Lab Members

Karen Cavassani

Karen Cavassani, PhD

Project Scientist Email: karen.cavassani@cshs.org

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Karen Cavassani, PhD, is an immunologist by training, and her current research is directed at elucidating innate and adaptive immune signals that instigate and/or promote prostate cancer metastasis. She is also exploring the role of Fyn kinase on the expression of immune checkpoint inhibitors during the progression of prostate cancer. Cavassani completed her master's degree and doctorate in immunology at the University of Sao Paulo, and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS). She was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at UMMS prior to her move to Cedars Sinai. She has published more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals, such as Journal Experimental Medicine, Journal of Immunology and Blood.

Jie-Fu Jeff Chen

Jie-Fu (Jeff) Chen, MD

Postdoctoral Scientist Email: jie-fu.chen@cshs.org

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Jie-Fu (Jeff) Chen, MD, joined the Posadas Laboratory after completing his medical degree at National Taiwan University. He heads the research efforts of the joint Cedars-Sinai/UCLA circulating tumor cell project. The goals of his work are to study circulating tumor cell as a biomarker for cancer evolution and to utilize this knowledge to improve cancer diagnosis and therapy. Chen is a physician scientist who is pursuing a career in translational research in pathology with the intent of combining his research and clinical interests to advance the field.

Margarit Sievert

Margarit Sievert, MS

Research Associate III Email: margarit.sievert@cshs.org

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Margarit Sievert is a senior research associate in the Posadas Laboratory who oversees laboratory operations including the acquisition and labeling of biospecimens relevant to the various translational research projects in the group. She holds a master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Rochester and has been working with Edwin Posadas, MD, since 2009.

Elisabeth Hodara

Elisabeth Hodara

Research Associate I Email: elisabeth.hodara@cshs.org

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Elisabeth Hodara graduated from UCLA in 2014 with a bachelor's of science in molecular, cell and developmental biology. Along with Jeff Chen, MD, Hodara investigates the potential of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as a biomarker in prostate cancer. She works to isolate the rare CTCs from prostate cancer patients' blood and studies CTC morphology and biology. This project aims to correlate CTC features with disease progression in advanced prostate cancer patients to predict prognosis and inform clinical treatment.

Shirley Cheng

Shirley Cheng

Research Lab Assistant I Email: shirley.cheng@cshs.org

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Shirley Cheng conducts experimental work and blood processing for the circulating tumor cells project along side of Jeff Chen, MD. She is skilled in using the nanofluidic system for cell capture and taking microscopy images. Cheng is a recent graduate of UCLA and received her bachelor’s of science in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.

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Elizabeth Kaufman

Medical Student Email: elizabeth.kaufman@cshs.org

Alexander Ureno

Alexander Ureno

Research Technologist/Youth Employment and Development Alumnus Email: alexander.ureno@cshs.org

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Alexander Ureno is an undergraduate student at California State University, Northridge and an alumnus of the Cedars-Sinai Youth Employment and Development Program. He assists Edwin Posadas, MD, and his clinical team in the development and analysis of clinical databases of the Uro-Oncology Research Program patients to facilitate the translational clinical research efforts of the laboratory.

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Amy Gomez

Staff Assistant Email: amy.gomez@cshs.org

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Kevin Scher, MD MBA

Associate Member, UOP Email: kevin.scher@cshs.org

Nancy Moldawer

Nancy Moldawer, RN, MSN

Lead Research Nurse Email: nancy.moldawer@cshs.org

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Nancy Moldawer oversees all clinical research activities of the Urologic Oncology Program and serves as a nurse leader within the clinical research office. She oversees all protocol development and clinical-translational research activities in the UOP and the Posadas Laboratory.

Amy Oppenheim

Amy Oppenheim

Clinical Research Coordinator Email: amy.oppenheim@cshs.org

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Amy Oppenheim oversees clinical and translational research in prostate cancer for the Posadas Laboratory. She facilitates trail development, research patient screening, data collection, and in collaboration with Margarit Sievert, oversees sample acquisition from clinical studies for research.

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Johanna Han

Clinical Research Coordinator Email: johanna.han@cshs.org

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James MacDonald

Lead Clinical Nurse III Email: james.macdonald@cshs.org

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Terence Cook

Management Assistant II Email: terence.cook@cshs.org

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Arcadia Hernandez

Academic Assistant

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