Meet the Team

Hideo Watanabe, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and Assistant Professor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Hideo Watanabe completed his medical degree, internal medicine residency and pulmonology fellowship in Keio University School of Medicine in Japan. During his clinical training in pulmonology, he cared for many lung cancer patients confronting the end-stages of their diseases. This led him to pursue research training, where he studied the role of epigenetic modification in the growth of lung cancer cells at Graduate School of Medicine in Keio University. After witnessing the emergence of a new paradigm of targeted therapeutics led by genome discoveries in cancer, he went on to train at the laboratory of Dr. Meyerson, a world leader in cancer genome analysis, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute. He joined faculty in Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to establish a highly collaborative program that utilizes functional genomics and state-of-the-art technologies to characterize various cellular lineages in normal lung as well as in lung cancer subtypes, and identify and elucidate the mechanism of the lineage programs that are aberrantly fixated in lung cancer.

Charles A. Powell, MD completed his medical degree at University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, his residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and his clinical and research fellowships at Boston University School of Medicine. With clinical and research interests in lung cancer and mesothelioma, Dr. Powell’s investigations center on understanding the genetic and susceptibility factors for these diseases, and the molecular events that are important in the early stages of lung cancer development and progression. His numerous articles and abstracts have been published in journals such as the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, American Journal of Pathology, CHEST, Cancer, and the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. He is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, the founding Chair of the Thoracic Oncology Section of the American Thoracic Society, and a former President of the Fleischner Society.


Ayushi Patel, MS is a Research Associate in the Watanabe lab. She joined the lab in 2017 as a Master’s student in Biomedical Science Candidate with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research as part of Dr. Watanabe’s lab focuses on the role of MYC family members that serve as a lineage specific factor in small cell lung cancer. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a dual degree in Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology. She began her career as a clinical research assistant at Supratech Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad India, where she developed and validated assays for clinical screenings for cancer patients. Ayushi hopes to continue her work in cancer genomics and pursue a PhD in the same field.


Ranran Kong, MD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Watanabe lab. He received his MD from China Medical University. In China, he is an attending thoracic surgeon in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University. He has been a surgeon there for eight years with extensive experience in procedures and surgeries for lung and esophageal cancer patients. Dr. Kong spent one year from 2015 to 2016 researching at the University of Miami. He was a member of Professor Liu’s research team in the Department of Surgery. His work at the University of Miami elucidates the role of Notch1 in melanoma and other types of cancer. His research focuses on the role of NKX2-1 in small cell lung cancer. Dr. Kong joined the group in the Fall of 2017.


Yang Tian, PhD is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Watanabe lab. She received her PhD degree from Tsinghua University in China. Her PhD research focused on mechanism studies in the fields of tumor microenvironment, tumor metastasis, combinational ant-cancer therapy and tumor early detection. She is interested in the molecular basis of cancer heterogeneity and continues her work on lineage heterogeneity and plasticity of lung cancer in the Watanabe lab since 2020.


Douglas Mansell, PhD is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Watanabe lab. He received his PhD degree from Howard University in Washington D.C.. His PhD research focused on the effects of Vitamin D on cAMP production in Airway epithelia and differential transcriptomic expression in asthmatic epithelia in pediatric patients. He then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University, in which he investigated the effects of circulating vitamin D levels on quality of life in lean vs. obese asthmatics. He is now interested in profiling non-small cell lung cancers in an effort to develop novel therapeutics that target specific cancer subtypes. Dr. Mansell joined the Watanabe lab in Winter 2020.


Feng Jiang, BS is a Research Associate in the Watanabe lab. He joined the lab in 2020 after earning his Bachelor of Science in Biology & Society from Cornell University. He completed his senior thesis from the department of plants biology at Cornell investigating the effect of previously uncharacterized disease resistance gene on the pathogen defense response and abiotic stress tolerance of plants Arabidopsis. He is also the founder of the Ithaca Health Initiative, which aims to expose students from underrepresented minorities to a variety of healthy living aspects. Feng hopes to pursue M.D or M.D/phD in the future.


Sarah Karam is a research intern in the Watanabe lab. She joined the lab in the summer of 2019 and has continued her research during her school year. She is currently a senior in Bergen County Academies. She was a finalist on the Regeneron ISEF 2020 competition for the study “Exploring the Effects of GRN on Chemotherapy Response in Small Cell Lung Cancer.”, which was conducted in the Watanabe laboratory in collaboration with Jun Zhu’s laboratory in Genetics and Genomic Sciences.


Alumni of the Laboratory

Rafal Krzysztoń, PhD is a joint postdoctoral research fellow in the Watanabe lab and Eric Brouzes lab in Stony Brook University since 2018. He works on developing a new microfluidic device to accomplish single cell epigenomic analysis on a small quantity sample.



Takashi Sato2Takashi Sato, MD, PhD was a postdoctoral research fellow in Watanabe Laboratory from 2016-2019. He completed his medical degree in Keio University School of Medicine, and worked as a pulmonologist and treated a number of lung cancer patients in Japan. Being interested in pathogenesis of lung cancer, he went on to study at National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan. In his PhD work there, Dr. Sato elucidated that DNA methylation alterations at precancerous stage are inherited by established lung adenocarcinoma, and consequently determine tumor aggressiveness and patient outcomes. He studied a novel neural lineage subtype of lung squamous cell cancer (Cancer Res 2019) in our lab. He is currently a staff physician at Keiyu Hospital in Yokohama and also continuing his research at Keio University School of Medicine.

Maya Fridrikh, BS was a Research Associate in the Watanabe lab from 2017 to 2019. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She spent her summers as an undergraduate at Lariat Biosciences developing a device for liquid biopsy. She worked as a microfluidics engineer and took part in designing and constructing a compact constant-pressure device which would diagnose cancer SNPs in cancer’s earliest stages. Her work in the Watanabe laboratory included profiling lung tumor cells to compare the landscapes with those of the tumor immune compartment as well as studying a lineage transcription factor in lung adenocarcinoma. Maya is currently a Senior Associate Researcher in the Genetics and Genomic Sciences Department in Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as well as a master’s student in the Biotechnology Program at Johns Hopkins University.

Michael William, MD received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from University of North Texas and MD from American University of Antigua. Michael assisted the members in Watanabe laboratory with generating next-generation sequencing libraries and performing other molecular biology experiments. Michael is currently a resident in Internal Medicine.

Stephanie Tuminello, MS was a Research Associate in the Watanabe lab from 2015-2017.  Her research as part of the Watanabe lab focused on the development of single cell histone modification profiling technology and studying epigenetics of lung cancer.  She received her Bachelors of Science Degree from Stony Brook University with a major in Genetics and Developmental Biology. Stephanie began working in research as an undergraduate at the Centers for Infectious Disease at Stony Brook University, where she helped investigate proteins of the yersenia bacteria, the infectious agent responsible for the plague. She earned Master’s degree at the CUNY School of Public Health pursing a degree in Biostatistics. She is currently a PhD student at NYU School of Medicine, Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.


Past Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) students

Sumayya Shurovi Fordham University

Karina Grullon-Perez The Penn State University, Schreyer Honors College