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Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
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Sean Bendall, PhD

Assistant Professor (Research), Pathology


My lab’s overall goal is to foster the creation of next-generation single cell analysis tools in order to understand new mechanisms regulating the development of human systems. In particular, we clarify the roles of protein coding genes in relation to healthy or diseased pathobiology known to be uniquely human – therefore, not analogously studied in model organisms. Drawing on my background in pluripotent stem cell biology1, hematopoiesis and immunology2,3, combined with novel high-content single-cell analysis (CyTOF – Mass Cytometry)4 and imagining (MIBI-Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging)5 methods previously established, we will create templates of ‘normal’ human cellular identity and behavior. Then, using these, decipher the roles of protein regulators on cellular specification as well as the influence of human-specific pathobiology on system remodeling at the single cell level. This work will enable a better understanding of how disease corrupts this process. Ultimately, our objective is to dissect the role of novel regulators in the context of complex cellular systems and enable mechanistic characterization of human pathobiology directly in primary human (clinical) material. In doing so, we will understand how changes in normal and diseased physiological or pathological systems can be more readily recognized, predicted, and controlled.

In addition to the lab’s work on the human hematopoietic immune system and pluripotent stem cell specification we are seeking collaborative partnerships in understanding homeostatic cellular compositions in human tissue, in particular the role of the immune system. These efforts will exploit next generation single-cell analysis and new computational methods in our lab to create systems-level models of human pathobiology so that they may be better understood and directed.

Education & Training

  • 2014: Stanford University, USA, Postdoctoral Fellow. Advisor: Prof. Garry Nolan
  • 2008: University of Western Ontario, Canada, PhD. Advisors: Prof. Mick Bhatia & Gilles Lajoie
  • 2002: University of Victoria, Canada, B.Sc. Honors, Advisor: Prof. Robert Olafson

Awards & Honors

  • 2000-02: University of Victoria: Faculty of Science Deans List
  • 2003:  University of Oxford: Postgraduate Research Award & Overseas Research Studentship
  • 2005:  CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research)Canadian Graduate Scholarship
  • 2005:  University of Western Ontario: Graduate Scholarship
  • 2008:  Dr. William Zaharia Award – Top PhD Thesis: Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • 2008:  Collip Medal - Top PhD Thesis: Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • 2008:  CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2009:  Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Fellow
  • 2012: Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Scientist
  • 2012:  ISAC/CYTO – President’s Award of Excellence
  • 2012:  NIH K99/R00 – NIGMS - A single-cell platform to discover and study regulators of human development (1K99 GM104148-01)
  • 2016:  NIH Director’s DP2 New Innovator Award - Origins of human blood lineages in regenerative medicine (1DP2OD022550-01)