Associated Researchers

Associated Researchers

Research Areas

  • Oncology
  • Folate Metabolism
  • New Drug Development
  • Mechanisms of Drug Resistance

Joseph Bertino, M.D. (Chief Scientific Officer, Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Cancer Pharmacology and Preclinical Therapeutics Program)
Since coming to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2002, Dr. Bertino has collaborated with top experts in the field to help develop the latest generation of cancer treatments. He has had a special research interest in developing new drugs and understanding why drugs work or don’t work, and Dr. Bertino is currently exploring new treatments for T- Cell lymphoma. By having the resources available that can only be found at a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, his team is able to translate these research findings and directly to patient therapies.

Research Areas

  • Isolation and Analysis of Organic Analytes from Biological Matrices
  • In-vitro Models of In-vivo Metabolisim and Bioavailability
  • Targeted Metabolomic Profiling

Brian Buckley, Ph.D. (Executive Director of the Analytical Chemistry Core Laboratory, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute)
The EOHSI Analytical Chemistry Core Laboratory is a state-of-the-art chromatographic small molecule and inorganic/organometalic mass spectrometric facility designed to support University investigators and collaborators with methods development for assays of xenobiotic molecules or their metabolites. The Analytical Chemistry Core Laboratory specializes in the development and evaluation of novel analytical methodologies which may be applied to current and future projects. Dr. Buckley provides expert consultation on sample collection and analysis, quality assurance, data interpretation, instrument acquisition, and sample preparation and experimental design.

Research Areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Proteomics
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Oncology

Stephen K. Burley, M.D., D.Phil. (Director, Center for Integrative Proteomics Research; Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology)
Dr. Burley is an expert in structural biology and proteomics, structure/fragment-based drug discovery, and clinical medicine/oncology.  From 2008 to 2012, Dr. Burley was a Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar in Lilly Research Laboratories.  Prior to joining Lilly, he served as the Chief Scientific Officer of SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company that was acquired by Lilly in 2008.  Until 2002, Dr. Burley was the Richard M. and Isabel P. Furlaud Professor at The Rockefeller University, and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in the joint Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program and, as a Rhodes Scholar, received a D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University.

Research Areas

  • Pancreatic, Liver & other Cancers
  • Whipple Surgery
  • Radioembolization of Liver Tumors
  • Regional Liver Chemotherapy

Darren Carpizo, M.D., Ph.D. (Surgical Oncologist, Cancer Institute of New Jersey)
Dr. Carpizo joined The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2008 after completing a fellowship in surgical oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he received specialized training in the surgical management of hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancers.  During his surgical residency at the UCLA Medical Center, he completed a PhD in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology through UCLA’s STAR program (Specialized Training in Advanced Research).  He has more recently conducted collaborative research on p53 in the laboratories of Arnold Levine.

Research Areas

  • Autism
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Davide Comoletti, DVM, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Neuroscience and Cell Biology; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Dr. Comoletti's laboratory studies the structural and molecular basis of synapse formation and connectivity. They focus on the atomic structure and cellular functions of trans-synaptic adhesion molecules such as neuroligins, neurexins, LRRTMs, and their complexes. They use structural biology and molecular neuroscience tools to gain insights into how mutations of these proteins associate with autism and other common neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research Areas

  • Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria

Joel S. Freundlich, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology; Department of Medicine; Center for Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens)
Dr. Freundlich spent ten years in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry, contributing to multiple IND submissions before moving to the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M University as a senior scientist.  His laboratory studies pathogen-host interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agents of tuberculosis and malaria.  The Freundlich lab seeks to leverage chemical techniques to study essential pathogen biology and the host immune response, to identify and validate biological targets and to seed the development of novel therapeutics.

Research Areas

  • Structure-Based Drug Design
  • Applied Molecular Dynamics
  • Drug Resistance Mechanisms

John E. Kerrigan, Ph.D. (Associate Director of Biomedical Informatics, Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Cancer Pharmacology and Preclinical Therapeutics Program)
Dr. Kerrigan supports the chemical informatics research arm led by Dr. Welsh of the Biomedical Informatics shared resource at CINJ. Over the years he has supported molecular modeling studies in drug discovery (molecular dynamics simulation, binding free energies; in silico screening, SAR, etc.), biophysical studies of proteins and nucleic acids and peptide design. In the area of cancer research in recent years he has supported projects covering kinase inhibitors of mTOR (Zheng); Topoisomerase I and II (Liu and LaVoie); G-quadruplex binders (LaVoie); Dihydrofolate Reductase (Bertino); NAD Kinase (Bertino); p53 (Scotto) and others. In his ‘day job’ as Director of IST for CINJ, he has more recently been involved in the management of the electronic health record at CINJ and working on regulatory issues that involve patient health information, meaningful use of EHR’s and human subjects research.

Research Areas

  • Autophagy
  • Mitochondrial Biology and Mitophagy
  • Cellular Energetics
  • Metabolic Diseases
  • Cancer
  • Mouse Genetic Models

Shengkan (Victor) Jin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Studies from Dr. Jin's laboratory have helped determine the role of autophagy in a number of physiological processes and human diseases. They showed that mice with monoallelic deletion of an essential autophagy gene, beclin1, have increased cancer rates. Part of the laboratory is working on the mechanism by which autophagy defect causes cancer and how autophagy modification in cancer cells would affect cancer prognosis and cancer chemotherapy.

 

Research Areas

  • Nucleic acid synthetic chemistry, structure, and interactions
  • New methods for nucleoside and nucleic acid synthesis

Roger A. Jones, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology)
Dr. Jones's research interests are in nucleic acid synthetic chemistry, including both nucleosides and nucleic acid fragments. This work is focused on molecules of biological importance, including specific 13C and/or 15N labeled DNA and RNA fragments, and those with thioalkyl tethers for crosslinking with proteins. In addition, the Jones Laboratory developed the first synthesis of cyclic dinucleotides and is currently working on the bacterial signaling molecule c-di-GMP and the metazoan signaling molecule c[G(2',5')pA(3',5')p].

Research Areas

  • Post-Transcriptional Control of Gene Expression
  • DNA sequencing
  • Antifungal compounds

Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D. (Associate Vice President for Research Administration, Office of Research and Economic Development; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Dr. Kinzy’s research focuses on post-transcriptional control of gene. Her most recent work has utilized the yeast model system to understand the structure and function of the translational apparatus and how this process affects efficient and accurate gene expression.   Her recent work has led to new insights into a fungal specific translation elongation factor as a target for anti-fungal development, mechanisms of action of diphtheria toxin on translation elongation factor 2 and a translation factor as a target for a non-hormonal male contraceptive lead compound.

Research Areas

  • Biopharmaceutics
  • Drug Absorption
  • Drug Metabolism
  • Epigenomics
  • In Vivo Animal Cancer Models
  • Dietary Phytochemicals
  • Cancer Chemoprevention

Ah-Ng Tony A. Kong, Ph.D. (Distinguished Professor and Glaxo Endowed Professor of Pharmaceutics; Director of Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Science)
Dr. Kong’s laboratory is utilizing the latest molecular, cellular, genomics, epigenetics/epigenomics, and LC-MS-MS to conduct mechanistic studies of natural dietary phytochemicals, herbal medicines and synthetic agents such as isothiocyanates, flavonoids, triterpenoids in mammalian cell lines as well as in animal models. They also conduct pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD), PK-PD modeling, drug metabolism, pharmacogenomics/epigenomics, cellular signaling, Nrf2-mediated anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory responses, and cancer chemoprevention by these compounds.

 

Research Areas

  • Thoracic Oncology
  • General Thoracic Surgery

John Langenfeld, M.D. (Associate Professor of Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; The Cancer Institute of New Jersey)
Dr. Langenfeld came to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1999 after completing Thoracic surgery training at West Virginia University. He performed a clinical and research fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. His research is focused on the role of Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) in cancer. His work has shown that BMP signaling is an important regulator of growth and survival of lung cancer cells. He is actively working with the Office of Translational Science to create novel BMP antagonists that can be used in pre-clinical and potentially clinical trials.

Research Areas

  • Synthesis and SAR Studies of Pharmaceutical Agents

Edmond J. LaVoie, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Department of Medicinal Chemistry)
For several years, Dr. LaVoie's research group has focused on the design and synthesis of novel non-camptothecin topoisomerase I-targeting antitumor agents. Several potent topoisomerase I-targeting agents have been identified. Studies are in progress to identify among these compounds the more promising candidates for development into the clinic. Recently, studies in his laboratory have been undertaken to develop agents that will selectively bind and stabilize G-quadruplex DNA. They are presently exploring the promise and full potential of these G-quadruplex stabilizers in cancer chemotherapy. They have also been engaged in a major research initiative to develop antibacterial agents with unique mechanisms for the treatment of severe drug-resistant infections, such as MRSA and VRE.  In addition, Dr. LaVoie's group has an antiviral program focused on the development of viral endonuclease inhibitors as a new class of chemotherapeutics for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza infection.

Research Areas

  • Fungal Infections
  • Antifungal Drug Resistance

David S. Perlin, Ph.D. (Executive Director, Regional Biocontainment Lab; Director, Public Health Research Institute; Professor, Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics)
Dr. Perlin has helped establish PHRI as a leading tuberculosis and opportunistic infections research organization. His group has served as the small animal core for the NIH Region II RCE (Northeast Biodefense Center). Dr. Perlin’s primary expertise is in fungal infections, mechanisms of antifungal drug resistance, and rapid diagnosis of opportunistic drug resistant bacterial and fungal pathogens in high-risk patients.

Research Areas

  • Neuropathology
  • Heavy Metal Toxicology
  • Developmental Defects

Kenneth Reuhl, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Interim Director, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute)
Dr. Reuhl's laboratory is interested in numerous facets of central nervous system pathology, particularly in developmental neurotoxicology, traumatic brain injury, and the differential responses of various CNS cell types to insult. They are particularly interested in the recruitment of endogenous neural stem cells to sites of injury as a potential therapeutic approach to brain injury. The laboratory also provides diagnostic histopathology support to investigators across the Rutgers/UMDNJ community. Additional research areas include experimental pathology, particularly neuropathology, following chemical or traumatic brain injury, the role of adhesion and repulsion molecules in brain development and dysgenesis, and mechanisms of carcinogenesis and the diagnosis of experimentally-induced tissue injury.

Research Areas

  • Normal Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Tumor Stem Cell Development

Hatem E. Sabaawy, M.D., Ph.D. (Director of Production GMP Facility for Cell and Gene Therapy, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology)
The Sabaawy lab is studying the leukemogenic effects of oncogenic fusion proteins that involve TEL (ETV6) and AML1 (RUNX1) hematopoietic transcription factors. Both TEL and AML1 are early transcription factors commonly involved in chromosomal rearrangements in many cancers. Two long-term goals of the research program are to define the transcriptional effects of TEL and AML1 on lineage commitment and to identify the leukemic stem cell and the transformation events associated with TEL-AML1 leukemias.

Research Areas

  • Regulation of Expression of Drug Resistance Genes in Human Tumors

Kathleen W. Scotto, Ph.D. (Professor of Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Vice Chancellor for Research, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences)
Dr. Scotto maintains an active NIH-funded laboratory at CINJ. She is internationally recognized for her work on the regulation of drug resistance genes that impact sensitivity of cancer cells to therapeutics agents. She is the author of numerous articles, reviews and patents in this area. The Scotto lab also studies the regulation of alternative splicing, particularly as it relates to the cancer phenotype. 

Research Areas

  • Cancer Prevention
  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Carcinogenesis

Nanjoo Suh, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Chemical Biology)
Dr. Suh's laboratory conducts a mechanistic study of cancer prevention with natural and synthetic agents such as triterpenoids, rexinoids, deltanoids, and other chemopreventive agents in cancer cell lines as well as in carcinogen-induced animal models. They also conduct molecular mechanism studies targeting inflammatory genes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2), and NF-kB in carcinogenesis.

 

Research Areas

  • Drug Discovery and Delivery
  • Cancer and HIV

Zoltan Szekely, Ph.D. (Director, Chemical Biology Core Facility)
The Chemical Biology Core Facility (CBCF) is a service/research laboratory serving the biomedical research community at Rutgers as well as external partners/collaborators. The facility offers a wide array of modern chemical technologies in a state-of-the-art laboratory that can perform individual and parallel synthesis. The CBCF is able to produce customized bioconjugates, peptides, peptidomimetics and small molecule libraries for drug discovery, development and delivery studies, as well as for imaging projects.

Research Areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular Translation
  • Viral Infection

Nilgun E. Tumer, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Plant Biology & Pathology)
Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 1992, Dr. Tumer worked for several years as a research scientist in the agriculture industry. She assumed her present position as Professor in the Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment and the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers University in 2001. Dr. Tumer's primary research interest focuses on the molecular mechanism of action of ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs), ricin and Shiga toxins and trichothecene mycotoxins produced by Fusarium. She studies how toxins traffic to the ribosome, how they interact with ribosomes, inhibit translation and cause cell death. Dr. Tumer directs the SEBS Core Facility, which contains bio-imaging, bio-molecular interaction analysis, flow cytometry, real time PCR and high throughput screening instrumentation.

Research Areas

  • Computational Chemistry
  • Drug Design
  • Predictive Toxicology
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cheminformatics

William J. Welsh, Ph.D. (Norman H. Edelman Professor in Bioinformatics, Department of Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Director, Division of Chem Informatics, Biomedical Informatics Shared Resource, Cancer Institute of New Jersey)
Dr. Welsh’s laboratory specializes in the development and application of computational tools for pharmaceutical drug discovery, predictive toxicology, and multi-dimensional pattern recognition. His laboratory’s interests extend to the molecular design and modeling of synthetic polymers, protein-material interactions, and protein-ligand interactions. In recent years, his laboratory has participated in the discovery of potential drug candidates for the treatment cancer, severe and chronic pain, and infectious diseases.

Research Areas

  • Organic Chemistry

Lawrence J. Williams, Ph.D. (Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Arts and Sciences)
Molecular medicines will continue to play a critical role in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer for the foreseeable future. The ability to build (synthesize) complex molecules is to be able to create structural and functional exclusivity, including new lead compounds for drug discovery and unique molecular research tools. The Williams group focuses on the synthesis of targets with semivalidated anticancer activity and work collaboratively to understand and optimize this activity to our advantage.

Research Areas

  • Molecular Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Drug Target Discovery

Lei Yu, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Genetics; Center of Alcohol Studies)
Dr. Yu began genetic studies of brain disorders and behavior patterns when he joined faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine in 1988. He continued these studies subsequently at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, before joining faculty at Rutgers University in 2005, where he expanded his research area to include genetics of compulsive behaviors. Dr. Yu's laboratory is interested in the molecular and genetic basis of complex brain disorders, including genetic vulnerability to alcoholism and drug abuse, and molecular mechanisms underlying neuro-sensory processes such as stress, neuropathic pain, and analgesia

Research Areas

  • Cancer Biology
  • Metabolic Stress
  • Nutrient Signaling
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Drug Discovery

X.F. Steven Zheng, Ph.D. (Co-Director, The Cancer Pharmacology and Pre-clinical Therapeutics Program; Professor, Basic Science; The Cancer Institute of New Jersey)
The Zheng lab at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is interested in the control of growth and metabolism in eukaryotes, and how their aberrant regulation causes cancer and other human diseases. Through genetic and genomic approaches in model organisms, we have identified a large panel of genes involved in these processes. Our current efforts are directed at understanding their functions in normal physiology and diseases in yeast, cultured animal cells, genetically engineered mice and patient samples. Ongoing projects are supported by National Institutes of Health that include: Nutrient Signaling and Human Diseases, Metabolic Stress and Cancer, and TOR-targeted Therapy.