Lab Members

Eggehard Holler, PhD
Research Scientist III, Professor

Eggehard Holler, PhD, professor of Neurosurgery, is the author of more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He received his PhD in physical chemistry at Frankfurt University, Germany, worked as a postdoc under Nobel laureate Melvin Calvin, PhD, in Berkeley and later as professor of Biochemistry at University of Regensburg, Germany. He was the first to develop the usage of natural biopolymer, polymalic acid, as a nanoplatform for nanomedical usage. His research focus is the design and synthesis of a new class of nanomedicines based on polymalic acid — the all-in-one covalent nanodrugs/contrast agents for cancer treatment and imaging using biodegradable and nontoxic/nonimmunogenic polymeric platforms. These novel nanodrugs have proven preclinical demonstration of tumor targeting with high treatment efficacy and biocompatibility. The imaging agents are used for noninvasive diagnosis for brain tumors with targeted agents for MR imaging. Current investigations include replacement of monoclonal antibodies in targeting drug delivery by peptide mimetics and targeted nanoscale delivery across the blood-brain barrier.

Hui Ding, PhD
Research Scientist II, Associate Professor

Hui Ding, PhD, has more than 15 years of experience in polymer chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, nanomedicine, drug delivery and biomaterials. He received his BS degree from Beijing Medical University (now Peking University) and received his PhD education under Dr. Jindrich Kopecek, the pioneer of polymeric drug delivery. His PhD thesis involves design and synthesis of poly-HPMA based nanoconjugates for the treatment of lymphoma using peptides targeting CD20 receptor. In 2006, Dr. Ding joined Cedars-Sinai as postdoctoral research scientist. His research interests include: design, synthesis and optimization of novel nanoconjugates for the delivery of anticancer drugs; mechanism study of cancer therapy based on nanomedicine; treatment of primary brain tumor, primary breast tumor and metastatic brain tumor using nanomedicine; development of methodology of cancer targeting with peptide; delivery of nanoconjugates across BBB for treatment and detection of neurological disorders; brain and breast tumor treatment using polymalic acid based immuno-nanoconjugates targeting immune check point.

Rameshwar Patil, PhD
Research Scientist I, Assistant Professor

Rameshwar Patil, PhD, completed his doctorate from the Department of Organic Chemistry and Pharmacology, University of Regensburg, Germany, where he was focusing on the structure-activity relationship of novel structurally diverse agonist and antagonist of histamine H-1 and H-3 receptors. Dr. Patil joined the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in 2006 as a postdoctoral researcher. Dr. Patil's current research is focused on the development of nanomedicine for imaging and treatment of brain tumors and Alzheimer's disease. He has developed MRI-based method "virtual biopsy" for the differentiation of brain tumors. The method is based on a single drug-delivery platform (polymalic acid) engineered for detection (MRI and optical) as well as treatment. Dr. Patil has developed a MRI-based detection of amyloid beta plaques, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. This noninvasive method is based on a novel nanoimaging agent possessing MR contrast agent and specific ligand to recognize β-amyloid plaque. He has developed a nanoimaging agent for image-guided precise surgical resection of tumor tissue. This was done in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of scientists and specialists, including neurosurgeons.

Anna Galstyan, MD, PhD
Project Scientist

Anna Galstyan, MD, PhD, obtained her MD at Yerevan State Medical University in 1998 and started her neurosurgery residency at the Mikaelyan Institute of Surgery in Yerevan (Armenia) from 1998 to 2001. She completed her neurosurgery residency and fellowship at Burdenko Neurosurgery Institute in Moscow, Russia at the Departments of Neurooncology and Pediatric Neurosurgery in 2008. Galstyan earned her PhD in 2009 for the study of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in children less than 2 years of age. She was a practicing neurosurgeon in Armenia and Russia after her neurosurgical training. In 2014 she was invited to New York University Langone Medical Center as an observer at the Neurosurgery Department under the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies International Fellowship Program. In 2014, she joined the Ljubimova Lab as a postdoctoral researcher. Galstyan's research focuses on brain cancer biology, treatment of animals with glioblastoma multiforme and brain metastatic cancers with nanodrugs able to pass through blood-brain barrier.

Helen Kozlova, MBA
Research Administrative Coordinator

Helen Kozlova, MBA, earned her master's degree in Economics and Management from Moscow State University of Statistics, Economics and Informational Technologies. Kozlova received her second master's degree from American Intercontinental University with an emphasis on Business and Management. Kozlova's role is to support Nanomedicine Research Center operations.

Antonela Chiechi, PhD
Project Scientist

Antonela Chiechi, PhD, obtained her master's degree in biology and her PhD in oncology from the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy. She started her career at the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute in Bologna, where she investigated tumor biomarkers for the prognosis and therapy of musculoskeletal tumors. She successively focused her studies on therapeutic targets and novel treatment approaches for the cure of cancer bone metastases, first in the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia, then at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Dr. Chiechi joined the laboratory of Julia Ljubimova MD, PhD, in the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in 2016. Dr. Chiechi's research focuses on the development of nanoimmunotherapy approaches in animal models of primary and metastatic brain tumor. She also uses animal models to investigate the effects of air pollution on the brain through genomics and proteomics analyses.

Tao Sun, PhD
Project Scientist

Tao Sun, PhD, obtained his PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Science. After graduation, he worked as a group head at Dragonfly Sciences Inc. for two years. Dr. Sun accomplished his postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. His postdoc research work was focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the sex differences in brain cancer incidence and treatment response. Dr. Sun joined the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in July 2016 as a project scientist. His research is mainly focused on the development of gene editing treatments for cancers including glioblastoma, breast cancer and lymphoma. He is working with an interdisciplinary team at Cedars-Sinai to establish a nano-CRISPR platform for developing novel cancer therapeutics.

Oliver Braubach, PhD
Project Scientist

Oliver Braubach, PhD, received his doctorate from Dalhousie University in 2011. He completed postdoctoral appointments at Yale and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. During this time, he was a regular attendant at the Marine Biology Laboratory and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory course on neuroimaging. Throughout his scientific career, he has used state-of-the-art optical imaging and optogenetic technology to investigate the structure and function of neuronal networks. Dr. Braubach joined the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in August 2017 to conduct neurobiological research in line with the lab's drug discovery efforts. His scientific interests include establishing polymalic acid-based drug platforms as shuttles for drug delivery into the central nervous system. Additionally, he examines the effects of air pollution on the development of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary research combines molecular, cellular and behavioral experiments.

Liron Israel, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Liron Israel, PhD, completed her doctorate at Bar Ilan University Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials in Ramat Gan, Israel, in the department of chemistry, in the field of nanomaterials for biomedical applications. Dr. Israel has gained extensive experience in organic and radio synthesis, including manufacturing of radiopharmaceuticals and in imaging and therapy of cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Israel started her postdoctoral training at the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in November 2016. Her research is focused on the development of targetable nanoconjugates for imaging and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. As part of this project, she is working on the design, synthesis and analysis of nanodrugs targeting Alzheimer's disease markers.

Dmytro Klymyshyn, PhD
Research Associate III

Dmytro Klymyshyn, PhD, obtained his doctorate in genetics at the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine, in 2005. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in 2008 at the Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology of the Institute of Animal Biology, NAAS Ukraine. Dr. Klymyshyn joined the laboratory of Julia Ljubimova MD, PhD, as research associate III in 2017. His research is focused on PMLA bioproduction by microplasmodia of Physarum polycephalum.

Zac Grodzinski
Research Associate II

Zac Grodzinski obtained his master’s in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto. He developed a range of amphiphilicoOligo-urethanes to be used as thin film drug-delivery coatings on intra-arterial devices. His main scientific roles included polymer synthesis and characterization, biological toxicity and polymer-drug interaction studies. He joined the Cedars-Sinai Nanomedicine Research Center in 2017 as a research associate II. He oversees the bioproduction and purification processes of polymalic acid from Physarum polycephalum, which is used as a platform to develop novel nanodrugs to target specific biological diseases.

Ekaterina Shatalova
Research Associate

Ekaterina Shatalova obtained her bachelor’s in chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. Her main scientific role is to support the biological group with procedures and analyses including cell culturing, animal surgeries and treatments, tissue collection and processing, immunohistochemistry, and imaging. She joined the Cedars-Sinai Research Center in 2017 as a research associate.

Contact the Ljubimova Lab

127 S. San Vicente Blvd.
Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, Eighth Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Helena Kozlova, MBA