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Student Affairs

Student and Alumni Affairs
The Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope places a strong emphasis on translational research: integrating discoveries in basic science with practical application to treatment of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Our campus provides a welcoming, collegial atmosphere where communication and collaboration thrive.

City of Hope has an excellent reputation for training both predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Our Ph.D. students routinely go on to prestigious postdoctoral fellowships and highly coveted positions in both academia and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Our students come from diverse backgrounds - the USA, France, Bulgary, Canada, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hongkong, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Iran, Korea, Japan, and China. This diversity brings to our campus a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and creative potential.

Current Students

City of Hope's graduate students reflect the diversity of our program. Find out more about them, their educational backgrounds and research interests by clicking on their photos below.


Graduates of the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope have gone on to positions at National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Genentech, Harvard University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, UC San Francisco, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Purdue University, Duke University, Scripps Research Institute, USC, among others.

Alumni lead research teams in the biotechnology industry at Genetech, Wyeth, Genaissance, ISIS, Allergan, and more.

Following is a listing of our alumni and what they are currently doing:
  • Vania Ashminova, Principal Investigator, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research
  • Thomas Bane, Senior Life Science Analyst, Program Manager at Lnx Research Inc./Arkani Global Inc.               
  • Nicole Bennardo, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco
  • Leticia Cano, President, Biomarker
  • Qing Chai, Sr. Research Scientist, Lilly Biotechnology Center - San Diego; Lilly & Company, Scripps Research Institute
  • Carmel Chan, Research Scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Valerie Chavez, Biological Sciences Instructor, California State University, Fullerton
  • Cyndi Chen, Senior Research Scientist, Pall Medical, Covina, California
  • Zhaoxia Chen, Genome Scientist, MEDomics
  • Gregory Cherryholmes, Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Washington
  • Caroline Richard Clark, Scientist, Genoptix, Medical Laboratory - a Novartis company
  • Amy Cook, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Renzo Corzano, Medical Student at New York Medical College
  • Jiehui Deng, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School - Harvard University
  • Supriya Deshpande, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Kenneth Dery, Assistant Research Professor, City of Hope
  • Ali Ehsani, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Elizabeth Eng, Scientist, Allergan Pharmaceuticals
  • Geoffrey Frank, Instructor, California State University, Northridge
  • Richard Frank, Research and Development Research Scientist II, eBioscience
  • Angel Gu, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Shuo Gu, Investigator, National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute
  • Mausumee Guha, Senior Director, Toxicology at Medivation, San Francisco, California
  • Amanda Gunn, Adjunct Faculty - Biology at Seattle Central Community College, and Science Education Consultant at Museum of Glass
  • Cai Guo, Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology
  • Bret Heale, Adjunct Biology Professor, Salt Lake Community College
  • Michael Hedvat, Research Scientist II, Kyowa Hakko Kirin California, Inc.
  • Yanyan Hong, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, St. Joseph's Medical Center
  • Jie Huang, Senior Scientist, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
  • Michelle Hunter, Biology Teacher, St. Genevieve's High School
  • Lan Jin, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute
  • Seung-Gi Jin, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Wen Jin, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego
  • Heather Johnston, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
  • Mahesh Jonnalagadda, Assistant University Veterinarian, University of Calgary, Alberta  CANADA
  • Swati Kadam, Scientific Liaison, Illumina Inc.
  • Julie Kanjanapangka, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ikuko Kijima, Academic Program Coordinator, Cedars Sinai Medical Center
  • Daniel Kim, Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology
  • Julia Kirshner, President & CEO at Ixchel Scientific, Purdue University
  • Ching-Ying Kuo, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Dong-Hyun Lee, Assistant Professor, Chonnam National University, Biological Sciences Department, SOUTH KOREA
  • Min-Seob Lee, President, GenomeCare Inc.
  • Michael Lewis, Professor, University of Missouri, Columbia - Missouri
  • Jianren Li, Clinical Genetics and Molecular Biology Scientist, Kaiser Permanente, San Jose
  • Tracey Li, Physician, Kaiser Permanente
  • Shan Li, Postdoctoral Fellow, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, School of Medicine, University of California,  San Diego
  • Yan Li, Postdoctoral Fellow, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, School of Medicine, University of California,  San Diego
  • Wei Liang, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego
  • Lauren Liddell, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
  • Limin Liu, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Virginia
  • Lucy (Xiangli) Liu, Part-time Professor, Cal Poly Pomona, Biological Science Department
  • Pingfang Liu, Application and Product Development Scientist, New England Biolabs, Inc.
  • Ren Liu, Sr. Research Scientist, Vasgene Therapeutics Inc.
  • Elizabeth Lobo, Full-Time Tenure-Track Biology Instructor, Cuesta College
  • Rongze Lu, Postdoctoral Fellow, Genentech
  • Yuelong Ma, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Armen Mardiros, Associate Scientist, Kite Pharma - a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company
  • Selma Masri, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Irvine
  • Zhipeng Meng, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego
  • Damon Meyer, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Davis
  • Meilen Chang Muñoz, Medical Student, University of California, Davis
  • Jennifer Murray, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Michelle Navarro, Assistant Professor, Cerritos College
  • Stephanie Nay, Postdoctoral Fellow, Duke University
  • Sergey Nechaev, paid Intern at Illumina Inc., San Diego, California
  • Maria (Tina) Negritto, Director of Molecular Biology Department, Pomona College
  • Serina Ortiz, President, San Gabriel Valley Animal Advocates
  • Hao Pan, Field Application Specialist, Nexcelom Bioscience
  • Nicholas Pannunzio, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California
  • Patrick Perrigue, Teacher, ACI Institute
  • Megan Prosser, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Azusa Pacific University
  • Sumanth Putta, Clinical Veterinarian,University of Southern California
  • Ruiqing Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
  • Jeremy Racine, Postdoctoral Training Program/Award Scholar at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine
  • Robert H. Ring, Chief Scientific Officer, Autism Speaks
  • Saurabh Sahar, Technical Support Scientist, Quest Diagnostics, Cypress Research and Development Facility
  • Kumi Sakurai, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Sridhar Samineni, Scientific Director/Veterinarian, Valley Biosystems, Sacramento
  • Edward Silverman, Director of Operations and Chief Life Science Manager at Lnx Research, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Chapman University, California
  • Nicholas Snead, Research Scientist, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Vancouver, CANADA
  • Jing Song, Group Leader/Principal Scientist, BioDuro Inc., CHINA
  • Richard Stewart, Director of Quality & Regulatory Affairs, Teco Diagnostics
  • Guihua Sun, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Diana Tran, Associate Consultant, PAREXEL Consulting
  • Khue Truong, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Yuqing Tu, Vice President, Citibank
  • Michael Valentine, Control Chemist, Department of Water and Power, California
  • Karina Vega, Research and Development Scientist at Best Formulations
  • Louisa Villeneuve, Teaching Faculty, California State University, Fullerton
  • Reena Vishwanath Thomas, Physician in Neuro-Oncology, Stanford University Hospital
  • Jun Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
  • Lin Wang, attending medical school; will obtain an MD degree besides her PhD degree
  • Ruiqing Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
  • Cynthie Wong, Research and Development Scientist, Clarient/GE Healthcare
  • Chen Wu, Co-assistant Director at Transgenic Core Facility, Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center and Boston Nutrition
  • Juli Wu, Assistant Professor of Research at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
  • Jun Xie, Staff Scientist, City of Hope
  • Peizhang Xu, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco
  • Su Yang, Postdoctoral Fellow, Scripps Research Institute
  • Tangsheng Yi, Scientist and Group Leader, Genentech
  • Jung-Hoon Yoon, Assistant Research Scientist, University of Texas Medical Branch, Sealy Center for Molecular Sciences
  • Young You, Project Scientist,University of California, San Diego
  • James Young, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Chicago
  • Hui Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Jane Zhang, Research and Development Scientist, CalImmune, Inc.
  • Xizhe Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow, City of Hope
  • Ziming Zhang, Scientist, Burnham Institute
  • Lingwen Zhong, Postdoctoral Fellow, Roswell Park Cancer Center

Graduation Day

This year, the Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences marked its 20th anniversary. More than a dozen students received their Doctor of Philosophy degrees during the school’s 15th commencement ceremony on June 13.
For more on the event, read the post on our Breakthroughs blog.
Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences
The City of Hope Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences prepares students to become outstanding research scientists in chemical, molecular and cellular biology.

City of Hope and Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope offer a unique and challenging research and learning environment for graduate education. Find out more about our program.
From New Haven to Nanjing, our students come from diverse backgrounds, with the United States, Canada, Argentina, India, Iran, Korea, China, Russia and Taiwan all represented in our student population. This diversity brings to our campus a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and creative potential.
The housing handbook outlines everything from communication to mail service
Situated just northeast of Los Angeles, City of Hope combines the best science and the most innovative and highly compassionate patient care. Stretched across more than 100 acres in the City of Duarte, lushly landscaped gardens surround state-of-the-art facilities.
The Helix Blog gives voice to City of Hope graduate students and their research.
  • Counter-intuitive though it might seem, a prostate cancer diagnosis shouldn’t always lead to immediate prostate cancer treatment. Although prostate cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer, and causes more than 29,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, in many cases, the tumors are...
  • Radiology is one of the cornerstones of any hospital. It is a key diagnostic branch of medicine essential for the initial diagnosis of many diseases and has an important role in monitoring a patient’s treatment and predicting outcome. Radiology is the specialty considered to be both the “eyes” and “ears” of med...
  • Donating blood and platelets saves lives. We all know this. Yet every summer, potential blood donors become distracted by vacations and schedule changes. As a result, blood donations fall dramatically across the nation, leaving hospitals frantically trying to bring in much-needed blood for their patients. Earli...
  • To be a great cancer hospital, you need a great oncology program. Just ask City of Hope – and Becker’s Hospital Review. The health care publishing industry stalwart, described as the “leading hospital magazine for hospital business news and analysis for hospital and health system executives,” recently selected ...
  • Diagnostic errors are far from uncommon. In fact, a recent study found that they affect about 12 million people, or 1 in 20 patients,  in the U.S. each year. With cancer, those errors in diagnosis can have a profound impact. A missed or delayed diagnosis can make the disease that much harder to treat, as the Ag...
  • Eleven years ago, lymphoma patient Christine Pechera began the long road toward a cancer-free life. She had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and told by doctors elsewhere that her lifespan likely would be measured in months, not years. Refusing to give up, she came to City of Hope for a second opinion. ...
  • Brain surgery is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, as well as curiosity and compassion. The truly great surgeons also have a desire to find new, and better ways, of healing the brain. Enter Behnam Badie, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at City of Hope. Now a pioneer in brain tumor treatment, Badie enter...
  • Elizabeth Budde, M.D., Ph.D., wants to encourage infighting. She aims to turn the immune system on itself — to the benefit of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. AML arises when abnormal white blood cells grow out of control, amassing in the bone marrow and interfering with normal blood cell developme...
  • Six, to date; more soon. Outpatient bone marrow transplants, that is. Finding new ways to deliver quality care with the greatest benefit is a priority for a patient-centered institution like City of Hope. For example, not every bone marrow transplant patient needs to check into the hospital for treatment. In fa...
  • The best measure of success in the fight against cancer is in lives saved and families intact, in extra days made special simply because they exist. Yuman Fong, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at City of Hope, understands what precedes that special awareness. When cancer strikes, one minute a person ma...
  • In cancer, expertise matters. So do survival rates, patient safety, patient services and many other factors. City of Hope understands this, as does U.S.News & World Report. The magazine’s 2014-2015 list of best hospitals for cancer once again includes City of Hope, ranking the institution 12 out of 900 elig...
  • At 29, Kommah McDowell was a successful young professional engaged to be married to her best friend. She worked in the financial services sector and kick-boxed to keep in shape and to relax. Then came the diagnosis of triple-negative inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and very aggressive form of breast cancer. ...
  • The well-known drug tamoxifen might not always be the best choice for premenopausal women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer and face a heightened risk of recurrence. A new study suggests that the aromatase inhibitor exemestane, or Aromasin, works slightly better than tamoxifen in preventing cancer ...
  • At age 44, Bridget Hanchette, a mother of three from La Crosse, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with grade IV glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of malignant brain tumor. The cancer grows and spreads quickly, making it difficult to treat. Most patients with this diagnosis are not given much hope, but Hanchette’s i...
  • Survival rates for childhood cancer have improved tremendously over the past few decades, but postcancer care hasn’t always kept up. More children than ever are now coping with long-term complications and side effects caused by their disease and treatment — one of those being learning difficulties. A new ...