Working Group Members
Summit4CI Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Working Group

Ana Portillo

Ana Portillo

PhD Student, McMaster University

My name is Ana Portillo and I am currently a PhD student in Dr. Ali Ashkar’s lab at McMaster University. My research focuses on investigating the anti-tumor function of human natural killer cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors for the treatment of solid tumors, particularly breast cancer.

Charu Sankaran

Charu Sankaran

Graduate Student, BC Cancer Research Institute

Charu is a first-year graduate student in Dr. Kevin Hay's lab at the BC Cancer Research Institute, in the interdisciplinary oncology program. Since joining Dr. Hay's lab as a Co-op student in 2019, Charu has been passionate about understanding mechanisms involved in CAR T-cell persistence. Her project focuses on the role of senescence in CAR-T cell persistence, and identifying strategies to improve this. Charu is excited to be a part of the HQP working group, and looks forward to an in-person Summit4CI.

Jordon Inkol

Jordon Inkol

PhD Student, Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph

Jordon Inkol is a PhD student in the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. His previous work has focused on combination of chemotherapies with various other drugs to sensitize osteosarcoma and bladder cancer. His current work focuses on the role immunogenic cell death plays in restarting anti-tumor immunity specifically in cold tumours.

Rebecca Burchett

Rebecca Burchett

PhD Candidate, McMaster University

Rebecca is currently a PhD candidate in Dr. Jonathan Bramson’s laboratory at McMaster University. Her graduate research is focused on developing proof-of-concept for a novel combination immunotherapy approach that uses oncolytic virus vaccines to boost adoptive T cell therapies through an engineered receptor. Rebecca completed her BSc in Honours Cell Biology at the University of Alberta and an undergraduate thesis in the Department of Oncology under Dr. Roseline Godbout, studying molecular mechanisms of malignant glioma cell migration. Outside of the lab, Rebecca is also a teaching assistant, a delegate for the Ontario Rising Stars in Cancer Research, and involved in science outreach initiatives including Let’s Talk Science and Science FUNdamentals.

Shannon Snelling

Shannon Snelling

Graduate Student, Medical Science Cancer Biology, University of Calgary

I am a graduate student at the University of Calgary in the Medical Science Cancer Biology program in the labs of Dr. Jennifer Chan and Dr. Douglas Mahoney. My research is focused on testing the feasibility of using chimeric antigen receptor macrophage (CAR-M) therapy to influence the immunosuppressive microenvironment in glioblastoma towards a phenotype that is more favourable for therapeutic intervention. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy exploring the beautiful outdoors in Alberta.

Stacey Lee

Stacey Lee

PhD Student, Dalhousie University

Stacey Lee is currently a PhD student at Dalhousie University under the supervision of Dr. Jeanette Boudreau. Her research focuses on leveraging the already available tumour targeting abilities of natural killer cells to better killer pancreatic tumours. She completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Cape Breton University in May 2018. During her undergrad, she was awarded several summer studentships that enabled her to pursue her research interests. Since starting her graduate program in September 2018, Stacey has been engaged in the cancer research community and is a volunteer with Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society. Though early in her career, she hopes to continue pursuing cancer research, with a particular interest in the interactions between the immune system and cancer as a way to identify potential treatment and therapeutic methods.