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.
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.
Sacha Gnjatic, PhD
Dr. Sacha Gnjatic, PhD is a 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.
Zhihong Chen, PhD
Zhihong (Z) Chen, PhD, serves as the Research and Development Director at the Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC), at Mount Sinai. Prior to joining HIMC, Dr. Chen dedicated 14 years of research centering around the functions of innate immunity in Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases, including traumatic brain injury and brain malignancies, with a focus on microglial/macrophage biology and neuropathology. Dr. Chen has played a significant role in various NIH or foundation-funded projects related to innate immunity-mediated neuro-modulations and brain cancer. Within the HIMC, Dr. Chen leads the scRNA-seq, spatial transcriptomics, and immune cell profiling divisions. Dr. Chen actively seeks out challenging problems and embraces innovation, and is extremely keen on implementing and exploring novel and cutting-edge technology platforms through the design, initiation, and optimization of state-of-the-art techniques, to contribute to the scientific communities in the most productive and efficient way possible.
Vladimir Roudko, Ph.D
Dr. Vladimir Roudko, Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai, leading the computational effort at HIMC. He is a computational immunologist and molecular biologist whose research interests are at the intersection of high-throughput biological data integration, interpretation and novel technology development with a strong clinical focus on identifying novel immune biomarkers of disease and response to therapy in patients with cancer and inflammatory disease. He did his doctoral studies in France with his work uncovering mechanisms of eukaryotic RNA stability and decay. He subsequently did his postdoctoral studies in the USA at Weill Cornell Medicine and Mount Sinai where he studied molecular principles of human tumor immunology using both computational and experimental approaches. Dr. Roudko is now working on problems of multimodal clinical data integration and analysis with the aim to detect mechanisms of cancer immunotherapy response and resistance. Ultimately, these findings may be translated into strategies useful to improve cancer recognition and elimination by host immune system.
Erik Wambre, Ph.D
Dr. Wambre the Director of Technology and Business Development at the Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC) at Mount Sinai. Prior to joining HIMC, Dr. Wambre has engaged in over 12 years of research focused on providing in-depth monitoring of immune responses in allergy, infectious diseases, autoimmune and cancer vaccine development, with the primary objectives to enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis, regulation and functions of the adaptive immune system in disease pathways, and delve into questions related to the correlation between clinical responses and immunological changes during immunotherapy. Dr. Wambre has identified a phenotypically and functionally distinct human TH2 cell subpopulation associated with allergic disorders that may represent an effective therapeutic target. As a co-Investigator on multiple NIH or NCI funded grants, he has successfully administered multi-year projects, resulting in peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national meetings from each project. In HIMC, Dr. Wambre will apply both established and novel techniques to track and profile global and antigen-specific immune responses from clinical samples, utilizing the techniques for translational and clinical applications include identification of biomarkers of clinical interest, and development of new therapeutic strategies.
Krista Angeliadis received her bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Connecticut in 2020. After graduating, she worked in the microbiology department of a laboratory where she was responsible for testing food and pharmaceutical products for several bacterial strains. She then went on to work at a biotech company that focused on ecology testing of indoor spaces. Krista joined the HIMC in 2023 with her work focusing on single-cell resolution immune profiling and gene signature identification through 10x single cell sequencing for various clinical trials and studies. She is excited to expand her research skills and aims to get her master's in the future.
Kimberly Argueta received her bachelor’s degree in forensic science and biology pre-medical as well as her master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of New Haven. During her undergraduate academic experience, she interned at Yale New Haven Hospital Autopsy Service. Through her graduate studies, she worked as a cell culture teaching assistant for the graduate courses. Her responsibilities included culturing and maintaining multiple mammalian cell lines. She was also a graduate student researcher within the Lyme Disease Research Group. Her primary responsibility was maintaining Borrelia burgdorferi cultures and conducting further in vitro analysis of the antibacterial effects of various essential oils and herbal agents, including methods of testing cell viability of Borrelia biofilms. Additionally, she interned at Yale New Haven Hospital within the Elder Horizon Geriatric Program. Kimberly joined the HIMC in 2019 where she works on sample processing, biobanking, and immunological techniques for various clinical studies. She plans to continue her academic career in clinical medicine in the near future.
Rachel A. Chen
Rachel A. Chen received her bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in 2021 double majoring in Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies: Ecosystems. During her undergraduate career, she was part of Dr. Molly Patterson’s lab, where she focused on the composition of Benthic Foraminifera communities in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean from the Mid-Late Pleistocene. In her senior year, she entered an accelerated master's Program, where she received her master’s in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. For her graduate studies, she studied how latitudinal gradients can create high niche opportunities and invasion success for short-distance range expanders in Dr. Kirsten Prior’s lab. She also began a DNA barcoding study on parasitoid wasps to identify cryptic speciation and to ultimately contribute to biological control efforts for an invasive insect. At the HIMC, Rachel assists in preparing libraries from RNA and operating the 10x single cell sequencing platform.
Travis Dawson received his master's degree in biology at Concordia University in 2013. He studied the community composition and metabolic activity of microbial communities along an estuarine salinity gradient. He continued working in the field of environmental microbiology as a laboratory technician at Université du Québec à Montréal. At UQAM, he isolated bacterial DNA and RNA from plant and root samples and prepared them for targeted sequencing. He began working as a research technologist in the DNA sequencing facility at the Center for Applied Genomics, part of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in 2015. There, he gained experience in preparing libraries from DNA and RNA, and operating next-generation sequencing platforms. His experience at the sequencing facility includes 10X single cell sequencing, which has become his focus here at Human Immune Monitoring Center.
Geoffrey Kelly received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University at Buffalo in 2015. Geoffrey joined the Faust Lab at Columbia University where he researched the underlying pathogenesis of Essential Tremor. He is interested in expanding his research skills and plans to enter a bioinformatics master’s program in the future.
Rachel Lee received her bachelor's degree in Biology, Health, and Society with a minor in Gender and Health at the University of Michigan in 2022. During her undergraduate career, Rachel was a part of the Baker Lab at the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where she focused on the research of frequently mutated genes in lung cancer in hopes of possible treatment. At HIMC, Rachel works primarily on data acquisition and sample staining. She hopes to attend medical school in the future.
Sam Miake-Lye received his bachelor's degree in Anatomy, Developmental, and Human Biology from King's College London. During his undergraduate studies, he interned at the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) through Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). He then completed a master's degree in Adolescent Education through New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF) at Pace University. While teaching International Baccalaureate (IB) Biology in the Bronx with the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE), Sam was selected as a Math for America (MfA) Early Career Fellow. In March of 2023, Sam joined the HIMC where he currently processes and biobanks biological samples for clinical trials. He also manages HIMC social media (such as Twitter (X)) content update. Sam plans to attend graduate school in the future and intends to pursue a PhD in neuroscience.
Ronaldo Miguel de Real
Ronaldo Miguel de Real received his bachelor's degree in microbiology at The Ohio State University. During his undergraduate studies, Ronaldo joined the Liyanage Lab at the Department of Microbial Infection & Immunity. His research mainly focused on HIV pathogenesis, where he compared cell populations of chronic vs naive patients when administered with the RV144 vaccine using different adjuvants. He also did some research on the effects of trained immunity induced by the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine. At the HIMC, Ronaldo focuses on sample staining and data acquisition of various collected samples, with an emphasis on COVID-19 blood samples. In the future, Ronaldo hopes to become a medical scientist candidate, to use the knowledge he learns from scientific research and apply it to medical patients.
Jarod Morgenroth-Rebin received his bachelor’s degree in biology, specializing in microbiology, from the University of Waterloo in 2020. He earned his master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Guelph in 2023, with research focusing on protein expression and protein-protein interactions of Klebsiella pneumoniae in the lab of Jennifer Geddes-McAlister, PhD. Jarod joined Mount Sinai’s Human Immune Monitoring Center in 2023. Here, he performs immune profiling at single-cell resolution and scRNA-Seq for various clinical trials and research studies with links to cancer immunotherapy, cardiovascular conditions, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV, autoimmune disease, and other types of diseases. He aims to continue diversifying his research skillset before beginning doctoral studies.
Kai Nie is the program manager in Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC). He majored in Pharmacy in Peking University Medical Center in Beijing China, and then pursued graduate studies in Pharmacology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is experienced in translational medical research in tumor study. Kai joined Human Immune Monitoring Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before working at the Icahn School of Medicine, he conducted research in leukocyte infiltration in CNS in response to viral infections at Lerner Research Institute of Cleveland Clinic, and Pediatric brain tumor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University. In HIMC, Kai manages study database, performs and plans assays for multiple clinical trials, prepares budget, and coordinates day-to-day lab operations. Kai aims to grow together with HIMC and contribute more to a higher standard.
Manishkumar B. Patel, MS
Associate Researcher II
Manishkumar B. Patel received his masters and bachelor’s degree in Genetics in India. His interest in human biology research is the reason he decided to pursue his studies in the United States. He received another masters in cellular and molecular biology from the University of New Haven. For his master’s degree project, he worked in molecular genetics lab for a year researching “Copy Number Variations and Warfarin Dose in Personalized Medicine.’ After completing his masters, he began working in HPV related head and neck cancer research in 2011 and transitioned to the HIMC in 2012. He has worked alongside scientists in the HIMC since its inception.
Bryan Villagomez received his bachelor's degree in biology with minors in digital arts from SUNY Stony Brook University (SBU) in 2020. After graduating, he moved to Maryland and worked in the radiology department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) as an animal research assistant. In September of 2021, he moved back to NYC and worked as a research technician at ContraFect Corporation, a microbiology biotech company located in Yonkers. Motivated by the development of human immunology and its contribution especially during the COVID pandemic, Bryan joined HIMC in December 2022. He is engaged in isolating immune cells and other components from blood or bone marrow samples for different clinical trials and conducting cytokine analysis using the cutting edge proteomic platforms such as Olink assay. Bryan is working towards graduate school and is utilizing the experience gained at HIMC to understand the human immune responses and biomarker discoveries for treatment of various human diseases such as cancer, IBD and autoimmune diseases.
Hue Xie received her bachelor’s degree in biological engineering in China. Her undergraduate research focused on improvement of extraction process in industrial manufacture and environmental protection. She pursued her chemical engineering master’s degree at New York University. She joined the HIMC in 2015 and is responsible for the clinical trial and biomarker measurement.
Ruihua Zhang, PhD
Ruihua Zhang, PhD, received a doctoral degree in immunology and microbiology from the Tokyo Women’s Medical University of Japan in 2001. After graduating, Dr. Zhang undertook research and teaching in the Department of Immunology at Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University in China. Dr. Zhang went on to conduct research on immunological diseases at the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Zhang joined the Human Immune Monitoring Center at Icahn Mount Sinai in 2023 as an associate scientist, focusing on immune cell profiling through mass cytometry and spectral flow cytometry for clinical trials and studies. Dr. Zhang is excited to develop a deeper understanding of research techniques and of immune cell functions in cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, neurological disorders, growth hormone deficiencies, food allergies, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions.
Darwin D'Souza earned his BSc in Biology in 2014 from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. To combine his passion for science and technology, Darwin went on to earn his MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of Leicester in 2015 in Leicester, UK. He was one of the first bioinformaticians hired at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute in Moncton, Canada, where he was involved in the analysis of DNA-Seq and RNA-Seq data originating from exosomes and sequenced with the Ion-Torrent machine. He went on to work at The Center for Applied Genomics in Toronto, where he was involved in the development of production pipelines for WES and WGS data originating from Illumina sequencers. In his spare time, Darwin enjoys running, reading non-fiction, and watching the NBA.
Anis Kara received his bachelor's degree in software engineering from Blida University (Algeria) in 2015, a master’s degree in vision systems and robotic from Blida University (Algeria) in 2018, and a Manager of Information Systems and Infrastructure degree from Computer Engineering Institute of Limoges (France) in 2019. Anis worked for food production company and AGB Bank (Algeria) as System Administrator. Anis joined the HIMC in October 2022, where he works on developing the Single-cell RNA sequencing database as an interactive access to regroup all scRNA-seq data of different projects generated at Mount Sinai to allow the visualization of gene expression profiles.
Jingjing Qi is an Associate Computational Scientist in the Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC) at Mount Sinai. She received her master’s degree in biomedical engineering from New York University (NYU). She has more than eight years’ experience as a flow cytometrist. With interest to better decipher high-dimensional, single-event data, she pursued a master’s degree in biostatistics and Data Science at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her research interest includes high dimensional data classification and feature selection, single-cell multi-omics analysis, and statistical inference.