Aparna Subramanian, PhD
Dr. Subramanian earned her doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. As a graduate student with Dr. Robert Paulson, Dr. Subramanian studied Friend virus-induced erythroleukemia. Prior to joining the Arumugaswami lab, Dr. Subramanian was a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Jerome Zack at UCLA, where she developed techniques for deriving functional macrophages and T cells from human embryonic stem cells to combat HIV infections. Dr. Subramanian is currently interested in developing therapeutic strategies to treat HCV damaged livers using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatic lineage cells.
Weidong Xiong, MD
Dr. Xiong is a project scientist at the Viral Vector Core in the Regenerative Medicine Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Xiong previously served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy Unit of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, then as a research scientist at the Gene Therapeutic Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Xiong received his medical degree from Henan Medical University, China. After practicing general medicine and cardiology for eight years in the first teaching hospital of Henan Medical University, Dr. Xiong joined the National Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Genetic Engineering, Institute of Virology, in Beijing, for his master’s degree in molecular biology. Dr. Xiong has a great deal of experience using molecular biology to overcome complex technical challenges such as developing a new generation of viral vectors with decreased immunogenicity as well as inducible expression of multiple transgenes. Most recently, Dr. Xiong was tasked to develop an adenoviral vector that would target receptors on glioma cells for the delivery of the pseudomonas exotoxin. The vector has been tested in preclinical models of disease with impressive survival and specificity. Dr. Xiong is currently focused on production of viral vectors, including lenti viral vector and first-generation and third-generation adenoviruses, to provide preclinical grade, ready-to-use viral vectors to the CSMC research community. Dr. Xiong’s research involves development of viral vectors for gene transfer and vaccine applications.
Songyang Ren, MD, PhD
Research Scientist I
Dr. Ren earned his degrees from Shanghai Medical College and the graduate program of Fudan University, China. He was previously an orthopedic surgeon in China; his initial research involved bone-related diseases and vitamin D immunology. Subsequently, Dr. Ren joined Dr. Hardy’s group at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for developing an HIV vaccine based on foamy viral vector systems. Dr. Ren’s current research projects in Dr. Arumugaswami’s laboratory include developing a humanized mouse model for hepatitis C virus pathogenesis study and developing a transplantable recellularized liver graft by tissue engineering technology.
Seigo Hatada, PhD
Dr. Hatada’s research is focused on developing and applying novel gene targeting technologies, including zinc-finger nuclease and TALE nuclease to correct mutant genes and engineer therapeutic genes in stem cells. For more than 10 years, Dr. Hatada received postdoctoral training under the direction of Dr. Oliver Smithies (recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007) in applying gene-targeting techniques for gene correction. The gene targeted human pluripotent stem and progenitor cells can be used for regenerating disease affected organs. Dr. Hatada has currently developed an improved methodology for successful gene targeting in human stem cell lines.
Joseph Ignatius Irudayam, PhD
Dr. Irudayam received his PhD in microbiology from M.S. University, Tamilnadu, India. Dr. Irudayam’s research in Dr. Arumugaswami’s laboratory is focused on establishing a TALEn based gene-knock down approach in human pluripotent stem cells for investigating HCV pathogen-host interactions.
Vidhya Kanagavel, MBBS
Dr. Kanagavel has earned her medical degree in India. Dr. Kanagavel’s research emphasizes are on liver organ engineering using natural and synthetic scaffold materials, and investigating host-viral pathogen interactions.
Deisy Contreras, MS
Deisy is a 2011 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center graduate student. She earned her undergraduate degree in microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Her graduate thesis study at CSULA was focused on Candida albicans and the effects of the YCK2 gene in response to 3 antimicrobial peptides, and she has completed an undergraduate thesis project on Acinetobacter baumannii. Deisy’s predoctoral research at Dr. Arumugaswami’s laboratory is focused on developing attenuated hepatitis C viral vaccine candidates and constructing and evaluating a HCV subunit vaccine based on helper-dependent adenoviral vector.
Undergraduate Student, UCLA
Undergraduate Student, SMCC
Undergraduate Student, UCLA