People

Contact:

Email: hassy@usc.edu
Office Phone: (213) 740-9822

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Pinchas Cohen, MD

Professor of Gerontology, Medicine and Biological Sciences;
Dean, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology;
William and Sylvia Kugel Dean’s Chair in Gerontology;
Executive Director, Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center

Education

  • MD, Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel, 1986
  • Postdoctoral training, Stanford University, 1986-1992

Pinchas Cohen, MD, trained in Stanford and held his first faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania from 1992 to 1999. Until 2012, he was a professor and Vice Chair for Research at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, as well as the Co-Director of the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center.

He received numerous awards for his research, including a National Institute of Aging “EUREKA”-Award, the NIH-Director-Transformative RO1-Grant, and the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging.

He holds several patents for novel peptides and is the Cofounder of CohBar, a biotechnology company developing mitochondrial peptides for diseases of aging. Cohen has published over 300 papers in top scientific journals focusing on aging, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, growth hormone/IGF-biology and the emerging science of mitochondrial-derived peptides, which he pioneered.

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The Cohen lab does not currently have any undergraduate members. Please contact the lab if you are interested in any research opportunities.

Contact:

Email: brendan.miller@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-821-6073

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Brendan Miller, MS

Graduate Student

Brendan Miller is a Neuroscience Graduate Program PhD student at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Miller studies mitochondrial genetics, neurodegeneration, and mitochondrial-derived peptides in the Cohen lab. His research interests include identifying the effect of mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms on novel mitochondrial-derived peptides in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Outside of the lab, Brendan closely follows the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, crunches baseball statistics, and plays a variety of sports.

Contact:

Email: jialin.xiao@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-821-6073

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Jialin Xiao, BSc

Graduate Student

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Hiroshi Kumagai, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Hiroshi Kumagai, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. He studies the relationship between East-Asian specific mtDNA polymorphism in the MOTS-c and type 2 diabetes. His research interests include identifying the effects of mitochondrial-derived peptides on skeletal muscle properties and functions.

Contact:

Email: sujkim@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-821-6073

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Su-Jeong Kim, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Education

PhD, Biology, 2012

Su-Jeong Kim,PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Her contributions to the Cohen lab include generating a database of Mitochondrial-derived peptides from genomics and peptidomics. Additionally, she studies the roles of mitochondrial-derived peptides in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s diseases. Kim’s research has been funded by Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Translational Research on Aging and USC Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar Research Grant. Outside of the lab, she spends her time cooking and hiking.

Contact:

Email: junxiang.wan@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-740-1398

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Junxiang Wan, MD, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Aging Biomarker Core Director

Education

  • MD, Preventive Medicine, Nanjing Railway Medical College, Naijing, China, 1991
  • PhD, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, 1997
  • Postdoctoral Training, Occupational Health, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 2002

Junxiang Wan, MD, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor and director of the Aging Biomarker and Service Core at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Wan has extensive training in molecular biology, cell biology and immunology. She is an expert in the field of novel assay development, and has extensive experience in academic research work. Wan has mastered novel ELISA assays for the entire human and murine IGF/IGFBP system, has developed numerous IGFs and is involved in the Cohen lab’s discovery of a novel family of mitochondrial-derived peptides (MDPs), including humanin, SHLPs and MOTS-c that signal to regulate cellular metabolism and survival.

The Aging Biomarker and Service Core services include the following:

  1. cytokines measurement
  2. Alzheimer-related markers (Amyloid beta, phospho-tau) measurement
  3. hormones measurement including GH, human and mouse IGF-I& IGFBPs, etc.
  4. metabolic biomarkers measurement including insulin, leptin and adiponectin
  5. mitochondrial derived peptides (MDPs) measurement including humanin and the other novel MDPs
  6. new assay development

Contact:

Email: kelvin.yen@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-821-5822

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Kelvin Yen, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Education

  • BA, Molecular Cell Biology: Neurobiology, UC Berkeley, 1999
  • PhD, Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 2008

Kelvin Yen, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Yen studies mitochondrial control of aging and healthspan at the Cohen lab. His research interests include aging, neuroscience, and mitochondria.

Outside of lab, he spends his time raising his kids and sleeping.

Contact:

Email: roberto.vicinanze@usc.edu
Office Phone: 213-821-6073

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Roberto Vicinanza, MD, PhD

Instructional Assistant Professor

Roberto Vicinanza, MD, PhD, is a specialist in Geriatric Medicine who graduated from Sapienza University of Rome, and focused his clinical training and research on cardio-metabolic disorders in the elderly. Vicinanza is currently teaching the fundamentals of nutrition for the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity coordinated program at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. His research at the school largely focuses on understanding the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in age-related diseases.

He was a visiting researcher at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, training in clinical and molecular nutrition alongside Prof. David Heber and Susan Bowerman. Vicinanza has published numerous research articles in cellular biology, nutrition, aging and public health, and has presented at various U.S. and international conferences. In 2008, Vicinanza received the degree of Doctor of Medicine cum laude from Sapienza University of Rome, defending his thesis on the effects of thyroid hormone and LDL-cholesterol on nitric oxide production in human endothelium. He received his PhD in Molecular Medicine in 2012 from the same university, defending his thesis on the biological effects of specific phytonutrients for cancer prevention.

Contact:

Email: hemal.mehta@usc.edu
Office Phone: (213) 821-6073

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Hemal Mehta, MSc, MS

Lab Manager
Seahorse Core Director

Education

  • MSc, Microbiology, 1999
  • MS, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2002

Hemal H. Mehta is a Research Lab Specialist / Lab Manager and Seahorse Core Director at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Mehta is in charge of maintaining and studying the healthspan and lifespan studies involving MDP transgenic/ knock down mice models or mice injected with MDPs.

Mehta directs Gerontology Seahorse Core that measures oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) in the cell lines, primary cells, isolated mitochondria, and worms (C.elegans).

Ricardo-edited

Contact:

Email: rr64794@usc.edu

Ricardo Ramirez II

Research Lab Technician

Ricardo Ramirez II is a technician at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Ramirez studies mitochondrial-derived peptides involved in diabetes and cancer. He uses cellular models of adipose, muscle and liver tissue to understand the mechanism of action of mitochondrial-derived peptides.

Michael Agus, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard

Laura Cobb, PhD

Qinglei Gao, MD, PhD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Medical College

Adda Grimberg, MD, FAAP
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania

Natalie Kaiser
MHA Resident, Keck Medicine, University of Southern California

Lorraine Katz, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania

David Lee, PhD
Assistant Professor of Gerontology, USC

Kuk-Wha Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Proffessor of Pediatrcs, UCLA

Irene Netchine, MD
Director of Laboratory, APHP

Peter Poon, Ph.D.
Head of Program, Integrated Science Program

Stuart Weinzimer, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology) and Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing, Yale

Lara (Nikki) Windisch
Student Volunteer

Jennifer Zeng