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Lab Members

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QiXioyan with glasses

Xiaoyang Qi, PhD

Lab Lead

My research is focused on developing a new saposin C (SapC) coupled dioleoylphosphatidylserine (DOPS) nanovesicle which has the potential to offer a targeted, potent, broad, and safe therapeutic agent for cancer patients. In preclinical studies, these stable nanovesicles (average diameter of 200 nm) have shown tumor-specific targeting activity and cancer-selective killing efficacy with significant inhibition of tumor growth in various animal tumor models. SapC-DOPS has striking absence of toxicity and adverse side effects in animals. In addition, these vesicles can deliver hydrophilic imaging probes, proteins, and RNA/DNA for cancer-selective targeting though specific binding of the surface exposed PS of tumor cell and vessels. Platform development of SapC-DOPS technology is my ongoing effort for cancer detection and therapy.

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Ahmet Kaynak, PhD Candidate 

Graduate Assistant

Ahmet is a currently PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering, joined to lab in 2017. He received his bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering Department from Ege University in Turkey. His research focuses on elucidating the mechanism of electric field on cancer-biomarker modulation and enhancing the treatment efficacy of certain cancer-biomarker targeting drugs against cancer.

Image of Subrahmanya Vallabhapurapu

Subrahmanya Vallabhapurapu PhD 

Research Associate

I did my PhD in Immunology at the Institute of Virology and immunobiology, University of Wuerzburg, Germany. As a postdoctoral fellow, I gained expertise in stem cell biology, epigenetics, signal transduction and cancer biology. My current research focus is on understanding mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor immune evasion, with the eventual goal of development of tumor targeted therapies

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Eric P. Smith, MD,

Research Associate Collaborator

I have an administrative role in the Department of Internal Medicine. My background includes training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology, basic research in reproductive biology, laboratory management, and mentoring. This combination of expertise is applied in different creative ways to promote the research productivity of faculty and facilitate training of residents and fellows. In addition to episodic assistance, I arrange to establish ongoing relationships with specific investigators and assist them in meeting their unique needs. For example, with Dr. Xiaoyang Qi, I assist in grant preparation, manuscript submission, and lab meeting presentations. I also perform a variety of “post-award” roles related to some of the successfully awarded grants. As another example, with Dr. Cohen and, in large part due to my endocrinology background, I organize his laboratory meetings, engage in discussion of results, and assist in achieving the clinical milestones of his study.

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Wenhai Shao, PhD, Associate Professor 


My lab has centered on the use of in vivo mouse models to study both basic immunology and disease pathogenesis of lupus and lupus nephritis. We have made important contributions to our understanding of TAM (Tyro-3, Axl, Mer) receptor tyrosine kinases in immune homeostasis and pathogenesis. We discovered that the Mer receptor tyrosine kinase mediates renal protection in inducible and spontaneous lupus nephritis. Most significantly, we revealed that Axl is up-regulated and activated in the inflamed kidney to mediate cell survival and promote cellular proliferation. Recently, we discovered a synergistic pathway under Axl activation to cross regulate mTORC1 and NF-kB activation, leading to mesangial cell survival and proliferation during renal inflammation. We are now working on Axl-target therapy in mouse models of lupus and lupus nephritis.

Robert S. Franco, PhD


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Former Lab Members

Zhengtao Chu, MD
Harold W. Davis, PhD
Kombo F. N’Guessan, PhD
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University of Cincinnati
Department of Internal Medicine

Division of Hematology & Oncology
231 Albert Sabin Way, ML 0562
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0562

Phone: 513-558-2115
Fax: 513-558-2125