Genomics Proof of Principle Team

Biographies for our PoP Scientists

The Proof of Principle (PoP) team at Beckman Coulter Life Sciences is available to optimize our genomic extraction and purification chemistry to create solutions for your lab.

Han Wei, B.M.E.D., Ph.D.

Han was a research associate and postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University where she identified novel carboplatin-resistant genes in ovarian cancer via a validation-based insertional mutagenesis (VBIM) technique. She also discovered a novel phosphorylation site on NF-κB, this site functions as a potential therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of NF-κB-driven inflammatory diseases and cancers. Finally, she characterized the consequences of posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of NF-κB and discovered that protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is responsible for the PTM, implicating a new cancer therapy strategy.

Han received her Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China and Master of Medicine in Toxicology at The Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, China. She also received a Bachelor of Medicine in Clinical Medicine (B.M.E.D., – equivalent to M.D.) at Southern Medical University in Guangdong, China.

Selected Publications:

  • Hartley A, Wei H, Prabhu L, et al. NF-kB: Its role in colorectal cancer.In Role of Transcription Factors in Gastrointestinal Malignancies. 2018;247-260. Springer Sinapore. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-6728-0_17.
  • Martin M, Wei H, Lu T. Targeting microenvironment in cancer therapeutics. Oncotarget 2016; 7 (32): 52575-83. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.9824.
  • Wang B, Wei H, Prabhu L, et al. Role of novel serine 316 phosphorylation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB in differential gene regulation. J Biol Chem 2015;290 (33): 20336-47. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.639849.
  • Wei H, Wang B, Miyagi M, et al. PRMT5 dimethylates R30 of the p65 subunit to activate NF-κB. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110 (33): 13516-21. doi:10.1073/pnas.1311784110.
  • Wei H, Mundade R, Lange KC, Lu T. Protein arginine methylation of non-histone proteins and its role in diseases. Cell Cycle 2014;13 (1): 32-41. doi:10.4161/cc.27353.

Selected Presentations:

  • Han Wei, Brittany Niccum, Li Liu, Mary Blair, Randy Pares. Automated genomic DNA extraction from large volume whole blood. San Antonia, Texas, March 23-26, 2019 (Poster).
  • Han Wei, Brittany Niccum, Zach Smith, Jimmy Adediran. Simultaneously DNA and RNA extraction from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue. San Antonia, Texas, March 23-26, 2019 (Poster).
  • Han Wei. Number of Fusions Detected in FFPE Cancer Tissue Depends on RNA Isolation Method. Next Generation Dx Summit, Washington, D.C., Augest 20- 24 Aug, 2018 (Oral Presentation).
  • Han Wei, Yun She, Tao Lu. Identification of novel carboplatin resistance gene in ovarian cancer. American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 5-9, 2014 (Poster).
  • Han Wei. Regulation of NF-κB by PRMT5 - dependent arginine methylation of p65. Pharmacology & Toxicology Spring 2014 Seminar Series, Indianapolis, IN, February 7, 2014 (Oral Presentation).

Brittany Niccum, Ph.D.

Brittany was a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University where she developed a novel technique for performing long-term evolution experiment on microbiomes. She also used RNA-seq and DNA sequencing to analyze the genomes and transcriptomes of microbiomes, and contributed to the development of cabbage as a gnotobiotic model system.

She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at Indiana University and her Bachelors of Science in Mathematical Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology.

Selected Publications:

  • Foster PL, Niccum BA, Popodi E, et al. Determinants of base-pair substitution patterns revealed by whole-genome sequencing of DNA mismatch repair defective Escherichia coli. Genetics 2018; 209 (4): 1029-1042. doi:10.1534/genetics.118.301237.
  • Miller ER, Kearns PJ, Niccum BA, et al. Establisment limitation constrains the abundance of lactic acid bacteria in the Napa cabbage phyllosphere. Appl Environ Microbiol 2019;85 (13): e00269-19. doi:10.1128/AEM.00269-19.
  • Niccum BA, Lee H, Mohammedlsmail W, et al. The spectrum of replication errors in the absence of error correction assayed across the whole genome of Escherichia coli. Genetics 2018;209 (4): 1043-1054. doi:10.1534/genetics.117.300515.
  • Niccum BA, Poteau R, Hamman GE, et al. On an unbiased and consistent estimator for mutation rates. J Theor Biol 2012;300: 360-367. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.01.029.
  • Niccum BA, Mohammedlsmail W, Tang H, Foster PL. Thesymmetrical wave pattern of base-pair substitution rates across the Escherichia coli chromosome has multiple causes. MBio 2019;10 (4): e01226-19. doi:10.1128/mBio.01226-19.

Lauren Saunders, Ph.D.

Lauren was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Agriculture Utilization Research (USDA) working on biofuels and bioproduction. During that time, she discovered a new species of Bacillus that produces an inhibitor of Lactobacillus growth, both in suspension and as biofilms. She isolated the inhibitor, characterized its activity with a variety of different bacteria, and developed a mutant Bacillus strain to aid in inhibitor purification. She also worked on producing a platform chemical, triacetic acid lactone, from a variety of industrial yeast strains. She doubled the titer from what had been seen previously and worked to identify and decrease byproducts.

She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University working on protein kinetics. She has Bachelor’s of Arts in both Biology and Chemistry at Cornell University.

Selected Publications:

  • Saunders LP, Ouellette A, Bandle R, et al. Identification of small-molecule inhibitors of autotaxin that inhibit melanoma cell migration and invasion. Mol Cancer Ther 2008;7 (10): 3352-62. doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0463.
  • Saunders LP, Bischoff KM, Bowman MJ, Leathers TD. Inhibition of Lactobacillus biofilm growth in fuel ethanol fermentations by Bacillus. Bioresour Technol 2019;272: 156-161. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2018.10.016.
  • Saunders LP, Bowman MJ, Mertens JA, et al. Triacetic acid lactone production in industrial Saccharomyces yeast strains. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 2015;42 (5): 711-21. doi:10.1007/s10295-015-1596-7.
  • Saunders LP, Sen S, Wilkinson BJ, Gatto C. Insights into the mechanism of homeoviscous adaptation to low temperature in branched-chain fatty acid-containing bacteria through modeling FabH kinetics from the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Front Microbiol 2016;7 (1386). doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01386.
  • Saunders LP, Cao W, Chang WC, et al. Kinetic analysis of autotaxin reveals substrate-specific catalytic pathways and a mechanism for lysophosphatidic acid distribution. J Biol Chem 2011;286 (34): 30130-41. doi:10.1074/jbc.M111.246884.

Selected Presentations:

  • Lauren P. Saunders and Asmita Patel. Correlation between mutations found in FFPE tumor tissue and paired cfDNA samples. AACR April 2019 (Poster).
  • Lauren P. Saunders, Antonia Hur, Brittany Niccum, and Asmita Patel. A new automated method for the extraction of cfDNA. AGBT February 2019 (Poster).
  • Danielle Fowler, Anna Zhang, Kathleen Lincoln, James Tanner, Philip Gorman, Deborah Webb, ZhongFu Huang, Peng Sun, Marisa Spencer, Russell McSweeney, Lauren P. Saunders, Nick Morgan, Christopher Odom, Steven Kerr, Christina Bartlett. Establishing North America’s first ‘tissue to cDNA’ automated workflow for qPCR analysis of target genes using the Beckman Coulter i7 advanced robotics platform. SLAS February 2019 (Poster).
  • Lauren P. Saunders. Isolation and Separation of DNA and RNA from a single tissue sample. FOG London Jan 2019 (Oral Presentation).

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