Lab Members

Shaohua Xiao, PhD

Project Scientist Email: shaohua.xiao@cshs.org

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Shaohua Xiao, PhD, earned her doctorate 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 in the Shaw Laboratory 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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Shan-Shan Zhang, PhD, 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 focus in the Shaw Laboratory 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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Wassim Basheer, PhD, 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.

Joseph Palatinus, MD, PhD

Cardiology Fellow Email: joseph.palatinus@cshs.org

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Joseph Palatinus, MD, PhD, received his bachelor in chemistry at Davidson College in North Carolina. He went on to obtain his medical degree and doctorate at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Palatinus completed his dissertation work investigating gap junction dynamics in the diabetic heart, and studying the molecular interactions of the Connexin 43 C-terminus under the guidance of Robert Gourdie, PhD. Palatinus trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston before joining the Cardiology Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai. His research interests in the Shaw Laboratory include noncononical roles for gap junction proteins and cardiac regeneration after injury.

Irina Epifantseva

PhD Candidate Email: irina.epifantseva@cshs.org

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Irina Epifantseva earned her bachelor of science 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.

Tara Hitzeman, MPH

Lab Manager Email: tara.hitzeman@cshs.org

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Tara Hitzeman. MPH, earned her bachelor of science in statistics from San Francisco State University and her master of public health in biostatistics at UCLA in 2016. She is a researcher and the lab manager for both the Hong Laboratory and Shaw Laboratory. Her research includes managing the cardiac BIN1 biomarker subgroup and serving as the Hong Lab’s primary epidemiologist.

Yu Xie, MD

Cardiology Fellow Email: yu.xie@cshs.org

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Yu Xie, MD, is currently training as a cardiology fellow at Cedars-Sinai. She earned her bachelor of science in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She completed her internal medicine residency and served as a chief resident at University of California, San Diego. Her research interest in the Hong Laboratory and Shaw Laboratory is on using BIN1 as a clinical predictor of cardiac reserve in both healthy controls and patients with advanced heart failure, pre- and post-transplant.

andriana nikolova

Andriana Nikolova, MD

Cardiology Fellow & PhD Candidate Email: andriana.nikolova@cshs.org

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Andriana Nikolova, MD, went to Grinnell College in Iowa, where she majored in biochemistry and abstract mathematics. After, she went to medical school at Harvard University and then internal medicine training at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Currently, she is exploring the West Coast while doing her cardiovascular fellowship and doctoral work at Cedars-Sinai. In the Hong Laboratory and Shaw Laboratory, her interest is in unraveling the role of cardiac Bin1 in HFpEF (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction) by working both on an animal model — to understand its molecular mechanisms — as well as human blood samples where Bin1 can be used as a diagnostic and prognostic marker.

Ronit Zadikany, MD

Ronit Zadikany, MD

Medical Resident Email: ronit.zadikany@cshs.org

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Ronit Zadikany, MD, is currently training as an internal medicine resident at Cedars-Sinai. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in biomedical research and in history from the UCLA. She received her medical degree from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. She will be serving as chief resident for the Cedars-Sinai Internal Medicine Program for the 2017-2018 academic year. Her research interest in the Hong Laboratory and Shaw Laboratory includes the study of cardiac BIN1 as a clinic marker for cardiac reserve in heart failure patients.

Rachel Baum

Rachel Baum

Graduate Student Email: rachel.baum@cshs.org

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Rachel Baum earned her bachelor of science in biochemistry and cell biology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She first worked in chemistry research, and then at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a neurobiology lab and at UCSD in an immunology lab. She is currently a PhD student in the Cedars-Sinai Graduate Program and is doing her thesis research under the joint mentorship of TingTing Hong, MD, PhD, and Robin Shaw, MD, PhD.

Sosse Agvanian

Sosse Agvanian

Research Associate Email: sosse.agvanian@cshs.org

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Sosse Agvanian earned her bachelor of science in biology from the University of California, Irvine. As a research associate for both the Hong Laboratory and Shaw Laboratory, Agvanian contributes to various projects studying BIN1 and connexin 43 in heart disease. Her interests include developing a biomarker to better predict and assess risk for heart failure in patients, as well as therapies to limit the impact of ischemic heart disease on heart function and arrhythmogenesis.