Neurosurgery: Brain Tumor Stem Cell Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, known by his patients as Dr. Q, received his undergraduate from UC Berkeley and earned his medical degree from Harvard with Honors. He did his residency at the University of California San Francisco, and currently works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. His titles include Professor of Neurological Surgery, Professor of Oncology, Director of the Brain Tumor Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and Director of the Pituitary Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Q also oversees two labs in his efforts to discover the ability of stem cells to fight brain cancer. In his free time Dr. Q enjoys mentoring, training for his half-marathon fund raiser run, and spending time with his wife and three kids.

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Hopkins Faculty

Research Instructor

Hugo Guerrero-Cazares

Dr. Hugo Guerrero-Cázares received his M.D. in September 2000 and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences in February 2007 from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. He moved to Baltimore, MD with his family to join the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory in March 2007 and is currently a research associate. Dr. Guerrero-Cazares participates in multiple research projects in the lab, particularly on studying the effects of Slit proteins on the migration of Brain Tumor Stem Cells. For this project he developed a model to evaluate the migration of human cells on human tissue. In 2013, Dr. Guerrero-Cazares was promoted to instructor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Awards & Grant support: MSCRF (TEDCO)

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Paula Schiapparelli

Dr. Paula Schiapparelli, received her Biology and Biochemistry degree from University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. After obtaining her PhD degree in that same institution, she decided to continue her training as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Brain Tumor Stem Cell laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, under the mentorship of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa.

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Kaisorn Chaichana

Kaisorn Chaichana, currently a 5th year neurosurgery resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, is completing a two year research fellowship funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Kaisorn received his B.S. in 2003 from the University of Utah and majored in Biology. Kaisorn joined the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Lab in June 2006. He is interested in studying the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) on the migration of normal neural stem cell and tumor stem cell migration. He is also trying to determine the phenotype of the invading brain tumor cells that make brain tumors resistant to treatment. He is also working on identifying ways to improve outcomes for patients with brain tumors following surgery.


•The Paul Ehrlich Young Investigator's Day Award
•The Henry Strong Dension Student Research Award
•Walter Dandy Clinical Research Award

Juan Carlos Martinez-Gutierrez

Juan Carlos received his MD in January 2013 from Monterrey Tec School of Medicine in Mexico. He first joined the Q-lab as a Research Scholar in January 2012 being awarded a prestigious year-long training position by the Mexican Ministry of Health. In January 2013, after receiving his degree, Juan Carlos was recruited as a full-time Postdoctoral Fellow. Juan Carlos is interested in studying the molecular mechanisms of brain cancer malignancy in search of novel targets for clinical therapeutics.

Wendy Bautista

Wendy Bautista obtained her ad honorem Medical degree from the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (BUAP) in Mexico and then completed an internship at the Instituto Nacional de Nutricion Salvador Zubiran (INNSZ). She then pursued her MsC. in Neurosciences (2005-2007) where she studied neurotransmitters and inhibitory circuits in the spinal cord at the Department of Physiology in CINVESTAV, Mexico. She completed her PhD studies at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg Canada (2008-2013), where she studied electrical synapses in inhibitory spinal circuits and discovered electrical and mixed synapses in the spinal cord relevant for sensorial information. After earning her PhD, she pursued a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Internal Medicine Department of the University of Manitoba. There she studied brain chemical influences in cancer cells such as hepatocellular cancer. Wendy joined Dr. Q's lab in September, 2014. She will study similar neurotransmitter signals on the malignancy of glioblastoma, specifically on the ability of these cells to invade normal brain tissue.

Alejandro Ruiz-Valls

Alejandro received his MD in June 2012 from the Universidad de Valencia, Spain. As part of his training he decided to join the Dr. Quiñones' lab as a post-doctoral fellow to help elucidate the molecular mechanisms that drive CNS malignancies. Alejandro is interested in molecular intricacies that regulate brain and spinal cord malignancies, as well as novel therapeutic molecules to treat this diseases.


Young Lee

Young Lee is a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a 4th year medical student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Young received his B.S.P.H. in 2011 from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in Biostatistics. He joined the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory in May 2014. In collaboration with Jordan Green, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical engineering, he is exploring the use of nanoparticle-transfected human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs) as a potential brain tumor therapeutic. After finishing his Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship year, he plans to finish medical school at Vanderbilt and match into Neurological Surgery residency.

Keila Alvarado

Keila Alvarado is a biologist who graduated from the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, Mexico.
She earned her Master’s degree in clinical research at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She is currently a PhD student of Biotechnology at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in Spain, and is working in the Center of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (CBIT).
She is interested in studying the molecular interaction between brain tumor stem cells and the microenvironments generated by biomaterials with different characteristics, in order to develop possible therapeutic devices.

Medical Students

Sara Ganaha

Sara Ganaha is a medical student from Okinawa, Japan / Toronto, Ontario. Sara completed her BA in biology/biochemistry in 2006 at Carleton College, MN, and conducted translational research at the University of Minnesota until 2007. In March 2014, Sara joined the Hopkins neurosurgery team as a sub-intern. Currently, she is studying the role of NKCC1 and its effect on brain tumor migration under the mentorship of Dr. Paula Schiapparelli in Dr. Quinones' lab. Sara is blessed to serve as a member of the Johns Hopkins International Christian Fellowship. In her spare time, she enjoys baking brownies and learning new languages.

Eric Goulin Lippi Fernandes

Eric Goulin Lippi Fernandes is a final year medical student at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He joined Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa’s Basic Research Team in August 2014 for a research internship that contributes to his graduation from medical school. Eric is interested in understanding glioblastoma stem cell migration and is honored to be able to make a contribution to research that may lead to novel potential treatment strategies for patients with glioblastoma. Under the mentorship of Paula Schiapparelli and Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa, he is investigating the role of the NKCC1 cotransporter in glioblastoma stem cell migration. After completion of this internship, Eric hopes to pursue a PhD and residency in neurosurgery.

Graduate Students

Sagar Shah

Sagar R. Shah is a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sagar completed his BS in biological sciences and a minor in mathematical sciences with general and departmental honors in both disciplines at Clemson University in 2006 and was bestowed the university’s highest honor, the Norris Medal. Subsequently, he completed his MS in bioengineering at Clemson University in 2007 through a 5-year BS/MS program. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and is interested in understanding the genetic controls of cancer cell growth and death. Sagar's interests range from understanding American public policy to mentoring at a local school.

Awards & Grant support: NSF

Akhila Denduluri

Akhila J. Denduluri, of Hyderabad, India, is a Masters (Thesis) candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She studied for two years at Osmania University, India and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering from University of California Riverside in 2012. Akhila joined the Brain Tumor Stem Cell lab in October 2013. In collaboration with Jordan Green, PhD., Assistant Professor of Biomedical engineering, she is exploring the use of nanoparticle-transfected human adipocyte-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs) as a potential brain tumor therapeutic. Her project involves the use of poly beta amino esters, brain tumor stem cells, hAMSCs, and bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4).

Kimberleve Rolón-Reyes

Kimberleve Rolón-Reyes started her undergraduate studies in Biology with human approach at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Bayamón. During her studies she met professors who awoke her interest in science and teaching through their wonderful lectures and skills to transmit their passion for science. Under their supervision Kimberleve understood that she wanted to link her future professional life with scientific studies with the exploration of the nervous system functions, specifically the brain, since it has a centralized role in the control over the other organs of the body and processes of an organism. After completing her BA Kimberleve decided to take a year off in order to participate in a research project and finally have a taste of what science work is. During this year Kimberleve was working in Dr. Lilia Kucheryavykh’s research laboratory from Universidad Central del Caribe in Puerto Rico. This laboratory is focused on glioma (brain cancer) research and she was fascinated with this area of investigation. After this research experience, Kimberleve decided to dedicate her life to cancer investigation in order to develop strategies to destroy brain cancer at an early stage as well as to develop approaches for prevention, treatment, and ultimately cure. After a year of doing brain cancer research work as a research assistant Kimberleve started her Ph.D. studies in the cellular and molecular biology program from UCC to continue her previous research and start her scientific career. Some of her research data obtained during the first two years of work in the lab was included in a currently published paper (Kucheryavykh et al., 2012). After completing her Ph.D., Kimberleve is looking forward to maintain her emphasis in cancer investigation as well as on teaching. Her goals are to start a postdoc and establish her own research laboratory to continue studies in brain cancer.

As part of her extracurricular activities, Kimberleve is part of a graduate student association known as the Association for the Advancement of Scientific Knowledge. The purpose of this association is to encourage students from different educational levels to participate in activities related to laboratory research work in order to become familiarized with science as well as to acquire experience. Besides science, Kimberleve is also involved in other activities. Having a musician father she found herself interested in music. This is why she spends part of her time learning how to play guitar. She is also an animal lover so she enjoys walking and playing with her dog and likes to go to the beach as she finds this a very relaxing activity. Furthermore she treasures her family and loves to spend most of her free time with them.

Research Technologist

Bhavika Patel

Bhavika Patel received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in 1994. She worked as a laboratory coordinator at the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit - Johns Hopkins University for 14 years studying the various effects of a broad range of drugs administered under controlled circumstances to human volunteers in the laboratory, developing, and evaluating behavioral interventions that address the interrelated problems of drug addiction, poverty, and health. Ms. Patel joined Dr. Q's laboratory group in June 2014 as a laboratory manager and shifted her research focus to cancer. In Dr. Q’s laboratory she provides technical support, assists in purchasing supplies, enforces compliance with safety regulations, and provides general laboratory assistance. In addition, Ms. Patel coordinates the maintenance of the tissue culture bank. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, participating in temple services, and watching Bollywood movies.

Undergraduate Students

Jennifer Rios

Jennifer Rios is a second year undergraduate from Saratoga, California, majoring in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. She joined the lab in September of 2014 and is currently working with Young Lee, investigating the use of nanoparticle-transfected human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs) as a potential brain tumor therapeutic. After graduating, she hopes to go to medical school.

Ope Olukorede

Ope Olukorede is a second year undergraduate from Boston, MA, majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology and psychology at Johns Hopkins University. She is working with Paula Schiapparelliu200b, investigating evaluation of migratory capacity of Glioma stem cells and specifically studying the role of the NKCC1 cotransporter in glioblastoma stem cell migration. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, biking and baking

Gabrielle Drummond

Gabrielle Drummond is a third year undergraduate from Wappingers Falls, NY, majoring in neuroscience and psychology at Johns Hopkins University. She is working with Dr. Guerrero-Cazares, investigating the role of Slit proteins and Robo receptors in the migratory pathway of Brain Tumor Stem Cells. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing piano, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Ernest Scalabrin

Ernest Scalabrin is currently a freshman undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Biomedical Engineering from Northvale, New Jersey. With previous experience in synthesizing biocompatible nanoparticles while attending the Bergen County Academies, he joined the lab in September of 2013. He is currently working with Olindi Wijesekera to characterize the interactions of adipocyte-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs), brain tumor stem cells, BMP4 and exploring the use of hydrogels as a delivery method for MSCs in brain cancer treatment. After graduating, he hopes to go on to medical school and become a surgeon.


Dr. Curt Civin

Hematopoetic Stem Cells

Dr. Civin’s Laboratory is located at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His laboratory focuses mainly on normal and malignant stem cells. Dr. Civin’s laboratory has created a NOD-SCID (non obese severe combined immunodeficiency disease) mouse that allows for engraftment of foreign cells.

Dr. Xingde Li

Dr. Xingde Li is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering at WSE and a Fellow of OSA, SPIE and AIMBE. His research interest centers on development of cutting-edge and translational biophotonics technologies that interface and bridge basic engineering research and medical diagnosis and intervention.

Dr. Steven Goldman

Dr. Goldman is the Chairman of Department of Neurology, Chief of Division of Cell and Gene Therapy, Glenn-Zutes Chair in Biology of the Aging Brain, and Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Goldman collaborates with Dr. Quinones’s research laboratory in establishing a molecular atlas of the neural and glial progenitor cell populations of the adult human brain, as derived from both normal brain tissue and from primary brain tumors.

Dr. Jose Manuel Garcia-Verdugo

EM World Expert

Dr. Garcia-Verdugo’s laboratory is based in the Instituto Cavanilles in the University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. His focus is on adult neural stem cells and on their possible use for brain cell therapy.

Dr. George Jallo

CSF Proteins and Factors
Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) Collaborator

Dr. Jallo is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Jallo's laboratory research is focused on the development of an animal model for brainstem and intramedullary spinal cord tumors. Dr. Jallo and Dr. Quinones collaborate through a grant from the Children’s Cancer Foundation to elucidate the putative role of the pediatric subventricular zone in the development of brain cancer stem cells.

Dr. Hongjun Song
Cell Migration
Dr. Song’s Laboratory is located in the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Song's laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal development of adult neural stem cells in the adult central nervous system as well as the mechanisms involved in migration.

Dr. Oscar Gonzalez-Perez
EGF Cell Activation
Studies the mechanism of migration and invasion of transit-amplifying neurogenic precursors stimulated by Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) in vivo.

Dr. John Laterra

John J. Laterra is a research scientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is also a professor in the Department of Neurology, Neuroscience and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is the director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Andre Levchenko

The Levchenko lab studies intraceullar signal transduction and cell-cell communication by combining molecular biology, microfabrication and imaging techniques and combining them with the state of the art modeling studies to investigate how living cells can sense their environment and how this sensing ability can help them establish communication leading to complex ensemble responses.

Dr. Jordan Green

Dr. Jordan Green is an Assistant Professor in the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Green's Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory is acutely interested in biomaterials, drug delivery, gene therapy, nanobiotechnology, and cell engineering.

Dr. Peter C. Searson

Dr. Peter Searson is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include: Cell biophysics: photolithography, soft lithography, microfluidics, electrochemistry, live cell and fluorescence microscopy to study the role of physical interactions and mechanical forces in cell behavior; Quantum dots for biology and medicine: quantum dot synthesis and characterization, surface engineering, quantitative profiling of cancer biomarkers, tumor targeting in animal models.

Dr. Helim Aranda-Espinoza

Dr. Helim Aranda-Espinoza is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland. His research interests include the application of the theoretical and experimental machinery of physics and engineering to obtain a quantitative understanding of specific problems inspired by biological systems. Specifically, his long term aims are to develop a fundamental understanding on cell mechanics and the mechanisms by which motile cells adhere, spread, and crawl over adhesive substrata with a primary focus on neurons and cells involved in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Alessandro Olivi

Dr. Alessandro Olivi, Professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, focuses on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic tumors of the brain and spinal cord. He performs microsurgery on skull-based tumors, such as acoustic neuromas, meningiomas and vascular lesions. Additional clinical interests include cerebrovascular conditions and craniofacial reconstructions.