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Lab Members

The Sonabend Lab is a growing team of scientists, physicians, and students. Below you'll find a list of our current lab members and alumni.

Principal Investigator

Adam  Sonabend

Adam Sonabend, MD

Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery

MD: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Residency: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Neurological Surgery

View Sonabend's Faculty Profile

Postdoctoral Fellow

Víctor Andrés  Arrieta

Víctor Andrés Arrieta

Postdoctoral Fellow

MD/PhD: National Autonomous University of Mexico

I am an MD and PhD candidate of the Program of Combined Studies in Medicine (PECEM) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). During my professional training, I have done clinical rotations and research fellowships at the Medical University of Graz in Austria, at the Department of Hematology and Oncology of the University of Minnesota in the USA, and at the Neuro-Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, NIH, in the USA. I have worked on the development of drugs derived from metformin for their use in breast cancer, as well as gene therapies that exploit genome editing technologies in gliomas with IDH mutations. Currently, I am developing my PhD project at the National Cancer Institute of Mexico and Northwestern University. My PhD project focuses on the exploitation of replication stress with the combination of a TOP2 poison and an MDM2 inhibitor delivered by ultrasound in a specific molecular profile of gliomas. Additionally, I am working on a project that searches methods to enhance the immune effects of immune checkpoint blockade with the use of liposomal doxorubicin delivered by ultrasound in transgenic murine gliomas. Finally, we are proposing a biomarker that predicts response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in recurrent GBM and how this efficacy is related to the myeloid cells.

Crismita Dmello

Crismita Dmello, PhD

Kwang Soo Kim

Kwang Soo Kim, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

CHA University

As a molecular cancer cell biologist, Kwang-Soo Kim has been studying tumor microenvironment since he started his PhD course in CHA University in Korea. His PhD research was focused on the interaction of tumor cells and tumor microenvironment. Recently, he is working on preclinical studies of cancer immunotherapy for glioblastoma.

Research Staff

Li Chen

Li Chen, PhD

Lab Manager

li.chen( at )

PhD: Sun Yat-Sen University, China

Before Li landed USA from China, she had clinical experience as a hematologist. She received PhD in Immunology from Sun Yat-Sen University, China. She got her postdoctoral training in the Immunology program at Stanford University. The project of an immune-modulatory therapy against breast cancer she conducted received the supports from the Idea Award of Department of Defense and the Travel Award from American Society of Gene Therapy. Before joining Dr. Sonabend’s lab, Li was a Research Professional and Lab Manager in the Department of Pathology at University of Chicago. Her current research interest is to understand the immunological and epigenetic regulation on the malignant glioma, and the implication for a combining therapy to eradicate this malignant brain cancer. Meanwhile, with extensive experiences in cellular/molecular biology as well as animal experiments, she assists Dr. Sonabend to do the lab management and support other lab members.

Andrew Gould

Andrew Gould

Visiting Scholar

BS: DePaul University

In 2018, I graduated from DePaul University with a BS in Health Sciences and a minor in English Literature. Since then, I have worked as a research technologist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and now at the Sonabend Lab. In the Sonabend Lab, I lead data collection for our lab's ongoing clinical trial, which uses a third-generation implantable ultrasound device to disrupt the blood brain barrier and facilitate the delivery of chemotherapies to treat patients of Glioblastoma. My incredible experiences working at the Sonabend Lab have inspired me to pursue a career as a physician who also pursues scientific and translational research.

Medical Students

Ruth Saganty

Ruth Saganty

Student Researcher

Rush Medical College

I am a medical student and a visiting Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Adam Sonabend’s lab in the Department of Neurosurgery. My research focus aims to better understand the dynamics of the blood-brain-barrier. Using in vitro and mouse models as well as computational genomics, I am examining differentially expressed genes in the context of blood-brain-barrier perturbation to better inform the targeted delivery of therapeutics in patients with recurrent GBM.

Daniel Zhang

Daniel Zhang

Student Researcher

Rush Medical College

I was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. After graduating with a degree in Biophysics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Whitman College, I spent two years living abroad in China where I taught English to undergraduate students and worked at a pediatric cardiology clinic. Upon returning to America, I began working in the Sonabend Lab where I studied the use of low intensity pulsed ultrasound and microbubbles to deliver paclitaxel across the blood-brain barrier for the treatment of glioblastoma. Since then, I’ve developed an interest in the blood-brain barrier and translational glioma research. Currently, I am a medical student at Rush Medical College. When I’m not busy studying, or spending time in the lab, I enjoy exploring Chicago, going on long walks with my dog and trying to recreate fancy restaurant food at home.


Chidiebere Awah

Chidiebere Awah, PhD, MD

MD: Medicine & Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria ,Enugu Campus Masters of Science: Universidad Autonoma De Madrid, Madrid, Spain in Molecular Medicine PhD: Molecular Medicine, Hannover Biomedical Research School

I am an MD PhD, trained at the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus between 2003-2009. Upon graduation, I took various studentship positions at the MRC-LMB Cambridge, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Genetics & Cambridge System Biology Centre at University of Cambridge UK. I later moved to Stockholm University Sweden where I did a research degree project, and then obtained my Masters of Science degree from the Universidad Autonoma De Madrid, Madrid, Spain in Molecular Medicine (2012-2013). In my PhD with Prof Burkhard Tummler & Frauke Stanke at the Hannover Medical School Germany, I specialized on non-coding gene regulation. I defined how multimeric complexes of master transcription factors of NF-KB and HIF1A modulates a non-coding FAS (Death signal gene) SNP to modify clinical outcomes of a monogenic disease Cystic Fibrosis. For Postdoctoral work under the mentorship of Dr. Adam Sonabend (Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Chicago) and Dr. Patrick Hsu (Salk Institute, La Jolla California). I am using the large scale CRISPR Cas9a genome engineering and editing to unravel genetic factors and mechanism controlling the brain tumor glioblastoma susceptibility to chemotherapy. Research Interest: Glioblastoma, Large scale CRISPR Cas9a screening, Gene editing and Genome Engineering, Cancer chemotherapeutics, Non-coding gene regulation.

Edgar Gonzalez-Buendia

Edgar Gonzalez-Buendia, PhD

My previous work includes the study of chromatin architecture by investigating how the formation and maintenance of chromatin domains contribute to developmentally regulated gene expression. Also I have experience studying epigenetic regulation of tumor suppressor genes in human cancer.

I am interested in understanding the role of the epigenetic regulation and the chromatin structure on gene expression, and its implications to development and cancer.