Meet the Team

HIMC is comprised of a diverse team of immunologists, computational scientists and technical specialists. We work together to offer comprehensive immune monitoring solutions for a wide range of studies, including providing guidance in project development and clinical study/trial design, logistical support in study sample management, a host of cutting edge immunological assays and bioinformatics support to assist with the analysis and integration of complex immunological datasets.

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD

Dr. Merad, MD, PhD, is an expert in DC biology and has been studying the role of DCs in tissue for more than ten years. As Director of the Precision Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai and Professor of Oncological Sciences, Dr. Merad made key contributions to our understanding of the regulation of DC development and function and has identified the origin and functional diversity of the phagocyte pool in the intestine, with implications in cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Merad is also the Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) which goal is to identify novel immune biomarkers of disease and response to therapy in patients with cancer, allergic disease, or viral infection. She is the recipient of numerous NIH awards for consortium-based efforts related to immune monitoring of vaccines, including in cancer, and for developing sample-sparing immune monitoring techniques. As part of the MS-CIMAC leadership team, Dr. Merad will be responsible for the design of the experiments planned for each trial, data review, and the overall coordination of the project design.


Sacha Gnjatic, PhD

Dr. Sacha Gnjatic, PhD is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Gnjatic’s lab focuses on human immune responses to cancer in an antigen-specific manner, in the periphery and at the tumor site, to define new targets for the development of cancer immunotherapies, how they work and why they may fail. Dr. Gnjatic’s work on tumor antigens has established the immunological basis for testing cancer vaccines in over 40 clinical trials, opening a new field of cancer immunology based on clinical discovery, with the goal to achieve protective integrated immune responses in the fight against cancer. Dr. Gnjatic’s laboratory has pioneered novel high-dimensional techniques and served as reference for harmonized immunomonitoring of humoral, cellular, and tissue-based immune correlates, which has led to the adoption of new standards by other labs.


Seunghee Kim-Schulze, PhD

Seunghee Kim-Schulze, PhD is the Facility Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC) at Mount Sinai. She is an expert in immune monitoring of various clinical studies and cancer vaccine trials. HIMC laboratories where a majority of MS-CIMAC operations will take place are located in the same building as Drs. Gnjatic, Bhardwaj, Merad, Rahman, Greenbaum, Amir, Faith, Clemente, and Ueno. Dr. Kim-Schulze is responsible for maintaining state-of-the-art immune monitoring equipment for clinical sample management, processing and performing biological assays according to the established SOPs. She has been involved with over 30 clinical trials, including protocol writing, sample management, quality control, regulatory matters, assay optimization and development, validation, and billing. For this project, Dr. Kim-Schulze will provide supervision and training of laboratory personnel, sample management, review of SOPs, QC and production of immunology data, and assistance in analysis of the data.



Adeeb Rahman, PhD

Adeeb Rahman, PhD is an Assistant Professor with a broad background in human immunology. His prior research has focused on the role of innate inflammation in shaping adaptive immunity in a range of disease settings, which is complimented by his keen interest in technology, engineering and assay development. As the HIMC’s Director of Technology Development he oversees the HIMC diverse range of cutting-edge technology platforms, with a focus on developing, implementing and optimizing platform-specific assays to decipher the complexity of the immune system across a broad range of research areas. His key expertise is in high dimensional single cell characterization, particularly in the setting of clinical studies, and he is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in mass cytometry. He directly oversees the HIMC’s comprehensive cytometry and single cell sequencing programs, and leads the HIMC’s research efforts to develop novel technology, reagents, protocols and computational tools to maximize the value and utility of high end instrumentation platforms for our research community. 

Manishkumar B. Patel, MS
Associate Researcher II

I have studied Bachelors and Masters in “Genetics” in India. Since my Bachelor’s program I have been passionate about Research in the field of Human Biology. It was the reason I chose to come to USA and fulfill my passion. So, I have studied Master’s in “Cellular and Molecular Biology” from University of New Haven, Connecticut. I was very fortunate to find a research opportunity at Mount Sinai for my Master’s Degree Project where I worked in Molecular Genetics lab for a year, researching “Copy Number Variations and Warfarin Dose in Personalized Medicine”. Soon after my master’s degree, I have started working in HPV related Head and Neck Cancer Research in 2011 and transited from there to HIMC in 2012. I have been in HIMC since the inception of HIMC at Mount Sinai. I believe that I am working in the right direction with the proper guidance of HIMC Scientists.


Kevin Tuballes, MD
Senior Associate Researcher

Born and raised in Queens, NY. Left the nest and pursued my Bachelors and Masters in Cellular & Molecular Biology at Tulane University. Returned to my native city and developed a keen interest in cancer immunology while at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Pursued a career in medicine, graduating from St. George’s School of Medicine. Returned to MSKCC as a Research Fellow. Find myself now at Mount Sinai, specializing in T cell cultures and assays monitoring T Cell function within various cancer vaccine trials evaluating immuno-oncology drug candidates with specific interest with NY-ESO-1 cancer testis antigen. When not under the culture hood, or on the bench with ELISAs, I busy myself hammock camping, solo hiking White Mountains and traveling to far and away places. Crossfit helps to keep my body and mind in shape. Lastly, I am HIMC’s resident Den Mother during our free time. Advice: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” -Gretzky. Lesson: Take the shot.


Hui Xie

I graduated from Taiyuan Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree of Biological Engineering in China. My undergraduate research focused on improvement of extraction process in industrial manufacture and environmental protection. I came to the USA to continue my master program in New York University, which majored in Chemical Engineer. Hui( Emily) Joined the Human Immune Monitoring Core( HIMC) since Jan,2015. Now I am responsible for some clinic trail and Biomarker measurement.

 

 


Mahlet Yishak

I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I moved to New York State to study for my bachelor degree of biology at Manhattanville College. After graduating I worked at the allergy institute here at Mount Sinai. I also perused my masters in clinical research. In 2016 I joined HIMC. I had been involved on a cancer vaccine trail that gages the efficacy of immuno-oncology drugs specifically focusing on NY-ESO antigen. As part of Human Immune center, I also work on studies that focus on several other diseases and use different assays which had broadened my knowledge and experience. On my days off I enjoy going to the beach or jogging.


Brian Lee

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Econometrics. At UNC I worked at the Neuroscience Center investigating murine models of demyelinating disease and the role of microglia in multiple sclerosis. I am currently interested in the applications of data science and machine learning in biomedical research.

 

 

 


Laura Walker

After graduating from Florida Atlantic University in 2011, Laura started working in Immunology at The Scripps Research Institute. While there she worked extensively with transgenic mouse models using techniques such as IHC, Laser Capture Microdissection, and Flow Cytometry. In 2015 she joined Mount Sinai’s Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism Institute where she further developed her skills studying signaling pathways in human Type I and II Diabetes Mellitus. Laura joined HIMC in April 2017 and assisted in the establishment of HIMC’s 10x Genomics’s Single-Cell Sequencing platform. In her free time, she enjoys long walks in the park, listening to electronic jazz, and poking at dead things with a stick.


Shermineh Bradford

I received my Bachelors of Science with departmental honors from California State University in molecular and cellular biology. I began working in translational research as an undergraduate at John Theurer Cancer Center in 2016. I am now a member of the HIMC team while obtaining my Master’s degree at University of Florida online, pursing a degree in medical microbiology and cell sciences. My goal is to gain more knowledge and expand my skills in translational research, focusing on immunology.

 

 


Leena Babiker

Before joining the Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC), I graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics and genomics and obtained a Master’s of Science in biology from New York University. My future endeavors is to pursue a PhD in immunology to contribute to the knowledge of underlying mechanisms of asthma and other allergy-related diseases and develop more treatment mechanism for the diseases. When I am not working, I am enjoying traveling, baking, visiting parks, and drinking tea.

 

 


Geoffrey Kelly

I attended University at Buffalo and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology in 2015. I then joined the Faust Lab at Columbia University, where I worked on research studying the underlying pathogenesis of Essential Tremor. I'm currently interested in expanding my research skills and hope to enter a bioinformatics master's program in the future. Outside of work I enjoy running, going to concerts, and watching the NBA.

Nicolas F. Fernandez
Computational Scientist, Human Immune Monitoring Center ISMMS

I am originally from San Antonio Texas where I received my bachelor’s degree in Physics from The University of Texas at San Antonio and worked in the biophysics lab of Dr. Lorenzo Brancaleon. During my graduate training in the lab of Dr. Ao Ma at Albert Einstein College of Medicine I focused on developing computational models of the mechano-chemical behavior of the mitotic spindle. My postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Avi Ma’ayan at Icahn School of Medicine involved developing computational pipelines, analysis methods, and visualization tools for high-dimensional biological datasets. I am interested in using modern web-technologies to create tools that enable biologists to easily and reproducibly analyze their high-dimensional datasets, share their results, and leverage existing biological knowledge (e.g using enrichment analysis). At the Human Immune Monitoring Center I am developing analysis pipelines, interactive visualizations, and new techniques for analyzing single-cell and bulk immunological datasets.


Melanie Davila

I graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University in 2013 where I majored in Genetics and minored in Public Health. Since then, I’ve volunteered abroad in rural Brazil, worked in a biorepository where I performed SNP analyses on DNA samples, and contributed to pediatric oncology research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. When I’m not coding, I enjoy running, reading, and playing the saxophone.

 

 


El-ad David Amir

Dr. El-ad David Amir is a seasoned computational biologist with more than a decade of experience in bioinformatics, systems biology, and data science, in both academic and industry settings. He is an expert in the exploration of novel data sets, especially high-dimensional, single-event data, and in making machine learning and statistical analysis accessible to biologists and other colleagues. Dr. Amir is the CEO and co-founder of Astrolabe Analytics, a medical diagnostics company.

 

 


Manuel Garcia-Quismondo

Dr. Garcia-Quismondo, PhD, is Senior Research Analyst. His areas of research include Computational Modeling, Bioinformatics, Machine Learning, Population Dynamics and High Performance Computing. He has a PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Sevilla (Spain). He has held fellowships at multiple academic institutions, including the University of Sevilla (Spain), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China), Tufts University, University of Minnesota, Rutgers University, Smithsonian Institution and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Jose Lacunza

I graduated from Public University of Navarra (Spain) where I majored in Business administration and also in Certificate Diploma in Economics and Business Sciences. After that, I have worked in an International Company as a department Manager, developing my skills as Project coordinator.