Previous team member

Previous team members

Neil Birmingham, PhD

Dr. Neil Birmingham is an Instructor of Pediatrics and Immunobiology at The Icahn School of Medicine’s Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy. Dr. Birmingham’s background in Nutritional Immunology focused his research on alternative approaches for treatment of atopic diseases (food allergy, asthma, and allergic rhinitis). Here in the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy, Dr. Birmingham’s role as the assistant director of the Immunobiology lab, is one of research and leadership studying the molecular mechanisms leading to the therapeutic role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in allergic diseases. Currently, his work at the center is addressing the therapeutic role of TCM for use in allergic rhinitis.

Ivan Lopez-Exposito, PhD
Post Doctorate

Ivan Lopez-Exposito has a PhD in Food Science and Technology with the dissertation entitled “New antibacterial peptides derived from milk proteins. Study of the mechanism of action and synergistic effects” (Autonoma University from Madrid, Spain). He has 10 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, a licensed patent, and several oral and poster communications in international conferences.

He joined Dr. Li’ s lab July 2007 as a postdoctoral fellow. His main research is focused on the influence of pregnancy and lactation on the early onset of peanut anaphylactic reactions. In addition, he is actively involved in the drug discovery of new herbs from the Traditional Chinese Medicine than can potentially suppress the production of IgE.

Sangita Patil, PhD
Post Doctorate

Post Doctoral Research – The Icahn School of Medicine, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology: Currently involved in studying the immunomodulatory effects of Chinese Herbal therapy in murine model of asthma and allergy and in human clinical trials.

Testing the immunological effects of purified components of ASHMI in chronic allergic-asthma murine model.

Immunological evaluation of the cellular components of blood such as basophils and T cells and the serum of patients to study the effect of herbal treatment in the two ongoing clinical trials involving ASHMI and FAFH2 with the aid of Flow cytometry and multiplex assays.

Also involved in studying the effect of herbal treatment in-vitro studies with BV-2 mouse microglial cells so to establish a bridge between depression and asthma.

Post Doctoral Research – Universtiy of Pittsburgh, Dept of Immunology: Research was carried out to study the immune response to Pneumocystis in a Simian Model of AIDS. Interesting observation was infiltration of the lungs with CD8+ cells and neutrophils which resulted in an increase in IL-8, IFN-g and TNF-a levels and worsening of lung function.

PhD – Mumbai University, India: Thesis in the field of Food Allergy and Immunology. Important outcomes of which were the predominance of legume allergy in India and chickpea allergy was most prevalent and further immunological evaluation of the allergenic proteins of the legumes.

Elena Rusinova, MS

Holds a MS in Physics. She has more than a dozen research papers related to protein-protein and lipid-protein interactions published in peer-reviewed journals; she co-authored several book chapters and presented several posters at international conferences. Her research was focused on molecular mechanisms of macromolecule interactions employing UV-visible spectroscopy.

She joined Dr. Li’s lab in 2007. She currently carries out in-vitro studies of the impact of anti-asthmatic Chinese herbal formula (ASHMI) and its constituents on inflammation in asthma. She also participates in screening of Chinese herbs as potential anti-asthmatic drugs.

Alexandra Castillo
Research Coordinator

Research Assistant in Doctor’s Li Laboratory. She came to us through The Collegiate Research Fellowship Program offer by the multicultural affair center at The Icahn School of Medicine. She began working with us in 2006. Her main area of research is isolation and structural clarification of active constituents of Herbal Medicine with its testing in different cell lines.
AA, Liberal Arts/ Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
BS, Science and Biomedical Studies, the City College Of New York, CUNY

Banghao Liang
Research Coordinator