Team

Dr Cai’s laboratory is composed of six staff members: one Principal investigator, two postdoctoral research associates and one research assistant and two lab fellows.

Dr. Cai joined Mount Sinai in July 2010, where she continues to advance our understanding of the workings of the central nervous system and the processes involved in defining disease mechanisms.

Prior to coming to Mount Sinai, Dr. Cai was trained by many prestigious basic research scientists. After graduated from Tongji Medical University in China, she obtained her PhD in Neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Marie Filbin at Hunter College of The City University of New York, where she studied the roles of cyclic AMP in blocking myelin-derived inhibitors of axonal regeneration in animal models of spinal cord injury.

Subsequently, Dr. Cai completed postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University in New York where she was mentored by Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard in Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. At Rockefeller University, Dr. Cai conducted research on Alzheimer’s disease focusing on the regulation of APP processing and trafficking and the impact of these processes on neuronal function.

Besides her extensive basic research training, Dr. Cai obtained further clinical expertise in neurology and expanded her exposure to translational research during residency training at Yale’s Department of Neurology. She collaborated and continues to work with other research scientists in its Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair at Yale to investigate the regulation of membrane lipid composition, metabolism and its effects on Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis and progression.

Dr. Cai has been remarkably productive in terms of scientific publications and awards. She was first-author on many publications in high profile journals including Neuron, Journal of Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Journal of Biological Chemistry. She obtained significant research funding from the NIH, Alzheimer’s Association, and VA Medical System, among others. Her research goals are to pursue studies that ultimately impact the diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Farida El gaamouch obtained her Biophysician degree in 2002 in Paris (France) and completed her degree with a specialization in Pharmacology in 2003. During her studies, Farida acquired a large range of chromatography, bacteriology, and biochemistry techniques. Later she decided to enlarge her knowledge by training in Cellular and Molecular Aspects of Biology with a specialization in Neurosciences within UMR CNRS6232 (France). She received her PhD in 2009 at the Univeristy of Caen-Basse Normandie (France) and subsequently completed a first postdoctoral training in Canada. During her academic career, she strengthened her expertise in neuronal cultures, neuron live imaging using fluorescent proteins, and several biochemistry techniques.

Her field of research consisted in investigating:

  • Synaptic plasticity and Neuronal Intracellular signaling mechanisms underlying LTP.
  • Modulation of glutamatergic receptors neurotransmission
  • Intracellular processes of excitotoxicity versus neuronal survival

Dr El gaamouch was given the opportunity by Dr Cai to join her lab and work on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease and participate on drug discovery projects to develop novel compounds capable of ameliorating AD-related pathology and cognitive dysfunction. 

  • Jiqing Cao, postdoctoral research associate

Cao Jiqing,  did his medical study in Zunyi Medical College (China) from 2008 to 2014 date of his doctor degree obtention at Sun Yat-sen University . He worked on neurodegenerative  and neurological genetic diseases research fields (such as Duchenne myopathy, Pump disease, Spinal muscular atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease).  During his postgraduate studies Jiqing, worked on prenatal diagnosis of  genetic disease in individuals exhibiting high risks. Dr Cao also worked on stem cell transplantation in patients affected by neurological genetic disease. He worked as  a physician at the Central Hospital of Wuhan since 2014, and joined Dr Cai’s lab as a research scholar in 2016. Dr Cao works on deciphering cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s pathology. 

Li Zhu graduated from Beijing Railroad Medical School, Beijing (China) in 1977. She did her physician internship from 1977 to 1983 in Tianjin Railroad Hospital, Tianjin (China) and mainly worked on cardiac and intestinal disorders. She worked in the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai Medical Center as a research assistant during five years before joining Dr Cai’s lab in 2010. Li participates in all the projects by assisting the lab members.

  • Margaret Zhong, Lab fellow
  • John Bendik, Lab Fellow