2017 where he has been focusing his research on identifying the cause and consequences of enhancer DNA methylation changes with age in mouse hepatocytes.

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Karl Miller

Karl did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied mechanisms of delayed aging by caloric restriction. His work in the Adams Lab investigates causes of senescence-associated inflammation at the cellular and molecular level. Currently, he is focusing the role of histone deacetylases in a mitochondria-nucleus signaling pathway that drives this inflammatory phenotype. Studying this pathway can unravel new mechanisms in biology and find new therapeutic targets in the treatment of age-associated diseases

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Nirmalya Dasgupta

Nirmalya obtained his BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Calcutta, India, before joining the R&D division of a renowned pharmaceutical company in India as a Biological Chemist. He spent more than four years in the pharmaceutical industry before returning to academia and obtaining his PhD from the department of Biochemistry at the University of Calcutta, where he studied the transcriptional regulation of differentiation-induced genes in intestinal epithelial cells. In 2017, Nirmalya joined the Adams laboratory as a post-doc, where he is studying the epigenetics of senescence, the hallmark of the aging cell. His work aims to uncover how inflammation is generated during aging, with the ultimate goal of discovering novel therapeutic interventions which reduce inflammation in aging tissues. In his free time, Nirmalya is passionate about swimming and Himalayan hiking to altitudes of 12-19,000 feet, and is interested in Buddhism, history and politics.

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Sha Li

Sha obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from Colorado State University. She joined the Adams lab in 2018 and had been working on Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She is using synergistic combination therapy to treat the cancer and seeking to understand the mechanism of synergism.

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Hiroshi Tanaka

Hiroshi joined the lab in late 2018 after he earned his Ph.D. at Kumamoto University in Japan. He has investigated epigenetic changes in cellular senescence, especially for histone modification changes. He is now working on a "chromostasis" project to understand the regulatory mechanisms of chromatin dynamics in aging and cancer.

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Xue Lei

Xue completed her Ph.D. in computational biology at SJTU, modeling genetic switch stochasticity in the Ao Lab; M.S in bioinformatics at UIC, developing a structure-based model to identify cancer driver mutations in the Liang Lab and analyzing NGS data on B cell development in the Kenter Lab. She joined the Adams Lab in 2019, working as a computational biologist.

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Shanshan Yin

Shanshan did her PhD training at Sun Yat-sen University (China), where she studied telomere regulation in mouse embryonic stem cells and planarian. During her PhD, she also studied DNA methyltransferases in mouse neurodegenerative disease model at UCLA as a visiting graduate student. Shanshan joined the Adams lab in April 2021 and is currently studying how aging affects cancer initiation and development.

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Jose Nieto Torres

Jose received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, where he studied lethal human coronaviruses under the supervision of Dr. Luis Enjuanes. Motivated by an interest in the involvement of aging, inflammation, and autophagy in disease, Jose has been working under the supervision of Dr. Malene Hansen and Dr. Peter Adams as a postdoctoral fellow. Jose studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate autophagy and their connection with aging and age-related diseases.

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Armin Gandhi

Armin completed her PhD from the Indian Institute of Bangalore, India. As a PhD, she worked on the role of TGF beta in cancer-associated fibroblast mediated breast cancer metastasis. Armin joined the Adams lab in December 2021 as a Postdoc where she will be working on the effect of aging on the development of liver cancer.

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Rouven Arnold

Rouven studied biology in Kaiserslautern, Germany (B.Sc.) and Munich, Germany (M.Sc.), focusing on biomedical research. His fascination for the aging process motivated him to study the Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, an ultra-rare premature aging disorder, for his Ph.D. at the Technical University of Munich. During his doctorate, he also spent time in several other labs as a visiting scientist (CNIC, Spain / HMGU, Germany / TUM, Germany). Rouven joined the Adams lab in January 2022 as a postdoc and his research unravels the links between embryonic development and late-life aging. Besides his research, Rouven enjoys all kinds of sports, including cycling, badminton, skiing and climbing.

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Tianhui Liu

Tianhui is a grad student that joined the lab in 2018.

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Zong Ming Chua

Zong Ming completed his undergraduate education at the University of California San Diego with a B.S in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and a B.A in Music. In addition, he has conducted research into neurotransmitter switching in X. Laevis working in the lab of Professor Nicholas Spitzer as well as the binding profiles of RNA binding protein as part of the ENCODE project in the lab of Professor Gene Yeo at UC San Diego. As a graduate student in the Adams lab, Zong Ming aims to investigate links between the epigenome and aging phenotypes.

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Adarsh Rajesh

Adarsh completed his masters at the University of California San Diego in Bioengineering. He worked on developing machine learning algorithms for the segmentation and tracking of images of reproducing yeast cells in micro-fluid devices at the Hao lab. He joined the Adams lab as a PhD student in 2020, where he aims to investigate the role of aging in increasing the predisposition to cancer through mouse models. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and reading and likes talking about astronomy, paleontology and history.

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Michael Alcaraz

Michael completed his undergraduate education at the University of California San Diego with a B.S in Physiology and Neuroscience. After graduating, Michael joined industry where he explred novel epigenetic inhibitors in an array of different diseases. Most recently, Michael focused in developing novel therapeutics for treating Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). As a graduate student in the Adams lab, Michael aims to understand the link between aging and breast cancer initiation and development.

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Lana Zaretski

Lana completed her B.S. at UCSD majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She started her research work at SBP in the Hansen lab analyzing mechanisms of autophagy regulation in cells. Currently, Lana is a second-year graduate student in the Adams lab with her research project focusing on the analysis of the role of autophagy in senescent cells

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Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis completed his B.S. at UCSD. His previous work was in autophagy in C. elegans in the Hansen Lab. He joined the Adams Lab in 2017, where he is the lab manager and works on a number of aging and epigenetics projects for the lab.

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Jessica Wang

Jessica joined the Adams lab in November 2021 after graduating from the University of California San Diego with a bachelor 's degree in Human Biology. In addition, she previously worked in Dr. Emily Wang's lab where she acquired knowledge in the exosome field. She is currently working with Dr. Jose Nieto Torres to understand the relationship between aging, Acute Myeloid Leukemia and autophagy. During her free time, she likes to volunteer, cook and watch videos about Art History.

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Adrianna Abele

Adrianna graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Physiology & Neuroscience and a minor in Global Health. In November 2021, she joined the Adams lab as a research assistant. She works with Dr. Hiroshi Tanaka to study mutations that alter nucleosome stability in cancer.

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