Paul C. Boutros, PhD, MBA

Paul C. Boutros, PhD, MBA
Paul Boutros, PhD, MBA, is Director of Cancer Data Science for the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Associate Director of Cancer Informatics at the Institute for Precision Health, Professor of Human Genetics and a secondary appointment in Urology, as well as an integral member of the Institute of Urologic Oncology and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. Dr. Boutros earned his B.Sc. degree from the University of Waterloo in Chemistry in 2004, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto, Canada, in Medical Biophysics in 2008. At Toronto, he also earned an executive M.B.A. from the Rothman School of Management. In 2008, Boutros started his independent research career at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research first as a fellow (2008–2010) and then as principal investigator (2010–2018). He moved to California to join the UCLA faculty in 2018.


Sarah Al-Hiyari, PhD

Sarah Al-Hiyari, PhD
Program Manager
Dr. Al-Hiyari completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017 and she is currently pursuing an MBA degree at UCLA Anderson.  Her previous research interests included understanding the genetic underpinnings of periodontal disease.


Caden Bugh, BSc

Caden Bugh, BSc
Software Engineer
Caden is currently working as a software engineer, and he has a BS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.


Caroline Y. Chen, MD

Caroline Y. Chen, MD
Hematology Oncology Fellow
Dr. Chen completed her medical degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, her internal medicine residency at UCLA, and is currently a hematology/oncology fellow at UCLA. She is interested in how informatics can be utilized to improve clinical decision making, treatment options, and ultimately patient outcomes.


Ivetth Corona, PhD

Ivetth Corona, PhD
Assistant Project Scientist
Ivetth is an Assistant Project Scientist in the Boutros Lab. She has experience in structural bioinformatics, genomics, transcriptomics and epigenomics. Her research interests lie in the fields of Computational Biology, Translational and Precision Medicine, with applications in Oncology and other Human Diseases and Conditions.


Ardalan Davarifar, MD

Ardalan Davarifar, MD
Hematology Oncology Fellow
Dr. Davarifar completed his medical and doctoral degrees at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his internal medicine residency at Columbia University. His primary clinical and research interests include bone and soft tissue sarcomas.


Stefan Eng, Master's in Mathematical Statistics

Stefan Eng, Master's in Mathematical Statistics
Biostatistician
Stefan did his undergrad in computer science & mathematics at Cal State Northridge. He has worked in a variety of industries such as at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at CRESST/UCLA, and an internship at Novartis. He has his master’s degree in mathematical statistics from Gothenburg University, Sweden. In his free time he enjoys running, rock climbing, hiking and camping.


Natalie Fox PhD Candidate

Natalie Fox
PhD Candidate
Natalie is a PhD candidate in the department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. She completed her bachelor of computer science with a specialization in bioinformatics from the University of Waterloo. Her graduate research has explored biomarkers and cancer subtyping in prostate cancer and breast cancer.


Tsumugi Gebo Bioinformatician

Tsumugi Gebo
Bioinformatician
Tsumugi graduated from UCSC and worked at a biotech start-up in the Bay Area before coming to UCLA. She is currently a bioinformatician working as part of Dr. Paul Boutros's lab in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.  


Jenna Giafaglione PhD Candidate

Jenna Giafaglione
PhD Candidate
Jenna graduated from UC Davis in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in genetics and genomics and a minor in computer science. She is now a PhD student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Doctoral Program at UCLA and is co-mentored by Dr. Andrew Goldstein. She is interested in understanding how metabolic vulnerabilities can be targeted to treat aggressive prostate cancers. 


 Alfredo Enrique Gonzalez, BS PhD Student

Alfredo Enrique Gonzalez, BS
PhD Student
Alfredo Enrique is a doctoral student and part of the UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience. Originally from Central America, he immigrated to the U.S. and received his undergraduate degree from Providence College. Following research stints at Harvard and the Broad Institute, in 2020 he joined the laboratory of Paul Boutros as a PhD student. His research interests primarily focus on the development of personalized therapies for cancer, sarcoma, childhood associated cancers, and predictive modeling of patient outcomes.


Roni Haas, PhD

Roni Haas, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Roni completed her Ph.D. in the field of yeast quantitative genetics at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Her doctoral studies were followed by short postdoctoral research at the Technion, centered around RNA bioinformatics, and particularly Adenosine to Inosine RNA editing and its role in regulating RNA abundance. Currently, Roni is a postdoctoral scholar in the Boutros laboratory. Her primary research interest is the germline activity of cancer hallmark pathways and its relation to tumor evolution and lethality.


Jee Yun Han, MS

Jee Yun Han, MS
PhD Student
Jee Yun is a graduate student in the Gene Regulation, Epigenomics and Transcriptomics (GREaT) home area of Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program (MBIDP) at UCLA. She received B.S. and M.S. in the Department of Biotechnology at Korea University. During M.S. student, she studied on small non-coding RNA. After her M.S., she focused on Cancer Biology and Epigenomics at Seoul National University and UCSD, respectively, as a research associate. Her research interest is now "Gene regulation in Cancer".


 Aaron Kenneth Holmes Software Engineer

Aaron Kenneth Holmes
Software Engineer
Aaron has worked as a software engineer for 15 years in the private sector in industries as varied as philanthropy, network security, enterprise education, and entertainment. Most recently he worked as a Principal Engineer leading internal organizations in cloud migrations. Aaron is thrilled and excited to learn and be a part of cancer research and doing good for humanity. Outside of a self-driven passion for software and computing, his hobbies and interests include electrical engineering, gardening, the outdoors, motorcycles, helicopter piloting, ice skating, science fiction, video games, dogs, and so much more. Aaron was born and raised in southern California, and has lived as far north as Michigan where he took a liking to freezing weather.


Katie Houlahan PhD Candidate

Katie Houlahan
PhD Candidate
Katie is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto and a post-graduate affiliate at the Vector Institute. She holds a B.Sc from McMaster University in Chemical Biology. Katie's research focuses on the interplay between germline and somatic variants in prostate cancer. 


Rupert Hugh-White, PhD

Rupert Hugh-White, PhD
Bioinformatician
Rupert studied his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at the University of Brighton, UK, before completing an M.Sc. in Bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow. He then studied for a Ph.D. at King's College London with a focus on understanding alternative pre-mRNA splicing through analysis of RNA-sequencing datasets. Rupert's current work is concerned with profiling the molecular biology of prostate cancer. In particular, he is focused on understanding the flow of information between alternative splicing and other stages of the gene expression pathway, and how this is influenced by the mutations which drive prostate cancer.


Gina Kim, BSc

Gina Kim, BSc
Software Engineer
Gina is a software developer who completed her undergraduate degree at UCLA in 2018. She interned at IBM Watson and Amazon previously, and started working full-time at Amazon in Seattle after graduation. She decided she wanted to go back into a more biological focus in her career, and moved to LA to work as a software engineer at the Boutros Lab in late 2019. Her career related interests include usability, personalized medicine, and virtual reality. Outside of work, she enjoys making music and experimenting with recipes.


Dan Knight Software Engineer

Dan Knight
Software Engineer  
Dan is a software engineer who completed an undergraduate degree in Electronic Production and Design from Berklee College of Music in 2016, and joined the Boutros Lab in 2021. His career interest is in applying computer science and data science to find new solutions to important problems.


Constance Li PhD Candidate

Constance Li
PhD Candidate
Connie is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. She completed her Bachelor of Mathematics with a specialization in Computational Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. She is currently working on a pan-cancer analysis of somatic molecular changes associated with sex, ancestry, and age.


Lydia Y. Liu PhD Candidate

Lydia Y. Liu
PhD Candidate
Lydia is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto. Her primary research interest is tumour heterogeneity. 


Julia Livingstone, MSc

Julia Livingstone, MSc
Bioinformatician
Julie completed her B.Sc in Biology at Queen’s University and her M.Sc in Bioinformatics at McGill University. Her research interests include cancer genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. She was a part of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE) and helped discover recurrent structural variants in intermediate risk samples. Currently, she is focused on RNA-sequencing analysis, including RNA editing and methylation in prostate cancer.


 Alexander Markowitz, PhD

Alexander Markowitz, PhD
Postdcoctoral Fellow
Dr. Alex Markowitz received his bachelor degree at the University of Maryland in biological sciences. During his undergraduate career, he joined his first research laboratory and studied the physiology of the retina. This experience led him to pursue graduate education and training at the University of Southern California where he received a PhD in Neuroscience for his research on the underlying biophysical mechanisms of peripheral auditory neurons in their function to encode sound. Currently, Alex is a postdoctoral fellow in the Boutros laboratory studying cellular proliferation across cancer types at DNA, RNA, and protein levels. Completion of this research will provide insight into the underlying mechanisms of cellular proliferation and may provide insight into future therapies for cancer.


Neil Mendhiratta, MD

Neil Mendhiratta, MD
Urology Resident
Neil completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Biophysics with a special focus on computational neuroscience and neural modeling. He then went on to complete a combined MD/MS in clinical investigation at New York University. His research focused on refining techniques for the diagnosis and risk stratification of prostate cancer, specifically by exploring the clinical impact of multiparametric MRI imaging in disease detection and characterization. Neil is an avid soccer, golf, and volleyball player, and continues to enjoy these activities in his new home in Los Angeles. 


 Natsai Nyakudarika, MD

Natsai Nyakudarika, MD
Gynecologic Oncology Fellow
Dr. Nyakudarika graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Molecular Biology. Thereafter, she spent two years in Shanghai, China teaching, before completing her Medical Degree at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She did residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of California, San Francisco. She is currently a Gynecologic Oncology Fellow at UCLA where her research interests are in bridging healthcare disparities as well as the use of molecular diagnostics to inform prognosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers.


Yash Patel, MSc

Yash Patel, MSc
Bioinformatician
Yash holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Computer Science from McGill University and a M.Sc. in Computer Science studying RNA structural characteristics important for determining interactions with RNA-binding proteins. He is currently working on developing pipelines for processing and analyzing NGS data.


Courtney A. Penn, MD

Courtney A. Penn, MD
Gynecologic Oncology Fellow
Dr. Penn completed her medical degree at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, her obstetrics and gynecology residency at University of Michigan, and is currently a fellow in gynecologic oncology at Cedars-Sinai. She is currently working with Dr. Boutros on the molecular landscape of obesity-associated endometrial cancer.


Zhuyu Qiu, MSc

Zhuyu Qiu, MSc
Biostatistician
Zhuyu holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from China Agricultural University and an M.Sc. of Biostatistics from Columbia University. Her current work focuses on a large-scale prostate cancer-specific proteomics project and will perform machine-learning analyses on the data.


Julie Ramirez Office Manager

Julie Ramirez
Office Manager
Julie graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology. She started her career in UCLA in 2012 and has held positions in Pediatrics, the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, and Geffen Academy at UCLA. In 2016, Julie completed her Master’s degree in Public Administration.


Adriana Salcedo PhD Candidate

Adriana Salcedo
PhD Candidate
Adriana is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. She joined the lab after completing her BSc. and MSc. at the University of Toronto studying evolutionary biology and population genomics. She is currently interested in the impacts of early evolution on the mutational landscape of tumours. 


 Shu Tao, PhD

Shu Tao, PhD
Bioinformatician
Dr. Tao completed his doctoral degree at Georgetown University Department of Biology, and worked as Staff Scientist at City of Hope Integrative Genomics Core before joining UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in December 2019. His research interests primarily focus on building and implementing computational pipeline for germline and somatic variant detection.


Mao Tian, PhD

Mao Tian, PhD
Bioinformatician
Mao completed her B. Sc in biotechnology at the Sichuan University, China. She got her Ph.D. in medical biology at the University of Southern California, studying the molecular mechanism of an oncogenic virus, Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus. She holds a sprightly interest in translational science, specifically cancer biomarker and drug target discovery. Currently, Mao is a junior bioinformatician in the Boutros laboratory researching cancer genomics and proteomics. She is also focusing on developing tools and pipelines for the lab.


Brandon Tsai, BS

Brandon Tsai, BS
MD/PhD Student
Brandon is an MD/PhD student at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. As an undergraduate student at UCLA, he studied bioinformatics and tumor immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Owen Witte.


Nicholas Wang, MHS

Nicholas Wang, MHS
PhD Student
Nicholas Wang is currently a graduate student in the bioinformatics IDP studying germline effects on cancer evolution. His background includes a biomedical engineering degree from the University of Toronto, a master’s in health science from Johns Hopkins, and work as a bioinformatician at a clinical service laboratory. His primary research interests involve the development and application of broadly applicable cancer screening and diagnostic methods.


Takafumi Yamaguchi, MSc

Takafumi Yamaguchi, MSc
Bioinformatician
Taka studied genetics and molecular biology at the University of Manitoba, before beginning a Master of Science at the University of Toronto, where he learned systems biology, programming and next generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis under the supervision of Dr. Fritz Roth. Upon graduation in 2013, Taka started working with Dr. Paul Boutros. His current research focus is on NGS data analysis and the development of NGS analysis pipelines, including DNA read quality control, alignment and mutation calling.


Nicole Zeltser PhD Student

Nicole Zeltser
PhD Student
Nicole is currently a PhD. student in the Human Genetics department at UCLA. After receiving her B.S. in animal science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she decided to pursue her interest in the application of computational solutions to biological problems. As a member of the Boutros lab she plans to study the genomic landscape of cancer.


Daniel Zhao, BS

Daniel Zhao, BS
Medical Student
Daniel is a medical student In New York Medical College. He is a visiting graduate researcher in the Boutros Lab and is broadly interested in the intersection of medicine and data science. Ultimately, his goal is to leverage his medical background and data science skillset to find innovative solutions to pressing problems in healthcare.


Wenyan Zhao, MSc

Wenyan Zhao, MSc
Bioinformatician
Wenyan have a B.Sc. in Bioinformatics from Tongji University and a M.Sc. in Biostatistics from UCLA. Her focus is on statistical analysis and inference in health-related field.


Chenghao Zhu, PhD

Chenghao Zhu, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Chenghao completed his PhD in nutritional biology in 2019, and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis before joining the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in August, 2020.  He is currently interested in cancer proteogenomics.