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If you are interested in becoming an affiliated member of the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU, please send our administrator, Kimberly Justin at kjustin@fiu.edu, a copy of your CV, biography, and statement of collaboration.

Core Investigators

Charles J. Dimitroff, PhD

Director, Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU
Executive Associate Dean for Research, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Professor, Department of Translational Medicine
Florida International University

Charles Dimitroff’s research focuses on understanding how sugars or ‘glycans’ regulate immune and cancer cell functions with the goal of developing new approaches to boost the immune system to fight diseases and to treat cancer progression.

Robert Sackstein, MD, PhD

Dean, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Professor, Department of Translational Medicine
Florida International University

Robert Sackstein is an authority in stem cell-based "regenerative" medicine, immunology, and glycobiology, and his research efforts have defined how cells in blood flow migrate to target tissues. He is widely recognized for developing a platform technology known as "glycosyltransferase-programmed stereosubstitution" (GPS) for steering the trafficking of intravenously administered cells directly to sites of tissue injury or cancer, a necessary first step in achieving the promise of regenerative therapeutics and of adoptive cell immunotherapy.

Karen Abbott, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Translational Medicine
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Florida International University

Karen Abbott has been a leader in the field of glyco-proteomics and biomarker discovery for over 14 years. Dr. Abbott’s lab has been focused on the discovery and development of a human antibody that can target a specific form of N-linked tumor glycan found on glycoproteins abundantly expressed on ovarian cancer, glioblastoma, and lung cancer. This research has the potential to lead to new serum-based diagnostic assays and new therapeutic strategies to target these cancers.

Kevin Brown Chandler, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Translational Medicine
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Florida International University

Kevin Chandler's research interests include understanding how aberrant protein glycosylation contributes to the pathogenesis of oral cancer, and the application of this knowledge to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. His background is in biochemistry and analytical chemistry with a focus on mass spectrometry-based analyses of glycoproteins as applied to tumor angiogenesis and tumor biology.

The goal of his current research is to understand how N-glycosylation regulates (1) epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and (2) vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR2) in colorectal cancer. His research has recently demonstrated a role for β-catenin and CREB-binding protein (CBP) in altering fucosyltransferase activity in oral cancer.

Affiliate Members

Joong Ho Moon, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Florida International University

Joong Ho Moon’s research group is interested in developing smart therapeutic delivery and diagnostic systems exhibiting high and selective responses to the tumor extracellular environment. Glycosylation on mammalian cell surfaces plays pivotal roles in cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Aberrant glycosylation is associated with malignant transformation and cancer progression. Many cancer cells with different origins have shown overexpression of the sialic acid epitope on membrane glycoproteins and glycolipids. Degradable nanoparticles at the tumor microenvironment are currently developed to selectively deliver therapeutic agents. The newly developed guanylurea functional groups on nanoparticles are also expected to enhance stability, blood circulation time, and cellular entry of nanoparticles or therapeutics, resulting in substantially improved therapeutic efficacy.

Anthony J. McGoron, PhD

Dean, College of Engineering and Computing
Interim Director, School of biomedical, Mechanical, and Materials Engineering
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Florida International University

Anthony McGoron’s primary area of research focuses on biosensing and image guided therapy of cancer using polymer and inorganic nanoparticles and small molecules. Imaging modalities include nuclear (PET/SPECT), near-infrared fluorescence, and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Nanoparticles and polymer-drug complexes can be used to target various diseases based on the glycobiology features of the diseases.

Lidia Kos, PhD

Associate Dean, University Graduate School
Associate Vice President, Office of Research and Economic Development
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Florida International University

Lidia Kos’ expertise in mouse molecular genetics in the areas of neural crest/melanocyte development and melanoma will be beneficial for the research initiatives in TGIF. She is very interested in determining the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the process of melanoma metastasis, in particular identifying the local environmental cues that maintain melanoma metastatic cells in a dormant phenotype. Kos and her team would like to explore the idea that glycosylation patterns in the receptors that mediate melanoma cell/extracellular matrix interactions are critical in this process.

Robert J. Poppiti, Jr., MD

Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Pathology
Florida International University
Chairman, Department of Pathology
Mount Sinai Medical Center

Robert Poppiti is currently studying a novel antibody, (GCNT2), in Malignant Melanoma progression. In addition, he is working alongside the Mount Sinai Medical Center to supply the Institute with fresh adipose tissue and blood on demand for stem cell research.

Guenther Koehne, MD, PhD

Deputy Director and Chief of Blood & Marrow Transplant
Hematologic Oncology and Benign Hematology
Miami Cancer Institute

Guenther Koehne is regarded in the medical community as a pioneer in developing specific donor-derived immune cells (T lymphocytes) to treat both the viral complications of transplantation and disease relapse following transplantation. This treatment approach has been termed “adoptive immunotherapy” and is being administered in several active clinical trials. Dr. Koehne’s clinical focus is treating patients with hematologic malignancies. He is an expert in allogeneic (donor-derived) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome, and multiple myeloma.

Dr. Koehne is the principle investigator and leader of clinical trials to study the effectiveness of T cell-depleted transplants from related and unrelated donors in patients with high-risk and relapsed multiple myeloma. His research has focused on ways to reduce rates and to treat viral complications and disease recurrence following allogeneic stem cell transplantations.

Gregory A. Hudalla, PhD

Associate Professor
Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
University of Florida

Gregory Hudalla’s research program develops biotherapeutics and biomaterials with new or improved functional properties via molecular engineering and self-assembly.

Lianchun Wang, MD

Professor
Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology
Bryd Alzheimer`s Research Institute
Morsani College of Medicine
University of South Florida

Lianchun Wang's research focuses on understanding the functions and related structure of heparan sulfate in leukocyte trafficking/inflammation, vascular development, stem cell biology, cancer and Alzheimer`s disease, and further elucidating the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms with ab ultimate goal is to apply novel research findings to develop effective therapeutics to fight human diseases.

Joshua Hutcheson, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Florida International University

Joshua Hutcheson’s research seeks to discover novel mechanical and molecular contributors to cardiovascular disease with particular emphasis on aortic stenosis, atherosclerosis, and medial calcification. Altered glycosylation patterns are recognized as an important contributor to cardiovascular remodeling and represent potential targets for therapeutic regeneration of diseased cardiovascular tissues.

Ananda M. Mondal, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information Sciences
Florida International University

Ananda Mondal’s research interest is at the intersection of Machine Learning and Bioinformatics. His domains of research are epigenetics and cancer genomics. As part of glyco-bioinformatics and cancer, Mondal’s focus is to develop a hybrid computational model including causal network, machine learning, and mechanistic modeling to better understand the role of glycosylation in cancer. His recent work showed that expression profiles of glycome-related genes can differentiate 33 different cancer types with an accuracy greater than 90%.

Jennifer Arcuri, PhD Student

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Graduate Program
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons in the optic nerve transmit information from the eye to the brain. The membranes of RGCs are uniquely enriched in glycosphingolipids and their metabolic products, such as gangliosides. The aim of her research is to manipulate the ganglioside pathway to regenerate the optic nerve after damage.

 

Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya, MTech, PhD

Professor of Ophthalmology
Graduate Program Director (MVSIO and Translational Track PhD Programs)

View Dr. Bhattacharya's University of Miami profile

The Bhattacharya laboratory is focused on restoration of visual function in glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. His group utilizes cell culture, experimental models and multiomics mass spectrometry,   imaging mass spectrometry, high-resolution imaging,  electrophysiology, and computer natural language processing combined with usual bioinformatics tools.

Maré Cudic, PhD

Associate Professor; Director Honors in Chemistry Program
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Florida Atlantic University

The main emphasis in Mare Cudic's Glycosciences Laboratory is on protein-carbohydrate interactions that play a role in many important biological processes. They use chemical and chemoenzymatic approaches to synthesize model glycopeptides and glycopeptide libraries as tools for probing glycan biology and elucidating the mechanisms of low affinity and selectivity of glycan-lectin interactions. This research may have implications for the development of vaccine-based strategies for cancer treatment and prevention, and novel carbohydrate-recognition based therapeutics for targeting broad range of disease.

Medical Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program
Nicklaus Children's Hospital

Jorge Galvez's interest is in adoptive cell therapies and graft manipulation for the treatment of non-malignant conditions including inherited Bone Marrow Failure syndromes. While at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, he researched ways to improve homing in adoptative cell therapies. He conducted research to develop a xenogeneic-Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) model to test novel glycosylation technologies to improve homing to sites of inflammation. This approach was used for the prevention or treatment of xenogeneic-GVHD with modified mesenchymal stromal cells. While at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Galvez introduced the use of fucosylation of the mesenchymal cell in preclinical work and the xenogeneic wound model in attempts to cure Epidermolysis Bullosa in children. From a clinical standpoint, Dr. Galvez Silva is one of the founding members of the newly created Florida Pediatric Bone marrow and Cellular therapy consortium, which leads clinical research in pediatric transplant in Florida along with other pediatric transplant institutions.
Jessica Siltberg-Liberles
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Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences; Biomolecular Sciences Institute
Florida International University

Jessica Siltberg-Liberles uses a computational approach to elucidate and prevent the molecular actions of viral pathogens. Viral infections depend on virus-host interactions mediated by molecular mimicry. The Siltberg-Liberles lab investigates evolutionary dynamics of molecular mimicry including glycosylation across virus protein families to identify their role in divergence of virus pathogenicity. Siltberg-Liberles is also focusing on identifying fitness-critical sites in viral proteins that can be utilized as broadly neutralizing antiviral targets with robustness against current and future population-wide variants.