University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Team

The Team

The Grand MMTI Team: Working Together to Improve Outcomes for Multiple Myeloma Patients


Clinical

Jeffrey Wolf, MD

Thomas Martin, III, MD

Nina Shah, MD

Sandy Wong, MD

Sandy Wong, MD

Research

Peter Walter, PhD

Jack Taunton, PhD

James Wells, PhD

David Toczyski, PhD

Elad Ziv, PhD

James Rubenstein, MD, PhD

Arun Wiita, MD, PhD

Rajalingam Raja, PhD

Aaron Logan, MD, PhD

Bin Liu, PhD

Davide Ruggero, PhD

Kevan Shokat, PhD

Martin Kampmann, PhD

Qihzi Tang, PhD

 

 


Clinical

J.WolfJeffrey Wolf, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Director, Myeloma Program and Grand MMTI

Dr. Jeffrey L. Wolf is an expert in cancer of the bone marrow and blood as well as an expert in bone marrow transplantation to treat these cancers. His primary area of research is myeloma including studies in area of high-risk disease and the use of minimal residual disease (MRD) in clinical decision making.

T.MartinThomas Martin, III, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Director, Clinical Research, Hematologic Malignancies Program
Associate Director, Grand MMTI

Dr. Thomas Martin is a leading expert in hematological malignancies and has been the principal investigator (PI) on over 25 MM clinical trials. His clinical research also includes translational studies designed to address the genetics of MM, the role of the microenvironment as well as discovery of biomarkers for patient selection and response to anti-MM therapeutics.

shahNina Shah, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Nina Shah joined UCSF from MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she gained expertise in cellular therapy for multiple myeloma. She developed a novel natural killer cell platform using umbilical cord blood and conducted a first-in-human clinical trial for cord blood-derived natural killer cells in the setting of high dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation. She is also interested in dendritic cell-based vaccines, adoptive T cell therapies and novel immunomodulatory combinations for myeloma.

Sandy Wong, MDSandy Wong, MD
Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Sandy Wong graduated from Brown University with a degree in Human Biology and she earned her medical degree at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Wong then completed her Internal Medicine residency followed by a Hematology/Oncology fellowship both at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She joined the UCSF faculty in 2016, with a focus on plasma cell diseases and light-chain amyloidosis.

Research

P.WalterPeter Walter, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry/Biophysics
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Walter is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Since joining the UCSF faculty in 1983, Dr. Walter has served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and as director of the Cell Biology Graduate Program. He also chaired design and governance committees for UCSF’s new Mission Bay campus. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of institutes and universities abroad. Dr. Walter earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Free University of Berlin, an M.S. in organic chemistry at Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in cell biology in Dr. Günter Blobel’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University. During his thesis work in Dr. Blobel’s laboratory, Dr. Walter discovered that secreted proteins are recognized and targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum by the signal recognition particle (SRP) in eukaryotic cells.

Dr. Walter’s laboratory at UCSF is engaged in studying protein folding and protein targeting. His group discovered a feedback loop, called the unfolded protein response (UPR) that operates in all eukaryotic cells and serves to adjust the cells’ protein folding capacity according to need. The UPR has been shown to be dysfunctional in a number of diseased states, including myeloma. Dr. Walter has published extensively with 166 peer-reviewed publications, 72 reviews & commentaries, and multiple editions of 2 books, including Molecular Biology of the Cell. Dr. Walter is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Gairdner International Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Nobel prize), the Wiley Award in Biomedical Sciences, and the Otto Warburg Medal, the highest honor within the German community of biochemists and molecular biologists.

J.WellsJames Wells, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Harry Wm. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Wells is the Harry W. and Diana Hind Professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California at San Francisco. From 1998 to 2005 Dr. Wells was a co-founder, Director, President and CSO of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery and development company using a novel site-directed drug discovery technology. Prior to Sunesis, he held the position of Staff Scientist at Genentech for 16 years where he helped build the Protein Engineering Department and developed technology for designing second-generation protein therapeutics. Dr. Wells’ current research focuses on protease signaling pathways and site-directed chemical biology, a new field that systematically interrogates the roles of specific sites on proteins in cells using small molecules. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and been named inventor on more than 60 patents issued or filed. He has won a number of research awards including the Hans Neurath Award presented by the Protein Society in 2003, the Cutting Award Lecture at Stanford University in 2005 and the Perlman Lecture Award of the ACS Biotechnology Division in 2006. In 1999 he was elected Member to the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Dr. Wells received his B.A. degree in biochemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Washington State University in 1979 and was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Post-doctoral Fellow in the Biochemistry Department at Stanford University prior to joining Genentech in 1982.

K.Shokat Kevan Shokat, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Shokat joined UCSF in 1999 where he is currently a professor and chairman of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. Shokat is a pioneer in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways—with a particular focus on protein kinases and lipid kinases. His laboratory has developed chemical methods to decipher the role of individual kinases and their cellular signaling networks. His goals are to understand each kinase’s role in the body and to learn which kinases should be targeted to treat diseases such as cancer and immune dysfunction. He has published over 175 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Dr. Shokat was a co-founder of Intellikine which was purchased by Millenium/Takeda in 2012. He is a member of several Scientific Advisory Boards including 5AM Ventures, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Receptos Pharmaceuticals, and is a member of the Scientific Research Board of Genentech. He has received numerous awards for his work, including being named a Fellow of the Pew Foundation, Searle Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Glaxo-Wellcome Foundation, and the Cotrell Foundation. He has also received the Eli Lilly Award, given to the most promising biological chemist in the country under the age of 37. Dr. Shokat is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Shokat completed Post-Doctoral work at Stanford in 1994 and received a Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California at Berkeley.

J.TauntonJack Taunton, PhD
Professor of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Dr. Taunton joined UCSF in 2000 where he is currently an Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His lab focuses on the design and discovery of chemical tools to selectively modulate proteins in living cells, with the aim of inventing small molecules that demystify complex cellular processes relevant to human disease. This work allows for the identification of novel targets in disease and insights into chemical compounds that can modulate those targets. Dr. Taunton has seen this happen before. In 1994, as a graduate student, he was the first to purify enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC1). He used a fungal compound, trapoxin, to purify and identify HDAC1 from bovine tissue and human cancer cells. While trapoxin was never a drug, his work paved the way for anticancer drugs eventually approved by the FDA more than a decade later.

Dr. Taunton has received numerous awards for his work, including being named a Fellow of the Searle Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, He completed Post-Doctoral work at Harvard Medical School in Cell Biology in 2000 and received a Ph.D. in 1996 from Harvard University.

B.LiuBin Liu, PhD
Professor, Department of Anesthesia

Dr. Liu’s research group is focusing on developing novel human monoclonal antibody-based targeted cancer therapeutics. Their strategy is to develop and utilize an antibody library selection approach to functionally probe the internalizing cell surface epitope space associated with living tumor cells residing in their tissue microenvironment, and identify novel antibody-antigen/epitope interactions that can be exploited for therapeutic targeting. For translation, we are focusing on developing antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and targeted siRNA/miRNA delivery based on novel internalizing antibodies discovered in the lab for cancer treatment, including myeloma.

D.RuggeroDavide Ruggero, PhD
Professor, Department of Urology
Helen Diller Family Endowed Chair in Basic Research

Dr. Ruggero joined UCSF in 2007 where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Urology and holds the Helen Diller Family Endowed Chair in Basic Research. His research is centered on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which impairments in accurate control of mRNA translation, cell growth, and overall cellular protein synthesis rates lead to cancer and human disease. Dr. Ruggero’s group was at the forefront of the discovery that deregulations in the proteome may serve as a common mechanism elicited by multiple oncogenic signals (i.e. PI3K-AKT-mTOR, Ras, Myc) to cause cellular transformation and may overshadow the effects on the transcriptome. Utilizing state-of-the-art biochemical, molecular, and genetic approaches within the context of unique animal models, his lab is uncovering novel mechanisms for cancer initiation at the post-genomic level.

Dr. Ruggero has received numerous awards for his work. He has been named a Fellow of the Enichem Society and the American-Italian Cancer Foundation in his graduate and postdoctoral career. In 2005 he received the prestigious V Scholar Foundation’s Award for Cancer Research for his work on deregulations in protein synthesis during lymphomagenesis. Most recently, Dr. Ruggero was named a recipient of the Phi Beta Psi Sorority National Project Research Award and the UCSF Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research Award. He was the recipient of the 2008 AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award and is a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar. Dr. Ruggero received his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1998 from the University of Rome in Italy. He completed his post-doctoral training in molecular oncology and cancer genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He joined UCSF from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia where he was an Assistant Professor in the Cancer Genetics Department.

J.RubensteinJames L. Rubenstein, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. James Rubenstein is a hematologist-oncologist whose expertise is in the treatment of patients with aggressive lymphoid malignancies. His research interest is in the elucidation of the genetic features of recurrent, refractory disease and in the development of immunologic tools to improve therapeutic response in cancer.

Dr. Rubenstein completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at Cornell University Medical College and the Rockefeller University in New York. He completed residency training in internal medicine at Stanford University Medical Center followed by a fellowship in hematology and oncology at UCSF. He is a recipient of a Career Development Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a Research Career Award from the National Cancer Institute and is a Scholar in Clinical Research of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is an associate professor of medicine, in residence.

D.ToczyskiDavid Toczyski, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Dr. Toczyski received his PhD at Yale University with Joan Steitz, where he studied Epstein Barr Virus latency. He was a Jane Coffin Child’s fellow in the laboratory of Leland Hartwell at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he identified a genetic pathway controlling a process, which he named checkpoint adaptation, which inactivates the DNA damage checkpoint in the face of persistent signaling. Dr. Toczyski is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF, where he served as the co-leader of the Cell Cycle Regulation Program. He has been at UCSF for 13 years, where he has served on several advisory panels, including the Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Mission Bay Advisory Group. Dr. Toczyski is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Scholar, is an editor and reviewer for numerous journals and has served on the review boards for multiple agencies both in the US (the NIH, NASA, NSF, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and others) and internationally for Canada, England, Ireland, Croatia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Italy, Switzerland and Israel.

Dr. Toczyski’s work focuses on the response of cells to DNA damage and cell cycle regulation. Over the years, Dr. Toczyski’s laboratory has made several key observations explaining the mechanisms by which cells recognize DNA damage, activate the checkpoint pathway, and the ways in which that pathway impinges upon cell growth. Dr. Toczyski also investigates mechanisms by which the ubiquitin ligase pathway controls cell growth and division. These two areas represent critical areas of cellular physiology altered during tumorigenesis.

E.ZivElad Ziv, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine

Dr. Ziv joined the faculty at UCSF in 2001. His group focuses on identifying genetic variations that underlie risk for malignancies by using insights from epidemiology and population genetics. They have successfully mapped the genes for ethnic neutropenia in African Americans and have recently mapped genetic loci for breast cancer in Hispanic populations. Dr. Ziv’s group is studying the genetic variation underlying multiple myeloma susceptibility and progression.

Dr. Ziv completed his undergraduate degree at Yale and received his M.D. from UCSF. He also completed his residency and did his post-residency research training at UCSF.


R.Raja Rajalingam Raja, PhD
Clinical Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine
Director, Immunogenetics and Transplantation Laboratory

Dr. Raja earned his Ph.D. in Immunogenetics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1997. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Dr. Raja's current research centers on understanding the complex relationship between polymorphic NK cell receptors and HLA class I ligands in human health and disease, including myeloma.

A.Logan Aaron Logan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Director, Hematologic Malignancies Tissue Bank

Dr. Logan is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He also serves as Director of the Hematologic Malignancies Tissue Bank at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Logan's clinical interests focus on management of hematologic malignancies and disorders using allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, including acute leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, aplastic anemia and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Dr. Logan's research interests include minimal residual disease and immunologic reconstitution after transplantation.


E.ZivArun Wiita, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine
Director, Grand MMTI Translational Lab

Dr. Wiita, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the UCSF Dept. of Laboratory Medicine, Assistant Director of the UCSF Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory and Director of the Grand MMTI Translational Lab. Dr. Wiita’s research laboratory is focused on understanding how genomic and therapeutic perturbations alter phenotypic effects at the level of the proteome in multiple myeloma. To achieve these aims, his group uses CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering, clinical specimens, therapeutic drug models, deep sequencing of nucleic acids, and quantitative mass spectrometry. His goal is to leverage these functional, cellular-wide approaches to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in this currently incurable disease.

Dr. Wiita received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Princeton University, earned a combined MD-PhD at Columbia with graduate studies in single molecule biophysics, and completed his residency and post-doctoral work at UCSF. He is the first author of publications in Nature, PNAS, and eLife, among others. He is the recipient of awards including the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation-Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Award and an NIH-National Cancer Institute K08 Award for the study of global cellular responses to proteasome inhibitor therapy in myeloma.

KampmannMartin Kampmann, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Dr. Kampmann joined UCSF in 2010 as a postdoctoral fellow in Jonathan Weissman’s lab, where he spearheaded the development of a functional genomics platform for mammalian cells. He became an Assistant Professor in the UCSF Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases in 2015. The goal of his research is to understand the role of the human protein homeostasis (or proteostasis) network in disease states of the cell, and to uncover its therapeutic potential. An important focus of his research is the rewiring of the proteostasis network in multiple myeloma. These cancer cells are exquisitely sensitive to inhibition of the proteasome, which degrades proteins. He also investigates mechanisms by which multiple myeloma cells become resistant to proteasome inhibitors and other drugs targeting the proteostasis network. Dr. Kampmann received a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from the National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI). He received his PhD from Rockefeller University with Günter Blobel, where he used biophysical methods to elucidate the architecture and dynamics of the nuclear pore complex.

TangQihzi Tang, PhD
Professor of Surgery
Division of Transplant Surgery
Director, Transplantation Research Laboratory

Dr. Tang is an immunologist and a professor in the department of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Tang received her medical training at the Peking Union Medical College, her PhD in immunology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and her postdoctoral training on immune tolerance at University of Chicago and UCSF. She is currently the director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Laboratory and leads basic and translational research in transplantation immunology at UCSF. The Tang lab investigates the immune system’s self-control mechanisms to prevent autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection. Current research encompasses therapeutic application of regulatory T cells in autoimmune and transplant patients, beta cell replacement therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and immune mechanistic studies in human subjects. The Tang lab has shown that infusion of regulatory T cells can reverse type 1 diabetes and prevent rejection of transplanted islets in animal models. The research group has developed processes to selectively grow human regulatory T cells that target transplant antigens and obtained FDA approval to evaluate safety and efficacy of these cells in organ transplant recipients. In collaboration with stem cell biologists and bioengineers, the Tang lab is developing approaches to modulate immune responses to stem-cell-derived beta cells for immunosuppression-free beta cell replacement for patients with long-term type 1 diabetes. Lastly, the Tang lab also performs immune mechanistic studies using blood and biopsy samples from patients in various clinical trials.