Principal Investigator

Nathan Wall, PhD, MBA, MS
Assistant Professor & Biochemistry, Graduate Program Director
Division of Biochemistry
nwall@llu.edu
Phone: (909) 558-4000 Ext. 81397

People


David Turay, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery
5th Year Ph.D. Student, All but Dissertation
Division of Anatomy
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
dturay@llu.edu

Research Interests:

The work I am doing in the laboratory of Dr. Nathan Wall is to proteomically profile serum-derived exosomes from patients with prostate cancer. We believe that by studying the proteome of prostate-derived small membrane bound vesicles called exosomes, that perhaps an earlier and more specific biomarker may be found and that by understanding the relationship/interaction between proteins and RNAs and miRNAs within them, we may better understand the mechanisms of disease aggressiveness and treatment-resistance.

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Turay D, Khan S, Osterman CD, Curtis MP, Khaira B, Neidigh JW, Mirshahidi S, Casiano CA, Wall NR. Proteomic profiling of serum-derived exosomes from ethnically diverse prostate cancer patients. Accepted for Publication, Cancer Investigation, 2015.
  2. Khan S, Ferguson Bennit H, Valenzuela MMA, Turay D, Diaz Osterman CJ, Moyron RB, Esebanmen GE, Ashok A, Wall NR. Localization and up regulation of Survivin in cancer health disparities: a clinical perspective. Biologics: Targets and Therapy, 9: 57-67, 2015.
  3. Khan S, Jutzy JMS, Aspe JR, Valenzuela MMA, Park J, Turay D, Wall NR. The Application of Membrane Vesicles for Cancer Therapy. Book 3, Advances in Cancer Therapy, InTech Publishing 2011, ISBN 978-953-307-703-1.
  4. Khan S, Jutzy JMS, Valenzuela MMA, Turay D, Aspe JR, Ashok A, Mirshahidi S, Mercola D, Lilly MB, Wall NR. Plasma-Derived Exosomal Survivin, a Plausible Biomarker for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer. PLoS One, 7(10): 1-10, 2012.
  5. Khan S, Ferguson H, Turay D, Perez M, Mirshahidi S, Yuan Y, Wall NR. Early diagnostic value of Survivin and its alternative splice variants in breast cancer. BMC Cancer, 14(1):176, 2014.

Heather Ferguson
6th Year Ph.D. Student
Division of Biochemistry
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
hferguson@llu.edu

Research Interests:

My research interests are cancer biology and immunology. Currently, I am working on a project investigating the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) content of exosomes produced by lymphoma cells. I am especially interested if the IAP profile changes when the B cells are stressed or exposed to drugs, and ultimately hope to define an exosomal IAP signature with biomarker potential. Very little is known about NK cell exosomes despite the importance of these cells in innate and adaptive immunity.My goal is to purify and identify NK exosomes and their content and determine if NK-derived exosomes carry the cytotoxic arsenal of granzyme B and could be used to determine the fate of cancer cells treated with them.

Selected peer-reviewed publications

  1. Khan S, Ferguson Bennit HR, Turay D, Perez M, Mirshahidi S, Yuan Y, Wall NR. Early diagnostic value of Survivin and its alternative splice variants in breast cancer. BMC Cancer, 14(1):176, 2014.
  2. Khan S, Ferguson Bennit HR, Wall NR. The Emerging Role of Exosomes in Survivin Secretion. Histology and Histopathology, 30(1): 43-50, 2015.
  3. Valenzuela MMA, Ferguson Bennit HR, Gonda A, Diaz-Osterman CJ, Hibma A, Khan S, Wall NR. Exosomes secreted from human cancer cell lines contain inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP). Cancer Microenvironment, 8(2): 65-73, 2015.
  4. Khan S, Ferguson Bennit HR, Valenzuela MMA, Turay D, Diaz Osterman CJ, Moyron RB, Esebanmen GE, Ashok A, Wall NR. Localization and up regulation of Survivin in cancer health disparities: a clinical perspective. Biologics: Targets and Therapy, 9: 57-67, 2015.
  5. Diaz Osterman CJ, Lynch JC, Leaf P, Gonda A, Ferguson Bennit HR, Griffiths D, Wall NR. Curcumin modulates pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell-derived exosomal function. Accepted for Publication, PLoS One, 10(7): e0132845, 2015.
  6. Díaz Osterman CJ, Gonda A, Stiff TR, Sigaran U, Asuncion Valenzuela MM, Ferguson Bennit HR, Moyron RB, Khan S, Wall NR. Curcumin Induces Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cell Death via Reduction of the Inhibitors of Apoptosis. Accepted for Publication, Pancreas, 2015.

Rosalia de Necochea-Campion
5th Year Ph.D. Student
Division of Biochemistry/Microbiology
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
rrosaliallu2011@gmail.com

Research Interests

Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family and has multifunctional properties that include aspects of proliferation, invasion and cell survival control. Survivin is a promising candidate for targeted cancer therapy as its expression is associated with poor clinical outcome, more aggressive clinico-pathologic features, and resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. The work that I am interested in defines the different properties of the Survivin splice variants and their activities correlated with different aspects of cancer cell biology, to include subcellular location. Moreover, I am putting special emphasis on understanding these Survivin splice variants influence on each other and on the phenotypic responses to therapy that they may control.

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. de Necochea-Campion R, Chen CS, Mirshahidi S, Howard FD, Wall NR. Clinico-Pathologic Relevance of Survivin Splice Variant Expression in Cancer. Cancer Letters, 339(2): 167-174, 2013.
  2. de Nocochea-Campion R, Diaz Osterman CJ, Hsu HW, Fan J, Mirshahidi S, Wall NR, Chen CS. AML sensitivity to YM155 is modulated through AKT and Mcl-1. Cancer Letters, 366(1):44-51, 2015.

Amber Gonda
4th Year Ph.D. Student
Division of Anatomy
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
agonda@llu.edu

Research Interests:

Progression in the field of cancer research has been based primarily on the cancer cell and its characteristics. However, a critical aspect of tumor biology edging toward the spotlight of cancer research is the role the tumor microenvironment plays in tumor survival and aggressiveness.  Our lab has recently detected an intercellular signaling potential of the oncoprotein Survivin.  The presence of this protein, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family, has been correlated with increased cancer aggressiveness and poor patient outcomes.  The goal of this project is to elucidate the mechanisms of action of this novel extracellular population of Survivin and its influence on the tumor microenvironment.

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Valenzuela MMA, Castro IV, Gonda A, Osterman CD, Jutzy JMS, Aspe JR, Khan S, Neidigh JW, Wall NR.  Cell death in response to antimetabolites directed at ribonucleotide reductase and thymidylate synthase.  OncoTargets and Therapy, 8: 495-507, 2015.
  2. Valenzuela MMA, Ferguson Bennit HR, Gonda A, Diaz-Osterman CJ, Hibma A, Khan S, Wall NR.Exosomes secreted from human cancer cell lines contain inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP). Cancer Microenvironment, 8(2): 65-73, 2015.
  3. Diaz Osterman CJ, Lynch JC, Leaf P, Gonda A, Fergusen Bennit HR, Griffiths D, Wall NR. Curcumin modulates pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell-derived exosomal function. Accepted for Publication, PLoS One, 10(7): e0132845, 2015.
  4. Díaz Osterman CJ, Gonda A, Stiff TR, Sigaran U, Asuncion Valenzuela MM, Ferguson Bennit H, Moyron RB, Khan S, Wall NR. Curcumin Induces Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cell Death via Reduction of the Inhibitors of Apoptosis.  Accepted for Publication, Pancreas, 2015.

Ron Moyron
3rd Year Ph.D. Student
Division of Biochemistry
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
rmoyron@llu.edu

Research Interests:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a widely recognized injury resulting when a trauma-induced external force results in temporary or permanent neurologic dysfunction with the severity ranging from mild to severe. The majority of combat-related TBI within our United States Armed Forces or those found in sports arenas are mild TBI (mTBI) or what is known as concussion. Aggressive screening measures for mTBI began in 2006 to ensure the earliest identification and treatments possible. Current diagnosis of mTBI is based on self-reporting and through witnesses to the event and, unfortunately, most efforts on the identification of candidate biomarkers in TBI have emphasized the analysis of psychophysiological measures such as physiological arousal and reactivity. While these efforts are necessary and provide important clues for understanding biological mechanisms associated with TBI, it is also imperative to develop innovative, non-invasive approaches that analyze indirectly and early in the disease process, the molecular profile of mTBI. My projects’ proposed studies will explore, using exo-profiling approaches, the identification of serum biomarkers in mTBI.

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Khan S, Ferguson Bennit H, Valenzuela MMA, Turay D, Diaz Osterman CJ, Moyron RB, Esebanmen GE, Ashok A, Wall NR. Localization and up regulation of Survivin in cancer health disparities: a clinical perspective. Biologics: Targets and Therapy, 9: 57-67, 2015.
  2. Díaz Osterman CJ, Gonda A, Stiff TR, Sigaran U, Asuncion Valenzuela MM, Ferguson Bennit H, Moyron RB, Khan S, Wall NR. Curcumin Induces Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cell Death via Reduction of the Inhibitors of Apoptosis. Accepted for Publication, Pancreas, 2015.
 

James McMullen
2nd Year Ph.D. Student
Division of Biochemistry
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
909-558-4000 (x81368)
jmcmullen@llu.edu

Research Interests:

  1. Cell Cycle Modulation in Cancer Therapy
  2. Polymer-coated metal nanoparticles for curcumin delivery effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells

NRW Laboratory Alumni:

Dalmor W. McGregor, MS Microbiology, June 2007
Jessica M. Slater Jutzy, PhD Biochemistry, January 2013
Nicholas R. Galloway, PhD Biochemistry, May 2013
Jonathan R. Aspe, PhD Biochemistry, May 2014
Carlos J. Diaz Osterman, PhD Biochemistry, May 2015
Malyn May Asuncion-Valenzuela, PhD Biochemistry, May 2015