Gina DeNicola

Interim Chair and Associate Member, Department of Cancer Physiology

Co-Leader, Metabolism Program

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.

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 GEMM models of lung, pancreatic and liver cancer for stable isotope infusion of tracers to study cysteine metabolism in vivo

Samantha Caldwell | 

Research Associate II

Samantha has a B.S. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She previously worked as a veterinary technician but decided to take her career another direction and focus on research. She aims to expand her knowledge in metabolism in cancer working with experimental mouse models.

Nathan Ward |

Research Instructor

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.  

Chang Jiang |

Research Instructor | National Pancreas Foundation Grantee | K99 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.

Sang Jun Yoon | 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sang Jun received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Analysis from Prof. Sung Won Kwon’s laboratory at the Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea. During this time, he applied LC-MS/MS and GC-MS to the study of lipidomics and metabolomics on diverse clinical samples. He is interested in understanding metabolism through the comprehensive interrogation of mass spectrometry based stable isotope labeling and biological phenotypes.

Yumi Kim |

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yumi received her PhD in the Biochemistry from the College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University where she studied the regulation of lipid metabolism by natural products in pancreatic cancer in the laboratory of Hyeung Jin Jang. She did her postdoctoral work with Chang Hwa Jung, where she discovered the impaired autophagy flux in the aging lung, and also studied the role of IDH2 in longevity and aging in skeletal muscle. She now wants to explore cancer metabolism intensively. Her project in the DeNicola lab focuses on identifying key molecules for metabolic reprogramming and cancer progression using organoid models.

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. 

Cheyenne Schneider |

Research Associate I

Cheyenne received her B.S. in Biomedical Science from Keiser University. She received her M.S. in Molecular Medicine Research from the University of South Florida in 2022, where she completed her research project in the DeNicola lab. Cheyenne is staying on in the DeNicola lab to deepen her understanding of biology at the molecular level and expand on her laboratory techniques before continuing to the next step in her academic career. Her research focuses on the interplay between DNA damage and NRF2, and the effect of NRF2 posttranslational modifications on DNA damage repair.

Amanda Sherwood | 

Research Associate I

Amanda Sherwood recently graduated from the University of South Florida with degrees in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Philosophy. She is working with Dr. Nathan Ward to study mitochondrial redox regulation in lung tumorigenesis. She will soon apply to graduate programs in cancer biology.

Rebecca Polsky |

Research volunteer

Rebecca earned her B.S. in Health Sciences at the University of South Florida. She previously volunteered in Dr. Feng Cheng lab, at the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at USF. She is working with Dr. Laura Torrente to study NRF2-regulated copper homeostasis. She has future plans to apply to medical school and become a physician.


Lejin Sun |

Undergraduate volunteer

Lejin is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. She is interested in understanding the different biochemical and metabolic pathways involved in tumorigenesis and cancer biology. Under the guidance of Dr. Yumi Kim, she hopes to learn more about the role of PHGDH in progression to PDAC and further develop her laboratory techniques.