Pharmaceutical Sciences Program

PhD Students

 

Hugo Avila


hugoavil@usc.edu | LinkedIn | Video

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, California State University, Los Angeles

Research Interests: Drug Delivery, Protein Engineering

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Intracellular switching using genetically engineered protein microdomains

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  4th

 

Xianhui “Sharon” Chen


xianhuic@usc.edu | LinkedIn

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy, Peking University

Graduate Education: Master of Science, Pharmaceutics, Peking University

Research Interests: Cancer, Therapeutic Development

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Engineering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) -modified t cells for enhanced cancer immunotherapy

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Pin Wang

Year of Study:  5th

 

Minchang “Min” Choi


minchang.choi@usc.edu

Graduate Education: Doctor of Pharmacy, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Research Interests: Cell Biology, Drug Delivery, Molecular Biology, PK/PD (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic), Sjogren’s Syndrome, Therapeutic Development, Therapeutic Targets

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Characterization of a cathepsin S inhibitor for use in an animal model for Sjögren’s Syndrome

Faculty Advisor: Drs. Sarah Hamm-Alvarez and Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  2nd

 

Maia Corpuz


mlcorpuz@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biology, Chaminade University of Honolulu

Graduate Education:  Master of Science, Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Cancer, Cell Biology, Gene Expression, Molecular Biology

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Defining the structure targets of RNA-binding proteins

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zhipeng Lu

Year of Study:  2nd

 

Zhefu “Jeff” Dai


zhefudai@usc.edu | LinkedIn | Video

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, University of Liverpool; Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Graduate Education: Master of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Cancer, Chemical Biology, Drug Design, Drug Development, Drug Discovery

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Antibodies and their derivatives as new therapeutics

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yong Zhang

Year of Study:  4th

 

Fan Fei


ffei@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy, Sichuan University

Graduate Education:  Master of Science, Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Cancer, Cell Biology, Host Immune Response

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Targeting loss of HLA-DR expression in b-cell lymphoma with an inhibitory chimeric antigen receptor

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jianming Xie

Year of Study:  4th

 

Yaping Ju


yju@usc.edu | LinkedIn

Graduate Education: Doctor of Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Research Interests: Anti-inflammatory, Drug Delivery, PK/PD (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic), Protein Engineering, Sjogren’s Syndrome

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Novel protein-polymer based delivery methods for immunosuppressant to treat dacryoadenitis in a Sjogren’s Syndrome mouse model

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sarah Hamm-Alvarez

Year of Study:  4th

 

Aida Kouhi


kouhi@usc.edu | LinkedIn | Video

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Psychobiology, University of California, Los Angeles

Graduate Education:  Master of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Cancer, Therapeutic Development

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for treatment of ovarian cancer

Faculty Advisor: Drs. Alan Epstein and Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  6th

 

Albert Lam


alberttl@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Chemical Biology

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Bifunctional NAD+ analogue for profiling ADP-ribose interacting proteins

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yong Zhang

Year of Study:  5th

 

Changrim Lee


changril@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, Yonsei University

Graduate Education: Master of Science, Biochemistry, Yonsei University

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Drug Delivery, Molecular Biology, Nanomedicine, Peptide Chemistry, Pharmacology, PK/PD (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic), Protein Chemistry, Protein Engineering, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Therapeutic Development, Therapeutic Targets

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Targeted elastin-like polypeptides as a modulator of intracellular signaling

Faculty Advisor: Drs. Andrew MacKay and Sarah Hamm-Alvarez

Year of Study:  5th

 

Wilson Lee


wilsonhl@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, California State University, Los Angeles

Research Interests: Cancer, Molecular Biology

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Solving and targeting cancer mRNA structures and interactions

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zhipeng Lu

Year of Study:  2nd

 

Patrick “Pat” Lehman


plehman@usc.edu | LinkedIn

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Pre-medical studies, Thomas Jefferson University

Research Interests: Alzheimer’s Disease, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial Resistance, Drug Discovery, Fungi, Natural Products

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Synthesis of bioactive azaphilone libraries

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Clay Wang

Year of Study:  3rd

 

Rebecca Lim


limrm@usc.edu | LinkedIn | Video

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Davis

Research Interests: Anti-inflammatory, Biochemistry, Cancer, Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, Host Immune Response, Molecular Biology, Protein Chemistry, Protein Engineering

Research Project or Thesis Title:  A universal CAR-NK cell targeting various epitopes of HIV-1 gp160

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jianming Xie

Year of Study:  5th

 

Tao Ma


taom@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University

Graduate Education: Master of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Diabetes

Research Project or Thesis Title:  DNA-directed assembly of pMHC multimers for detecting low-affinity autoreactive t cells in type 1 diabetes

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jianming Xie

Year of Study:  5th

 

Mincheol Park


mincheop@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Cancer, Drug Delivery, Nanomedicine, Protein Engineering

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Elastin-like polypeptide as a tool to assemble biologically active nanoparticles

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  5th

 

Santosh Peddi


speddi@usc.edu | LinkedIn | Video

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy, Birla Institute of Technology and Science

Graduate Education: Master of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Drug Delivery, Drug Development, Nanomedicine, Peptide Chemistry, PK/PD (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic), Protein Chemistry

Research Project or Thesis Title:  FKBP-elastin like polypeptides for sustained release of rapalogues

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  4th

 

Christian “Chris” Rabot


crabot@usc.edu | LinkedIn

Education: Bachelor of Science, Biology, University of Richmond

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Computational Science, Computer Modeling, Drug Design, Drug Discovery, Fungi, Gene Expression, Natural Products, Pharmacology

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Elucidation and activation of biosynthetic pathways using genetic engineering

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Clay Wang

Year of Study:  3rd

 

Larry Rodriguez


larryrod@usc.edu | Video

Undergraduate Education: Associate of Science, Biological Sciences, Dodge City Community College; Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, Kansas State University

Research Interests: Alcohol Addiction, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Drug Discovery, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Neuroscience

Research Project or Thesis Title:  The role of P2X4 receptors in dopamine signaling and disease

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daryl Davies

Year of Study:  5th

 

Alison Smith


alisons@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Chemical Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests: Cancer, Chemical Biology, Therapeutic Development, Immunotherapy

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Efficacy studies of a novel multi-targeted systemic therapy (αPD-L1/ODN1826) and deep-immune profiling of metastatic murine mammary adenocarcinoma in syngeneic immunocompetent models

Faculty Advisor: Drs. Andrew MacKay and Alan Epstein

Year of Study:  5th

 

David Tyrpak


tyrpak@usc.edu | LinkedIn

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biology, Clemson University

Research Interests: Computational Science, Computer Modeling, Data Reproducibility, Gene Expression, Bioinformatics

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Temperature mediated assembly of caveolar microdomains

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew MacKay

Year of Study:  5th

 

Ryan van Damme


rvandamm@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, University of California, Merced

Research Interests: Cancer, Computer Modeling, Molecular Biology

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Using RNA exonucleases to enhance PARIS resolution

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zhipeng Lu

Year of Study:  2nd

 

Bo “Eva” Yuan


yuan984@usc.edu

Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Medical Microbiology, University of California, Davis

Research Interests: Drug Discovery, Fungi, Gene Expression, Natural Products

Research Project or Thesis Title:  Synthetic biology using CRISPR-Cas9 in filamentous fungi

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Clay Wang

Year of Study:  3rd