Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Faculty Profiles: CAB

Cancer Biology


Michael H. Antoni, PhD

Michael H. Antoni, PhD

Professor, Psychology
Research Director, Cancer Prevention and Control
mantoni@med.miami.edu


Nagi Ayad, PhD

Nagi Ayad, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
NAyad@med.miami.edu

Our research focuses on cell cycle transitions in the developing nervous system. Our multi-disciplinary approach utilizes whole genome siRNA, cDNA, and small molecule cell-based screens. The latter target kinases, ubiquitin ligases, and epigenetic modulators to design therapies for cancer and neurological diseases.


Glen Barber, PhD

Glen Barber, PhD

Associate Director, Basic Science for SCCC
Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
gbarber@med.miami.edu


Santanu Banerjee, PhD

Santanu Banerjee, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology
santanu.banerjee@med.miami.edu

My laboratory is focused on understanding the role of microbiome in inflammation, under multiple insults of HIV, clinical/recreational use of drugs and opportunistic infections. We are also studying the role of normal and dysbiotic microbiota on host metabolism in health and disease. All these studies are done using appropriate murine models, including NSG-BLT humanized mice.


Sulagna Banerjee, PhD

Sulagna Banerjee, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology
santanu.banerjee@med.miami.edu@med.miami.edu


Julie Barredo, MD

Julio Barredo, MD

Associate Chair of Pediatrics for Basic Research
Director, Children’s Cancer Programs at UM SCCC
Director, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Toppel Family Professor of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
jbarredo@med.miami.edu


Nanette Bishopric, MD

Nanette Bishopric, MD

Director, UM/Florida Heart Research Institute Cardiovascular Genomics Laboratory
Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine and Pediatrics
nbishopric@med.miami.edu


Marzenna Blonska

Marzenna Blonska, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medicine
mblonska@med.miami.edu


Karoline Breigel

Karoline Briegel, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Professor, Cancer Biology
kbriegel@med.miami.edu


Kerry Burnstein, PhD

Kerry Burnstein, PhD

Associate Director for Education and Training
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
kburnstein@med.miami.edu

The Burnstein lab studies steroid hormone / nuclear receptor signaling in prostate cancer and how receptor cross-talk pathways can be targeted therapeutically. In particular, the roles of androgen receptors (wild type, mutant and constitutively active variants) in driving prostate tumor growth and vitamin D receptors in cancer inhibition are longstanding interests. In recent work, we are examining the therapeutic use and mechanisms of a metastasis-suppressing microRNA cluster in prostate cancer.


Xiaodong Cai, PhD

Xiaodong Cai, PhD

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
x.cai@miami.edu


Anthony Capobianco, PhD

Anthony Capobianco, PhD

Professor, Surgery
Director, Molecular Oncology Research Program
tcapobianco@med.miami.edu


Zhibin Chen, PhD

Zhibin Chen, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
zchen@med.miami.edu

My laboratory studies immunological mechanisms and interventions of cancer and diabetes. We build animal models to mimic the genetic and genomic risks of human diseases. We use the in vivo models to examine the cause and effect of disease biology at cellular and molecular levels, identify potential biomarkers for disease progression, and test potential interventions for disease prevention and treatment.


Richard Cote, PhD

Richard Cote, PhD

Chairman, Pathology-Anatomic
Professor, Pathology-Anatomic
rcote@med.miami.edu


Ram Datar, PhD

Ram Datar, PhD

Associate Professor
Co-Director, Nanoscience Program
rdatar@med.miami.edu


Dorraya El-Ashry, PhD

Dorraya El-Ashry, PhD

Associate Professor
del-ashry@med.miami.edu


Amjad Farooq, PhD

Amjad Farooq, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
a.farooq@miami.edu


Elizabeth Franzmann, MD

Elizabeth Franzmann, MD

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology
Director of Research
efranzman@med.miami.edu


Eli Gilboa, PhD

Eli Gilboa, PhD

Co-Leader, Tumor Immunology Research Program
Director, Dodson Interdisciplinary Immunotherapy Institute
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
egilboa@med.miami.edu


James Grichnik, MD, PhD

James Grichnik, MD, PhD

Chief, Frankel Family Division of Melanocytic Tumors
Director, Anna Fund Melanoma Program
Member, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute
Professor, Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery
jgrichnik@med.miami.edu

In the clinic we focus on the use of imaging technologies to increase accuracy of early skin cancer detection.  In the laboratory we are interested in genetic pathways that drive the different types of melanocytic tumors, causes of genomic instability and agents that prevent the transition of melanoma cells between mesenchymal/stem cell and more differentiated and proliferative states.


Abigail Hackam, PhD

Abigail Hackam, PhD

Associate Professor, Ophthalmology
ahackam@med.miami.edu

We study the cellular mechanism of photoreceptor degeneration, the role of inflammation in photoreceptor survival signaling and neuronal-glial interactions and ocular tumor stem cells.


J. William Harbour, MD

J. William Harbour, MD

Director, Ocular Oncology
Mark J. Daily Chair, Ophthalmology
Vice Chairman, Translational Research

harbour@med.miami.edu

Clinical Trials for High Risk Uveal Melanoma and Retinoblastoma, Intraocular Lymphoma, Hereditary Eye Tumors, Ocular Biopsy, Using Genetic and Genomic Methods to Develop New Diagnostic, Prognostic and Therapeutic Technologies for Eye Cancers.


Jennifer Hu, PhD

Jennifer Hu, PhD

Associate Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Public Health
jhu@med.miami.edu

As a trans-disciplinary cancer researcher, Dr. Hu has training in basic sciences and cancer epidemiology. Her research mainly focuses on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of breast cancer etiology and survival disparities as well as implication of DNA repair in precision medicine.


Tan Ince, MD, PhD

Tan Ince, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology
tince@med.miami.edu


Adrian Ishkanian, MD

Adrian Ishkanian, MD

Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
aishjanian@med.miami.edu


Roland Jurecic, PhD

Roland Jurecic, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
rjurecic@med.miami.edu

The research in the lab focuses on: (1) Molecular pathways that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and cancer stem cells, (2) Novel multi-target immunosuppressive approaches to treat immune-mediated Aplastic Anemia and bone marrow failure, (3) Characterization and mitigation of long-term effects of cancer chemotherapy on HSC function, hematopoiesis and immune system function,  (4) Characterization and mitigation of acute and delayed effects of ionizing radiation on the hematopoietic system and HSC function, and (5) Characterization of molecular and cellular pathways regulating emergency hematopoiesis in response to bacterial and viral infections.


Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD

Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD

Pending Rank at Professor, Cell Biology
nkasahara@med.miami.edu


Wasif Khan, PhD

Wasif Khan, PhD

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
wnkhan@med.miami.edu

Our experimental approaches include in vivo experiments using gene-targeted mice, ex vivo analysis of immune cells by flow cytometry, cell adhesion and migration, global gene expression (NGS) and in vitro biochemical analysis of posttranslational modification of signaling proteins. Identification and functional relevance of critical molecules in immunity, autoimmunity and lymphoid malignancies will facilitate the development of next generation of biological and more precise therapeutics.


Mary Lou King, PhD

Mary Lou King, PhD

Professor, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
mking@med.miami.edu


Erin Kobetz-Kerman, PhD

Erin Kobetz-Kerman, PhD

Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences
Director, Disparities and Community Outreach Core Resources
Director, Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity
ekobetz@med.miami.edu


Krishna Komanduri, MD

Krishna Komanduri, MD

Medical Director, Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
kkomanduri@med.miami.edu


Theodore Lampidis, PhD

Theodore Lampidis, PhD

Member, Cancer Center
Professor, Cell Biology & Anatomy
tlampidi@med.miami.edu


Ralf Landgraf, PhD

Ralf Landgraf, PhD

Graduate Program Director, Cancer Biology & Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
rlandgraf@med.miami.edu


Stephen Lee, PhD

Stephen Lee, PhD


Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
stephenlee@med.miami.edu

The laboratory studies mechanisms involved in the cellular adaptation to the adverse environmental conditions commonly found within the tumor microenvironment (hypoxia and extracellular acidosis). These extracellular stimuli alter fundamental cellular pathways by 1) activating an alternate translation apparatus that synthesizes proteins only in the absence of oxygen and 2) inducing a new class of long noncoding RNAs that regulate protein function. Ongoing projects blend basic and translational scientific research from the identification of novel stress-induced long noncoding RNA to discovery of drug as small molecular inhibitors for these essential tumor biology pathways.


Sandra Lemmon, PhD

Sandra Lemmon, PhD

Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
Director, MD/PhD Program
slemmon@med.miami.edu

Membrane Transport: Sorting and regulation of protein traffic in the endocytic and secretory pathways and during Autophagy


Robert Levy, PhD

Robert Levy, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
rlevy@med.miami.edu

My laboratory’s research objective is to understand the biology of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) which are utilized to treat patients with hematologic disorders (ex. leukemia / lymphoma) and enzyme deficiencies.  We employ experimental HSCT models involving defined genetic differences reflecting clinical donors and recipients to study mechanisms underlying the major immunological complication, i.e. graft vs. host disease as well as immune reconstitution and anti-tumor immunity in an effort to develop therapeutic approaches (i.e. Treg cells / IL-2 / epigenetic regulation) to translate into the clinic here at UM/ Sylvester.


Jie Li, MD, PhD

Jie Li, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
j.li@med.miami.edu


Marc Lippman, PhD

Marc Lippman, PhD

Deputy Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Kathleen & Stanley Glaser Professor
mlippman@med.miami.edu

Our lab studies the mechanisms by which macro-environmental influences such as depression, obesity and diabetes modulate the tumor microenvironment via inflammation, immune suppression and cancer associated fibroblasts to alter tumor progression and metastatic behavior. Our studies are done in animal models and in clinical trials.


Zhao-Jun Liu, MD

Zhao-Jun Liu, MD

Associate Professor
zliu@med.miami.edu

I am interested in targeting tumor microenvironment, in particular, stromal fibroblasts and tumor vasculatures, through manipulating Notch signaling.


Diana Lopez, PhD

Diana Lopez, PhD

Director, Undergraduate Program
Professor
d.lopez1@med.miami.edu


Izidore Lossos, MD

Izidore Lossos, MD

Professor, Medicine
Head, Lymphoma Program
ilossos@med.miami.edu


Jaime Merchan, MD

Jaime Merchan, MD

Assistant Professor, Clinical Medicine
jmerchan2@med.miami.edu


Enrique Mesri, PhD

Enrique Mesri, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
emesri@med.miami.edu

Dr. Mesri’s laboratory is currently working on: 1) Identifying the cell progenitor of KS. 2) Novel anti-viral interventions in KS 3) Novel use of a mouse infectious model for a KSHV like virus (MHV-68) to understand in vivo biology 4) Identifying normal genetic polymorphisms that predispose to KS 5) Using next generation sequencing to study KS pathogenesis and response to therapy 6) Study KSHV and HIV oncogenic interactions.


Carlos Moraes, PhD

Carlos Moraes, PhD

Professor, Neurology
cmoraes@med.miami.edu

Our lab studies the molecular basis of mitochondrial defects in metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and in normal aging, using genetically-modified mouse models. Three major funded projects are: 1) Development of genetic therapies for mitochondrial diseases. 2) Development of animal models to study the pathogenesis of mitochondrial disorders. 3) Compensating for a defect in oxidative phosphorylation by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis.


Zafar Nawaz, PhD

Zafar Nawaz, PhD

Associate Research Director, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Senior Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
znawaz@med.miami.edu


Stephen Nimer, MD

Stephen Nimer, MD

Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
snimer@med.miami.edu

Dr. Nimer has spent several decades conducting basic science and clinical research into the genetic basis and treatment of hematological malignancies. His laboratory has been trying to decipher the normal and abnormal regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of genes implicated in hematopoiesis and the biological mechanisms that control the formation of blood cells. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify new critical, cellular mechanism implicated in leukemogenesis and develop molecularly targeted therapies.


Xin-Hai Pei, MD, PhD

Xin-Hai Pei, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
xhpei@med.miami.edu

Dr. Pei’s research is primarily focused on how cell cycle inhibitors control adult stem cells and tumorigenesis in multiple organs.


Victor L Perez Quinones, MD

Victor L Perez Quinones, MD

Professor, Ophthalmology
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Walter G. Ross Chair in Ophthalmic Research
vperez4@med.miami.edu


Alan Pollack, MD, PhD

Alan Pollack, MD, PhD

Professor Radiation Oncology
Chairman, Radiation Oncology
apollack@med.miami.edu


Sanoj Punnen, MD

Sanoj Punnen, MD

Assistant Professor, Urologic Oncology
s.punnen@med.miami.edu


Priyamvada Rai, PhD

Priyamvada Rai, PhD

Assistant Professor
prai@med.miami.edu

Defining physiological roles for oxidative stress and DNA damage in aging and tumorigenesis; cellular senescence; oncogenic transformation and signaling


David Robbins, PhD

David Robbins, PhD

Professor
drobbins@med.miami.edu


Joseph Rosenblatt, MD

Joseph Rosenblatt, MD

Professor, Medicine
Chief, Hematology- Oncology
William J. Harrington Chair in Hematology
jrosenblatt@med.miami.edu


Niramol Savaraj

Niramol Savaraj

Research Professor
nsavaraj@med.miami.edu


Jonathan H. Schatz, M.D.

Jonathan H. Schatz, M.D.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Dept. Medicine Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
jschatz@med.miami.edu


Michael Schmale, PhD

Michael Schmale, PhD

Professor, Marine Biology
m.schmale@miami.edu

My research interests are in marine animal models of disease processes, with an emphasis on cancer. Ongoing research includes: 1) a unique virus-like agent which causes peripheral nervous systems and pigment cell tumors in bicolor damselfish on Florida reefs, 2) vector design and optimization of transgenesis in zebrafish, 3) the effect of toxins from agal blooms using zebrafish and 4) health and husbandry of California sea hares, Aplysia californica, used in neurobiological research.


Noula Shembade, PhD

Noula Shembade, PhD

Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
nshembade@med.miami.edu

Uncontrolled activation of innate immune receptors by the pathogens can cause chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. My laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms of negative regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB activated by the innate immune receptors. Activation of NF-κB is critical to eliminate pathogens and to maintain tissue homeostasis. NF-κB activation needs to be tightly regulated after the danger is eliminated. The ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex tightly regulates NF-κB activation. The mechanisms of the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex activation are not known. Thus, we wish to understand the mechanisms that activate the A20 complex and lead to termination of NF-κB activation and maintenance of tissue homeostasis.


Joyce Slingerland, MD, PhD

Joyce Slingerland, MD, PhD

Associate Director, Translational Research
Director, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute
Professor, Medicine
jslingerland@med.miami.edu

Dr. Slingerland’s research interests include: breast cancer, molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and hormone effects on cell cycle regulation and breast cancer cell growth, breast cancer stem cells as targets for therapy and the role of estrogen receptors in breast cancer.


Ronan T. Swords, MD, PhD, FRCPI, FRCPath

Ronan T. Swords, MD, PhD, FRCPI, FRCPath

Assistant Professor, Medicine
Co-Chair, Clinical Research Services Advisory Committee
Co-Leader, Leukemia/Lymphoma/Myeloma Site Disease Group
Member, Epigenetics Working Group
Member, Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics
Member, Phase I Clinical Trials Program
rswords@med.miami.edu


Marta Torroella-Kouri, PhD

Marta Torroella-Kouri, PhD

Research Associate Professor
mtorroella@med.miami.edu

Chronic inflammation and cancer. The role of macrophages in cancer; impairment in macrophage inflammatory functions as a result of tumor-induced immune suppression; breast cancer in obesity; breast cancer and high fat diets in the absence of obesity: macrophages in breast adipose tissue and their role in breast cancer.


Jonathan Trent, MD, PhD

Jonathan Trent, MD, PhD

Professor, Medicine
Co-Director, Musculoskeletal Center, Sarcoma Medical Research Program
jtrent@med.miami.edu


Francisco Vega-Vazquez, MD, PhD

Francisco Vega-Vazquez, MD, PhD

Director of Hematopathology
Pending Rank at Professor
fvega@med.miami.edu


Ramiro Verdun, PhD

Associate Professor
rverdun@med.miami.edu


Claes Wahlestedt, MD, PhD

Claes Wahlestedt, MD, PhD

Associate Dean, Therapeutic Innovation
Director, Center for Therapeutic Innovation
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
cwahlestedt@med.miami.edu

We study the role of the noncoding RNAs in schizophrenia, the role of microRNA in the mechanisms of drug dependency, regulatory RNA’s as mediators and biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery and development of nociception receptor ligands in alcohol dependence, noncoding RNAsepigenomic modulators in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery of a potent and selective neuropeptide YY2 receptor antagonist probes, and comprehensive analysis of FRM1 locus transcriptional landscape.


Keith Webster, PhD

Keith Webster, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
kwebster@med.miami.edu


Breelyn Wilky, MD

Breelyn Wilky, MD

Assistant Professor, Hematology/Oncology
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
b.wilky@med.miami.edu


Xiang-Xi

Xiang-Xi “Mike” Xu, PhD

Professor
xxu2@med.miami.edu



Juan Young, PhD

Juan Young, PhD

Assistant Professor, Human Genetics
Co-Director, Center for Molecular Genetics, Hussman Institute
jyoung3@med.miami.edu

We focus on epigenetic mechanisms regulating CNS function; mouse models of neurological diseases.


Youssef Zeidan, MD, PhD

Youssef Zeidan, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
yzeidan@miami.edu


Arthur Zelent, PhD

Arthur Zelent, PhD

Research Professor
a.zelent@med.miami.edu


Fangliang Zhang, PhD

Fangliang Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
fzhang2@med.miami.edu

Our lab is one of the less than ten labs in the world with demonstrated expertise working on posttranslational protein arginylation. Our research focuses on the effects of arginylation on cellular behaviors including cell migration and adhesions, stress response, and programmed cell death. We have a strong interest in the relevancy of arginylation in cardiac development and cancer progression. Test models include bacteria, yeast, mammalian cell lines, mouse, and actual human samples.