We have many distinguished alumni that have gained valuable experience under Dr. Balk that allowed them to grow and advance to the next stages of their careers. Our lab prepares its members to be competitive in the scientific and medical community. We are sad to see them go, but content knowing that they are ready to meet the challenges of the future.
Ziyang Yu, Ph.D. was a postdoc in the lab from 2011-2015. His primary
research focus was the mechanism regulating androgen receptor (AR)
degradation. In the U.S., prostate cancer is the most
frequently diagnosed tumor for men. Androgen deprivation therapies
(castration) induce transient tumor regression but patients invariably
develop castration-resistance prostate cancer (CRPC). Recent administration
of abiraterone which inhibits intratumoral androgen synthesis brings
another successful, but transient, suppression of CRPC growth and the
tumors start to grow again. Reactivated AR signaling plays a pivotal role
in the recurrence of prostate cancer and remains a bona fide
therapeutic target. Dr. Yu worked to identify the amino acid residues
mediating AR degradation and to elucidate the signaling pathways leading to
such process. Dr Yu has finished his postdoc and is now a Principle
Scientist at Radius.
Yanfei Gao, Ph.D. was a postdoc in the lab from 2012-2015. Dr. Gao received
his Ph.D. degree major in cell biology in 2011 from the National Center of
Biomedical Analysis (NCBA) of China. His dissertation work was focused on
cancer study, with emphasis on mitotic regulation and genomic instability.
In 2012, he joined Prof. Steven Balk’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow to
pursue a higher training in prostate cancer biology. In this lab, he
explored more molecular mechanisms on androgen receptor (AR) regulation and
fundamentals on prostate cancer development and therapy. He was involved in
studies on the post-translational modification of AR. Dr. Gao has finished
his postdoc and has returned to China.
Xiaming Liu, Ph.D. was a postdoc in the lab from 2012-2015. Dr. Liu's
previous research activities at Tongji hospital (Wuhan, China) covered the
effects of terahertz wave on human tissue activation. As a postdoctoral
research fellow, he worked at BIDMC to study the regulation of androgen
receptor by phosphoprotein phosphatases (e.g. PP1) and the biology of BRD4
(and its antagonist JQ1) in prostate cancer. Dr. Liu has finished his
postdoc and has returned to China.
Sean Gerrin, M.S. was a research assistant in the lab from 2012-2015. He
worked under Huihui Ye, MD, who is a Staff Pathologist physician. Sean was
involved in collecting prostate tissue for many of the collaborative
projects occurring within the medical center as well as other academic
medical institutions. In addition, he tested a variety of potential
biomarkers of interest (PTEN, PIN4, SirT3, and ERG) for the detection of
different cytological features of prostate cancer utilizing
Immunohistomchemistry and other assays. Sean graduated the Biotechnology
program with a concentration in the life sciences at Harvard University. He
used his time at BIDMC and in the Balk lab to investigate the evolutionary
mechanisms of how high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN)
may progress to higher Gleason graded patterns (3 or 4) to support his
graduate thesis project. Prior to joining Beth Israel, Sean worked as a
Research Associate at U.S. Genomics. Currently Sean works at Covaris as an
Amalia Sweet was a summer intern in 2014 and 2015. She helped many projects
in the laboratory progress much quicker with her assistance. She learned
many new techniques including Western blot, PCR, and laser capture
microdissection. She currently attends Smith College.
James Condulis currently attends Northeastern University.
Dr. Lingfeng He is now a Lab Manager in the College of Life Sciences at
Nanjing Normal University.
Nicholas Simon is now a medical student at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Hongyun Wang is now a Research Scientist in Oncology at Novartis.
Sarah Gulla is a Family Nurse Practicioner at the Tak Medical Group.