PEOPLE 2018-11-06T15:52:35+00:00

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Ramin Shiekhattar, Ph.D.

Dr. Shiekhattar is the Director of Cancer Epigenetics Program, Chief of Division of Cancer Genomics & Epigenetics and Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. His laboratory has made a number of seminal discoveries identifying and characterizing important mediators of epigenetic regulation and noncoding RNA processing that contribute to cancer development.

Currently, the laboratory is exploring a class of long noncoding RNAs that arise from enhancer elements and behave similar to transcriptional enhancers. Importantly, the laboratory has pinpointed the RNA polymerase II-associated multiprotein complex, Integrator, as a critical component of the biogenesis machinery for these enhancer RNAs (eRNAs). The laboratory is interested in deciphering the function of Integrator and eRNAs in the context of relevant models of development and disease, using state of the arts genomics and proteomics approaches.

STAFF

Franklin Bouret

Sr. Administrative Assistant

Primary administrative contact for Dr. Ramin Shiekhattar and the Shiekhattar laboratory

Monica Valencia, B.S.

Lab Manager

I am originally from San Salvador. I got my B.S in Microbiology and Immunology from University of Miami. For as long as I can remember I wanted to work in the Genetics field. I enjoy tailgating at the football games, doing Pilates and barre.

GRADUATE STUDENT

Ezra Blumenthal, B.S.

I am an MD/PhD student conducting my thesis research in the laboratory of Ramin Shiekhattar, PhD. In 2010, I received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, graduating with Cum Laude honors. After a two-year IRTA fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration, I joined the University of Miami MSTP. My research focuses on the role of INTS12 and its PHD finger in transcriptional activation and RNA Polymerase II recruitment.

My clinical interests include hematology, medical oncology, and pathology. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my wife, cat, and dog.

GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY FELLOW

John Thomas Siemon, M.D.

I am currently a Gynecologic Oncology Fellow at the University of Miami – Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am investigating phosphatase inhibitors in serous ovarian cancer through a T32 NIH grant. I received my BS in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. I then attended medical school at Drexel University College of Medicine, and completed Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami in 2018.
My research interests include low-grade and high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma, phosphatase inhibitors, and targeted therapies. My clinical interests include minimally invasive and robotic surgery and clinical trials. Outside of work, I enjoy sailing, skiing, hockey, football, seasonal beers, and craft cocktails.

Supervisor, Research Laboratory

Gabriel Gaidosh, M.S.

I received my Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami.  I have always had a passion for developing novel labeling and imaging techniques.   I look forward to working with super resolution microscopy specifically STORM(Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy) to resolve cellular structures previously unsolvable.   When not at work, I enjoy spending my time attending CrossFit classes, traveling, and eating delicious food.

Research Associate 2

Omar Lopez, M.S.

I received my BS and MS in Chemistry from the Moscow MV Lomonosov State University, Russia. My work at Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Havana, Cuba included actively managing cancer research projects focused on molecular and cellular biology of the IFN system, understanding the mechanisms of HPVs cell transformation and the link between oncogenes and tumor angiogenesis. In 2009, I joined the Sylvester Cancer Center as research associate working in breast cancer, diabetes and leukemia research.

When I am not in the lab, I enjoy spending my time with my family gardening, exercising and traveling to fun places.

ASSOCIATE SCIENTIST

Jingyin Yue, Ph.D.

I am Tianjin, China. I obtained my Ph.D. from Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences-UMDNJ/Rutgers in 2012. I am focusing on unveiling the essential role of Integrator complex in mediating signal transduction pathways with next‐generation sequencing as one of the primary techniques. Integrator is recruited to both enhancer loci and promoters of genes which is required for stimuli-dependent gene activation.

I am also interested in characterizing and developing small molecular compounds targeting Integrator and other key players involved in RNA processing and establishing mechanism-based cancer therapeutic strategies. Another thing to do is to enjoy the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless State.

ASSISTANT SCIENTISTS

Felipe Beckedorff, Ph.D.

I obtained my Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of São Paulo in 2012. My previous postdoc I was studying the functions of lncRNAs in prostate cancer. In Ramin Shiekhattar’s lab I am using experimental (NGS) and computational technologies to determine the molecular mechanisms how Integrator leads the modulation of pause RNA PolII to a productive transcriptional elongation RNA PolII.

Also, I am interested to understand the roles of Integrator in the regulation of ncRNAs. Outside of the lab, I like to spending time with my family, enjoy the nice beaches in Miami.

Raghu Edupuganti, Ph.D.

I am an assistant scientist conducting research on enhancer RNAs in Shiekhattar’s lab. I was born and brought up in Andhra Pradesh, India. I conducted my doctoral research in molecular biology at Central Drug Research Institute in India. My postdoctoral studies mainly focused on embryonic stem cell pluripotency factors, mRNA modifications in health and disease. My current research interest is finding enhancer RNA functions in cancer biology.

When not at work, I enjoy reading, walking and biking.

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWS

Pradeep Kumar Reddy Cingaram, Ph.D.

I’m from Savaigudem, a small town in South India. I completed my masters in Biochemistry from the University of Hyderabad, India and further pursued my PhD from the University of Szeged, Hungary. I’m currently pursuing my postdoc since October, 2016. My current research includes study of the role of Integrator complexes in dynamic chromatin interactions across the entire genome using the genome-wide 3C analysis method (Hi-C) and also studying the role of integrator complexes in gene regulation through epigenetic modifications.

My go to destress method is salsa dance and I have been dancing for 5years now. I also hit the gym once in a while.

Helena Gomes dos Santos, Ph.D.

I received my PhD in Molecular Biosciences (Structural Bioinformatics) by the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, where I also got a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Biophysics. Between 2014 and 2016 I was a postdoctoral researcher at Florida International University studying the evolutionary dynamics of protein structures of important cancer targets. At the SCCC, I am using/developing in silico tools to study the structural dynamics and interactions of Integrator and other molecules ­to elucidate the mechanisms of the (de)regulation in the cells. I am using those results for the rational drug design of new cancer therapies for bypassing chemotherapeutic resistance.

When I am not doing research, I enjoy Miami outdoors activities such as kayaking, volleyball and scuba diving.

Lucas Ferreira da Silva, Ph.D.

I’m a Brazilian Bioinformatician mining epigenetic signals and patterns in order to understand the  cancer and normal cells transcriptional activity.  I have integrated machine learning approaches and   next-generation sequence (NGS) data to extract relevant biological information. While not in lab, I enjoy digital painting, music, technology and wines.

Mina (Masoumeh) Tayari, Ph.D.

In 2016, I received my Ph.D from the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands, where I studied the role of long non-coding RNAs in B-cell lymphoma. I have had a long-standing interest in the exciting field of RNA biology, genetics and epigenetics in hematologic malignancies. Between 2016 and 2018 I was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern university, Feinberg school of medicine, studying the role of UTX (KDM6A) in T-ALL. With a background in B cell lymphoma, T-ALL, I really look forward to expanding my knowledge in the field of AML. My current project focuses on therapeutic potential of LSD1 (KDM1A) in AML. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling and exploring different cultures and languages, staying active via swimming, running, bicycling or going on walks! and spending time with friends and family.

Nina Kirstein, Ph.D.

In 2017, I obtained a conjoint PhD of both the University of Montpellier (France) and the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (Germany). I  investigated the role of chromatin in regulation of DNA replication by combining functional and genome-wide approaches. Using my chromatin-related background, I now study Integrator functions in multiple models. Outside the lab I spend time with friends and enjoy the nice Miami weather!

Arigela Harikumar, Ph.D.

I received my PhD in Genetics from Hebrew University (Israel) under the supervision of Prof. Eran Meshorer, where I focused on the role of SET during embryonic stem cell differentiation. In Dr. Shiekhattar’s lab my research focuses on understanding the role of oncogenic eRNAs in melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Concomitantly I am also interested in eRNA based therapeutic strategies. When not in the lab I like playing cricket, watching discovery channel and movies.

SCIENTIFIC EDITOR

Lucia Speroni, Ph.D.

I dedicated many years to the study of tumor development and obtained my Ph.D. in 2008 in Argentina. I then decided that to understand disease we should first know more about how tissues form. During my postdoc at Tufts University in Boston I studied how single cells form tissues and how this process can be altered by exposure to hormonally-active chemicals like Bisphenol-A.

I am the scientific writer in the team and enjoy writing and editing the lab’s papers. When I am not writing scientific papers or articles on marine conservation, I spend my time scuba diving, kitesurfing, volunteering to clean the beach from debris and raising awareness about the problems of plastic pollution in the environment.

FORMER LAB MEMBERS

Teodora Gueorguieva, M.S. – Project Portfolio Manager

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Anda Zhang, Ph.D. – Technical Manager

Source Molecular Corporation

Sahra Borges, Ph.D.

Jenaro Garcia-Huidobro, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor

Center for Medical Research, University of Talca School of Medicine, Avenida Lircay S/N, Talca, Chile

Fan Lai, Ph.D. – Sr. Research Scientist
Ionis Pharmaceuticals

Chiara Pastori, Ph.D. – Assistant Scientist
University of Miami, Neuroscience

Alessandro Gardini, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor
Wistar Institute

Ulf Andersson Ørom, Ph.D. – Professor
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Belin, Germany

ildem Akerman, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Hospital Clinic, Barcelona

Derly Acevedo, Ph.D.
West Chester University, Department of Biology

David Baillat, Ph.D., – Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
University of Texas, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Orr G. Barak, M.D., Ph.D.
Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners

Daniel Bochar, Ph.D., – Lead Scientist, Molecular Screening at Cayman Chemical
University of Michigan Medical School

Matteo Cesaroni, Ph.D. – Senior scientist
Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Richard I. Gregory, Ph.D. – Professor
Boston Children’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School 

Min Gyu Lee, Ph.D. –  Associate Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Mohamed-ali Hakimi –  Research Director
National French Health Institute

Easwari Kumaraswamy, Ph.D. –  Research Assistant Professor
University of Kansas Medical Center

Kunchithapadam Swaminathan, Ph.D. –  Associate Professor
National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences

Clément CARRÉ, Ph.D –  Associate Professor
Drosophila Genetics and Epigenetics Institut de Biologie Paris

Lihua Marmorstein, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Oct 98-May 99).
Present: Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic.

Alexander Kinev, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Oct 98-Oct 2001).
Present: President and CEO, Creative Science INC.

Hideo Beniya, Ph.D. Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (July 99-June 2001).
Present: Returned to Japan.

Yuanshu Dong, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral fellow (June 2001-Oct 2003).
Present: Assistant Professor, Indiana University.

Amuthan Govindasamy, Ph.D. Staff Scientist (Oct 2002-Dec 2004).
Present: Assistant Professor at Singapore University

Jessica Norman, Pre-doctoral fellow (Jan 2002-2006).
Present: Postdoctroal Fellow.

Christopher Wynder, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Oct 2003- Sept 2006).
Present: Assistant Professor, Departament of Biochemistry and Biomedical Science, McMaster University.

Tim Chendrimada, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Oct 2003-Aug 2006).
Present: Staff Scientist, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Behzad Doratotaj, M.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Feb 2004-Dec 2004).
Present: Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU, Department of Medicine.

Kaiping Yan, Ph.D. Research fellow (Feb 2004-June 2011).
Present: Professor, Schulich Medicine and Dentistry.

Frederic Tort, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Oct 2006-Sept 2009).
Present: Staff Scientist, Barcelona Spain

Laurel Weill, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow (Jan 2007-Aug 2009).
Present: Visiting Scientist, Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona

Klaus Forschegger, Ph.D. Postdoctroal fellow (March 2007-Sept 2009).

Malte Beringer, Ph.D. Postdoctral fellow (June 2008-Aug 2011).
Senior Scientist, Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona.

Dimitra Saviolaki, Graduate student (Sept 2008-Dec 2011).
Data Entry Operator, Greece.

Swaminathan Kunchithapadam, Associate Professor (March 2012-March 2013).
Present: Associate Professor, Department of Biological Science National University of Singapore

Laine Heidman, Graduate Student (May 2015- Oct 2015)