Jessica Esseltine, PhD
Division of BioMedical Sciences
Assistant Professor of Cancer and Development
PhD (University of Western Ontario)
I grew up in a small town in south western Ontario made famous for killing Jumbo the Elephant. I completed my PhD at Western University studying GPCR signal transduction and protein trafficking. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship in Seattle, WA, I returned to Canada to study cell-cell communication. I discovered pluripotent stem cells quite late in my training and was blown away by the idea that they can become any cell type in the body and that they can be used for personalized regenerative medicine when generated from individuals with disease.
Since moving to beautiful Newfoundland I am tackling how cells communicate with each other during cell fate specification. Additionally, with the support of the sudden cardiac death team we use patient-derived iPSCs in order to understand hereditary heart disease in Newfoundland.
Highly Qualified Personnel
Rebecca Frohlich, MSc
I obtained my BSc in Biotechnology from Trinity Western University and spent the following 5 years working with stem cells in industry before starting the MSc program at Memorial University. I enjoy using human pluripotent stem cells to examine how cells communicate with one another as they become various tissues.
Zachary Porter, BSc
I am originally from Deer Lake, a town in western Newfoundland. I moved to St. John's to complete my Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in biochemistry at Memorial University. I then enrolled as a graduate student at Memorial to continue my training in the Esseltine Laboratory, where I study hereditary heart disease in Newfoundland. This is where I was first introduced to stem cell research and the great potential these cells have in medical research.
Hanrui Zhu, BSc
I am from Nanjing, a pretty city in China. I have studied in Canada since high school. I graduated from University of Toronto where I double majored in Cell & Molecular Biology, and Fundamental Genetics & its Application. During my undergraduate study, I developed my interest in stem cell research. In the Esseltine laboratory, my project is gap junction based stem cell communication which is a continuation of my journey in the field of stem cell studies.
I was born in Brazil but grew up in China before moving to Newfoundland to start my BSc in Biology at Memorial University. I started in the lab through a shadowing opportunity and was fascinated with the work being done, now I am currently completing my SURA program where I am researching about the TMEM43 protein which plays a great factor in a hereditary heart disease in Newfoundland.
Former Lab Members
Robert Flemmer, MSc - Lab Manager. Now at Abcellera!
Ceilidh Wright, BSc - Undergraduate work-study student
Hooman Sadighian, MSc - Master's Student. Now at Princess Margaret Living Biobank Organoid Core!
Mark Hemmings, BSc - Undergraduate Honors Student. Now a grad student at McGill!
Margaret Henley, BSc - Undergraduate Summer Student. Now in Medical School!
Grace Christopher, MSc - Master's Student. Now at StemCell Technologies!