Marina Ruiz de Galarreta, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Researcher

Marina is a biomedicine based postdoctoral fellow in the Lujambio Lab. She is interested in understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment on the response to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment. Her aim is to identify novel combinations of drugs and immunotherapy for HCC treatment. Her research interests also include studying the role of microbiome on the development of liver cancer. She graduated from the University of Navarra (Spain) in 2009 with bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Biochemistry and she holds an MSc in Biomedical Research. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Navarra studying the biology of hepatic stellate cells and the role of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in the regulation of liver fibrogenesis.

Katherin Lindblad, PhD student

Katie Lindblad is a PhD student at Sinai. Previously, her studies focused on understanding microbiome, tumor microenvironment, and immune-related changes throughout anti-PD1 immunotherapy treatment in the context of relapsed/refractory AML patients. Currently, she is studying novel mechanisms of resistance to anti-PD1 immunotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Melissa Yao, Master student

Melissa graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Biochemistry in 2016. She then worked in David Tuveson’s lab at CSHL studying the biology of pancreatic cancer, using murine models and 3D organoid cultures. In the Lujambio Lab, she will be working on identifying novel drug targets for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Lauren Tal Grinspan, M.D., Ph.D. – Gastroenterology Fellow

Lauren graduated from Barnard College in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She then obtained her M.D., Ph.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine studying the biophysical and physiologic effects of inherited mutations in proteins of the myocardial thin filament that lead to familial hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies under the supervision of Dr. Jil Tardiff. She then completed her internal medicine residency at Columbia University Medical Center where she studied the factors that contribute to acute heart failure following liver transplantation. She is currently studying the contribution of the microbiome to liver cancer development in the Lujambio laboratory.

Marina Bárcena Varela, Postdoctoral Fellow

Marina graduated from the University of Navarra (Spain) with a Bachelor`s Degree in Biochemistry (2014) and an MSc in Biomedical and Translational Research (2015). During the last four years (2015-2019) Marina has been working at Professor Matias Avila’s Laboratory in the Hepatology Department of CIMA. Marina, attained her PhD at the University of Navarra.  She has contributed to investigate the role of the epigenetic modifiers G9a, DNMT1, and UHRF1 in hepatocarcinogenesis and hepatic fibrosis in collaboration with prestigious international researchers, yielding very interesting results that can provide new avenues for therapeutic intervention. At Dr. Amaia Lujambio’s Laboratory, she will study novel mechanisms of liver cancer initiation and maintenance, focusing on how genetic and epigenetic alterations contribute to tumorigenesis.

Ian Liebling, B.S. Research Associate

Ian Liebling is an associate researcher who joined the lab in August 2020. He received a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Syracuse University and has 5 years of research experience across 3 different labs. His previous labs focused on the neurological mechanisms behind learning and memory and truncating the c-terminus of the tumor suppressor p53 to categorize any novel effects. Currently, he is assessing the effects of a high fructose diet on liver tumor formation as well as assisting with lab upkeep and workflow.


Elizabeth Bitterman

Julien Bollard, Ph.D.

Alvaro Cuesta, Ph.D.

Verónica Miguela, Ph.D.

Troy Rubenstein, B.A.

Pedro Molina-Sánchez, Ph.D.

Kai Nie

Erin Bresnahan, MD