Meet the Team


Julio. A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD
Principal Investigator


Aguirre-Ghiso Lab Team

Caitlin Pacheco – Sachs Fellow (ENT Program)
Medical Student
Caitlin studies the inter-organ variation in dormancy inducing cues to understand the relapse rate of HNSCC in contralateral and ipsilateral lymph nodes.

Jennifer Lopez
Lab Administrative Assistant
Jen runs all our lab operations and logistics to make sure the science does not stop and that I do not miss meetings and trips.

Julie Cheung
Research Coordinator
Julie, as the Laboratory Coordinator, she contributes to multiple projects the lab. She also directs the functioning and development of our chicken embryo facility and mouse facility, optimizing methods for xenograft and tumor cell metastasis studies in the embryos and mice.

Maria Soledad Sosa – Melanoma Research Alliance and NCI K22 Grantee
Assistant Professor.
Soledad studies the role of p38 and NR2F1 signaling in controlling retinoic acid signaling during  induction of tumor dormancy in HNSCC, breast and prostate tumors. She has identified drugs that target NR2F1 and may be amenable to regulate DTC dormancy. She also is exploring the mechanism of early dissemination and metastasis involving HER2, p38 and NR2F1 signaling in breast cancer.

Tasrina Rahman
Research Coordinator
Tasrina is conducting studies to identify and optimize small molecule agonists of nuclear receptors involved in dormancy induction. She is also developing work to optimize bioassays to identify drugs that modulate dormancy pathways.

Rita Nobre – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia Fellow – Portugal
PhD Graduate Student
Rita is conducting research to identify the cell types in the bone marrow that regulate both hematopoietic stem cell dormancy and DTC dormancy. She is also working to identify the gene signatures that distinguish early DTCs from those that originate from large invasive tumors.

Margaret Hung 
MSc Graduate Student
Maggie is determining the function of macrophages in different target organs and how they influence DTC fate. She is also optimizing a proteomic approach to identify novel niche derived cues involved in DTC fate regulation.

Veronica Calvo-Vidal – LIFA Fellow
Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
Vero studies the role of the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathways  in mediating tumorigenesis and DTC survival in models of breast cancer and HNSCC. She also studies how to target the UPR survival mechanisms in multiple myeloma and biologics that might be used to induce dormancy during MRD.

Stefan Moritsch  
MSc Graduate Student
Stefan is optimizing the epigenetic reprogramming strategies developed by Sosa et al., (Nat Commun 2015) combining agonists for retinoid acid receptors and agonists for specific nuclear receptors linked to RA signaling.

Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso  
Does the usual grant and paper writing, institutional and NIH service and mentoring. He feels fortunate when he is asked by his lab members to sit at any microscope to look at samples or help with experiments.

Past Lab Members:

Aparna Ranganathan

Alfred Adomako

Alejandro Adam

Lin Zang

Kurt Lowry

Rosanlinee Petriconne

Denis Schewe

Huei-Chi Wen

Sharon Sequeira

Bibiana Iglesias

Erin Butler

Hector Martinez

Shishir Oja

Ajish George

Tara Garcia Collins

Yeriel Estrada

Alvaro Avivar-Valderas

Esther Epkins

Carla Capobianco

Maria Jose Carlini

Anna Banach

Ethan Tardio

Paloma Bragado

Kathryn Harper

Georg Fluegen

Miguel Vizarreta Sandoval

Christopher Pool

Nina Linde