Shervin Assari, M.D., M.P.H. – Dr. Shervin Assari is an associate professor of Family Medicine and Urban Public Health at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). Before joining CDU, he was a faculty at the University of Michigan and a visiting faculty at the Department of Psychology, UCLA. He conducts research on the intersection of social determinants, epidemiology, neuroscience, and biostatistics. He has widely published on the intersectional effects of race/ethnicity, SES, and gender on behavioral and health outcomes. He has published 400+ peer review papers in PubMed. He has also mentored tens of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty members. He is currently the principal investigator of a study funded by the State of California to study social, psychological, and neuroscience mechanisms of tobacco use disparities in youth.
Theodore C. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Theodore C. Friedman is a Professor of Medicine-UCLA School of Medicine and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science; is the Chairman of the Department of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Molecular Medicine and Metabolism at Charles R. Drew University. Dr. Friedman, along with Dr. Crawford are the directors of the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) -funded STOPS grant with Cal State University-San Bernardino on training young scientists on smoking cessation. He has several projects related to smoking and e-cigarettes. He is funded by TRDRP on an implementation study of smoking cessation intervention within Los Angeles County-operated Primary Care and Community Mental Health clinics and will submit a grant to TRDRP on increasing smoking cessation training in California. He is funded by the DOD to study the effect of e-cigarettes on cardiomyopathy in mice. He also submitted a grant on the effect of in utero exposure of e-cigarettes. Please let us know if these projects interest you.
Jorge Espinoza-Derout, Ph.D. – Dr. Espinoza-Derout is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UCLA. He received his BA and M.Sc. from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Concepción, Chile. To increase his background in cell biology, he joined the Ph.D. program at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. In his doctoral dissertation, he studied the 2 molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation induced by cardiac hypertrophic signals. After completing his Ph.D. dissertation, he performed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University and CDU. As an Assistant professor at CDU, he has performed pre-clinical studies on a possible new treatment for E-cigarette-induced cardiac dysfunction. He studies the effects of e-cigarettes on DNA damage and cardiac metabolism. Additionally, he tries to understand the role of adipose tissue lipolysis on cardiac metabolism. He has mentored more than 30 students; several of his former students have successfully transitioned to medical and graduate programs.
Kamrul M. Hasan, Ph.D., – Dr. Kamrul M. Hasan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. From his postdoctoral study, he cloned and characterized a novel gene, CARF, a new member of the ARF-MDM2- P53 tumor suppressor pathway. Current research in his lab focuses to understand the role of CARF in insulin signaling pathways and associated metabolic diseases. He has several projects aiming to understand the role of CARF in E-cigarettes and fat rich diets induced non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Along with Dr. Friedman, his research grant on the cardiometabolic effect of E-cigarettes and high fructose-rich diet (HFCS), including beverages, in adolescence is pending.
Sheila Pervin, Ph.D. – Dr. Sheila Pervin is an Associate Professor at CDU, in the College of Medicine, in the Department Internal Medicine. She is a Basic Science Researcher who joined CDU in 2009 as an Assistant Professor. She studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate initiation and progression of human breast tumors. The main focus of her lab is to identify and characterize key cell types including mammary cancer stem cells that promote aggressive breast tumors in young African American women. She has also developed strong projects to understand the mechanisms by which adipose tissue and nicotine interact to promote aggressive breast tumors. In addition, she also examines mechanisms by which electronic cigarettes promote breast cancer progression. Dr. Pervin is very passionate about mentoring students interested in research and has mentored more than 40 students from Undergraduate, Post Bac and Master’s program at CDU. Over the years she has been successful in obtaining grants from NIH/NCI to fund her research.
Xuesi Max Shao, M.D. – Dr. Xuesi Max Shao is a Professor of Dept. of Internal Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science; Researcher of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research interests are in neural control of respiration and tobacco related diseases. He has obtained multiple research grants from California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program and NIH/NIDA, studying in the field of nicotinic receptors, nicotine dependence, pharmacokinetics of inhaled nicotine and its effects on cardiovascular system and on fetal development. He is the inventor of the lung alveolar region-targeted aerosol method to deliver nicotine to in vivo animal models. In collaboration with Dr. Friedman, they developed an efficient E-cigarette aerosol generation and exposure system for rodents with properties of the aerosol resembling those inhaled by E-cigarette vapers.
Magda Shaheen, Ph.D., M.P.H., MS, FACE – Dr. Magda Shaheen is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), Associate Professor in Residence at UCLA, and Director of AXIS Research Design and Biostatistics, Co-Director of the UCLA/CDU CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design. She has more than 30 years’ experience in research and teaching clinical, translational and community research at CDU and UCLA. She conducted collaborative projects in clinical and translation research, epidemiology, and biostatistics related to health disparity, smoking, substance abuse, smoking cessation, and chronic conditions. In addition, Dr. Shaheen has extensive experience in utilizing and analyzing the public use databases (national, state, local) in research especially related to health and health care disparities taking into considerations the design, sampling and statistical analysis. As an educator, Dr. Shaheen has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and providing training related to research methods, statistics and epidemiology. Dr. Shaheen mentored many students and junior faculty.
Amiya P. Sinha-Hikim, Ph.D. – Dr. Amiya P. Sinha-Hikim is an experienced researcher and Professor at CDU. He has worked in various medical schools in the United States since 1985. During these years, he has advanced from a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, through the professorial ranks, to a full Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In 2010, he joined Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and science. He also has a dual appointment as a Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Sinha-Hikim has contributed to research in translational and biomedical sciences and to the mentoring of high school, undergraduate and graduate students, PHD or MD Fellows, and junior faculty. Current research in his laboratory focuses on cardiometabolic diseases targeted to define the contribution of nicotine (either parenterally administered or delivered via electronic nicotine delivery systems) and obesity to the development of cardiomyopathy, skeletal muscle abnormalities, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Dr. Sinha-Hikim has published 133 peer reviewed articles, 1 book, and 14 book chapters in his fields. Most recently, he published an editorial and co-edited an e-book on obesity, smoking, and fatty liver disease consisting of 10 articles (9 reviews and 1 original) for Frontiers in Endocrinology that provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of nicotine and obesity on various diseases, including NAFLD. His works appeared in premiere journals of his discipline, including Apoptosis, Biology of Reproduction, Endocrinology, Genes & Development, Hepatology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, and Molecular Endocrinology.
Rajan Singh, Ph.D. – Dr. Rajan Singh is a Professor of Medicine-Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism) and UCLA School of Medicine (Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center & Development of Obstetrics and Gynecology). Dr. Singh has been involved in understanding the protective role of follistatin during smoking-induced progression of atherosclerosis and identifying key molecular targets involved during the process. His initial findings identified a key role for follistatin in regulating lipid and energy metabolism to inhibit the profession of obesity and related metabolic syndrome and has been awarded a US Patent (entitled Composition and methods for treating or preventing metabolic syndrome disorders: US9682093 B2). Dr. Singh's research has been funded by numerous grants from National Institute of Health (NIH) and the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP). Over the years, Dr. Singh has been involved in student training in obesity, breast cancer, and smoking-related projects to support them achieve their next career goals. Most recently, he has also received the Cornelius Hopper Diversity Award from TRDRP to train and encourage trainees from cultural, ethnic and racially diverse backgrounds in tobacco-related research. Multitude of ongoing projects in my laboratory provides excellent opportunity for incoming students to master hands-on research training in smoking-related projects as well as develop sound conceptual skill-sets necessary to achieve future career goals.
Dilara K. Üsküp, Ph.D. – Dr. Dilara K. Üsküp is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences. Dr. Üsküp is a joint doctoral graduate of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and the Divinity School. She was the first in the University’s history to be awarded both a Ph.D. in political science and a Ph.D. in theology from the Divinity School. She completed her NIH/NIMH training at the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services. Her research investigates the ways religious and political institutions, attitudes, and ideology interacts and shape health behavior to inform public policy. She is also an ordained minister. Her burgeoning research portfolio includes the areas of politics and theology, HIV prevention, cannabis and social equity, and health policy. She collaborates and consultants with faith-based and faith-placed cannabis organizations that are engaged in social justice work around incarceration/citizen reentry, employment/job creation, economic development, health equity, and cannabis social equity. She is co-principal investigator of CaliCANN, a demographic analysis of the state of California cannabis market.