Lab Members

Hany Abdel-Hafiz, PhD
Research Scientist

Hany Abdel-Hafiz, PhD, received his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Minia University, Egypt, and the University of Colorado (UC) Denver. After postdoctoral studies at UC Denver, investigating the role of transcription factor post-translational modification in cancers, Abdel-Hafiz joined the Department of Medicine/Endocrinology at UC as a faculty member. He studied the role of sex steroid hormone receptors and epigenetics in tamoxifen-resistant luminal breast cancer. Abdel-Hafiz later joined the Theodorescu Lab, where he studies the gender differences in bladder cancer and its response to immune therapy.

Neeraj Agarwal, PhD
Research Scientist I

Neeraj Agarwal, PhD, received his doctorate in life sciences from Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University and Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, in India. After five years of postdoctoral research at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City working on cancer stem cells and metastasis suppressors in osteosarcoma, Agarwal joined the Theodorescu Lab at the University of Colorado. Six years later, Agarwal followed Theodorescu to Cedars-Sinai. Agarwal’s research focuses on identifying biomarkers and therapeutic targets for bladder cancer disease progression using functional genomics and high-throughput drug-screening approaches.

Jinfen Xiao, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Jinfen Xiao, PhD, received her doctorate in cancer biology from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore. She continued to work as a research fellow in Singapore and studied genomic and epigenetic aberrances in the tumorigenesis of solid tumors, including breast cancer and NSCLC. In the Theodorescu Lab, her research will focus on establishing bladder cancer disease models in vitro and in vivo to delineate disease progression, as well as utilizing functional genomics and high-throughput drug screening to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for bladder cancer carrying hot spot mutations.

Saravana Kumar Kailasam Mani, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist
Deepak Arya, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Arya is a cell and molecular biologist with research experience in various aspects of human health and disease. He has extensive experience in genome stability specifically related to non-coding RNAs, developmental pathways and DNA repair. Arya trained as a graduate student at NCBS, Bangalore (India) in cancer biology. There he demonstrated the contribution of miRNA182 in the resistance mechanisms independent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in CML. Arya continued his research as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California where he studied the nuclear architecture and repair dynamics of pericentromeric heterochromatin and its contribution to genome instability. In the Theodorescu Lab, he is characterizing therapeutically important pathways in bladder cancer using functional genomics and high-throughput drug-screening approaches.

Saswat Mohapatra, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Saswat Mohapatra, PhD, received his doctorate in cancer biology from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology and Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research, in India. In his doctorate research, Mohapatra was involved in the development of novel peptides and small molecules which target microtubules and mitochondria for combination therapy of breast cancer, cervical cancer and NSCLC. He later moved to the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada as a postdoctoral associate to pursue further studies in cancer-specific immunotherapy. There he studied the role of various immune cells like TR1, neutrophils, iNKT and MAIT cells in cancer and various autoimmune disease-specific microenvironments. Mohapatra joined the Theodorescu Lab to explore and develop bladder cancer-specific chemo-/immuno-therapeutic interventions with a primary focus on understanding adaptive and acquired resistant factors of bladder cancers.

Andrew Caliri
Research Associate II

Andrew Caliri received his bachelor of science in biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) in 2017. After graduating, Caliri moved to California in pursuit of research opportunities and worked in a molecular biology lab at the University of Southern California for three years. While there, he studied both genetic and epigenetic modifications that result from use of tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. In the Theodorescu Lab, he is responsible for helping the postdoctoral scientists with projects and management of lab operations.

Vanessa Neang
Research Associate I

Vanessa Neang received her bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). During her time at university, she studied the effects of the upregulation of HOTAIRM1 on the phenotypic expression in Caki-1 cells. In 2019, she joined the Theodorescu Lab where she assists other lab members with their projects and helps to ensure the daily maintenance of the lab.

Contact the Theodorescu Lab

8700 Beverly Blvd.
Davis Building, Room 3057
Los Angeles, CA 90048