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Clark Chen Bob Carter
Clark Chen, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator

Dr. Clark Chen, a nationally recognized brain tumor specialist, is the Co-Director of Neurosurgical Oncology at UC San Diego Medical Center. Dr. Chen is a neurosurgeon with dedicated interest in oncology and a leader in the study of DNA repair and genetic alterations in brain tumors. Prior to coming to UCSD, Dr. Chen led the brain tumor program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School and was assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Bob Carter, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator

Dr. Bob Carter is Professor of Neurosurgery and Chief of Neurosurgery at UCSD Medical Center in San Diego. He was recruited to UCSD in 2010 from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he served on staff since 1992. Dr. Carter obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Public Health respectively. His post-doctoral training included residency in neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and post-doctoral fellowships at the Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, MA and Children's Hospital, Boston.

Dr. Carter's research involves outcomes improvement for intracranial surgery; the development of serum RNA based biomarkers for brain tumors and other neurological disorders and the development of gene transfer delivery techniques for the central nervous system.

Jie Jie Li, PhD
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Jie Li joined the lab in Aug of 2011 with a background in DNA damage repair and biochemistry. Her current investigations aim to understand the function of metabolic proteins during the DNA damage repair process and how these metabolic proteins are involved in tumorigenesis of GBM. The ultimate goal is to identify and test novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of glioblastoma.

Johnny Johnny Akers, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Johnny received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine. His thesis project combined bioinformatics analysis, molecular biology, and biochemistry to identify new mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in Chlamydia. Johnny joined the lab in 2011 with an interest toward technology advancement and clinical translation. A major focus to Johnny’s research in the lab is the development of extracellular vesicles based biomarkers for glioblastoma.

Valya Valya Ramakrishnan, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

After finishing her Masters’ in Biotechnology in India, Valya obtained her Ph.D. from UT Dallas. Her thesis project explored the role of p38 MAPK/CREB1 in the regulation of γ-globin gene expression to better understand gene-based therapies for sickle cell anemia. Valya joined the lab in 2011, where the focus of her research is the dysregulation of miRNAs in glioblastoma, and the development of miRNA based biomarkers.

Joe Joseph Aguilera
Research Associate

Joseph Aguilera has been working at UCSD since 1984 as a research technician. His expertise is in the field of ionizing radiation induced DNA damage asssys. He is also the Research Facilities manager for the Cancer Center and manages the Radiation Medicine and Microscopy cores.

Tyler Tyler Steed
MD/PhD Student

Tyler is currently pursing his PhD in the Neurosciences as part of the UCSD's Medical Scientist Training Program. Tyler completed his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in molecular and cell biology and a minor in music. His research background has covered many levels including: miRNA, cellular neurophysiology, 2-photon microscopy, and neuroimaging. He is interested in how the lab can construct a detailed big picture of brain neoplasms by implementing computer assisted techniques along with traditional molecular approaches.

Jeffrey Jeffrey Treiber
Medical Student

Jeffrey is a current medical student at UC San Diego.

  • Billy Nguyen  [pubs]

  • Cindy Tran  [pubs]

Group | Alumni | Getting Involved | Lab Events



  • Wei Yan  [pubs]
    Neurosurgery Residency, Tiantan Medical Center, Beijing, China

  • Jianguo Xu
    Professor of Neurosurgery, China West Hospital, Sichuan, China

  • Rui Liu
    Professor of Neurosurgery, Navy General Hospital, Beijing, China

  • David David Gonda  [pubs]
    Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellow, Texas Children's Hospital
  • Dawn Waters  [pubs]
    Fellow in Neurosurgery, Stanford University

Radiation Oncology

  • Susan McDuff  [pubs]
    Resident, Harvard Medical School

  • David Kozono  [pubs]
    Instructor, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Radiation Oncology


  • Amit Amit Goyal  [pubs]
    University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine

Laboratory Research

  • Ying Shen Ying  [pubs]
    Assistant Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine
  • Yuko Hasegawa, PhD  [pubs]
    Faculty, Okinawa Coastal Ocean Observatory

Dental School

  • Dimitri Merzon
    Boston University Dental School

Medical School

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Getting Involved

The Center for Theoretical and Applied Neuro-Oncology is always on the lookout for bright, motivated undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students to join our laboratory. We are interested in students who are intelligent and self-directed, and have an interest in molecular biology or the biology of cancer. If you think you might like to join our laboratory, please feel to reach out to Dr. Chen or Dr. Carter.

Group | Alumni | Getting Involved | Lab Events

Lab Events

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