Team

Xiu-Min Li, MDM
Director

Dr. Xiu-Min Li is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Immunobiology at The Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Li's research interests are focused on asthma and allergy, including work on the immuno-pathological and epigenetic mechanisms of asthma, food allergy, and atopic dermatitis. She has developed novel experimental therapies including cytokine, CpG ODN, and engineered allergen immunotherapy. She has also developed novel complementary and alternative medicine approaches such as probiotics and herbal medicines. Dr. Li has a unique combined expertise in allergy, immunology, molecular biology, and Chinese herbal medicine; she is a leader in the scientific study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for allergic disorders. She is the director of the Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERC), Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma. Dr. Li is the sponsor of the US-FDA approved phase I and II clinical study of a botanical drug (ASHMI) for treating asthma and US-FDA approved clinical study of a Chinese herbal medicine (FAHF-2) for food allergy. She has established immunobiology and botanical chemistry laboratories. Her research has been funded by NIH/NCCAM (P01 and R01) and the Food Allergy Initiative. As a faculty of the graduate school and pediatric department, she is also a mentor to clinical and research fellows, Ph.D. students, and junior faculties. Dr. Li is establishing a CAM practice program at Mt. Sinai that will provide additional healthcare options for children and adults with allergic disorders. Her research has been reported by the New York Daily News.

Nan Yang, Ph.D.
Instructor

Nan Yang, Ph.D. is an instructor of the Botanical Chemical Lab for the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy. Dr. Yang received a Ph.D. from Clark University and has diverse experience in biochemistry. Dr. Yang has expertise in a wide range of techniques including analytical chemistry, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry (LC MS), immunobiology, and molecular biology. He has played a key role in ensuring the quality and consistency of two herbal products (FAHF-2 and ASHMI) used in clinical studies. He is co-author of a publication related to the development of herbal interventions for asthma. As group leader of the botanical laboratory, he supervises two technicians to identify effects of active fractions and compounds in B-FAHF-2 on Th2 cells and TNF-a producing cells. He has developed collaborations within the group and outside the institution to determine effects of active fractions and compounds on mast cells and B cells. He has generated substantial data and is preparing two manuscripts.

Neil Birmingham, Ph.D.
Instructor

Dr. Neil Birmingham is an Instructor of Pediatrics and Immunobiology at The Icahn School of Medicine's Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy. Dr. Birmingham's background in Nutritional Immunology focused his research on alternative approaches for treatment of atopic diseases (food allergy, asthma, and allergic rhinitis). Here in the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy, Dr. Birmingham's role as the assistant director of the Immunobiology lab, is one of research and leadership studying the molecular mechanisms leading to the therapeutic role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in allergic diseases. Currently, his work at the center is addressing the therapeutic role of TCM for use in allergic rhinitis.

Ivan Lopez-Exposito, Ph.D.
Post Doctorate

Ivan Lopez-Exposito has a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology with the dissertation entitled "New antibacterial peptides derived from milk proteins. Study of the mechanism of action and synergistic effects" (Autonoma University from Madrid, Spain). He has 10 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, a licensed patent, and several oral and poster communications in international conferences.

He joined Dr. Li' s lab July 2007 as a postdoctoral fellow. His main research is focused on the influence of pregnancy and lactation on the early onset of peanut anaphylactic reactions. In addition, he is actively involved in the drug discovery of new herbs from the Traditional Chinese Medicine than can potentially suppress the production of IgE.

Sangita Patil, Ph.D.
Post Doctorate

Post Doctoral Research - The Icahn School of Medicine, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology: Currently involved in studying the immunomodulatory effects of Chinese Herbal therapy in murine model of asthma and allergy and in human clinical trials.

Testing the immunological effects of purified components of ASHMI in chronic allergic-asthma murine model.

Immunological evaluation of the cellular components of blood such as basophils and T cells and the serum of patients to study the effect of herbal treatment in the two ongoing clinical trials involving ASHMI and FAFH2 with the aid of Flow cytometry and multiplex assays.

Also involved in studying the effect of herbal treatment in-vitro studies with BV-2 mouse microglial cells so to establish a bridge between depression and asthma.

Post Doctoral Research - Universtiy of Pittsburgh, Dept of Immunology: Research was carried out to study the immune response to Pneumocystis in a Simian Model of AIDS. Interesting observation was infiltration of the lungs with CD8+ cells and neutrophils which resulted in an increase in IL-8, IFN-g and TNF-a levels and worsening of lung function.

Ph.D. - Mumbai University, India: Thesis in the field of Food Allergy and Immunology. Important outcomes of which were the predominance of legume allergy in India and chickpea allergy was most prevalent and further immunological evaluation of the allergenic proteins of the legumes.

Ying Song, M.D.
Post Doctorate

Elena Rusinova, MS
Coordinator

Holds a MS in Physics. She has more than a dozen research papers related to protein-protein and lipid-protein interactions published in peer-reviewed journals; she co-authored several book chapters and presented several posters at international conferences. Her research was focused on molecular mechanisms of macromolecule interactions employing UV-visible spectroscopy.

She joined Dr. Li's lab in 2007. She currently carries out in-vitro studies of the impact of anti-asthmatic Chinese herbal formula (ASHMI) and its constituents on inflammation in asthma. She also participates in screening of Chinese herbs as potential anti-asthmatic drugs.

Kamal Srivastava, MPhil
Ph.D. Student

Member of the Immunobiology Lab for the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy since 1999. Kamal has contributed to animal model studies at the center in food allergy and asthma research resulting in several articles in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at the annual meetings of the AAAAI. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate attending Graduate School at the The Icahn School of Medicine with a Ruth L. Kirschtein pre-doctoral fellowship awarded by NIH/NCCAM. Her present research projects involve animal studies with ASHMI and FAHF-2 formulas.

Alexandra Castillo
Research Coordinator

Research Assistant in Doctor's Li Laboratory. She came to us through The Collegiate Research Fellowship Program offer by the multicultural affair center at The Icahn School of Medicine. She began working with us in 2006. Her main area of research is isolation and structural clarification of active constituents of Herbal Medicine with its testing in different cell lines.
A.A., Liberal Arts/ Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
B.S., Science and Biomedical Studies, the City College Of New York, CUNY

Banghao Liang
Research Coordinator

Juan Wisnivesky, M.D.
Co-Principal Investigators

Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of the General Internal Medicine Research Fellowship. He is a bilingual pulmonologist and clinical epidemiologist whose research focuses on asthma, lung cancer epidemiology, and outcomes research. He received a Mentored Career Award from the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality to evaluate determinants of medication adherence and outcomes among inner city asthmatics. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of a Phase I/II study evaluating the role of a novel herbal medication (ASHMI) for the treatment of asthma. He is the PI of two R01s to conduct secondary data analyses using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare registry to evaluate the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of lung cancer. He is also the PI of an American Cancer Society funded cohort study assessing the determinants of disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. He was the PI of an R03 grant to validate a pulmonary tuberculosis prediction rule, and a grant funded by the New York State Department of Health to identify barriers to colorectal cancer screening in minority populations.

Julie Wang, M.D
Co-Principal Investigators

Dr. Wang joined the NCCAM CERC: Center of Excellence for Research in CAM in 2007 and is the clinical PI for the clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of FAHF-2 TM for food allergic individuals. She has been on the faculty of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute since 2005, after completing her fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at The Mount Sinai Health System. Dr. Wang received her pediatrics training at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Allergy and Immunology and is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Sylvan Wallenstein, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigators

Joseph Goldfarb, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigators

Sharon M. Hamlin
Administrative Coordinator
(212) 214-1755
Sharon Hamlin is the Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy. She joined the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergy in May 2008.