Aguirre-Ghiso Lab Team


Programs and active collaborations 

Royena Tanaz
Grants Manager
Royena, who recently joined our team, brings her scientific expertise in research and administration to help run our lab operations and serve as a more seamless bridge with our institutional administrative resources.


Rita Nobre, MSc – 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.


Dan (Rosaline) Sun, PhD 
Postdoctoral Fellow
Rosaline joined from Laura Buttitta’s Lab, at the University of Michigan  where she studied mechanisms of quiescence during Drosophila development and tissue differentiation. Rosaline project focuses on the role of histone variants and histone post-translational modifications in the regulation of senescence and quiescence programs in DTCs.

Deepak Singh, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Deepak joined from Dr. Prasanth lab, at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied the role of long non-coding RNAs in breast cancer (BC) progression. He now brings his experience to study the epigenetic regulation of disseminated tumor cell dormancy and metastasis initiation.

Erica Dalla, MSc

PhD Graduate Student

Erica obtained her MSc in Cancer Biology at Drexel University, where she studied the role of the chemokine receptor CX3CR1 in metastatic dissemination in breast cancer. She recently joined the Aguirre-Ghiso Lab to develop her thesis work in the role of myeloid cells in determining DTC fate in different target organs.

Melisa Lopez Anton, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Melisa did her undergraduate training at the University of Valencia, research education at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and postgraduate education at the University Pompeu Fabra. She obtained her PhD in the laboratory of Donald Fraser as part of a European Training and Research Network. She is joining the Aguirre-Ghiso lab to develop work related to tissue microenvironments and early and late DTC dormancy regulation.

Robert Wieder, MD/PhD,

Provost of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences–Newark. Sabbatical Visiting Professor  

Bob was one of the first to study how extracellular matrix signaling and RTK crosstalk controlled cell fate decisions such as differentiation and dormancy in breast cancer. He revealed a unique combination of signals derived from fibronectin and FGF signaling that in the bone marrow may induce dormancy of DTCs. He is spending one year in the Aguirre-Ghiso Lab working on the mechanisms of dormancy and chemo-restistance operational in the bone marrow matrix with an emphasis on early DTC biology.

Emma Risson

Graduate Student

Emma is visiting from  Faculté de Médecine Lyon-Est Ecole de l’INSERM, France. She is working on the role of mesenchymal stem cells in regulating DTC fate and how inflammation may alter DTC niches. She is also a mate enthusiast – she came to the right place



Wei Zheng, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Wei joined us from the Pollard Lab in Einstein/ Edinburgh where he did a productive postdoc on metastasis regulation by immune cells. Wei will be exploring how innate and adaptive immunity mechanisms crosstalk with dormant DCCs.


Bassem Khalil, PhD.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Bassem joins us from the Backer Lab at Einstein where he did his PhD. With high level of interest in understanding and fighting metastasis, he will explore how to target specific nuclear receptors to target dormant DTCs across different cancers.

Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD  

Principal Investigator
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:

Lena Wullkopf, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Lena joined us from the Erler Lab in Copenhagen where she did her PhD. She is interested in developing work the matrisome and adhesome regulation in early DCCs.

Anna Adam-Artigues

Visiting Student

Anna visiting from the University of Valencia School of Medicine in Spain to develop a rotation for her international PhD degree. In Spain Anna is interested in the biology of HER2+ tumors and she joined the Aguirre-Ghiso lab to study how the immune microenvironment is affected when specific stress signaling pathways are targeted in cancer and normal cells and how this enables eliminating dormant DTCs in HER2+ mammary cancer models.

Aparna Ranganathan, currently Assistant Professor at University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

Alfred Adomako, currently Medical Writer at Adelphi Communications, New York, NY

Alejandro Adam, currently Assistant Professor at Albany Medical College, Albany, NY.

Kurt Lowry, currently Project Manager at Dana-Farber/ Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Denis Schewe, currently Faculty Member at Department of General Pediatrics, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany

Huei-Chi Wencurrently Postdoc at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Sharon Sequeira, currently, Supervisor at American Type Culture Collection (ATCC)

Bibiana Iglesias, currently Research Associate in Ophthalmology, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Yeriel Estrada, currently Clinical Coordinator at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Alvaro Avivar-Valderas, currently Research Scientist at AstraZeneca, UK

Carla Capobianco, currently PhD student at Universidad de Quilmes, Argentina.

Maria Jose Carlini, currently Postdoc at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Pharmacological Sciences @Sosa Lab.

Ethan Tardio, currently undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University.

Paloma Bragado, currently Lab Head at IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.

Kathryn Harper, currently Assistant Medical Director, Health Science Communications, New York.

Georg Fluegen, currently, Assistenzarzt, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf · Klinik für Allgemein-, Viszeral- und Kinderchirurgie. Düsseldorf, Germany.

Nina Linde, currently Lab Head at Merck, Germany.

M. Soledad Sosa,  currently Assistant Professor – Tenure Track at Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Stefan Moritsch, currently PhD student at University of Vienna, Austria.

Margaret Hung, currently PhD student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Julie Cheung, currently accepted to the immunology PhD program in Yale University.

Anna Banach, currently Graduate student at the MCB Program, Stony Brook University.

Miguel Vizarreta Sandoval, currently Investment Banking Summer Analyst at MD Global Partners, LLC, Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business

Christopher Pool, currently Resident Physician at Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Erin Butler, currently Staff Associate in Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medicine.

Hector Martinez, currently Center for Functional Genomics – SUNY- Albany

Shishir Oja, currently, Pulmonologist, Southeastern Health, NC.

Ajish George

Tara Garcia Collins

Rosaline Petriconne

Alba Rodriguez Martinez

Tasrina Rahman, MSc