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Principal Investigator

Charles J. Dimitroff

Executive Associate Dean for Research
Professor, with Tenure, Department of Translational Medicine
Director, Translational Glycobiology Institute at Florida International University

Charles Dimitroff, Ph.D., is a global leader in the study of sugars, known as glycobiology, and is highly motivated to translate glycobiological findings to help cure diseases and improve the overall health of humans. His 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. As a principal investigator for over 26 years, his efforts have helped identify the nature and impact of glycans on inflammation and cancer, while operating one of the most reputable translational glycobiology programs in the US.  

Dr. Dimitroff’s administrative duties and laboratory is grounded within the Department of Translational Medicine in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) at Florida International University (FIU). His laboratory is located in the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU (TGIF), in which he serves as its Founding Director. At the TGIF, he fosters collaborative glycoscience activities in medicine while training the next generation of basic and clinical research scientists in the glycosciences. Furthermore, Dr. Dimitroff serves as the Executive Associate Dean for Research at HWCOM charged with building successful biomedical research programs and providing a first-rate research experience for its doctoral and post-doctoral trainees.


Caleb Staudinger
Lab Manager II

Caleb Staudinger is the Lab Manager for the Dimitroff lab in the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU (TGIF). In joining the Dimitroff lab at TGIF, Mr. Staudinger brings his experience in mouse modeling of inflammation and in cell biochemical methods to study the role of glycans and glycan-forming enzymes in adaptive immunity and in cancer progression. 

Asmi Chakraborty, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Asmi Chakraborty's research in the Dimitroff lab is focused on identifying the role of GCNT2, a novel emerging melanoma biomarker, in disease progression. 

Angela Bernasconi
Research Technician I

Angela Bernasconi is a Research Technician in the Dimitroff lab assisting on new directions in cancer research and in studies on the fundamentals of a functional immune system. Bernasconi brings her diverse knowledge and positive outlook to ongoing studies of melanoma research and lymphocyte biology in the Dimitroff lab.

Liettel Ortega
Research Assistant

Liettel Ortega is Research Assistant for the Dimitroff lab in the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU (TGIF) at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, FIU. In joining the Dimitroff lab, she brings the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU professional skills to help study the impact of glycome on T cell and/or B cell function.

Kimberly Justin
Senior Executive Assistant

Kimberly Justin has been with FIU HWCOM for over 5 years, and is a recent graduate of FIU’s Leadership Education Advancement Program. Justin joined the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in 2014, where she began her career as an Administrative Assistant in the Department of immunology and Nano-Medicine.  Today, Justin plans and directs the day-to-day office operations for the Executive Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU, Dr. Charles J. Dimitroff. 


Medical Students

Nicole Izhakoff
Research Assistant

Nicole Izhakoff is a Medical Student at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and a Research Assistant for the Dimitroff Lab in the Translational Glycobiology Institute at FIU (TGIF). She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. As a part of the Dimitroff Lab team, she brings her passion for research to study distinct glycans and their potential to predict melanoma metastasis. 

Mariana Perez
Research Assistant

Mariana Perez is a medical student at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University. She brings her passion for dermatology and cutaneous oncology to the Dimitroff lab, where she will work as a part of a group studying the role of cell surface carbohydrates in melanoma progression. 

PhD Students

Norhan Mohammed
Research Assistant 

Norhan Mohammed is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Dimitroff’s lab in the Translational Glycobiology Institute (TGIF) at FIU. She joined Dr. Dimitroff’s lab at FIU in December 2019. Her research will be focused on studying the role of Galectin-binding surface glycan in melanoma progression and analysis of regulatory factors driving expression of GCNT2, a glycosyltransferase responsible for converting i-linear poly-N-acetyllactosamines to I-branched poly-N-acetyllactosamines. Mechanistic understanding of the role of GCNT2 in melanoma progression and the process of its regulation will allow design of new therapeutic strategies to treat melanoma.

Lee Seng Lau
2020 PhD Lab Rotation

Lee Seng Lau was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, Florida, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Florida International University. She is an FEF McKnight Fellow and is currently pursuing graduate studies in Biomedical Science at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, working under the supervision of Dr. Dimitroff. Lau is presently studying the role of glycans in adaptive immunity.

Joseph Souchak
PhD Lab Rotation

Joseph Souchak is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Dimitroff’s lab at the Translational Glycobiology Institute (TGIF) at FIU. He joined Dr. Dimitroff’s lab at FIU in May of 2020. Before joining the CD laboratory, Mr. Souchak served in the United States Marine Corps and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at Miami-Dade College. His research will be working on the Novel glycobiological mechanisms of melanoma metastasis and melanoma glycan-probing-surveillance (GPS) treatment. 

Undergraduate Students

Emily Flores
Research Assistant

In the Dimitroff Lab, Emily Flores will be studying the glycobiological influences, namely lectins and their glycan-binding partners, impacting the adaptive immune system. She is currently attending FIU, majoring in Biomedical engineering. Flores plans to further develop her career in Medical school when she graduates in 2022.

Jordan Carroll
Research Assistant

Jordan Carroll is an undergraduate student at FIU pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology & Natural and Applied Science with a minor in Chemistry. She plans to attend medical school once she graduates in 2020. In the Dimitroff Lab, Jordan works as a Research Assistant collecting data to assist with the translation of glycobiological findings in order to improve human health and disease. 

Past Members

Frances Clemente
Research Specialist I

Patience Paul
2020 PhD Lab Rotation