Lab Members

Sheyn Lab Members

Principal Investigator
Hyun W. Bae, MD
Principal Clinical Partner
Melissa Chavez
Research Associate I

Melissa Chavez is receiving her bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and biology from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), and is currently enrolled in CIRM. Her previous undergraduate research studies involve the effects of traumatic brain injury on neural tissue in D. melanogaster. In the Sheyn Lab, she is currently studying the effect of the immune system on xenotransplantation of human stem cells to IVD.

Patricia Del Rio
CIRM Research Intern

Patricia Del Rio is a CIRM scholar and master’s student in biotechnology at California State University, Channel Islands (CI). Her previous research experience was assessing the roles of unknown proteins in Legionella pneumophila. She is currently working on regeneration of tendon following injury using 3D scaffolds and translational stem cells.

Ryan Finkel, MD
Orthopaedic Resident, PGY-5

Finkel obtained his undergraduate degree in public health at Johns Hopkins and his MD degree at NYMC, where he took part in research of multimodal pain regiments surrounding total joint arthroplasty. In the Sheyn Lab, he is involved in multiple projects focusing on intervertebral disc degeneration.

Wensen Jiang, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Jiang is a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine scholar and an expert in biomaterials, tissue engineering and cell-based therapies for musculoskeletal disorders and degenerative diseases. His research informs new cell-based strategies for treating intervertebral disc degeneration and back pain. Accolades include: New Investigator Recognition Award by the Orthopaedic Research Society.

Giselle Kaneda, BS
Research Associate II

Giselle received her bachelor’s in kinesiology with a minor in biology from Occidental College. During her time as an athlete, she became interested in applying regenerative therapies for sports injuries. She is currently involved in a variety of projects including tendon regeneration, lower back pain modeling and intervertebral disc rejuvenation.

Linda (Lea) Kanim, MA
Statistician and Research Specialist

Linda “Lea” Kanim is a statistician with more than 25 years of research experience in translational and clinical trial studies for spinal tissue engineering. She has strong expertise in designing and performing various spinal surgical procedures in animal models that mimic those performed in human surgery. These models are used to further investigate healing after fusion and fracture repair, and to study demineralized bone matrix-based grafting materials, cell-based grafting, biomaterials and molecules for tissue engineering of disc and bone cell biology.

Evan D. Nigh, MD
Orthopaedic Resident, PGY-2

Nigh obtained his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Claremont McKenna College, where his senior thesis investigated gene therapies against HIV. He attended medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and in the Sheyn Lab his focus is on effective bone regeneration using stem cells.

Julia Sheyn
Research Associate III

Julia Sheyn received a bachelor of science in pharmacy degree at HUJI. Julia joined the Koronyo Lab, where she worked on Alzheimer’s disease neuropathological assessments and therapies in transgenic mouse models. Currently in the Sheyn Lab, she is involved in projects involving reducing pain and neuronal damage after spine traumatic injury and developing new treatments of osteoarthritis utilizing bioinformatics.

Thomas Spaeter
Postdoctoral Scientist

Thomas Spaeter finished his doctoral degree at the Institute of Clinical Experimental Surgery, Saarland University in Homburg, Germany. He developed a novel pre-vascularization strategy for tissue implants by seeding them with so-called adipose tissue-derived microvascular fragments (MVF)—biologically intact units of a microvasculature which can easily be isolated from adipose tissue.

Yuanzhang Tang, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Tang, a skilled pain surgeon in the field of minimally invasive medicine, holds a clinical medical doctoral degree from Capital Medical University in China. His current research focuses primarily on developing biomaterials-encapsulated cell therapies for the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases, such as intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) and osteoarthritis (OA).

Wafa Tawackoli, PhD
Assistant Professor, Technical Director of the Research Imaging Core Facility, Associate Director of Biomedical Imaging Graduate Program
Jacob Wechsler
Research Associate I

Jacob Wechsler received his bachelor of science degree in biology from UCLA. In the Sheyn Lab, he is focused on projects related to development of biomaterials for stem cell delivery. Jacob grew interested in the field because of his own sports injury history and is passionate about the employment of stem cells as a potential treatment method.

Victoria Yu
Research Associate II

Victoria Yu is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University in the biomedical engineering program with a translational cell and tissue engineering focus. In the Sheyn Lab, Yu is assisting in tendon tissue engineering in vitro projects with molecular biology techniques and cell culture. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering in the future.

Alumni Lab Members

Contact the Sheyn Lab

127 S. San Vicente Blvd.
Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, A8308
Los Angeles, CA 90048