Lab Members


Staff Scientists

Barbara Muz, PhD | Staff Scientist and Lab Manager
Dr. Muz is investigating the biological mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis. Her main focus is to overcome hypoxia-mediated drug resistance and metastasis in multiple myeloma and other hematologic malignancies. She is working on a new method to detect minimal-residual disease in multiple myeloma based on a new set of biomarkers. In addition, she is testing novel drugs (including immunotherapies) in collaboration with biotech companies. Dr. Muz is also developing a theranostic approach to treat and image both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, using a novel delivery system. Before joining Azab lab, she completed her M.Sc. in Biotechnology at Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), and she worked in the Rheumatology Institute in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011, she was awarded her Ph.D. in Clinical Medicine at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Division, Imperial College London, UK, in which she studied different aspects of rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis including inflammation, angiogenesis and hypoxia. Barbara (a.k.a. Basia) is passionate about dancing tango, salsa, and more recently West Coast Swing (WCS). With friends, she created a dance club in St. Louis with their own annual dance event. She travels, teaches and competes in WCS at the national level. She actively participates in variety of fundraisers. She loves outdoor activities, foreign cuisines, photography, and history.

Pilar de la Puente, PhD | Staff Scientist
Dr. de la Puente is investigating localized drug delivery systems for hematological malignancies including multiple myeloma, lymphoma and breast cancer, as well as development of tissue-engineered, patient-derived cancer pre-clinical models . Before joining our Lab, she finished her Ph.D. focusing on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at University of Salamanca in Spain (2012), at the same time she worked as Doctoral Research in a Tissue Establishment, in which, she worked with cell culture, tridimensional scaffolds, and drug delivery systems. Pilar loves travelling, cooking and spending time with her friends and family. She likes swimming, watching soccer matches, and would love to travel around the world.


Post Doctoral Fellows

Cinzia Federico, PharmD, PhD  | Post Doctoral Research Associate
Dr. Federico is from Italy, and before joining our Lab, she received her degrees from the University “Magna Graecia” of Catanzaro, Italy. She is a pharmacist and has research experience in nano-drug delivery systems for the treatment of multiple myeloma using miRNA.  Her research focus is development of localized drug delivery systems for the treatment and imaging of solid tumors, as well as  nano-sized drug delivery systems for the treatment and imaging of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. In her free time, Cinzia enjoys baking Italian cakes, and she likes to watch movies, classical ballet and traveling.

Ahmet Surucu, MD  | Post Doctoral Research Associate
Ahmet graduated from Marmara University School of Medicine in Istanbul,Turkey in July 2016. After graduation, he finished the USMLE exams and receive an ECFMG certificate in September 2017. He has had two pathology clinical rotations in Chicago and Atlanta, and hope to go on to a pathology residency after his research experience here at Azab Lab. In his free time, Ahmet enjoys traveling, fishing, repairing electronic devices, gardening, and playing soccer.


PhD Candidates

Jennifer Sun, BSc | PhD Candidate
Jennifer is a third-year PhD student in the department of Biomedical Engineering, and is also a fellow for the WashU Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study. Her research focuses on the development of novel drug delivery strategies for cancer immunotherapy. She received her B.S. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University where she worked on biodegradable hydrogels to reduce relapses after brain tumor resections. Jennifer comes from a multicultural background and calls both Beijing, China and Palatine, Illinois as home. In her spare time, Jennifer loves baking, playing badminton, and going on camping trips.

Kinan Alhallak, BSc | PhD Candidate
Kinan is a third-year PhD student in the department of Biomedical Engineering. Currently, his research involves developing targeted nano-particles for treatment of cancer. Before joining WashU, He received his B.S in Biomedical Engineering from University of Arkansas where he worked on optical functional imaging for breast cancer. In his free time, Kinan enjoys playing basketball, soccer, and going on food adventures, and he is also passionate about mentoring.

Amanda Jeske, BSc | PhD Student
Amanda is a first-year PhD student in the department of Biomedical Engineering and is co-mentored by Dr. David Curiel. She previously worked as a Senior Scientist at Cellatrix LLC and Visiting Scientist in the Azab Lab. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2016 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Amanda is a fan of science fiction, downhill skiing, and exploring outdoors.


PharmD Candidates

Joseph Kotsybar | PharmD Candidate
Joseph is a visiting pharmacy student from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and is a current seventh-year student in the new PharmD program. Joseph is working closely with Pilar de la Puente with localized drug delivery systems for hematological malignancies. Before pursing pharmacy, he received a B.S in Chemistry and a B.S in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern Illinois Edwardsville. In his free time, Joseph enjoys playing the drums, listening to music, and watching St. Louis sports.

Matea Markovic | PharmD Candidate
Matea is a visiting pharmacy student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and is in the sixth-year of the BS/PharmD program. She hopes in doing a residency after graduation. Prior to joining the lab, Matea has worked on nanoparticle drug delivery systems as well as 3D printing. In her free time, Matea enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.


Anas Abdelghafer | PharmD Candidate
Anas is a visiting pharmacy student from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and is in the sixth-year of the BS/PharmD program. He hopes in doing a PGY-1 and PGY-2 residency after graduating. He plans on specializing in either oncology or ambulatory care. In his free time, Anas enjoys playing soccer, watching movies and spending time with his family.


Master Students


Undergraduate Students

Kate Wasden | Undergraduate Student
Kate is currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in biochemistry and hopes to attend medical school after graduation. Her research focuses on the use of targeted liposomes for cancer treatment. Outside of the lab, Kate loves to play rugby, play the violin, read, and go rock-climbing.


Nicole Guenthner | Undergraduate Student
Nicole is currently a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. She plans on majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Psychological & Brain Sciences. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career in sarcoma research. She enjoys volunteering for groups on and off campus, mentoring fellow students, and spending time with friends and family.


Mensur Koso | Undergraduate Student
Mensur is a visiting student from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and is completing his third year for his B.S. in Health Sciences. He hopes to attend medical school after completing his undergraduate degree. In his free time, Mensur enjoys reading history and philosophy as well as being outside and playing tennis. Mensur also enjoys giving back to his community and being with his family.

Isabel Trenholm | Undergraduate Student
Izzy is currently a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. She plans on majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Psychological & Brain Sciences. After graduation she hopes to attend medical school. In her free time Izzy enjoys running and spending time with friends. On campus she mentors students in chemistry and is a member of pre-healthcare fraternity Alpha Iota Gamma.


Shannon Gurley | Undergraduate Student
Shannon is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis. She is majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Anthropology and plans to attend medical school after graduation. Outside of lab, Shannon is involved in a few clubs on campus including Culinary Arts Society and Student Organ Donation Advocates.



Visiting Scientists

Nassera Aouali, PhD | Visiting Scientist
Nassera, is visiting scientist from the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), Department of Oncology, where she focused on Mutidrug-Resistant (MDR) Multiple Myeloma. Nassera is originally from France and obtained her PhD in Biophysics at Reims Champagne Ardennes Université, where she worked on lipid metabolism modification in drug resistant breast cancer. She then did her post doctoral training in Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, NY), where she explored the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway in Cisplatin-resistant ovarian and colon cancer cell lines. She did a second post doc in CRP Santé in Luxembourg and evaluated a novel combination of PPARγ agonist pioglitazone (PIO) and histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi). She now holds a permanent position in the same lab. Nassera enjoys walks in the forest and likes reading historical books. She also enjoys dancing salsa and going to the gym.

Feda Azab, BPharm | Visiting Scientist 
Feda is a Senior Scientist at Cellatrix LLC, and a Visiting Scientist in the Azab Lab. Before joining our Lab, Mrs. Azab worked as  a research assistant at the Department Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem between 2002 and 2003, focusing on organic synthesis of boron-compounds. She completed her Pharmacy studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2005, and worked as a community pharmacist between 2005 and 2007. Then, she worked for five years in the Lab of Prof. Irene Ghobrial at Dana Farber Cancer Institute-Harvard Medical School started as a Lab Technician and left it as a Leading Lab Tech, focusing on Multiple Myeloma research. Then she worked as a senior scientist and lab manager in the Azab Lab, Washington University in St. Louis (2012-2015). Feda likes drawing, reading novels (especially romantic ones), travelling and learning to prepare new dishes from different cuisines and learning about the cultures behind them.



Post Doc Associates

Farideh Ordakhani, PhD (2015-2016)

Mustafa Arslan, MD (2015-2016)

PhD Graduates

Micah Luderer, MD/PhD (2013-2017)

PharmD Graduates

Farrah Yuan (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2016-2017)

Abbey Jin (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2016-2017)

Ryan Soo Hoo (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2015-2018)

Hubert Kusdono (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2015-2017)

Rachel Ghazarian (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2015-2017)

Faith Slaton (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2015)

Nancy Quan (Pharm D Student-STLCOP) (2014-2016)

Benjamin Minch (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2013-2015)

Nicholas Potter (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2012-2015)

Joseph Abraham (PharmD Student-STLCOP) (2012-2014)

Master Students

Zhe Wang (2018)

Undergraduate Students

Shruti Shah (2016-2019)

Katelyn Miyasaki (2017-2019)

Joycelyn Botelho (SLU) (2018-2019)

Henna Bazai (SLU) (2016-2018)

Nadine Abdeljabbar (2016-2017)

Monica Ou (SLU) (2015-2016)

Priya Mohan (2013-2016)

Sunidi Singh (2013-2015)

Raymundo Marcelo (2012-2016)

Chizelle Rush (2012-2013)

Visiting Scientists and Students

Ben Van Hoogstrate (BSc student, Westminster College, 2019)

Sarah Noble (PharmD student-STLCOP, 2019)

Stacy Clayton (PharmD student-STLCOP, 2018)

Amber Laurent (PharmD student-STLCOP, 2018)

Marion Geoffroy (BSc student-France, 2017)

Flora Haddadou (BSc student-France, 2017)

Amanda Jeske (BSc, 2016-2018)

Karam Khateeb (University of Wisconsin, 2016)

Marissa Maciej (PhD, UK, 2016)

Anita Sekula (MSc. 2016)

Shahd Qassem (MSc student-Israel, 2014)

Fatma Betul Yildiz (MD Student-Turkey, 2014)

Feyza Askin (MD Student-Turkey, 2014)

Sumeyra Nur Gurler (MD Student-Turkey, 2014)

Omer Vural (MD –Turkey, 2013)

Osman Arif (MD –Turkey, 2013)

Mustafa Arslan (MD –Turkey, 2013)