Marzieh Akhlaghpour graduated with honors from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in biological sciences. Prior to joining the graduate program for Translational Medicine and Biomedical Science at Cedars-Sinai, she studied the molecular mechanisms of how coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, rearrange host cell membranes to aid the viral life cycle. Akhlaghpour volunteered in a research laboratory in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai where she worked to identify the role of different members of the TGF-β family in trophoblast function and placentation as they relate to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Her thesis project aims to identify genetic association in patients with perianal Crohn's disease, a severe form of Crohn's disease with a poor quality of life that often requires surgeries.
Filip Benliyan joined Cedars-Sinai's inflammatory bowel disease research team in 2009 as a research associate after graduating from University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Since then, he has performed serological analysis on thousands of patients for specific projects. His role in the MIRIAD Biobank pertains to specimen pickups, blood-sample processing, database entry and assisting with tissue procurement. Additionally, Benliyan maintains stocks of reagents/supplies and places purchase orders for multiple groups. He is concurrently working toward Clinical Laboratory Scientist licensure through the clinical science program at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Diana Benliyan joined the McGovern Laboratory/Translational Genomics Group in 2015. Before joining Cedars-Sinai, she earned her bachelor's degree in biology science from the State University of Armenia with a major in physiology. Benliyan completed the University of Southern California's continuing education program and received her Pulmonary Physiology and Technology Certificate. She joined Cedars-Sinai's Respiratory Department's Pulmonary Physiology Lab in 1992. In 1995, she transferred to the Medical Genetics Institute and subsequently the Translational Genomics Group.
Greg Botwin joined Cedars-Sinai in 2016 as a research operations associate splitting his time between the McGovern Lab/Translational Genomics Group and Precision Health (both directed by Dermot McGovern, MD, at Cedars-Sinai). Botwin has a bachelor’s of science from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in human biology. At UCSD, he conducted research on the inflammatory bowel disease related protein NOD2. He subsequently worked at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System in a clinical research group focusing on liver disease and then the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in a clinical research group concentrating on precision wellness.
Emy Dacalos became a clinical research associate with the Cedars-Sinai F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute in 2017. She received her bachelor of science in physiology in 2016. She has previous experience working at an early phase clinical research unit that explores drug safety in healthy human subjects. Currently, Dacalos is part of the tissue procurement team that collects tissue samples to be used for research.
Jennifer Davis earned her bachelor's degree in health promotion from Weber State University, Ogden, Utah in 2016. She obtained public health experience working for the Utah State Health department. Davis was involved in an epidemiological study to better understand a steep increase in STD cases among intercity high-risk groups. She has worked previously as a phlebotomist where she enjoyed patient interaction. Davis joined the Cedars-Sinai F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute in January 2019. She currently works as part of the clinical research team for the McGovern Lab.