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


Chanyce Kane

Administrative Assistant

Chanyce grew up in Revere and graduated from Merrimack college in 2017 with a concentration in molecular cell biology and biotechnology and a minor in business management. She plans to continue her education in hopes of obtaining a Biology/Business Master’s degree. She is always ready for new opportunities. She is not only assisting Dr. Sykes but also Dr. Bardeesy and Dr. Ellisen in the MGH Cancer Center. She is very excited to learn from the three doctors and looks forward to being a part of their research growth. Living in Massachusetts, she has always wanted an opportunity to work in MGH and be a part of their innovative research. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, binge-watching Korean Dramas, and hanging out with her family and friends.


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.


Taghreed Hirz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Taghreed earned her PhD in Cancer and Immunology from Claude Bernard University, France in December 2015 under the supervision of Professor Charles Dumontet. Her PhD studies focused on the examination of neutrophils effect on the sensitivity of lymphoma cells to anti-cancer agents. This work had demonstrated how neutrophils attenuate the sensitivity of lymphoma cells to a large variety of anti-cancer agents where similar findings were found in vivo and ex vivo (Hirz et. al, J Vis Exp. 2016; Hirz et. al, Oncotarget 2017).

After completing her PhD, Taghreed moved to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for two years of postdoctoral studies on lung cancer, before recognizing her deeply founded interest in tumor microenvironment and immune system, that led her to Boston in April 2018. Taghreed is a shared postdoc between the Baryawno, Sykes and Scadden laboratories, and is currently investigating the biology of prostate cancer and the complexity of the disease bone metastases, which represent glaring unmet medical knowledge to date. Through the utility of scRNA-sequencing, Taghreed seeks to illuminate the complex biology of prostate cancer and the heterogeneity of bone marrow microenvironment; including tumor, stromal, and immune cells; to produce novel insights relevant to tumor-stromal and tumor-immune interactions.


Amy Sexauer

Postdoctoral Fellow

Amy grew up on a small island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, and completed her undergraduate work in Microbiology and German at the University of Georgia. 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. Shen next pursued pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, before continuing her move up the east coast and landing in Boston for a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology/stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital. She completed her fellowship training in 2020 and continues on as a postdoc in the Sykes Lab, where she focuses on exploring metabolic vulnerabilities and novel therapies in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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


Mohammad Houshmand

Postdoctoral fellow

Mohammad (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.

Sykes Lab – Curing by Maturing

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.

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