David M Berman (Principal Investigator, and Professor of Pathology, Urology, and Oncology) gave up his role as a New York City bicycle maven to pursue MD and PhD degrees at U.T. Southwestern where he cloned the cDNA for the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and elucidated its role in prostate development. He then performed anatomic pathology and subspecialty training in urologic pathology at Johns Hopkins, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He ran a research laboratory at Johns Hopkins University for 9 years prior to moving the Berman Lab to Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario where he now serves as Director of the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute. His research focuses on high impact biomarkers in prostate and bladder cancer. He performs diagnostic surgical pathology one week per month and devotes the rest of his professional efforts to research and administration. Outside work, David likes to travel, spend time with family, and obsess about coffee. You can find more about his random thoughts by following him on Twitter.
Tamara Jamaspishvili (Post-doctoral fellow) hails from Tbilisi, Georgia, where she obtained an MD as well as graduate and postgraduate training in diagnostic pathology and cytogenetics. She subsequently completed a dissertation research in prostate cancer biomarkers, and earned her PhD in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In 2012, Tamara came to Canada as a CIHR molecular pathology training fellow, a program for clinician-scientists funded by the TFF (Terry Fox Foundation) and the OICR. After working with Drs. Jeremy Squire and Victor Tron, Tamara moved to the Berman Lab, where she is responsible for fine mapping the number, size, and physical and molecular arrangement of millions of prostate cancer cells in surgical samples from 100s of men. From these billions and billions of data points, we have developed powerful biomarkers to guide therapeutic decision making in men at various stages of their prostate cancer journey. While molecular pathology of prostate cancer and translational medicine are her favorite research fields, Tamara has two wonderful kids, and enjoys traveling and exploring the world with her family.
Hamid Ghaedi (Post-doctoral fellow) is a medical geneticist (PhD), specializing in bioinformatics from Iran. He joined Berman Lab in June 2020 and has been working on finding cancer subtype-specific biomarker for genitourinary cancers using tumor genomic data (transcriptome, methylome and variome) and machine learning techniques. Also Hamid is involved in a joint project with Dr Feilotter Lab, where he is working on integrating genomic data with clinical outcome data for patient with cancers(lung, colon and melanoma). Prior to joining the Queen’s University, he worked as an assistant professor at medical genetics department of SBMU (Tehran, Iran) form 2016-2020. During this time, he mentored master and Ph.D. students in both experimental and computational aspects of their research projects. From the clinical side, Hamid worked for genetic clinics (both private and public sectors) helping them with identifying disease-causing mutations in whole-exome sequencing data and providing post-test genetic counselling to patients and their families. In his free time, Hamid enjoys playing with his son, hiking, playing volleyball and, eFootball (PES!).
Jenny Wang (PhD Candidate) joined the Queen’s Berman Lab following a long stay at the University of Toronto for both her bachelor’s and master’s degree. She graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering and one in clinical engineering working with the clinical implementation of an imaging device for real-time intra-operative breast cancer imaging. She is looking to translate her engineering skills into Dr. Berman’s prostate cancer projects, where she will be working with the application of desorptive electrospray spectral ionization (DESI) technology in mass spectrometry imaging for rapid diagnosis of prostate cancer in biopsy samples. When Jenny is not wearing her engineering cap, she does freelance artwork commissions for otakus of Japanese manga and anime.
Chelsea Jackson (PhD Candidate) completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op program. She previously worked in a molecular plant pathology lab at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada developing multiplex PCR assays for the detection of soil-borne fungal pathogens. Chelsea also worked as a co-op student in the Berman Lab (Fall of 2015) assisting in projects developing novel biomarker assays for prostate cancer. She returned as an MSc student in the Berman Lab to continue her love for molecular research, and soon converted to PhD studies. Chelsea has a keen interest in unraveling the molecular diversity of bladder cancers and has been remarkably successful in making sense of this complex disease. She loves experimenting to create all sorts of decadent desserts, as well as running the lakefront (mostly to burn off the baking calories).
Paola Nasute Fauerbach (PhD Candidate) earned her MD and board certification in Diagnostic Imaging from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her last year of residency, she rotated at the Jackson Memorial Hospital (USA) and was actively involved in clinical research for the development of zoledronic acid (a drug currently used for breast cancer metastases and other tumours). This sparked her interest in research and took her to Vancouver where she gained further training in chest imaging. While starting her family, she was actively involved in several chest research projects, the largest of which was the Pan-Canadian lung cancer screening study (funded by the Terry Fox Foundation and CIHR). This study’s results appeared in major journals such as the NEJM and The Lancet. At the same time, Paola was very fortunate to meet Dr. Linda Warren, the founder of the first organized screening mammography program in Canada and the USA. Under her supervision, she completed a 3-year clinical breast imaging fellowship at UBC. During that time, she got extensive training in all breast imaging modalities, including radiological-pathological rounds that led her to better understand the imaging findings based on the pathological features. As her 2 lovely children grew up and she found more time for her professional objectives, she decided to complete the last step of her academic career; to advance her knowledge of breast cancer, a disease that took away one of her most loved people, she chose to pursue a PhD degree. Having worked with images for years, she truly believes that a picture is worth 1,000 words! One of Paola’s hobbies is photography (naturally!) along with traveling, but what she treasures most is spending time with her loved ones, including her dog!
Robin Grainer is a mature Health Sciences student with a professional background ranging from midwife to stage hypnotist, patient advocate to taxidermist. It turns out that having numerous previous careers results in many useful skills, so Robin spends their time being a multipurpose lab tech, as comfortable sifting through medical charts as assessing histological specimens. Robin does not yet have a cancer speciality because they find everything interesting, but social inequity in cancer care is what they research most often. Fun-time activities include virtually attending medical conferences on random topics, teaching about taxidermy and dissection at educational workshops, taking singing lessons, growing fruit in their backyard, doing way too many kinds of crafts, and periodically supplying homemade goodies for Berman Lab’s staff. (Food is how Italians show caring!)
Raghavendra Tejo Karthik Poluri (PhD Candidate) I’m from Hyderabad, India. I’m incredibly judgemental when it comes to food and shoes. I’m a huge fan of Formula 1. So generally I’m pretty much busy on Saturdays and Sundays starting from mid-March to Dec watching live races (every year). Also, love to click pictures using my phone (mobile photographer). Coming to the other part. Did my MSc in Molecular Medicine at Université Laval where I majorly focussed on understanding the prostate cancer (PCa) cell metabolism. After spending two years in Quebec City, I’m not sure if I understood the PCa cell metabolism completely but definitely understood the art of making authentic Italian pizzas. In Aug 2020, Moved to Berman’s lab to pursue my PhD, where my work revolves around the identification of biomarkers for better diagnosis of PCa. I’m super interested in applying Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence techniques on biological data to understand and develop novel diagnostic methods or therapies to treat PCa.
Céline Hardy (MSc. Candidate) completed her undergraduate degree in the Life Sciences Specialization program at Queen’s, where she did her fourth-year thesis in the Berman lab as part of the combined BSc/MSc program and is now completing her Master’s degree. Céline started in the lab after her second year of undergrad working in tissue microarray and cohort construction where she quickly fell in love with lab work, cancer research, and all things pathology. Céline’s work investigates the predictive and prognostic ability of immunohistochemistry-based molecular subtyping in muscle-invasive bladder cancer. She enjoys employing image analysis and bioinformatics approaches to identify meaningful clinical associations of tumour biology. In her free time, Céline loves drawing, painting, and playing piano -if she’s not in the lab, you can probably find her tapping into her artistic side or with her horse, Chanelle!
Yuandong Xing (M.Sc. Candidate) comes from Xi’an, China and completed his bachelor’s degree in public health at Wuhan University, Wuhan, China. Yuandong previously engaged in researches regarding physical activities, lung cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and ZIKA virus. He came to Canada for the first time as a MITACS intern in International Vaccine Center, University of Saskatchewan. After joining Berman’s lab in 2020, he sought to apply his knowledge regarding statistics to cancer research and to study bioinformatics in biomarkers identification. He was now interested in prostate cancer biomarkers. In his spare time, he enjoys singing songs, playing badminton and soccer and listening to talk shows.
Andrew Garven is a Master of Science candidate with an Honour’s Bachelor in Health Sciences from McMaster University. Andrew’s work looks into the effect chromatin-modifying gene mutations on muscle invasive bladder cancer. Andrew’s research emerges from his background work on modelling biological molecules using deep learning. Broadly, Andrew is interested in exploring the usefulness of deep-learning and artificial intelligence in modernizing approaches to cancer research. Andrew is interested in pursuing work in the medical field at a future date. Nowadays, his free is spent outside enjoying his new home and his young puppy. On summer days, he’s wrangling fish or tossing his clubs on the golf course.
Rachael Iseman is currently finishing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) as a fourth year Life Science student at Queen’s University. She has had the pleasure of being a part of the Berman Lab since her second year of her undergraduate degree. Fresh out of first year – she was admittingly terrified to involve herself in research alongside professionals with several degrees… each! Luckily, everyone in the Berman Lab was more than willing to help her find her footing. For 2 years, she volunteered in the lab focusing mainly on projects involving prostate cancer. In the summer of 2020, she was able to work full-time and get involved in prostate cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer research. Currently, she is working on an Independent Study in carcinoma in situ of the bladder. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, doing spin classes, travelling, and annotating cancer slides – let’s be real, she doesn’t have much free time.
Ava Slotman is a Life Sciences Specialization student at Queen’s. She joined the Berman Lab as a volunteer during her second year and is currently completing an independent study project on nuclear morphometry in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Even after just one year in the lab, Ava has fallen in love with lab work and digital image analysis and is excited to keep expanding her project and research in the coming years. When not at Queens you can find Ava exploring locally on her bike, back in BC in the mountains, or overseas teaching English and setting up girls’ soccer teams in Colombia.
See diverse careers of former Berman Lab members here