The Lab Team

Michele Carbone’s Collaborators and Lab Team at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Dr. Michele Carbone’s team works in the beautiful Cancer Center at the University of Hawaii. This photo shows the team gathered together for a farewell lunch for one of their members. They are standing on the lanai (exterior patio) of the Cancer Center. The laboratory is on this same floor. Colleagues from left to right: Cathy Zhang, Wen Ming Chu, Valentina Signorato, Masaki Nasu, Gwen Ramelb, Brandon Taylor, Sandra Pastorino, Mika Tanji, David Larson, Haining Yang, Makana (a famous singer, not part of our lab), Angela Bononi, Michele Carbone, Agata Szymiczek, Xhongjian Chen, Jiaming Xue

Members of the Carbone & Yang Laboratories

Angela Bononi
From Italy

I am studying the role of BAP1 in cell survival, proliferation and metabolism, in order to understand how BAP1+/- cells are predisposed to malignant transformation.  Our final goal is to identify new molecular targets or cellular pathways that could be targeted for therapeutic intervention, or used as early diagnostic tools for cancer prevention.

Angelica Ferro
From Italy

I am a research assistant studying the role of inherited germline DNA mutations in the increase susceptibility of malignant mesothelioma.

Keisuke Goto
From Japan

I am very excited to be a member of this nice team.  Since I have worked as a medical doctor and studied basic research about transcriptional regulation in the cancer biology, I would like to study more deeply about things that have not yet been elucidated in the clinical settings.  Now I am challenged by two big projects involving the roles of BAP1 and HMGB1 in mesothelioma.

Michael Minai
From Honolulu, HI

I am a research assistant and I aid in various projects, mainly in genetic and genealogical research.  Additionally, I ensure laboratory maintenance and organization.

Flavia Novelli
From Rome, Italy

I am a postdoc research fellow studying the potential role of HMGB1-BAP1 interaction in modulating HMGB1 release and how it can contributes to the development of Mesothelioma.  I am also involved in the study of the Ubiquitinoma in our BAP1-mesothelioma system in order to identify new BAP1 substrates as potential therapeutic targets.

Joelle Suarez
From Toledo, Ohio

I am a postdoc research fellow studying the role of BAP1 in macrophage differentiation and polarization and how they contribute to mesothelioma development.

Mika Tanji
From Honolulu, HI

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and feel blessed to be a part of an amazing international mesothelioma research team.

Yasutaka Takinishi
From Japan

I am a clinical oncologist from Japan and having an exciting time working on early detection of malignant mesothelioma and the BAP1 syndrome.

Brandon Taylor
From Honolulu, HI

I extract and analyze the DNA of mesothelioma patients.  I decided to work in this lab because I want to understand cancer and contribute my time to the progress of cancer research.

Ronghui Xu
From South China

I am a PhD student working under the tutelage of Dr. Haining Yang to explore the possible proteomic linkage between BAP1 and HMGB1.

Ryuji Yamamoto
From Japan

I am studying why large scale mutations occur in the genome during cancer cell carcinogenesis.  I hope we can elucidate the mechanisms affecting of the development of mesothelioma.

Jiaming Xue
From China

I am a PhD student working under the tutelage of Dr. Haining Yang to explore the possible proteomic linkage between BAP1 and HMGB1.

Former Lab Members

David Larson
From Honolulu, HI

My main interests in the Dr. Yang’s lab were characterizing asbestos-induced inflammation and determining the role of specific cell types in the development of mesothelioma.

Fang Qi
From China

From 2008 to 2013, I worked in Dr. Michele Carbone’s lab, where I learned to be a professional scientist.  I remember all the amazing memories and am so proud to be a part of this team.  My research interests were 1. to investigate the tissue tropism and transforming potential of SV40 and 2. to characterize the possible transforming potential of chrysotile fibers.

Zeyana Riviera
From Tanzania

I was part of Carbone’s team between 2007-2012.  My research focused on identifying new targets for therapy as well as studying key events that influence chemotherapy resistance in mesothelioma.  One of the targets I discovered was the CSPG4 protein, already known to be associated with a highly metastatic form of melanoma, is required for malignant mesothelioma cell adhesion as a co-receptor to other growth factors.  With the help of Drs. Carbone and Gaudino, I initiated a highly productive collaboration with Dr. Soldano Ferrone at the University of Pittsburgh that increased our understanding of the role of CSPG4 protein and its use as a target in immunotherapy for mesothelioma and extending this therapeutic work on CSPG4 in combination with chemotherapy.  In addition, I participated in several projects on the exposure of erionite leading to high incidence of MM in murine models.

Paola Rizzo
From Naples, Italy

I worked in Michele Carbone’s lab from 1993 until 2001.  During this time, as a molecular biologist, I contributed to the discovery of SV40 DNA sequences and the identification of a protein complex between the SV40 large T antigen and p53 in human mesothelioma specimens.  Subsequently, in order to shed lights on the origin of monkey viral sequences found in human tumors, I performed comparative sequencing analyses of several regions of the SV40 genome identified both in human tumor and in polio vaccines produced before 1963, known to contain SV40 virus as a contaminant.

Valentina Signorato
From Ferrara, Italy

I worked in Dr. Carbone’s and Dr. Yang’s laboratory as a Student Intern from the University of Ferrara, Faculty of Pharmacy.  I joined Dr. Carbone’s Lab for my thesis research to study cells signaling mechanisms in cells derived from individuals carrying germline BAP1 mutations (BAP1+/-).

Xhongjian Chen
From China

I always dreamed of working on a team with passion and wisdom.  I have been realizing that dream since joining this team.

Agata Szymiczek
From Poland

I am a research specialist and I focus on the novel anti-cancer therapeutics proposed for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, whose efficacy needs to be established in vitro and in vivo.

Masaki Nasu
From Japan

We do genetic testing especially on BAP1 mutations for Malignant Mesothelioma patients and their family members.  We are searching for more new mutated genes, which predispose individuals to Malignant Mesothelioma and other cancers.  Our goal is to identify the cancer syndrome for Cancer prevention and therapy.