The Sykes Lab


David Sykes

Principal Investigator

David grew up on the chilly prairies of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. He transitioned to La Jolla, CA to begin the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of California San Diego. His PhD research was mentored by Dr. Mark Kamps. Medical internship and residency were done at the Massachusetts General Hospital before fellowship in Hematology & Oncology at the combined Dana Farber Cancer Institute and MGH Cancer Center program. David did an additional year as Chief Resident in the Department of Medicine before starting his post-doctoral research with Dr. David Scadden in the Center for Regenerative Medicine.

David sees patients in clinic on Fridays and spends four 1-week blocks as inpatient attending on the Hematology consult service. He loves to teach hematology to the residents and fellows, as well as spend time at the microscope going over peripheral blood smears.

Outside of the lab, David likes to spend time with his wife, his Golden Retriever (Arlo), and on the golf course.

Links:  TEMPI    MGH Profile


Jelena Milosevic

Postdoctoral fellow

Jelena was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedicine and defended her PhD in 2018 at Karolinska Institutet in the lab of Prof. Per Kogner. During her graduate work, Jelena investigated new treatment strategies in pediatric neural tumors neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. In September 2018, Jelena joined the Sykes laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow to focus on the mechanism linking the inhibition of DHODH and differentiation in leukemia. In her spare time Jelena enjoys traveling, trying out new foods and experiencing different cultures.


Henry H. Zhang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Henry is a physician-scientist with a clinical and research focus on solid tumor oncology. Inspired by his clinical and research works, Henry investigates cancer biology and surgical oncology to improve diagnosis and therapeutic strategies for solid tumors. His passion for oncological diseases began as an MD student at Shandong University when he pursued his research on the relationship between GI cancer biology, microbiome, and immune hemostasis. After residency and clinical research training at Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) in 2020, he continued his solid tumor biology and immunology research in his PUMC-Harvard joint Ph.D. training for three years. Henry joined the lab in the year 2023; His projects aim to understand the mechanism of metastatic cancers, with the main focus on solid tumors and bone metastasis.

Outside of his enthusiasm for medical science, Henry enjoys his spare time with his family, on the trip, dining table, or tennis court.


Amy Sexauer

Postdoctoral Fellow

Amy is originally from Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, and completed her undergraduate work in Microbiology and German at the University of Georgia Honors College. She then spent a year abroad doing research before beginning the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her PhD work on FLT3 signaling in AML under the supervision of Dr. Mark Levis. She then completed her pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and came to Boston for a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology/stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital. She completed fellowship training in 2020 and continues as a postdoc in the Sykes Lab, where she focuses on exploring metabolic vulnerabilities and novel therapies in T-cell ALL.

In her free time, Amy is a violist with several orchestral and chamber music groups in the Boston area, including the Brookline Symphony Orchestra and New Philharmonia Orchestra. She also enjoys training her rescue dog, Apollo, and taking him hiking and swimming.


Artin Houshmand

Postdoctoral fellow

Artin obtained his PhD in Experimental Medicine and Therapy at the University of Turin, Italy under the supervision of Professor Giuseppe Saglio. In his PhD he had two different projects for selectively targeting chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells. In the first project, he designed a liposome-loaded venetolcax conjugated with an anti-CD26 antibody to selectively target leukemic cells and spare normal cells. In another project, he studied the role of DHODH a rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway in acute and chronic myeloid leukemia development.

After finishing his projects, to gain more knowledge about the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in leukemogenesis he moved to the University of Oxford to do his internship under the supervision of Professor Claus Nerlov. In 2022 he moved to Boston and joined the Sykes laboratory as a postdoc researcher where he works on DHODH and its role in leukemia and hematopoietic stem cell metabolism. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, photography, and playing tennis.


Shenglin Mei

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shenglin is a research scientist in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from Tongji University Shanghai, China in 2017. During his graduate work, he developed Cistrome Data Browser and systematically investigated gene transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in cancer. Before joining the Skyes lab in May 2022, Shenglin was a research fellow in Peter Kharchenko Lab at the Department of Biomedical Informatics of Harvard medical school, where he led several cancer-related single-cell studies, focusing on tumor microenvironment changes and cell-cell interactions during tumor progression and metastasis. His current interest lies in elucidating the mechanism underlying tumor bone metastasis using single-cell genomics and computational modeling. During his free time, he enjoys cooking, exploring nature, and spending time with his family.


Nate Jeffries

Research Technician

Nate was born in Illinois and lived in Texas and North Carolina before attending high school in the Chicago suburbs. He graduated from Colgate University in May 2020 with a BA in biology. During his undergraduate career, he was a captain of the varsity track and field team, a leader for an on-campus youth mentorship volunteer organization, and a photographer for the student newspaper. He worked in education briefly after graduation before deciding to pursue a career in science. He was drawn to the unique and innovative work being done in the Sykes lab, particularly as a part of the On Demand Blood program. He hopes to one day further his career through graduate study.

In his free time, Nate enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and going for runs along the Charles River Esplanade.


Emma Yvanovich

Research Technician/ Co- Lab Manager

Emma grew up in rural Massachusetts before receiving a BS in Biology and a BA in Psychology from the Roger Williams University Honors Program in 2022. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in the microbiology lab on campus under the guidance of Dr. Avelina Espinosa. There, Emma conducted independent research on the behavior and classification of entamoeba clone species. Since joining the Sykes team in the Summer of 2022, she has shifted her research interests towards stem cell cancer therapies and the differentiation of neutrophils for the On Demand Blood project. She hopes to garner advanced laboratory skills to prepare her for a future in medical research.

In her free time, Emma enjoys cooking, exploring the outdoors, and gardening.


Sophia Han

Medical Student

Sophia grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, where she is a fourth-year medical student at Karolinska Institute. During her time at Karolinska she has worked with two research groups, investigating skeletal muscle aging using carbon dating and participating in a project to develop an mRNA-based vaccine against malaria. Sophia is passionate about a career combining clinical work and research, and greatly inspired by the patient-centered mindset and scientific rigor characterizing the Sykes Lab. She joins the group to conduct her Master’s thesis research on PCYOX1L, an enzyme involved in hematopoietic stem cell regulation. Outside of the lab, she likes to explore new places and spend time with friends and family.

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