Lab Members

Allen M. Andres, PhD

Project Scientist Email: allen.andres@cshs.org

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Allen Andres, PhD, earned his doctorate in molecular and cell biology in a joint doctoral program from San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego, in 2009. He then joined the Gottlieb Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow to investigate the role of mitochondrial turnover in cardioprotection. As a project scientist at Cedars-Sinai, his work now extends to studying the role mitophagy plays in the development of statin myopathy.

Chengqun Huang

Chengqun Huang, MD, PhD

Project Scientist Email: chengqun.huang@cshs.org

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Chengqun Huang, MD, PhD, worked on genetic mechanisms of cardiomyopathy and congenital heart disease for more than four years in the School of Medicine at University of California, San Diego. After, he joined the Gottlieb Lab at the Scripps Research Institute where he worked on cardioprotection against ischemia/reperfusion injury in rat and rabbit models. Huang moved with the Gottlieb Lab to San Diego State University in 2007 and worked on the effect of low-dose doxorubicin on cardiac stem cells in mice. He has performed more than 500 mice LAD ligations for permanent ischemia, ischemia/reperfusion injury and a variety of interventions including ischemic preconditioning and drug treatments. Additionally, Huang has some experience with the open-chest pig surgical I/R model. As co-director of the Animal Physiology, Surgery and Imaging Core, which is part of Roberta Gottlieb's, MD, Program Project Grant, Huang is responsible for all small animal models of heart disease in the context of metabolic syndrome and aging. These include ischemia/reperfusion studies, permanent infarction, pressure overload and heart failure. In addition to overseeing all surgical studies, Huang performs echocardiography, invasive hemodynamics and histology and immunofluorescence of tissue samples.

Somayeh Pourpirali

Somayeh Pourpirali, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: somayeh.pourpirali@cshs.org

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Somayeh Pourpirali, PhD, graduated from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Tehran, Iran) with a master's degree in human genetics. After, she moved to Italy to work with Francesco Cecconi, PhD, at University of Rome, Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy) and completed her doctorate project on transcriptional regulation of autophagy in 2014. Currently, Pourpirali is a member of the Gottlieb Laboratory as a postdoctoral scientist investigating the mechanism by which ischemic preconditioning confers cardioprotection.

Jon Sin, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: jon.sin@cshs.org

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Jon Sin, PhD, is studying the role of mitochondrial autophagy, or "mitophagy", during cellular differentiation. He is interested in the alterations that occur to the mitochondrial network and the interplay between mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis, which is crucial during the switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation. After graduating from University of California, San Diego, he completed his PhD at San Diego State University, where he was advised by Ralph Feuer, PhD, and Roberta Gottlieb, MD, on a project to determine the effect of coxsackievirus infection on cardiac progenitor cells.

Aleksandr Stotland, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: aleksandr.stotland@cshs.org

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Aleksandr Stotland, PhD, is currently using the MitoTimer protein to study mitophagy and mitobiogenesis in cardiac and muscle cells during stress, differentiation and aging. He is also studying the mechanisms behind the protection of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial protein mRNAs on the mitochondria. Stotland received his bachelor's degree in biology from University of California, San Diego and completed his PhD in cell and molecular biology at San Diego State University, in the laboratory of Roland Wolkowicz, PhD, focusing on development of new tools for drug discovery in the field of HIV-1 and HCV.

David Taylor, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: david.taylor@cshs.org

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David Taylor, PhD, is investigating the role glycogen autophagy may play in the heart. The autophagic removal of glycogen granules may benefit the ischemic heart by limiting the availability of glycolytic substrates, which can drive cellular acidosis and lead to worsened reperfusion injury. Furthermore, autophagic sequestration of glycogen may represent a novel point of metabolic control within the cell, with relevance for a number of pathological conditions. Taylor graduated in 2009 from the University of Hull in the UK, where he worked in the lab of Anne-Marie Seymour, PhD, investigating mitochondrial function in uremic cardiomyopathy.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker

Research Assistant I Email: kyle.tucker@cshs.org

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Kyle Tucker earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania in 2014 and was involved in undergraduate research through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the Gottlieb Lab in April 2015 and is working with Allen M. Andres, PhD, on the biochemical changes in the heart of mice with diet-induced obesity. Despite a healthy appetite, Kyle staves off obesity with vigorous bike rides to/from work.

Ian Williamson, MSc

Ian Williamson, MSc

Research Associate IV Email: ian.williamson@cshs.org

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Ian Williamson earned his master's degrees in immunology from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. After immigrating to the United States, he worked in the general hematology/oncology field. Later, Williamson moved to the Oppenheimer Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai. In 2016, he joined the Gottlieb Lab where his responsibilities include day-to-day running of the research group, maintenance of the mouse colony, account billing for the Metabolism and Mitochondrial Research Core and the development of an ex-vivo assay to investigate autophagic flux.

Kellee Murayama

Kellee Murayama

Graduate Student Email: kellee.murayama@cshs.org

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Kellee Murayama is currently a second year graduate student at Cedars-Sinai working to obtain her doctorate in translational medicine and biomedical science. She was born and raised in Hawaii and earned her bachelor's degree in biochemistry at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Murayama started working as a procurement technician at Cedars-Sinai with the heart and lung transplant team before enrolling in the graduate program. Her research background includes studying the peptide biochemistry of venomous marine cone snails that inhabit Hawaii. Her current research interest includes the discovery of new therapies that will reduce inflammation and improve clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

Ezequiel Noyola

Ezequiel Noyola

Administrative Assistant Email: ezequiel.noyola@cshs.org

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Ezequiel Noyola joined the Gottlieb Laboratory in early 2013 as the administrative assistant for Roberta Gottlieb, MD. He earned his bachelor's degree at University of California, San Diego, where he worked for four years after graduation. In 2010, Noyola transferred over to San Diego State University where he supported the Gottlieb Lab before relocating to Los Angeles to work at Cedars-Sinai. Noyola enjoys his dog Tater, naps and long walks to the fridge.