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Principal Investigator

Kimberly Payne, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Translational Research
Research Director, Pediatric Leukemia Research Program
Division of Anatomy
kpayne@llu.edu
Phone: 909-558-4300 Ext. 81363

People


Hossam Alkashgari, MD
Graduate Student
halkashgari@llu.edu
Phone: 909-558-4300 Ext. 81372

Research Description

Dr. Alkashgari is pursuing PhD studies in the Payne laboratory where his work is focused on understanding the role of IL-7 receptor internalization as a part of the mechanism by which TSLP shuts down oncogenic CRLF2 signaling in high-risk CRLF2 B-ALL. He is developing microscopic techniques that the lab will use in these studies. Dr. Alkashgari also assists in animal studies and brings unique perspectives from his medical training to the project.



Ineavely Baez
Manager Laboratory Research
idelgado@llu.edu
Phone: 909-558-4300 Ext. 81372

Research Description

I assist with all of the projects in Dr. Payne’s laboratory, and with overall lab management. I am in charge of collecting and processing umbilical cord blood and leukemia samples that are collected as a part of our research studies. I also assist Dr. Payne in training students to stain cells for flow cytometry and to collect and analyze flow cytometry data.

Publications

  1. Parrish YK, Baez I, Milford T-A, Benitez A, Galloway N, Willeman-Rogerio J, Sahakian E, Kagoda M, Huang G, Hao QL, Sevilla Y, Barsky LW, Zielinska E, Price MA, Wall NR, Dovat S, and Payne KJ (2009). IL-7 Dependence of human B lymphopoiesis increases during progression of ontogeny from cord blood to bone marrow.  J Immunol. 2009, 182(7):4255-66. PMID 19299724. (Impact Factor 5.520)
  2. Odumosu O, Payne K, Baez I, Jutzy J, Wall N, Langridge W (2010). Suppression of dendritic cell activation by diabetes autoantigens linked to the cholera toxin B subunit. Immunobiology. 2011 216(4):447-56. PMID 20956025. (Impact factor 2.873)
  3. Benitez A, Weldon AJ, Tatosyan L, Velkuru V, Lee S, Milford TA, Francis OL, Hsu S, Nazeri Kavoos, Casiano CM, Schneider R, Gonzalez J, Su RJ, Baez I, Colburn K, Moldovan I, and Payne KJ. Differences in Mouse and Human Non-Memory B Cell Pools. J. Immunol. 2014. 192(10):4610-4619. PMID 24719464. (Impact factor 5.22)
  4. Liu A, Wang Y, Ding Y, Baez I, Payne KJ, Borghesi L. Cutting Edge: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Expansion and Common Lymphoid Progenitor Depletion Require Hematopoietic-Derived, Cell Autonomous TLR4 in a Model of Chronic Endotoxin. J Immunol. 2015. 195 (6) 2524-2528. PMID: 2627687. (Impact factor 5.22)
  5. Francis OL, Milford TM, Martinez SR, Baez I, Coats JS, Mayagoitia K, Concepcion KR, Ginelli E, Beldiman C, Benitez A, Weldon, AJ, Arogyaswamy K, Shiraz P, Fisher R, Morris CL, Zhang XB, Filippov V, Van Handel B, Zheng Ge, Song C, Dovat S, Su RJ, and Payne KJ. A novel xenograft model to study the role of TSLP-induced CRLF2 signals in normal and malignant human B lymphopoiesis. Haematologica. 2016. 101(4):417-26. PMID: 26611747. (Impact factor 9.09)

    This article was featured in an editorial highlight at publication: Editorial: Haematologica. 2016. 101(4): 391-3. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2016.142448.

  6. Milford TA, Su RJ, Francis OL, Baez I, Martinez SR, Coates JS, Weldon AJ, Calderon MN, Nwosu MC, Botimer AR, Suterwala BT, Zhang XB, Morris CL, Weldon DL, Dovat S, and Payne KJ. TSLP or IL-7 provide an IL-7R signal that is critical for human B lymphopoiesis. Eur. J Immunol. 2016 Sep;46(9):2155-61. PMID: 27325567.  (Impact Factor 4.248)
  7. Coats J, Baez I, Stoian C, Milford TM, Zhang XB, Francis OL, Su RJ, Payne KJ. Expression of Exogenous Cytokine in Patient-Derived Xenografts Via Injection with a Cytokine-Transduced Stromal Cell Line. J. Vis Exp (JoVE)  2017 May 10;(123). PMID: 28518123. (Impact factor 1.325)


Jacqueline Coats, BS, MPH candidate
Research Associate
jcoats@llu.edu
Phone: 909-558-4300 Ext. 81372

Research Description

Jaqueline Coats brings to the Payne laboratory more than 12 years of experience in animal models. Since the beginning of her career Ms. Coats has worked on research teams with translational medicine objectives.  Two of these groups (A. Obenaus for pediatric brain trauma; K. Payne for pediatric leukemia) have directly focused on modeling pediatric diseases in rodents with the aim of developing regenerative therapeutics. Ms. Coats is currently in the process of completing a degree in biostatics at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health.  (Coursework and thesis are complete, the degree is pending a first author publication, which is in progress.) In 2016, Ms. Coats chose to be the volunteer event organizer for the 2016 “Loma Linda Braves the Shave” a St. Baldrick’s Foundation head shaving event. She organized a volunteer committee of students and nurses that together we were able to raise more than $25,000. She has continued to organize annual events since that time. Ms. Coats is in charge of patient-derived xenograft studies in the laboratory which includes, in vivo bioluminescence, measuring leukemia burden, and following animals over time to evaluate survival and biostatistical evaluation of experimental data. Ms. Coats trains new laboratory members to assist in data collection for animal studies and is the Safety Officer for the laboratory.

Publications

  1. Francis OL, Milford TM, Martinez SR, Baez I, Coats JS, Mayagoitia K, Concepcion KR, Ginelli E, Beldiman C, Benitez A, Weldon, AJ, Arogyaswamy K, Shiraz P, Fisher R, Morris CL, Zhang XB, Filippov V, Van Handel B, Zheng Ge, Song C, Dovat S, Su RJ, and Payne KJ. A novel xenograft model to study the role of TSLP-induced CRLF2 signals in normal and malignant human B lymphopoiesis. Haematologica. 2016. 101(4):417-26. PMID: 26611747. (Impact factor 9.09)

    This article was featured in an editorial highlight at publication: Editorial: Haematologica. 2016. 101(4): 391-3. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2016.142448.

  2. Coats J, Baez I, Stoian C, Milford TM, Zhang XB, Francis OL, Su RJ, Payne KJ. Expression of Exogenous Cytokine in Patient-Derived Xenografts Via Injection with a Cytokine-Transduced Stromal Cell Line. J. Vis Exp (JoVE). 2017 May 10;(123). PMID: 28518123. (Impact factor 1.325)
  3. Huang L, Coats JS, Mohd-Yusof A, Yin Y, Assaad S, Muellner MJ, Kamper JE, Hartman RE, Dulcich M, Donovan VM, Oyoyo U, Obenaus A. “Tissue vulnerability is increased following repetitive mild traumatic brain injury in the rat.” Brain Research, 2013. 1499:109-20. PMID: 23276495 (Impact factor 3.125)
  4. Donovan V, Kim C, Anugerah AK, Coats JS, Oyoyo U, Pardo AC, Obenaus A. “Repeated mild traumatic brain injury results in long-term white-matter disruption.”  Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 2014. 34(4):715-23. PMID: 24473478 (Impact factor 6.045)
  5. Coats JS, Freeberg AM, Pajela EG, Obenaus A, Ashwal S. “A Meta-Analysis of Apparent Diffusion Coefficients in the Newborn Brain.” Pediatric Neurology, 2009. 41(4):263-74 PMID: 19748046 (Impact factor 2.398)


Caleb Ruiz-Jimenez, PhD  
Postdoctoral Fellow
cruizjimenez@llu.edu
Phone: 909-558-4300 Ext. 81372

Research Description

Dr. Ruiz-Jiménez joined the Payne laboratory following his PhD studies in immunology at the Department of Microbiology & Medical Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. Dr. Ruiz-Jiménez’s PhD studies were focused on Toll-Like Receptors, cells of the innate immune system, and dendritic cells apoptosis in the presence of different pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). In the Payne laboratory, Dr. Ruiz-Jiménez is working to understand how inhibiting the CRLF2 signaling pathway impacts CRLF2+ B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. His work will shed light on the mechanisms through which high-doses of TSLP exert anti-leukemia effects in vitro and in vivo in patient-derived xenograft models produced from patient leukemia samples. He will apply his immunology training to evaluate the potential for high-dose TSLP to impact both normal immune cells and the function of immunotherapeutic agents in context of leukemia.

Publications

  1. Ramos-Benitez, M. J., Ruiz-Jimenez, C., Rosado-Franco, J. J., Ramos-Pérez, W. D., Mendez, L. B., Osuna, A., & Espino, A. M. (2018). Fh15 Blocks the Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Cytokine Storm While Modulating Peritoneal Macrophage Migration and CD38 Expression within Spleen Macrophages in a Mouse Model of Septic Shock. mSphere3(6), e00548-18. doi:10.1128/mSphere.00548-18
  2. Aguayo, V., Valdés Fernandez, B. N., Rodríguez-Valentín, M., Ruiz-Jiménez, C., Ramos-Benítez, M. J., Méndez, L. B., & Espino, A. M. (2019). Fasciola hepatica GST downregulates NF-κB pathway effectors and inflammatory cytokines while promoting survival in a mouse septic shock model. Scientific reports9(1), 2275. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37652-x
  3. Ramos-Benítez MJ, Lopez-Cruz LM, Aguayo V, Ruiz-Jimenez C, Espino AM. Cell-free expression, purification and immunoreactivity assessment of recombinant Fasciola hepatica saposin-like protein-2. Mol Biol Rep. 2018 Oct;45(5):1551-1556. doi: 10.1007/s11033-018-4251-3.
  4. Ramos-Benítez MJ*, Ruiz-Jiménez C*, Aguayo V, Espino AM. 2017. Recombinant Fasciola hepatica fatty acid binding protein suppresses toll-like receptor stimulation in response to multiple bacterial ligands. Scientific Report. 2017 Jul 14;7(1):5455. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05735-w. PMID: 28710478 *First author equal contribution.
  5. Cabán-Hernández K, Gaudier JF, Ruiz-Jiménez C, Espino AM. 2013. Development of two antibody detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for serodiagnosis of human chronic fascioliasis., Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 52(3):766-72

Xianmei Meng, PhD
Lead Scientist, Elf Zone, Inc.
xmeng@llu.edu

Research Description

Studies in Dr. Payne’s laboratory have identified the cytokine TSLP as a biologic that exerts anti-leukemia effects against a subtype of B cell leukemia called CRLF2 B-ALL. Based on this discovery, Loma Linda University has filed patents on this intellectual property and in partnership with N3Eight, a Loma Linda University incubator, Dr. Payne developed a startup company called Elf Zone, Inc. Dr. Meng is the Lead Scientist at Elf Zone, Inc. and the Company Principal Investigator on the NIH SBIR (R43) awarded to Elf Zone to support the development of TSLP as a biologic therapy. In this role Dr. Meng works closely with Dr. Payne who is the university Principal Investigator on these studies. Before that, Dr. Meng successfully completed her postdoctoral training in stem cell research at Loma Linda University School of Medicine from 2009 to 2013. Then, Dr. Meng served as an Assistant Project Scientist working on cardiovascular stem cell biology and cardiovascular regenerative therapies in Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine beginning in 2013. Dr. Meng joined Elf Zone, Inc. in 2017. Dr. Meng has been working on the stem cells for more than nine years and has established an in-depth understanding and experience in the fields of gene therapy and stem cell biology.

Selected Publications

  1. Meng X, Su RJ, Baylink DJ, Neises A, Kiroyan JB, Lee WY, Payne KJ, Gridley DS, Wang J, Lau KH, Li G, Zhang XB.  Rapid and Efficient Reprogramming of Human Fetal and Adult Blood CD34+ Cells into Mesenchymal Stem Cells with a Single Factor. Cell Res. 2013. 23(5): 658-72. PMID 23478301. (Impact factor 15.393)
  2. Meng X, Knopf A, Vega-Crespo A, Byrne J A, Van Handel B, Nsair A. Xenogen-free In Vitro Differentiation and Expansion of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiovascular Progenitor Cells. 2014. (Abstract) Circulation Research 115 (Suppl 1), A11-A11. (Abstract) (Impact factor 15.211)
  3. Li B, Concepcion K, Meng X, Zhang L. Brain-immune interactions in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. PMID: 29111451 Progress in Neurobiology, 2017.159: 50-68. (Impact factor 14.163)
  4. Meng X, Neises A, Su RJ, Payne KJ, Ritter L, Gridley DS, Wang J, Sheng M, Lau KH, Baylink DJ, Zhang XB. Efficient reprogramming of human cord blood CD34+ cells into induced pluripotent stem cells with OCT4 and SOX2 alone. Mol Ther. 2012. 20(2): 408-16. PMID 22108860. (Impact factor 7.008)/li>
  5. Li B, Baylink DJ, Walter MH, Lau KH, Meng X, Wang J, Cherkas A, Tang X, Qin X. Targeted 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 1α hydroxylase adoptive gene therapy ameliorates DSS-induced colitis without causing hypercalcemia in mice. Mol Ther. 2014. PMID: 25327179 (Impact factor 7.008)
  6. Li B, Meng X, Zhang L. MicroRNAs and cardiac stem cells in heart development and disease. Drug Discovery Today, 2018. DOI:10.1016/j.drudis.2018.0 5.032. (Impact factor 6.848)
  7. Meng X, Baylink DJ, Sheng M, Wang H, Gridley DS, Lau KH, Zhang XB. Erythroid promoter confines FGF2 expression to the marrow after hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy and leads to enhanced endosteal bone formation. PLoS One, 2012. 7(5): e37569. (Impact factor 2.766)