Mei Chen

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States

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Publications (65)440.69 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) have severe, incurable skin fragility, blistering, and multiple skin wounds due to mutations in the gene encoding type VII collagen (C7), the major component of anchoring fibrils mediating epidermal-dermal adherence. Nearly 10-25% of RDEB patients carry nonsense mutations leading to premature stop codons (PTCs) that result in truncated C7. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of using aminoglycosides to suppress PTCs and induce C7 expression in two RDEB keratinocyte cell lines (Q251X/Q251X and R578X/R906) and two primary RDEB fibroblasts (R578X/R578X and R163X/R1683X). Incubation of these cells with aminoglycosides (geneticin, gentamicin, and paromomycin) resulted in the synthesis and secretion of a full-length C7 in a dose-dependent and sustained manner. Importantly, aminoglycoside-induced C7 reversed the abnormal RDEB cell phenotype and incorporated into the dermal-epidermal junction of skin equivalents. We further demonstrated the general utility of aminoglycoside-mediated readthrough in 293 cells transiently transfected with expression vectors encoding 22 different RDEB nonsense mutations. This is the first study demonstrating that aminoglycosides can induce PTC readthrough and restore functional C7 in RDEB caused by nonsense mutations. Therefore, aminoglycosides may have therapeutic potential for RDEB patients and other inherited skin diseases caused by nonsense mutations.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.140.
    Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 07/2014;
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    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 11/2013; · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Normal cells secrete heat shock protein-90alpha (Hsp90α) in response to tissue injury. Tumor cells have managed to constitutively secrete Hsp90α during invasion and metastasis. The sole function of the extracellular Hsp90α (eHsp90α) is to promote cell motility, a critical event for both wound healing and tumor progression. The mechanism of the pro-motility action by eHsp90α, however, remained elusive. A key issue is whether eHsp90α still acts as a chaperone outside the cells or it is a new and bona fide signaling molecule. Here, we provide evidence that eHsp90α utilizes a unique trans-membrane signaling mechanism to promote cell motility and wound healing. First, the subdomain II in the extracellular part of the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP-1) receives eHsp90α signal. Then, the NPVY, but not the NPTY, motif in the cytoplamic tail of LRP-1 connects eHsp90α signaling to serine-473, but not threonine-308, phosphorylation in Akt kinases. Individual knockdown of Akt1, Akt2 or Akt3 revealed the importance of Akt1 and Ak2 in eHsp90α-induced cell motility. Akt gene rescue experiments suggest that Akt1 and Akt2 work in concert, rather than independently, to mediate the eHsp90α pro-motility signaling. Finally, Akt1- and Akt2- knockout mice showed impaired wound healing that cannot be corrected by topical application with eHsp90α protein.
    Molecular and cellular biology 10/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) have incurable skin fragility, blistering, and skin wounds due to mutations in the gene that codes for type VII collagen (C7) that mediates dermal-epidermal adherence in human skin. In this study, we evaluated if topically applied human recombinant C7 (rC7) could restore C7 at the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) and enhance wound healing. We found that rC7 applied topically onto murine skin wounds stably incorporated into the newly formed DEJ of healed wounds and accelerated wound closure by increasing re-epithelialization. Topical rC7 decreased the expression of fibrogenic transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) and increased the expression of anti-fibrogenic TGF-β3. These were accompanied by the reduced expression of connective tissue growth factor, fewer α smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive myofibroblasts, and less deposition of collagen in the healed neodermis, consistent with less scar formation. In addition, using a mouse model in which skin from C7 knock out mice was grafted onto immunodeficient mice, we showed that applying rC7 onto RDEB grafts with wounds restored C7 and anchoring fibrils (AFs) at the DEJ of the grafts and corrected the dermal-epidermal separation. The topical application of rC7 may be useful for treating patients with RDEB and patients who have chronic skin wounds.Molecular Therapy (2013); doi:10.1038/mt.2013.87.
    Molecular Therapy 05/2013; · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AF, anchoring fibril; C7, type VII collagen; DEJ, dermal–epidermal junction; IV, intravenous; rC7, human recombinant C7; RDEB, recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 01/2013; · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite extensive investigative studies and clinical trials over the past two decades, we still do not understand why cancer cells are more sensitive to the cellular toxicity of Hsp90 inhibitors than normal cells. We still do not understand why only some cancer cells are sensitive to the Hsp90 inhibitors. Based on studies of the past few years, we argue that the selected sensitivity of cancer cells to Hsp90 inhibitors, such as 17-N-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, is due to inhibition of the extracellular Hsp90 (eHsp90) rather than intracellular Hsp90 by these inhibitors. Because not all tumor cells utilize eHsp90 for motility, invasion and metastasis, only the group of "eHsp90-dependent" cancer cells is sensitive to Hsp90 inhibitors. If these notions prove to be true, pharmaceutical agents that selectively target eHsp90 should be more effective on tumor cells and less toxic on normal cells than current inhibitors that nondiscriminatively target both extracellular and intracellular Hsp90.
    International review of cell and molecular biology 01/2013; 303:203-35. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When skin is wounded, migration of epidermal keratinocytes at the wound edge initiates within hours, whereas migration of dermal fibroblasts toward the wounded area remains undetectable until several days later. This "cell type traffic" regulation ensures proper healing of the wound, as disruptions of the regulation could either cause delay of wound healing or result in hypertrophic scars. TGFβ3 is the critical traffic controller that selectively halts migration of the dermal, but not epidermal, cells to ensure completion of wound re-epithelialization prior to wound remodeling. However, the mechanism of TGFβ3's anti-motility signaling has never been investigated. We report here that activated TβRII transmits the anti-motility signal of TGFβ3 in full to TβRI, since expression of the constitutively activated TβRI-TD mutant was sufficient to replace TGFβ3 to block PDGF-bb-induced dermal fibroblast migration. Second, the three components of R-Smad complex are all required. Individual downregulation of Smad2, Smad3 or Smad4 prevented TGFβ3 from inhibiting dermal fibroblast migration. Third, Protein Kinase Array allowed us to identify the protein kinase A (PKA) as a specific downstream effector of R-Smads in dermal fibroblasts. Activation of PKA alone blocked PDGF-bb-induced dermal fibroblast migration, just like TGFβ3. Downregulation of PKA's catalytic subunit nullified the anti-motility signaling of TGFβ3. This is the first report on anti-motility signaling mechanism by TGFβ family cytokines. Significance of this finding is not only limited to wound healing but also to other human disorders, such as heart attack and cancer, where the diseased cells have often managed to avoid the anti-motility effect of TGFβ.
    Biology open. 12/2012; 1(12):1169-77.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an autoimmune blistering disease characterized by autoantibodies specific for the 180-kd BP antigen-2 (BP180) (also termed "type XVII collagen") protein. The BP180 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is specific for the immunodominant NC16A domain of the protein. However, we and others have observed patients whose reactivity to BP180 is exclusive of the NC16A domain (referred to henceforth as non-NC16A BP). OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine the incidence of non-NC16A BP and identify regions of reactivity within the BP180 protein. METHODS: Sera from 51 patients who met the clinical and histologic criteria for BP were screened for NC16A reactivity by ELISA. Sera that were negative by ELISA were screened for IgG reactivity to an epidermal extract, recombinant BP180 protein, and subregions of BP180, by immunoblot. Demographic and clinical data were also collected on all patients. RESULTS: Four sera (7.8%) were negative using the BP180 ELISA but positive for IgG reactivity to the extracellular domain of BP180. Further mapping identified 4 regions outside of NC16A recognized by these sera: amino acid (AA) 1280 to 1315, AA 1080 to 1107, AA 1331 to 1404, and AA 1365 to 1413. One of these sera also had IgE specific for NC16A. One patient had an atypical presentation with lesions limited to the lower aspect of the legs and scarring of the nail beds. LIMITATIONS: The small total number of patients with non-NC16A BP limits the identification of demographic or clinical correlates. CONCLUSION: It is significant that 7.8% of sera from patients with new BP react to regions of BP180 exclusively outside of NC16A and, thus, would not be identified using the currently available BP180 ELISA.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 10/2012; · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with the genetic skin blistering disease recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) develop aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Metastasis leading to mortality is greater in RDEB than in other patient groups with cSCC. Here we investigate the dermal component in RDEB using mRNA expression profiling to compare cultured fibroblasts isolated from individuals without cSCC and directly from tumor matrix in RDEB and non-RDEB samples. Although gene expression of RDEB normal skin fibroblasts resembled that of cancer-associated fibroblasts, RDEB cancer-associated fibroblasts exhibited a distinct and divergent gene expression profile, with a large proportion of the differentially expressed genes involved in matrix and cell adhesion. RDEB cancer-associated fibroblasts conferred increased adhesion and invasion to tumor and nontumor keratinocytes. Reduction of COL7A1, the defective gene in RDEB, in normal dermal fibroblasts led to increased type XII collagen, thrombospondin-1, and Wnt-5A, while reexpression of wild type COL7A1 in RDEB fibroblasts decreased type XII collagen, thrombospondin-1, and Wnt-5A expression, reduced tumor cell invasion in organotypic culture, and restricted tumor growth in vivo. Overall, our findings show that matrix composition in patients with RDEB is a permissive environment for tumor development, and type VII collagen directly regulates the composition of matrix proteins secreted by dermal and cancer-associated fibroblasts.
    Cancer Research 05/2012; 72(14):3522-34. · 9.28 Impact Factor
  • Cellular Trafficking of Cell Stress Proteins in Health and Disease, 1 edited by Brian Henderson, A Graham Pockley, 01/2012: chapter Heat Shock Protein 90 Versus Conventional Growth Factors in Acute and Diabetic Wound Healing: pages 259-277; Springer., ISBN: 978-94-007-4739-5
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a rare, acquired, chronic subepidermal bullous disease of the skin and mucosa characterized by autoantibodies to type VII collagen (C7) structures, a major component of anchoring fibrils, which attach the epidermis to the dermis. EBA patients have tissue-bound and circulating antitype C7 autoantibodies that attack type C7 and result in a reduction or perturbation of normally functioning anchoring fibrils. Patients with EBA have skin fragility, blisters, erosions, scars, milia, and nail loss, all features reminiscent of genetic dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. These immunoglobulin G antitype C7 antibodies are pathogenic, because when they are injected into mice, the mice develop an EBA-like blistering disease. In addition to the classical mechanobullous presentation, EBA also has several other distinct clinical syndromes similar to bullous pemphigoid, Brunsting-Perry pemphigoid, or cicatricial pemphigoid. Although treatment for EBA is often unsatisfactory, some therapeutic success has been achieved with colchicine, dapsone, plasmapheresis, photopheresis, infliximab, and intravenous immunoglobulin.
    Clinics in dermatology 01/2012; 30(1):60-9. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deregulated accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is a hallmark of many solid tumors. Directly targeting HIF-1α for therapeutics is challenging. Our finding that HIF-1α regulates secretion of heat shock protein-90α (Hsp90α) for cell migration raises the exciting possibility that targeting the secreted Hsp90α from HIF-1α-positive tumors has a better clinical outlook. Using the HIF-1α-positive and metastatic breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231, we show that down-regulation of the deregulated HIF-1α blocks Hsp90α secretion and invasion of the cells. Reintroducing an active, but not an inactive, HIF-1α into endogenous HIF-1α-depleted cells rescues both Hsp90α secretion and invasion. Inhibition of Hsp90α secretion, neutralization of secreted Hsp90α action, or removal of the cell surface LRP-1 receptor for secreted Hsp90α reduces the tumor cell invasion in vitro and lung colonization and tumor formation in nude mice. Furthermore, we localized the tumor-promoting effect to a 115-amino acid region in secreted Hsp90α called F-5. Supplementation with F-5 is sufficient to bypass the blockade of HIF-1α depletion and resumes invasion by the tumor cells under serum-free conditions. Because normal cells do not secrete Hsp90α in the absence of stress, drugs that target F-5 should be more effective and less toxic in treatment of HIF-1α-positive tumors in humans.
    Molecular biology of the cell 12/2011; 23(4):602-13. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wounds that fail to heal in a timely manner, for example, diabetic foot ulcers, pose a health, economic, and social problem worldwide. For decades, conventional wisdom has pointed to growth factors as the main driving force of wound healing; thus, growth factors have become the center of therapeutic developments. To date, becaplermin (recombinant human PDGF-BB) is the only US FDA-approved growth factor therapy, and it shows modest efficacy, is costly, and has the potential to cause cancer in patients. Other molecules that drive wound healing have therefore been sought. In this context, it has been noticed that wounds do not heal without the participation of secreted Hsp90α. Here, we report that a 115-aa fragment of secreted Hsp90α (F-5) acts as an unconventional wound healing agent in mice. Topical application of F-5 peptide promoted acute and diabetic wound closure in mice far more effectively than did PDGF-BB. The stronger effect of F-5 was due to 3 properties not held by conventional growth factors: its ability to recruit both epidermal and dermal cells; the fact that its ability to promote dermal cell migration was not inhibited by TGF-β; and its ability to override the inhibitory effects of hyperglycemia on cell migration in diabetes. The discovery of F-5 challenges the long-standing paradigm of wound healing factors and reveals a potentially more effective and safer agent for healing acute and diabetic wounds.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 11/2011; 121(11):4348-61. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a rare and acquired autoimmune subepidermal bullous disease of skin and mucosa. EBA includes various distinct clinical manifestations resembling genetic dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), Bullous pemphigus, Brunsting-Perry pemphigoid, or cicatricial pemphigoid. These patients have autoantibodies against type VII collagen (C7), an integral component of anchoring fibrils (AFs), which are responsible for attaching the dermis to the epidermis. Destruction or perturbation of the normal functioning AFs clinically results in skin fragility, blisters, erosions, scars, milia, and nail loss, all features reminiscent of genetic dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. These anti-C7 antibodies are "pathogenic" because when injected into a mouse, the mouse develops an EBA-like blistering disease. Currently, treatment is often unsatisfactory; however, some success has been achieved with colchicine, dapsone, photopheresis, plasmapheresis, infliximab, rituximab, and IVIG.
    Autoimmunity 09/2011; 45(1):91-101. · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    The EMBO Journal 01/2011; 30(24):5022. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TGFβ binding to the TGFβ receptor (TβR) activates R-Smad-dependent pathways, such as Smad2/3, and R-Smad-independent pathways, such as ERK1/2. The mechanism of the TGFβ-TβRII-TβRI-Smad2/3 pathway is established; however, it is not known how TGFβ activates ERK1/2. We show here that although TGFβ equally activated Smad2/3 in all cells, it selectively activated ERK1/2 in dermal cells and inhibited ERK1/2 in epidermal cells. These opposite effects correlated with the distinct expression levels of TβRII, which are 7- to 18-fold higher in dermal cells than in epidermal cells. Reduction of TβRII expression in dermal cells abolished TGFβ-stimulated ERK1/2 activation. Upregulation of TβRII expression in epidermal cells to a similar level as that in dermal cells switched TGFβ-induced ERK1/2 inhibition to ERK1/2 activation. More intriguingly, in contrast to the equal importance of TβRII in mediating TGFβ signaling to both Smad2/3 and ERK1/2, knockdown of TβRI/Alk5 blocked activation of only Smad2/3, not ERK1/2, in dermal cells. Similarly, expression of the constitutively activated TβRI-TD kinase activated only Smad2/3 and not ERK1/2 in epidermal cells. This study provides an explanation for why TGFβ selectively activates ERK1/2 in certain cell types and direct evidence for TβRI-independent TβRII signaling to a R-Smad-independent pathway.
    Journal of Cell Science 01/2011; 124(Pt 1):19-24. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a rare, chronic, autoimmune bullous dermatosis that is caused by autoantibodies against the noncollagenous terminus of the α chain of type VII collagen, resulting in decreased anchoring fibrils in the lamina densa. It classically presents with skin fragility and trauma-induced blisters that are particularly extensive over the distal aspect of the extremities and that heal with milia, dyspigmentation, and scarring, similar in presentation to dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Disease onset is typically in adulthood, although rare cases of childhood disease occur. To our knowledge, a case involving a neonate with congenital EBA has not yet been reported in the literature. We describe a newborn with transient EBA due to the passive transfer of maternal autoantibodies. A 2-day-old girl was evaluated for tense blisters and areas of denuded skin that had been present since birth. Her mother carried the diagnosis of EBA. The results of histopathologic analysis, immunofluorescence studies, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed the diagnosis of neonatal EBA. The patient improved with supportive therapy and has not required systemic intervention. Autoimmune neonatal bullous skin disease caused by placental transfer of maternal IgG autoantibodies is rare. It has been reported in neonates born to mothers with pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus foliaceus, and gestational pemphigoid. To our knowledge, congenital EBA has not been previously reported. Vertically acquired congenital autoimmune blistering disorders appear to be self-limited and resolve with supportive therapy, concomitant with the presumed clearance of maternal autoantibodies from the neonate's circulation.
    Archives of dermatology 11/2010; 147(3):337-41. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is an incurable, often fatal mucocutaneous blistering disease caused by mutations in COL7A1, the gene encoding type VII collagen (C7). On the basis of preclinical data showing biochemical correction and prolonged survival in col7 −/− mice, we hypothesized that allogeneic marrow contains stem cells capable of ameliorating the manifestations of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa in humans. Between October 2007 and August 2009, we treated seven children who had recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa with immunomyeloablative chemotherapy and allogeneic stem-cell transplantation. We assessed C7 expression by means of immunofluorescence staining and used transmission electron microscopy to visualize anchoring fibrils. We measured chimerism by means of competitive polymerase-chain-reaction assay, and documented blister formation and wound healing with the use of digital photography. One patient died of cardiomyopathy before transplantation. Of the remaining six patients, one had severe regimen-related cutaneous toxicity, with all having improved wound healing and a reduction in blister formation between 30 and 130 days after transplantation. We observed increased C7 deposition at the dermal-epidermal junction in five of the six recipients, albeit without normalization of anchoring fibrils. Five recipients were alive 130 to 799 days after transplantation; one died at 183 days as a consequence of graft rejection and infection. The six recipients had substantial proportions of donor cells in the skin, and none had detectable anti-C7 antibodies. Increased C7 deposition and a sustained presence of donor cells were found in the skin of children with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Further studies are needed to assess the long-term risks and benefits of such therapy in patients with this disorder. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00478244.)
    New England Journal of Medicine 08/2010; 363(7):629-39. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laminin-332 (laminin-5) is a basement membrane heterotrimeric protein composed of alpha-3, beta-3 and gamma-2 laminin chains. Laminin-332 polypeptides are targeted by auto-antibodies in human patients with mucous membrane (cicatricial) pemphigoid or, more rarely, subepidermal vesicular diseases that resemble epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) or bullous pemphigoid (BP). The objectives of this report were to characterize the clinical, histopathological and immunological characteristics of nine dogs with auto-antibodies targeting laminin-332. Immunological investigations consisted of direct immunofluorescence (IF), indirect IF with intact and salt-split canine gingival, and salt-split normal or laminin-332-deficient human skin, immunoblotting with purified human laminin-332 and immunoblotting with recombinant NC1 domain of human collagen VII. All dogs exhibited varying degrees of skin blistering and ulceration associated with microscopic subepidermal vesiculation with or without inflammatory cells. Indirect IF established that circulating IgG auto-antibodies bound the dermal side of salt-split canine lip and human skin. In five dogs, IgG variably recognized the basement membrane of laminin-332-deficient human skin (three dogs negative, two dogs positive). In all nine dogs, IgG auto-antibodies detected purified human laminin-332 by immunoblotting. In two dogs, additional targeting of collagen VII-NC1 was present. These observations establish laminin-332 as a novel basement membrane antigen in dogs with autoimmune blistering diseases with variable clinical phenotypes. The names 'acquired junctional epidermolysis bullosa', 'anti-laminin-332 mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP)' and 'mixed auto-immune subepidermal blistering dermatosis' are proposed for dogs with clinical signs reminiscent of EBA, MMP or BP respectively.
    Veterinary Dermatology 05/2010; 21(4):345-57. · 2.02 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
440.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • • Division of Dermatology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2013
    • Keck School of Medicine USC
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2002–2013
    • University of Southern California
      • • Department of Dermatology
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2010
    • North Carolina State University
      • Department of Clinical Sciences
      Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 2008
    • ICMS
      Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada
  • 2007
    • VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
      Los Angeles, California, United States