Gina DeNicola |

Assistant Member, Department of Cancer Physiology

Gina received her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied the regulation of NRF2 by oncogenic signaling in the laboratory of David Tuveson. She did her postdoctoral work with Lewis Cantley, where she examined the regulation of cellular metabolism by NRF2. In May 2016 she established her own lab at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Norma Pagan |

Research Administrator

Norma was born and raised in Bronx, New York (home of the Yankees!), but is loving life in Florida.  She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and friends, and enjoys taking in all the natural beauty this state has to offer.  She is honored to be part of the Moffitt family.  Even though she is just a little grain of sand in this huge endeavor to find a cure for cancer, she believes someday we will!

Aimee Falzone |

Research Project Specialist

Aimee has a BA from the University of South Florida and 11 years of research experience with mouse models. She has organized and assisted in many different research projects involving transgenic mouse model colony building and maintenance, imaging, tissue collection, microsurgeries, irradiation, and cell/drug delivery. She is generating and evaluating NRF2 and KEAP1 mutant GEMM lung tumor and organoid orthotopic transplant pancreatic tumor models for serine metabolism studies in vivo


Yun Pyo Kang |

AACR-Takeda Oncology Lung Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellow

Pyo received his PhD from Seoul National University in South Korea in the laboratory of Sung Won Kwon, where he received training in GC-MS and LC-MS based metabolomics and lipidomics technologies. Applying these high-throughput techniques, he is now exploring the regulation of cysteine metabolism during lung cancer progression. His research interests include understanding the control of metabolism by NRF2 to identify targets for cancer therapy.

Nathan Ward |

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nate received his PhD from the University of South Florida in the laboratory of Dominic D'Agostino, where he evaluated metabolic inhibitors for the treatment of glioblastoma. He is now extending his interest in mitochondrial metabolism to the study of mitochondrial redox regulation in lung tumorigenesis.  

Laura Torrente Fernandez |

Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura received her PhD from the University of Dundee in Scotland in the laboratory of Laureano de la Vega, where she studied the regulation of NRF2 by the kinase HIPK2. Her project focuses on identification of therapeutics for NRF2/KEAP1 mutant lung tumors.  



Joseph Combs |

Postdoctoral Fellow

Joseph received his PhD from Tulane University in the laboratory of Cindy Morris, where he studied Human Cytomegalovirus regulation of host cell mitochondrial metabolism. His current research interests focus on amino acid metabolism and its role in oncogenic metabolism and survival in NSCLC and PDAC.

Chang Jiang |

Postdoctoral Fellow | National Pancreas Foundation Grantee

Chang received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in the laboratory of Dr. Partha Roy, where she studied the molecular mechanisms underlying Profilin-1’s regulation of tumorigenic potential of breast cancer cells. Chang did her first postdoctoral work with Dr. Benjamin Gewurz, where she performed CRISPR/Cas9 screens to identify key regulators of CD40/NFkB signaling in human B cells. She also exploited the same strategy to identify the host B cell factors critical for Epstein-Barr virus latent to lytic switch. She is interested in identifying key regulators of KEAP1/NRF2 signaling and studying the role of KEAP1/NRF2 mutation on tumor initiation and progression.

Nicolas Prieto |

Research Associate I

Nicolas received a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida. Parallel to his undergraduate training he gained clinical experience as a medical interpreter at the University of South Florida Bridge Clinic while shadowing Dr. Frederick Slone. Under the guidance of Dr. Laura Torrente Fernandez, he aims to hone the techniques required to perform cell and molecular biology research within the context of identifying novel therapeutic approaches to combat lung tumors harboring KEAP1/NRF2 mutations. 



Paloma Gonzalez Sanchez |

Postdoctoral Fellow

Paloma received her PhD in Molecular Biosciences from the University Autonoma of Madrid in Spain in the laboratory of Prof. Jorgina Satrustegui, where she studied the calcium regulation of mitochondrial respiration in neurons and its role in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy. She is interested in understanding how metabolism is regulated, and the mechanisms underlying metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells. Her project is focused on the identification of metabolic interations between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment, and their role in promoting the progression of NRF2 mutant lung tumors. 

Guohui Li |

Research Scientist

Guohui received his PhD degree from The University of Hong Kong in the lab of Dr. Ivan K. Chu, where he studied biological mass spectrometry and the application of metabolomics to naturally-occurring drugs for Parkinson’s disease. Guohui next worked as an assistant scientist in Dr. Rebecca Butcher’s lab at the University of Florida focusing on C. elegans pheromone and nuclear hormone receptor ligand discovery  by MS-based metabolomics approach and NMR techniques. At Moffitt, he is applying metabolomics to the identification of common and unique metabolic vulnerabilities and their interplay across NSCLC and SCLC as part of the Lung Cancer Metabolism Working group

Janine Deblasi |

PhD Student

Janine received her B.S. from the University of South Florida, where she performed her honors thesis work with Domenic D'Agostino. She subsequently received an M.Sc. from Oxford University. Her PhD work focuses on interrogation cooperation between KEAP1 mutation and loss of other tumor suppressors in lung adenocarcinoma. 


Lab Alumni

Seth Ingram - Summer intern

Sara Tran - Lab manager - currently at M2GEN

Grace Ward - Rotation Student - currently PhD student in Alan List lab

Sae Bom Lee - Research volunteer and Rotation Student - currently PhD student in the Davila lab

Brianna Sellers - MS student

Cody Elkins - Research Associate - currently at Emory University

Andrea Mockabee-Macias - Research Volunteer - currently a Research Associate at Mofffitt in the Lau lab

Tyce Flynn - Research Volunteer

Giulia Ambrosini - Visiting PhD student - currently finishing her PhD at the U of Verona