Diabetes Research Program Lab Members | NYU Langone Health

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Diabetes Research Program Diabetes Research Program Lab Members

Diabetes Research Program Lab Members

The Diabetes Research Program team includes principal investigators, associate lab members—senior scientists, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and technical staff—and administrative staff.

Principal Investigators

Ann Marie Schmidt, MD
José O. Alemán, MD, PhD
Edward A. Fisher, MD, PhD, MPH
Michael J. Garabedian, PhD
Ira J. Goldberg, MD
Elisabetta Mueller, PhD
Kathryn J. Moore, PhD
Ravichandran Ramasamy, PhD

Associate Lab Members

Lakshmi Arivazhagan, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Arivazhagan obtained her PhD from the University of Madras, India, in cancer biology. During her graduate study, she explored the chemotherapeutic effect of tangeretin, a pentamethoxyflavone from citrus peel, in breast cancer, using in vitro and in vivo approaches.

She then joined the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral fellow. There, she was involved in investigating the role of the Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpes virus (KSHV) latent protein, v-cyclin, in the proliferation and survival of primary effusion lymphoma cells. She also investigated the epigenetic regulation of KSHV genome in normoxic and hypoxic conditions.

As a postdoctoral fellow in the Diabetes Research Program, she studies the role of myeloid receptor for advanced glycation end products, or RAGE, in high-fat diet–induced obesity.

Dr. Arivazhagan’s recent publications include the following:

  • Anuj … Rayala SK. Increased expression of microRNA 551a by c-Fos reduces focal adhesion kinase levels and blocks tumorigenesis. Mol Cell Biol. 2019. DOI.
  • Roshini A … Choi KH. pH-sensitive tangeretin-ZnO quantum dots exert apoptotic and anti-metastatic effects in metastatic lung cancer cell line. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2018. DOI.
  • Anuj … Rayala SK. KIBRA attains oncogenic activity by repressing RASSF1A. Br J Cancer. 2017. DOI.

Joseph Boroda, Research Volunteer

Mr. Boroda is an undergraduate student majoring in biology at NYU. In 2015, he joined the laboratory of Raffaella Sordella, PhD, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory through the Partners for the Future program. During his time in Dr. Sordella’s laboratory, Mr. Boroda studied TP53 tumor suppressor mutations in lung cancer, finding that TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations act beyond loss of p53 activity to promote tumorigenesis.

Mr. Boroda joined the Diabetes Research Program in 2018. His research goal is to characterize the role of RAGE and its downstream target diaphanous 1 (DIAPH1) in obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Mr. Boroda’s recent publications include the following:

  • Shirole NH … Sordella R. TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations produce separation of function isoforms with pro-tumorigenic functions. eLife. 2017. DOI.

Laura Frye, Research Technician

Ms. Frye earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in allied health and public health. She is currently studying part-time for a master’s in biostatistics at NYU. Before joining the Diabetes Research Program, she worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery in a genomics research lab. Her research focused on autoimmune diseases. As a research technician in the Diabetes Research Program, Ms. Frye manages the mouse colony.

Ms. Frye’s recent publications include the following:

  • Sokhi UK … Gong S. Dissection and function of autoimmunity-associated TNFAIP3 (A20) gene enhancers in humanized mouse models. Nat Commun. 2018. DOI.

Paul Gugger, PhD, Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Gugger leads bioinformatics analyses of large “omics” data sets in collaboration with researchers in the Diabetes Research Program. His background in biology and statistics is broad, ranging from past research on population genomics of non-model trees to current research on single-cell transcriptomics and epigenomics in mouse and cellular models. Current projects focus on elucidating the molecular mechanisms that underlie the complications of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), with particular emphasis on the mechanisms by which RAGE and DIAPH1 may contribute to disease progression.

Dr. Gugger’s recent publications include the following:

  • Hipp AL … Cannon CH. Genomic identity of white oak species in an eastern North American syngameon. Ann Mo Bot Gard. 2019. DOI.
  • Zhao J-L … Sork VL. Historical interactions are predicted to be disrupted under future climate change: the case of lace lichen and valley oak. J Biogeogr. 2019. DOI.
  • Albarrán-Lara AL … Oyama K. Limited genetic differentiation between two morphologically and ecologically distinct giant-leaved Mexican oaks. Plant Syst Evol. 2019. DOI.
  • Meng H-H … Li J. Are mountaintops climate refugia for plants under global warming? A lesson from high-mountain oaks in tropical rainforest. Alp Bot. 2019. DOI.
  • Gugger PF … Applying landscape genomic tools to forest management and restoration of Hawaiian koa (Acacia koa) in a changing environment. Evol Appl. 2018. DOI.
  • Martins K … Sork VL. Landscape genomics provides evidence of climate-associated adaptive genetic variation in Mexican populations of Quercus rugosa. Evol Appl. 2018. DOI.
  • Ortego J … Sork VL. Genomic data reveal cryptic lineage diversification and introgression in Californian golden cup oaks (section Protobalanus). New Phytol. 2018. DOI.
  • Evans MEK … Riordin EC. Dendroecology meets genomics in the common garden: new insights into climate adaptation. New Phytol. 2018. DOI.
  • Kim BY … Sork VL. RADseq data reveal ancient, but not pervasive, introgression among Californian tree and scrub oak species (Quercus: Fagaceae). Mol Ecol. 2018. DOI.
  • Öney-Birol S … Sork VL. Assessment of shared alleles in drought-associated candidate genes among southern California white oak species (Quercus sect. Quercus). BMC Genet. 2018. DOI.

Raquel López-Díez, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. López-Díez graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. She earned her PhD in biology at the Centro Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa in Madrid. During this training, Dr. López-Díez performed molecular studies on RAGE alternative splicing and other inflammatory receptors of the MHC class III region in different mammals, focusing on the differences and similarities among them. Dr. López-Díez is currently studying angiogenesis and blood flow recovery after a hind limb ischemia model of peripheral vascular disease in diabetic subjects.

Dr. López-Díez’s recent publications include the following:

  • López-Díez R … Yan SF. Ager deletion enhances ischemic muscle inflammation, angiogenesis, and blood flow recovery in diabetic mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017. DOI.
  • López-Díez R … Schmidt AM. Cellular mechanisms and consequences of glycation in atherosclerosis and obesity. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016. DOI.

Michael MacLean, Graduate Research Assistant

Mr. MacLean earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Maine. During his time as an undergraduate he studied the carboxy-terminal domains of calpain-5 in the lab of Dorothy Croall, PhD.

He is currently pursuing a doctorate at Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. He is investigating the contributions of RAGE to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mr. MacLean is excited to be a part of Dr. Ann Marie Schmidt’s interdisciplinary research team and looks forward to uncovering new insight into neurodegenerative diseases and RAGE biology.

Mr. MacLean’s recent publications and presentations include the following:

  • MacLean M … Schmidt AM. The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and DIAPH1: Implications for vascular and neuroinflammatory dysfunction in disorders of the central nervous system. Neurochem Int. 2019. DOI.
  • MacLean M … Schmidt A. RAGE Signaling in microglia: A potential contributor to neuroinflammation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Poster presentation at: New York Academy of Sciences: Neuro-Immunology: The Impact of Immune Function on Alzheimer’s Disease; September 25, 2018; New York.
  • MacLean M … Schmidt A. RAGE Signaling in microglia: A potential contributor to neuroinflammation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Poster presentation at: Glia in Health and Disease; July 21, 2018; Cold Spring Harbor, NY.
  • Derk J … Schmidt AM. The receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) and mediation of inflammatory neurodegeneration. J Alzheimers Dis Parkinsonism. 2018. DOI.
  • Saadipour K … Chao MV. The transmembrane domain of the p75 neurotrophin receptor stimulates phosphorylation of the TrkB tyrosine kinase receptor. J Biol Chem. 2017. DOI.

Kaamashri N. Mangar, Research Technician

Ms. Mangar earned a bachelor’s degree in biology cum laude from York College, City University of New York, under the mentorship of Margaret MacNeil, PhD. She then worked at The Rockefeller University as a research assistant in the molecular genetics lab of Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD, before completing a master’s degree in molecular biology at NYU. Her master’s thesis, under the guidance of Efrain Azmitia, PhD, examined the relationship between serotonergic axons and angiogenic blood vessels in postmortem human autism brain to uncover therapeutic drug therapy.

As a research technician in the Diabetes Research Program, Ms. Mangar is responsible for managing and maintaining mouse colonies, genotyping, performing glucose tolerance tests and insulin tolerance tests, in addition to assisting with ongoing diabetes and atherosclerosis projects.

Ms. Mangar’s recent publications and presentations include the following:

  • Pomeranz L … Friedman JM. Gene expression profiling with cre-conditional pseudorabies virus reveals a subset of midbrain neurons that participate in reward circuitry. J Neurosci. 2017. DOI.
  • Stanley SA … Friedman JM. Bidirectional electromagnetic control of the hypothalamus regulates feeding and metabolism. Nature. 2016. DOI.

Michaele Manigrasso, PhD, Research Scientist

Dr. Manigrasso graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in bioengineering and received her joint PhD in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She completed a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation–funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. There she examined the role of androgens and estrogens in the development and progression of type 1 diabetes–related renal disease. She joined the Diabetes Research Program in 2012 under the mentorship of Dr. Schmidt. Dr. Manigrasso plans to explore the RAGE–DIAPH1 axis and how it contributes to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Manigrasso’s recent publications include the following:

  • Manigrasso MB … Schmidt AM. Deletion of the formin Diaph1 protects from structural and functional abnormalities in the murine diabetic kidney. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018. DOI.
  • Xue J … Shekhtman A. Change in the molecular dimension of a RAGE-ligand complex triggers RAGE signaling. Structure. 2016. DOI.
  • Manigrasso MB … Schmidt AM. Small molecule inhibition of ligand-stimulated RAGE-DIAPH1 signal transduction. Sci Rep. 2016. DOI.

Nosirudeen A. Quadri, Senior Research Technician

Mr. Quadri earned his BA from Williams College. He has more than 15 years of experience conducting scientific research. His current research investigates the role of RAGE and DIAPH1 in the cardiomyocytes within the heart, and the mechanisms by which these two genes modulate responses to injury triggered by left anterior descending artery occlusion and reperfusion in the myocardium using murine models, both in the absence and presence of diabetes.

Mr. Quadri’s recent publications include the following:

  • O’Shea KM … Ramasamy R. The formin, DIAPH1, is a key modulator of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. EBioMedicine. 2017. DOI.
  • Thiagarajan D … Ramasamy R. Aldose reductase modulates acute activation of mesenchymal markers beta-catenin pathway during cardiac ischemia-reperfusion. PLoS One. 2017. DOI.
  • Thiagarajan D … Ramasamy R. Aldose reductase acts as a selective derepressor of PPARγ and the retinoic acid receptor. Cell Rep. 2016. DOI.
  • Manigrasso MB … Schmidt AM. Small molecule inhibition of ligand-stimulated RAGE-DIAPH1 signal transduction. Sci Rep. 2016. DOI.

Henry H. Ruiz, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ruiz earned his PhD in neuropsychology from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, where he studied the intricate association among heightened sympathetic nervous system activity, inflammation, and behavioral perturbations. Dr. Ruiz’s immediate goal in the Diabetes Research Program is to determine the pathophysiological role of advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs, in promoting insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes. His long-term goals are to characterize the expression of RAGE and its cytosolic signaling partner DIAPH1 in the central nervous system and assess the effects of AGEs acting in the brain on metabolism.

Dr. Ruiz’s recent publications include the following:

  • MacLean M … Schmidt AM. The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and DIAPH1: Implications for vascular and neuroinflammatory dysfunction in disorders of the central nervous system. Neurochem Int. 2019. DOI.
  • Fischer K … Buettner C. Alternatively activated macrophages do not synthesize catecholamines or contribute to adipose tissue adaptive thermogenesis. Nat Med. 2017. DOI.
  • Shah N … Geer EB. Proinflammatory cytokines remain elevated despite long-term remission in Cushing’s disease: A prospective study. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2016. DOI.
  • Ruiz HH … Buettner C. Increased susceptibility to metabolic dysregulation in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease is associated with impaired hypothalamic insulin signaling and elevated BCAA levels. Alzheimers Dement. 2016. DOI.
  • Knight EM … Gandy S. Unexpected partial correction of metabolic and behavioral phenotypes of Alzheimer’s APP/PSEN1 mice by gene targeting of diabetes/Alzheimer’s-related Sorcs1. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2016. DOI.

Laura Senatus, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Senatus studies the role of RAGE in the regression of diabetic atherosclerosis and also aims to understand the role of DIAPH1 in atherosclerosis progressions and hepatic steatosis. Her work focuses on macrophages and investigates whether high glucose levels impair regression, and if they do, whether the RAGE knockout model reverses it. In various in vivo and in vitro experiments, she is elucidating the role of RAGE–DIAPH1 axis in atherosclerosis and investigating macrophage properties in atherosclerotic lesions (migration, influx, and egress patterns).

Dr. Senatus is currently identifying key transcriptional events by which RAGE mediates its effects in macrophages in diabetic regressing plaques. These data increase our understanding of the role of RAGE in diabetic atherosclerosis, particularly in monocytes and macrophages and may provide avenues for therapeutic strategies to accelerate regression of atherosclerosis and improve hepatic steatosis.

Dr. Senatus’s recent publications include the following:

  • Senatus LM and Schmidt AM. The AGE-RAGE axis: Implications for age-associated arterial diseases. Front Genet. 2017. DOI.

Robin Wilson, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Wilson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science from Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, Ludhiana, India, in 2005 and a master’s degree in biochemistry from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, in 2008. He then worked as a research fellow at Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana, until 2014.

Dr. Wilson obtained his PhD in 2019 from Victoria University, Melbourne, under the supervision of Mathew B. Cooke, PhD. His studies focused on investigating the molecular adaptations in adipose tissue and skeletal muscle in response to intermittent fasting with and without high intensity interval training in diet-induced obese mice.

Dr. Wilson joined the Diabetes Research Program in August 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Schmidt. He is investigating the effect of RAGE on weight loss.

Dr. Wilson’s recent publications include the following:

  • Wilson RA … Cooke MB. 2018. Intermittent fasting with or without exercise prevents weight gain and improves lipids in diet-induced obese mice. Nutrients. 2018. DOI.
  • Wilson RA … Cooke MB. High fat diet and associated changes in the expression of micro-RNAs in tissue: Lessons learned from animal studies. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017. DOI.

Gautham Yepuri, PhD, Associate Research Scientist

A native of Hyderabad, India, Dr. Yepuri studied genetics, microbiology, and chemistry at Nizam College, Osmania University, India. He holds a master’s degree in molecular medical microbiology from the University of Nottingham, U.K., and received his doctoral degree in cardiovascular physiology from University of Fribourg, Switzerland. After completing postdoctoral training, Dr. Yepuri joined the Diabetes Research Program as an associate research scientist. He has a strong background and expertise in the field of cardiovascular biology, vascular aging, and metabolism, and is currently investigating the role of DIAPH1 in various cardiovascular and metabolic abnormalities.

Dr. Yepuri’s article “Proton pump inhibitors accelerate endothelial senescence” received the Best Manuscript of the Year 2016 award by the journal Circulation Research. It was among the most-read articles that year with an Altmetric score of 260, placing it in the top 5 percent of all research outputs tracked by Altmetric. In addition, the study was covered by 26 news outlets across the globe.

Dr. Yepuri’s other recent publications include the following:

  • Xiong Y … Yang Z. Arginase-II deficiency extends lifespan in mice. Front Physiol. 2017. DOI.
  • Xiong Y … Yang Z. Arginase-II promotes tumor necrosis factor-α release from pancreatic acinar cells causing β-cell apoptosis in aging. Diabetes. 2017. DOI.

Latoya Woods, Senior Program Coordinator

Ms. Woods is our senior program coordinator. She graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and joined the Schmidt lab in 2005 as a data manager at Columbia University Medical Center. She came to NYU Langone in 2010 as part of the Diabetes Research Program.