Dr. Courtney Jones received her doctorate from New York University in 2014 studying mechanisms of therapy resistance in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Craig Jordan at the University of Colorado where she studied metabolic properties of leukemia stem cells. She discovered that LSCs rely on amino acid metabolism for energy production and survival. Further, she demonstrated that targeting amino acids could kill LSCs. In 2020, Dr. Jones became a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, and Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto where her lab continues to study LSC metabolism with the goal of developing new therapies to improve outcomes of leukemia patients.
Vincent is a post-doctoral fellow investigating the role of arginine metabolism in AML pathogenesis. He completed his Ph.D. in Immunology at the University of Paris, France, where he identified a role of the Cxcr4-mTOR signaling axis in regulating metabolic and fate properties of hematopoietic progenitors using a mouse model of the rare immunodeficiency WHIM Syndrome. In our lab, Vincent aims to determine if arginine metabolism presents a metabolic vulnerability that can be exploited to eradicate leukemia stem cells in relapsed AML patients. The feeling of contributing to the research of novel therapies to improve patients quality of life is a daily key driver for him.
Charlotte obtained her BSc degree in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Toronto. During her undergraduate life she had participated in many fascinating research projects, including NTMT1 characterization and dietary antioxidant screening. These experiences sparked her great interests in studying how cancer cells response to oxidative stress. She is now a PhD candidate in the Jones lab. Motivated by the urgent need of leukemic stem cell (LSCs) targeted therapies, her research focuses on interrogating the role of S-glutathionylation and uncovering the biology of glutathione metabolism-related proteins in LSCs.
Bowen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics co-supervised by Dr. Rama Khokha and Dr. Courtney Jones. His project focuses on elucidating lineage-specific metabolic differences in the breast using human mammary organoids. In particular, he is interested in metabolic-epigenetic interplay and how that may affect cell identity and proliferation. He hopes that better understanding of breast cell metabolism will aid in improving breast cancer prevention and early intervention strategies. Bowen completed his B.Sc (2020) at Western University in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences. In his spare time, he enjoys chess, badminton, and photography.
Cristiana O’Brien completed her BSc at the University of Western Ontario in Microbiology and Immunology, and English Language and Literature with a certificate in Italian Language. Her studies led her to UHN where she worked for several years on fluorescent intraoperative breast cancer imaging model development and biology. Looking to challenge her technical skills and critical thinking, she joined the lab of Dr. Courtney Jones and soon after started her graduate studies at the University of Toronto in Dr. Jones lab. Her research explores the role of the metabolic regulator sirtuin 3 in leukemia stem cells (LSCs). Specifically, she aims to interrogate the relationship between sirtuin 3 and lipid metabolism to characterize the roles that each play in LSC function and survival.
Valentine majored in pharmacology during his undergraduate study at McGill University. He is currently a PharmD student at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. His prior experience includes evaluating novel compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and clinical studies on osteoporosis. As a research student in the Jones lab, Valentine is interested in investigating the pathways and mechanisms that determine the cells' fate, particularly how the sirtuin family impacts cell metabolism and cell survival. He is assisting projects looking into the potential role of sirtuin 3 as the therapeutic target of leukemia.
Aarushi is an undergraduate student, completing her B.Sc. degree in Immunology and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. She has previously worked on projects that look at T-cell-based immunotherapy against melanoma and the mechanisms behind the combination of hypomethylation agents and Venetoclax in AML treatment. In the Jones Lab, Aarushi is evaluating the potential therapeutic effects of targeting arginine metabolism in combination with conventional therapies used to treat AML patients. She hopes to make a difference in the lives patients and their families affected by leukemia.
Jacob completed his BSc degree in Zoology at the University of Guelph and his MSc degree in Biological Sciences at Brock University. During his MSc, Jacob's thesis focused on the role of TRPV1 and TRPM8 receptors on behavioural thermoregulation in bearded dragons. Through this work, Jacob’s interest in molecular biology and animal research led him to Vancouver, BC where he began working as a Research Technician with a focus on drug metabolizing enzymes. On his return to Ontario, Jacob shifted his focus to cancer research, applying CRISPR-Cas9 methods to a variety of in-vivo mouse cancer models. As a Research Technician IV in the Jones lab, he applies his animal model experience to AML xenografts and developing new mouse models to explore the role of metabolism in leukemia stem cells.
Duhan obtained his BSc degree with honours in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of British Columbia. During his undergraduate research, he investigated the role of E-cadherin as a molecular sensor to regulate cell to cell adhesion and cell mechanotransduction. After graduating, Duhan decided to gain more insight on stem cell biology and its connection to cancer. To follow his passion for science and apply his technical skills on cancer research, he joined the Jones Lab as a research technician. Currently, he is investigating how polyamine depletion upon introduction of SAT1 mediates a p53 dependent apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia, with the aim of developing novel targeted therapies for leukemic stem cells.
Mary completed her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at McMaster University and her MSc degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Her master’s thesis work focused on uncovering novel, targetable radiation sensitizing candidates in lung cancer. After completing her degree, Mary’s continued interest in cancer research, particularly in investigating therapeutic strategies that can enhance patient care, led her to the Jones lab as a Research Technician. Her research focuses on characterizing proteins involved in glutathione metabolism in leukemia stem cells while also supporting the lab in their many exciting projects.
"In AML, there is an urgent need to develop therapeutic strategies targeting the LSC population which is at the origin of relapse. The feeling of contributing to the development of novel therapies with the ultimate goal to improve the outcomes of patients with relapsed AML is a key driver for me.”
"Working in Dr Jones’ lab, I am personally inspired and continually reinvigorated to pursue my career in science. Not only are we a team of dedicated scientist, passionate about progressing the field and patient care, but we support each other in and out of the lab.”