HomeResearchPublicationsMembersContact Information

Bensinger Lab Members

Yoko Kidani, MD, PhD

Yoko received her medical training at the Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan. She completed a residency in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine at Koseiren-Takaoka Hospital, Toyama, Japan and became a staff physician at Ishikawa Prefectural Central Hospital, Kanazawa, Japan in the Department of Anesthesiology. Yoko subsequently completed a thesis project examining the influence of anesthesia on endotoxin-induced shock in rats in the laboratory of Dr. Takumi Taniguchi, at Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.

After completing her thesis in fall of 2007, Yoko took a position as a post-doctoral fellow in Department of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania working with Dr. Masahide Tone. Her studies in Dr. Tone’s lab at Penn were focused on examining the transcriptional regulation and function of FoxP3 in regulatory T cells. Yoko is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Bensinger laboratory a focused on understanding the impact of lipid metabolism on normal and neoplastic lymphocyte biology. Her career goal is to achieve an independent research position as a physician-scientist.

Kevin Williams, PhD

Kevin Williams received his B.S. from Boston University, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. Kevin’s undergraduate research was focused on understanding mechanisms of bulky adduct mutagenesis. Kevin earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles in the laboratory of Stephen Smale, an expert in gene regulation during the inflammatory response. Kevin’s thesis examined the role of NF-κB family members in the regulation of genes involved in coordinating innate and adaptive immune responses.

Kevin joined the Bensinger laboratory in fall of 2009, and has applied his expertise in gene regulation towards understanding the influence of lipid metabolism on brain cancer biology. Specifically, he is focused on understanding how the 1) Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins (SREBP) transcriptionally regulate metabolism and growth potential in glioma and 2) determining if this pathway can be targeted to provide novel therapeutic approaches for glioma.

Autumn York

Autumn York is a doctoral student in Steve Bensinger’s lab. She graduated magna cum laude in 2008 from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a dual major in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Autumn began graduate school at UCLA in the fall of 2008. She is interested in the molecular mechanisms that govern cellular programs in response to external stimuli. Her two main projects in the Bensinger Lab focus on 1) the role of host lipid metabolism in viral infection and 2) how cellular lipid metabolism responds to ionizing radiation and other forms of DNA damage. After completing her PhD, Autumn plans to pursue a career in academic science.

Joseph P. Argus

Joseph recently joined the Bensinger lab and is a second year doctoral student in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology (having just matriculated from the ACCESS first year program). He is currently a Chemistry Biology Interface Training Program fellow. Joe’s interests center around the molecular control of cellular metabolism, particularly as it relates to cancer. Invested in research, teaching, and curricular planning, he is working towards a career in academia. Previously, he taught high school science and was a research assistant. He received his AB with College Honors (major, biology; minor, chemistry) from Washington University in St Louis (2006) and his secondary education at Canterbury School in Ft Wayne, IN (2002).

Tram (Tammy) Phung Laboratory Manager

Tammy Phung is the laboratory manager of Bensinger lab since its inception in 2008. Tammy graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2004 with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. After graduation, Tammy was a technician in the University of California, Los Angeles Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory. Tammy enjoys supporting the scientists in the laboratory and working in academic research toward elucidating the mechanisms controlling cancer and immunity. Outside of the lab, Tammy’s interests and hobbies are trail running, rock climbing, rappelling, and SCUBA diving.

Yue (Sally) Zhu Laboratory Technician

Sally Zhu is a technician in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Bensinger. Sally graduated from Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in 2007 with a B.S. degree. During her third year in college, Sally completed a summer internship in genetics in the Charite medical center, Berlin, Germany. Sally also did cancer translational research as an undergraduate examining pharmacological mechanism of CPT catalogue compound, which arrests cancer cells in G2/M phase and induces cell apoptosis.

After graduation, Sally received a pre-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Patrick Reynolds at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the Texas Tech Health and Sciences Center to study leukemia pathogenesis. Sally subsequently joined Dr. Arnold Levine’s lab examining basic functions of the tumor suppressor p53 in vitro and in vivo. In the Bensinger laboratory, Sally supports ongoing projects examining the impact of lipid metabolism on cancer pathogenesis and chemo-resistance. Sally’s long-term goals are to attend graduate school and she is hopeful that in the future she will have her own biotech/pharmaceutical company in China. Her interests outside the lab include reading, horror movies, swimming and playing piano.