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Scientists and Laboratories

 

Robert Korngold, PhD

Chairman and Senior Scientist

John Theurer Cancer Center

Department of Research

Specialization:Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

 

David Schwartz, MD, PhD

Senior Scientist - Department of Research

Specialization:  Cellular immunology

 

Liancai Mu, MD, PhD

Senior Scientist - Department of Research

Specialization: Otolaryngology; Neuroscience

 

Stacy Zamudio, PhD

Senior Scientist - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Maternal and Fetal Medicine

Specialization: Placental hypoxia; Molecular medicine

 

Thea Friedman, PhD

Associate Scientist- John Theurer Cancer Center

Specialization: Blood and marrow stem cell transplantation

 

Daniel Sepkovic, PhD

Associate Scientist - Department of Research

Specialization:Endocrinology

 

Sujatha Iyengar, PhD

Assistant Scientist - Department of Research

Specialization:  Cellular immunology

 

K. Stephen Suh

Assistant Scientist

Director of Genomics and Biomarker Program

John Theurer Cancer Center

Specialization: Biomarkers for personalized medicine

 

Ahmed Abdel-Razek, MD

Assistant Scientist - Department of Surgery/ Cardiothoracic Surgery

Specialization: Cardiac and thoracic surgery research

 

Jenny Zilberberg, PhD

Instructor - John Theurer Cancer Center

Specialization:Cellular immunotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

 

 

 

Robert Korngold, Ph.D.

 

Appointments:

  1. Chairman, Department of Research, Hackensack University Medical Center
  2. Chief, Division of Basic Research, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center
  3. Senior Scientist, The David & Alice Jurist Research Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests: Cellular immunology, T cell subsets, hematopoietic cell transplantation, graft-versus-host disease, minor histocompatibility antigens, graft-versus-tumor responses.

Memberships:American Association of Immunologists, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (Executive Board), American Association of Cancer Research

Robert Korngold, Ph.D., specializes in basic science and translational research in the field of hematopoietic cell transplantation. In 1979, he demonstrated that transplanted T cells from donor bone marrow can cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) directed to minor histocompatibility antigens. Since then he has devoted his career to delving into the mechanisms for development of GVHD and refining the hematopoietic  cell transplantation process. Dr. Korngold is Editor-in-Chief of Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantationand has published over 145 manuscripts on his research in several prestigious medical journals. His research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and since 1988, he has been a peer reviewer and member of several subcommittees and study sections for the NIH.

 Education:

  1. M.S., Zoology, Rutgers University Graduate School
  2. Ph.D., Immunology, University of Pennsylvania
  3. Post-Doctoral Fellowship: The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia

Laboratory Members:

  1.  Jenny Zilberberg, Ph.D.- Instructor
  2.  Stacey Fanning, Ph. D.- Postdoctoral fellow
  3.  Jennifer Matos, Ph.D.- Postdoctoral fellow

Recent Publications: 

Zilberberg J, Friedman TM, Dranoff G, Korngold R. Treatment with GM-CSF secreting myeloid leukemia cell vaccine prior to autologous-BMT improves the survival of leukemia challenged mice. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 17:330-340,2011

Toubai T, Tawara I, Sun Y, Liu C, Nieves E, Evers R, Friedman TM, Korngold R, Reddy P: Induction of acute graft-versus-host disease by sex-mismatched H-Y antigens in the absence of functional radio-sensitive host hematopoietic-derived antigen presenting cells. Blood, 2011 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]

 

David Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D.

 

Appointments:

  1. Senior Scientist, The David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests: Cellular Immunology, viral patho-etiology and vaccine development, FDC-PET scanning, HIV vaccine immunogenicity, pharmacologic manipulation of cytoskeleton.

Memberships:

Member, NIH NIAID Special Review Panel for the Martin Delaney Collaboratory: "Towards an HIV-1 Cure" April 4 - 6, 2011 

My lab is interested in cellular immunity, particularly as it relates to viruses and antiviral vaccines.  Our approach is to take fundamental observations about the workings of the immune system and relate them to viral patho-etiology and vaccine development.  Currently, we are exploring the role of normal B cells as highly efficient presenters of HIV to susceptible T cells in various stages of disease—particularly during the hyperacute stage infection.  Preliminary in vitro results suggest uninfected B cells are the dominant mode of cell mediated transmission during this crucial initial period prior to seroconversion.  

A second main thrust of our research is the use of FDG - PET scanning to generate real-time, quantitative metabolic images of the anatomically localized immune response to viral infections and vaccinations.  We have already demonstrated the utility of this technique in predicting experimental HIV vaccine immunogenicity.  Currently, we are pursuing this approach to analyze the cellular immune response to influenza vaccines in various healthy and at-risk populations.  Future research will continue to merge basic insights on cellular immunity (such as asymmetric lymphocyte activation) with their implications for pathogen-host cell interactions

Education:

  1. B.A.  Biology, Harvard University, Boston, MA
  2. M.D., PhD. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Laboratory Members:

  1. Caixin Zhang

Recent Publications:

Potentiation of EBV-induced B Cell transformation by CXCR4-tropic, but not CCR5-tropic, HIV gp120: implications for HIV-associated lymphomagenesis. Iyengar SSchwartz DHAIDS Res Hum Retroviruses.2011 May;27(5):519-23

 

 

Liancai Mu, M.D., Ph.D.

 

Appointments:

  1. Senior Scientist,The David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center
  2. Adjunct Associate Professor,Department of Otolaryngology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.

Research Interests: Neuroanatomy, neurobiology, immunocytochemistry, and electrophysiology of the human pharynx, larynx and tongue; mechanisms of neurogenic dysphagia, obstructive sleep apnea, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); and development of novel therapies to treat muscle paralysis, sleep apnea, dysphagia, and movement disorders.

Memberships:

Dr. Mu has published over 60 scientific articles in several prestigious medical journals. His research has been funded by several R01 grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health. He is the editorial board members for Surgical Science and Scientific World Journal – Otolaryngology. Dr. Mu serves as an independent reviewer for a number of scientific journals including Laryngoscope, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Surgical Science, Dysphagia, Muscle & Nerve, Biotechnic & Histochemistry, Integrative and Comparative Biology, Journal of Neurophysiology, and Journal of Applied Physiology.

Dr. Liancai Mu specializes in basic science research on the neuroanatomy and physiology of the pharynx, larynx and tongue, as well as translational research on muscle reinnervation, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep apnea. He strives to advance the knowledge and treatment of upper airway disorders through research. More recently, Dr. Mu developed a new technique for muscle reinnervation to treat muscle paralysis. This research project has been funded by the NIDCD. His recent work has demonstrated that the human pharyngeal muscles are divided into two distinct and specialized fiber layers: a slow inner layer (SIL) innervated by the glossopharyngeal (IX) nerve and a fast outer layer (FOL) innervated by the vagus (X) nerve. From these new findings, Dr. Mu proposed for the first time that the motor tasks that occur in the human pharynx are controlled by two neuromuscular sets, the SIL of nerve IX (IX-SIL) and the FOL of nerve X (X-FOL). The IX-SIL appears to be well adapted for respiration and speech, whereas the X-FOL facilitates swallowing.  Dr. Mu’s current research focuses on clarifying whether the two neuromuscular sets in the pharynx could be selectively affected by different upper airway motor disorders. 

Education:

  1. M.D., in Medicine; M.S. and
  2. Ph.D. in Otolaryngology, China Medical University
  3. Post-Doctoral Fellowships: Research fellowship at the Institute of Electrophysiology, China Medical University; World Health Organization (WHO) Scholarship, Sahlgren’s Hospital, University of Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden; Mount Sinai School of Medicine 

Laboratory Members:

  1. Stanislaw Sobotka, Ph.D.
  2. Jingming Chen, M.D.
  3. Hungxi Su, M.D.
  4. Weizhen Ye, M.D., Ph.D.

 Recent  Publications:

  1. Mu L, Sobotka S, Su H. Nerve-Muscle-Endplate band grafting: A New Technique for muscle Reinnervation. Neurosurgery 69:208-224, 2011
  2. Zhang X, Mu L, Su H, Sobotka S.Locations of the motor endplate band and motoneurons innervating the sternomastoid muscle in the rat. Anat Rec 294:295-304, 2011.
  3. Sobotka S,Mu L. Force characteristics of the rat sternomastoid muscle reinnervated with end-to-end nerve repair. J Biomed Biotechnol (in press), 2011.

 

Thea Friedman, Ph.D

 

Appointments:

  1.  Director of Research Laboratory Services, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center
  2.  Associate Scientist, Research Division, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center
  3.  Associate Scientist, The David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests:transplantation immunology, cellular biology, T cell subsets, hematopoietic cell transplantation, T cell repertoire reconstitution and complexity, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), graft-versus-leukemia effects

Honors/Awards:National Institutes of Health-NRSA postdoctoral fellowships.

Amy Strelzer Manasevit Scholar – Marrow Foundation and the National Marrow Donor Program

Memberships:

American Society of Hematology, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, American Association of Immunologists, American Association for Cancer Research.  Former member of Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section, NIH

Thea M. Friedman, Ph.D., specializes in basic science and translational research in the field of hematopoietic cell transplantation. For most of her career, Dr. Friedman’s research has been concentrated on how to reduce the incidence and severity of graft-versus-host disease in hematological malignancy patients who receive transplantation of donated hematopoietic cells, and how to enhance the ability of the transplanted cells to fight infection and the malignancy itself. She uses the V-beta spectratyping technique to identify donor T cells that may cause graft-versus-host disease after engraftment, and those that may mount responses to residual malignant cells. Dr. Friedman’s research is funded by a National Institutes of Health grant and her work has been published in numerous medical journals, including Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, The Journal of Clinical Investigations, Journal of Immunology and Blood. She is on the editorial board for Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and she is an ad hoc reviewer for The Journal of Immunology and Blood.

Education:

  1. Ph.D., Cell Biology, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Postdoctoral Fellowships: The Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia

Laboratory Members:

  1. Stacey Fanning, Ph. D.- Post-doc
  2. Jennifer Matos, Ph.D.- Post-doc

Recent Publications:

Zilberberg J, Friedman TM, Dranoff G, Korngold R.Treatment with GM-CSF secreting myeloid leukemia cell vaccine prior to autologous-BMT improves the survival of leukemia challenged mice. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 17:330-340,2011.

 Toubai T, Tawara I, Sun Y, Liu C, Nieves E, Evers R, Friedman TM, Korngold R, Reddy P: Induction of acute graft-versus-host disease by sex-mismatched H-Y antigens in the absence of functional radio-sensitive host hematopoietic-derived antigen presenting cells. Blood, 2011 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Daniel Sepkovic, PhD

 

Appointments:

  1.  Associate Scientist, The David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research
  2. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, New Jersey School of Medicine, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ.

Research Interests:Estrogen metabolism, estrogen-dependent cancers, the prevention or delay of onset of hormonal cancers, adaptation of preventive HPV vaccines for therapeutic use.

Memberships:

American Association for Cancer Research; New York Academy of Sciences

Dr. Daniel W. Sepkovic has been conducting research into endocrinology and estrogen-dependent cancers for more than 20 years. He has taught biology and chemistry at a number of medical schools and colleges, including the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Bronx Community College, and Lehman College’s Nursing Program at Metropolitan Hospital, Manhattan. Dr. Sepkovic’s research has been published in many leading medical journals, including EpidemiologyGynecologic Oncology, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In May of 2008, Dr Sepkovic was an invited Speaker at the 136th Advanced course on Steroid Enzymes and Cancer sponsored by the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture.  The meeting took place in Erice, Sicily.  The presentation was published as a chapter in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  Dr. Sepkovic’s research is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Education:

  1. M.S., Cell Biology, Fordham University, NY
  2. Ph.D., Biology, Fordham University, NY
  3. Post-Doctoral Fellowships:  Research fellowship at the American Health Foundation, Valhalla, N.Y.; teaching fellowship at Fordham University; Alton Jones Foundation Fellowship

Laboratory Members:

Barbara Ksieski

Recent Publications:

Rajoria S, Suriano R, Parmar PS, Wilson YL, MegwaluU,Moscatello A, Bradlow HL Sepkovic DW, Geliebter J, Schantz SP, Tiwari RK. 3,3’-diindolylmethane (DIM) modulates estrogen metabolism in patients with thyroid proliferative disease: A pilot study.  Thyroid (Epub ahead of print)), 2011 Vol. 21, No. 3: 299-304

Sepkovic DW,Stein J, Carlisle AD, Ksieski HB , Auborn K , Raucci L , Nyirenda T , Bradlow HL. Results from a dose response study using 3, 3'-diindolylmethane in the K14-HPV16 mouse model: Cervical histology and Urinary Estrogen metabolites Cancer Prev Res 4(6): 890-896, 2011. 

Bradlow HL, SepkovicDW, Telang N, Tiwari R. Adipocyte-derived factor as a modulator of oxidative estrogen metabolism: implications for obesity and estrogen-dependent breast cancer.  In Vivo. 2011 Jul-Aug;25(4):585-8

 Persky V, Piorkowski J, Turyk M, Freels S, Chatterton R Jr, Dimos J, Bradlow HL, Chary LK, Burse V, Unterman T, SepkovicD, McCann K. Associations of polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and endogenous hormones with diabetes in post-menopausal women previously employed at a capacitor manufacturing plant.Environ Res. 2011 Aug;111(6):817-24.

 

Sujatha Iyengar, PhD

Appointments:

  1.  Associate Scientist,The David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests:

In vitro modeling of pathogen-host cell interactions; PET imaging of host immune responses; pharmacologic manipulation of cytoskeleton

I am interested in human cell culture modeling of host-pathogen interactions.  Current projects include a dissection of cellular transmission kinetics of HIV.   One project deals with mechanisms by which HIV can distinguish, and avoid entry into, activated CD4+ T cells programmed for apoptosis.  Related projects seek to 1) define the role of uninfected B cells in the transmission of HIV to susceptible cells; 2) define innate resistance mechanisms observed in primary in vitro HIV challenge assays.  We are also about to set up novel primary epithelial cell models of HIV and Influenza transmission with the goal of assessing several small molecule inhibitors with excellent safety records.  Our longer term objective is the development of these molecules for clinical use to prevent transmission of HIV, influenza, and other respiratory pathogens and STDs.  Future interests relate to immunosenescence as it affects protective antiviral and harmful (autoimmune) responses.  In particular, we are interested in the role of particular microRNAs as “master switch” modulators of inflammation and specific T effector vs. suppressor function, as well as B cell affinity maturation. 

Education:

  1. B.S. and M.S., Bangalore University, Bangalore, India
  2. Ph.D., Microbiology, Georgetown University

Laboratory Members:

  1. Caixin Zhang

Recent Publications:

Potentiation of EBV-induced B Cell transformation by CXCR4-tropic, but not CCR5-tropic, HIV gp120: implications for HIV-associated lymphomagenesis. Iyengar SSchwartz DHAIDS Res Hum Retroviruses.2011 May;27(5):519-23

 

K. Stephen Suh, Ph.D.

Appointments:

  1. Director, Genomics and Biomarkers Program,  John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center
  2. Assistant Scientist, The David & Alice Jurist Research Institute for Research, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests:

Biomarker Discovery and Validation, Skin Biology, Chloride Ion Channels, Carcinogenesis, Knowledge Environment Bioinformatics, Tumor Modeling in Animals, Personalized Therapy, 3D tissue Culture and Engineering, Assay Development, Biosensor, Biobank, Biospecimen Research

Memberships:

American Association of Cancer Research, Lymphoma Research Foundation, New Jersey Technology Council,

 K. Stephen Suh, Ph.D., specializes in molecular and cell biology and translational science in the field of cancer biomarkers and personalized medicine.  His biomarker research at HUMC includes bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics and tissueomics approaches to identify clinically relevant biomarkers.  Dr. Suh’s current interest is on discovering early detection biomarkers for multiple human cancer types and development of biomarker-based assays for patient selection process prior to receiving the therapeutic treatment.  His research topics cover lymphomas and solid tumors such as ovarian, breast and skin/melanoma.  His work expands to personalized drug screening via stem-cell driven 3-dimensional tissue culture and pico-range biosensor development.  He advises on scientific matters of biobanking and biospecimen research. Dr. Suh received multiple awards from American Association of Cancer Research, Aspen Cancer Conference, MD Anderson Cancer Center, National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute and the Society for Investigative Dermatology.  He serves on editorial board for multiple scientific journals and shares his work and expertise through university lecture, oral presentations at conferences, press releases and peer reviewed publications.  He is  a scientific advisor for industry partners and a board member of the New Jersey EDA/CCIT.  He collaborates with national and international scientists from academia and industry to achieve personalized therapies that will bring extraordinary clinical impact to patient care.  His research is funded by various regional and national foundations. 

Education:

  1. B.A. Cornell College
  2. M.S and Ph.D., Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Texas
  3. Cancer Research Training Award/Post-Doctoral Fellowship: The National Cancer Institute

Tissue Bank and Research Laboratory Members:

  1. Tania Zielonka, Tissue Procurement Coordinator
  2. Ushma Jag, Senior Technician
  3. Yvonne Remache, Lead Medical Technologist
  4. Jordan Lu, Medical Technologist
  5. Rajendra Gharbaran, PhD., Postdoctoral fellow
  6. Sreeja Sarojini, PhD., Postdoctoral Scientist
  7. Cooper Walland, Graduate Student

Recent  Publications: 

 Mann A., Bhavane R., Somasunderam A., Montalvo-Ortiz B.L., Ghaghada K.B., Volk D., Suh K.S., Ferrari M., Annapragada A., Gorenstein D.G., Tanaka T.,   Thioaptamer Conjugated Liposomes for Tumor Vasculature Targeting, OncoTarget, 2011; 2(4): 298-304.

Blake P., Decker D., Glennon T., Losko S., Navin N., Liang M, Suh K.S., Toward an integrated knowledge environment to support modern oncology, The Cancer Journal, 2011; 17(4): 257-263.

Caicedo-Carvajal C., Liu Q., Goy A. and Suh K.S., Cancer Tissue Engineering: A novel 3D polystyrene scaffold for in vitro isolation and amplification of lymphoma cancer cells from heterogeneous cell mixtures, J Tissue Eng. 2011;2011:362326.

 

Suh K. S.and Tanaka T., Nanomedicine in Cancer, Translational Medicine, in press.

 

Ahmed Abdel-Razek, M.D.

Appointments:

  1. Assistant Scientist, Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Research Interests:

Inflammatory biomarkers, blood conservation in cardiac surgery, atrial fibrillation, pathogenesis of aortic and mitral valve diseases; role of connective tissue disorders (Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes) in the pathogenesis of aortic aneurysms; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; small cell lung cancer and thoracic oncology.

Education:

Doctorate of Medicine (M.B., B.CH),Cairo University Faculty of Medicine, Kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo, Egypt

Publications :

 Abdel-Razek A, Lee L, Tozzi R. HCM in a young adult with RV aneurysm: Report of a rare finding and Review of the Literature. Heart Views Journal, Jul-Sep: 2011 issue.

 

 

Jenny Zilberberg, Ph.D.

Appointments:

  1. Instructor, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center

Research Interests

Murine hematopoietic stem cell transplantation models for graft-versus-tumor (GVT) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). New therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome of  patients receiving HSCT.

Memberships:

American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Jenny Zilberberg received her Ph.D. in bioengineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. After conducting research on engineering approaches to model biological systems, Dr. Zilberberg joined Dr. Korngold's group in 2004 in order to focus her scientific efforts towards the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of hematological cancers and its management related complications. In particular, Dr. Zilberberg's current scientific undertake focuses on GVHD which still remains one of the main complications associated with HSCT, a well accepted  and important treatment for a number of malignancies such as leukemias, lymphomas and advanced solid tumors. In close collaboration with Dr. Korngold and Dr. Friedman she has been investigating ways to improve the anti-tumor effects of donor T cells  while minimizing the damage that they can inflict to the patient’s organs (the hallmark of GVHD). 

Education:

  1. B.S., Chemical Engineering, Universidad Simon Bolivar
  2. M.S., Bioengineering, The Pennsylvania State University
  3. Ph.D., Bioengineering, The Pennsylvania State University
  4. Post-Doctoral Fellowship: The Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University and The Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Robert Korngold
  5. Post-Doctoral Fellowship: The Institute for Medicine and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, under the supervision of Peter F. Davies

 Honors and Awards:

-Postdoctoral Trainee, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Cancer Immunology Training Program, Kimmel Cancer Center

-Graduate Student Research Award, Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting 2000, Seattle, WA

-Pre-doctoral Fellowship, The American Heart Association, Pennsylvania-Delaware Affiliation, 07/00-06/01

Laboratory Members:

Eugenia Dziopa

Recent Publications:

Zilberberg J, Friedman TM, Dranoff G, Korngold R.Treatment with GM-CSF secreting myeloid leukemia cell vaccine prior to autologous-BMT improves the survival of leukemia challenged mice. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 17:330-340, 2011.

 
 
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