Lab Members

Shaohua Xiao, PhD

Project Scientist Email: shaohua.xiao@cshs.org

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Xiao earned her PhD in biochemistry from the University of Michigan under the supervision of David Engelke, PhD. Her thesis research was on characterizing the role of conserved elements in the RNA and protein subunits of yeast nuclear RNase P. She then joined the laboratory of Lily Jan, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco as a postdoctoral fellow to study ion channels in the brain, focusing on the calcium-activated chloride channel protein TMEM16B. Her current research is on the regulation of connexin43 trafficking by internal translation in the heart.

Shan-Shan Zhang, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: shan-shan.zhang@cshs.org

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Zhang earned her doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco, under the guidance of Benoit Bruneau, PhD at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. Her thesis work is on transcriptional control of electrical coupling and maturation of the ventricular conduction system by Irx3. Her current focus is on understanding cytoskeletal regulation of targeted connexin 43 trafficking to the intercalated disc and how failure of these intricate mechanisms contributes to heart disease.

Wassim Basheer, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow Email: wassim.basheer@cshs.org

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Basheer earned his doctorate in biology from the University of South Carolina. During his graduate career, he trained with Lydia Matesic, PhD using mouse models to help investigate the role of Wwp1 E3 ubiquitin ligase in cardiac dysfunction and gap junction remodeling.

Irina Epifantseva

PhD Candidate Email: irina.epifantseva@cshs.org

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Epifantseva earned her Bachelors of Science degree in cell biology from Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. Before heading to California, she also completed her master's degree in Neuroscience from Uppsala University with a scholarship from a Swedish government organization. Epifantseva is currently a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine graduate program at Cedars-Sinai. Her current focus is on the gap junction protein Connexin 43, the role of alternative translation initiation within the coding sequence of mRNA of this protein, and the role of Connexin 43 isoforms in the regulation of electrical coupling in heart and cell cycle progression.

Mariya Kalashnikova

Medical Student Email: mariya.kalashnikova@cshs.org

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Kalashnikova is an MD candidate at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Biology at Stanford University. Kalashnikova is a Keck Dean's Research Scholar for the 2013-2014 academic year, working under Ting Ting Hong, MD, PhD at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. In the lab, Kalashnikova is studying the interaction between BIN1 and the cell cytoskeleton in normal cardiac function and disease states. She also spent two previous summers working with Hong in Shaw Laboratory at UCSF, working to characterize serum BIN1 levels in several clinical cohorts. In addition to her interest in science, Kalashnikova is deeply passionate about academic medicine and medical education. She serves as the only medical student on the Association of American Medical Colleges Board of Directors. At Keck, she has been highly involved in curriculum development and student teaching. In the future, Mariya would like to care for patients with adult congenital heart disease; she plans to begin her training with a residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics.

Tara Hitzeman

Lab Manager Email: tara.hitzeman@cshs.org

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Hitzeman earned her Bachelor of Science in Statistics from San Francisco State University. She is a researcher and the lab manager for both the Shaw and Hong labs. Hitzeman will also pursue her Master of Public Health degree in Biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.