Meet our lab members! 

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Nurmaa Khund Dashzeveg, Ph.D.


Nurmaa is focusing on investigation of molecular mechanism of CTC clustering in breast cancer using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technologies as well as Exosome based biomarkers for cancer treatment.

Andrew Daniel Hoffmann, Ph.D.


Andrew joined the lab in January 2017. He is interested to investigate the role of pathogenic cancer stem cells in evasion of immune system’s response to cancer cells and the role of macrophages in the formation of circulating tumor cell clusters.

Lamiaa Khamies Mohamed Ali El-Shennawy, Ph.D


Graduate Students

Valery Adorno-Cruz


Valery is a graduate student in the pharmacology program and has been in the lab since the beginning. She is interested in observing the characteristics of miR-206.

Rokana Taftaf, M.D. 


Rokana is an MD and graduate student in the pathology program. She works on a project involving circulating tumor cell cluster formation and lung metastasis of breast cancer.

Erika Ramos


Erika K Ramos is a 5th year PhD candidate in DGP from the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from UC Irvine and earned a BS in Biological Sciences. She then joined the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program at Case Western Reserve University for a year. Her doctoral work investigates the role of CD81 as a target of CD44 in breast cancer stem cells and exosome function.

Emma Schuster


Emma is a graduate student in the DGP from Northwestern University. She grew up in the Chicago-land area and received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Emma’s research focuses on the role of exosomes in breast cancer and using exosomes as a vehicle for therapeutic delivery.

Lab Manager

Yuzhi Jia, M.D., Ph.D.



Research Assistant Professor

Xia Liu, Ph.D.


Xia’s work is to understand the migration/dissemination patterns of circulating breast cancer cells, and to identify new targets to prevent metastasis. Another project is to understand the mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis and discover new target for breast cancer treatment by single cell mRNA sequencing.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Golam Kibria, Ph.D.


Kibria’s work is to characterize exosomes, a type of extracellular vesicles created by cells, derived from multiple cell types.

Lab Manager

Dhwani Patel


Dhwani joined the lab as a Lab manager in January 2017. She completed her BS in Biotechnology in 2011 and MS in Medical Biotechnology in 2013 from India. She moved to United States in 2013. Currently, she is pursuing her MS with major in Microbiology from IIT, Chicago. Her Interests outside the lab includes hiking and adventure sports. Dhwani is now pursing her PhD in microbiology at Penn State.

Research Assistants

Wenjing (Kim) Chen


Wenjing (Kim) started working in the lab as Research Assistant since Summer 2015. Her project is focusing on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs). 


Madoka Kawaguchi

High School Students

Casha’Lynn Bolden-Johnson

Casha’Lynn assisted Tarini Singh with research involving IHC staining of primary tumors. She was a former student under the Scientific Enrichment Opportunity (SEO) Program and is currently a volunteer who will be assisting periodically in the coming weeks. She will be attending Cleveland State University in the Fall of 2015, majoring in Biology, Pre-Med.

Tarini Singh

Tarini is a junior in high school this fall. She came to this lab over the summer through the Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity (SEO) Program. She is working with Valery to determine if platelets help in the metastasis of breast cancer. 


Sarah Bedoyan

Sarah graduated University of Michigan and will be starting as a MS1 student at Case Western School of Medicine. She came to Case as a Pediatric SURP scholar for Summer 2015. Sarah worked with Kibria to characterize RNA of exosomes.

Nahun Ha

Nahun joined the lab in Summer 2015 and completed senior capstone project in the lab with Valery.

Katelyn Lee

Katelyn started working in the lab since Fall 2014 and worked on projects related to exosomes with Kibria.

Andrew Kim

Andrew joined the lab as a junior and completed his senior capstone project with Shivani in the lab.

Shivani Patel

Shivani started in the lab as a junior and has been able to gain experience in multiple lab procedures and contribute to several projects. She has recently even begun leading her own project with fellow recent graduate Andrew Kim. The project focused on reprogramming breast cancer cells by implementing the transcription factors.

Ankur Pranjal

Ankur worked with Valery to explore his interest in cell signaling and miRNAs.

Simo Huang 

Michael Sokolowski

Michael has worked on various exosome projects over his three summers in the lab.

Megan Menu

Megan has worked in the lab for two summers with Erika on the CD44/CD81 projects.

Rotating Students

Ryan Gimple (MSTP, Fall 2015)

Damien Retzinger (Spring 2014)

Zach Stanfield (Summer 2014)

Zita Hubler (Summer 2014)

Tristan de Jesus (Summer 2014)

Yorleny Vicioso (MSTP, Summer 2014)

Bryan Webb (Summer 2014)

Evelyn Ojo (MSTP, Fall 2014)

Megan Forrest (Fall 2014)

Alyssa La Belle (Fall 2014)

Elizabeth Tsui (MSTP, Summer 2018)

Danielle Pi (MSTP, Summer 2019)