La Jolla Lab 

                       Ze'ev Ronai                                                     


Ze'ev Ronai obtained his Ph.D. in 1985 from The Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel and performed postdoctoral research with I.B. Weinstein at the Cancer Center of Columbia University in New York. He established the Molecular Carcinogenesis Program at the American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York, and in 1997 moved to the Ruttenberg Cancer Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he was a tenured professor up to 2005. During 2004, Dr. Ronai moved to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla CA, where he is a Professor. He served as the Director of the Signal Transduction Program (2005-2013), as the Deputy Director for the Cancer Center (2008-2014), and as the Scientific Director for the La Jolla site (2014-2016). He is currently the cheif scientific advisor at SBP and co-director of the Technion Integrated Cancer Center in Israel Email -

                     Hyungsoo Kim

Hyungsoo obtained is Ph.D. at the Seoul National University and joined our lab in 2007. He has been studying the role of Siah in mitochondrial dynamics and cell motility (Mol Cell, Oncogene) and more recently in melanoma resistance and RNF125 (Cell Reports). He is Research Assistant Professor in our lab. 

                 Marzia Scortegagna


Marzia received her Ph.D. from the University of Padova in Italy and performed postdoctoral training studying HIF1 proteins in hypoxia, in context of oxidative stress, inflammation and cancer. She joined the lab in 2009 and has been working on the ubiquitin ligase Siah2, as well as on the role of PDK1 and Siah2 in melanoma using genetic models. Shehave demonstrated the  regulation of Siah2 by the DUB USP13 (JBC, 2012) andestablished the role of PDK1 in melanoma development and progression (Oncogene 2014, Cancer Research 2015). Her study on the regulation and function of Siah1/2 by the UPR was published in PLoS Genetics (2014). Email -

                         Yu Fujita


Yu received his M.D. and Ph.D. (RNA biology) from Division of Respiratory Diseases, Jikei University School of Medicine, Japan. He joined the lab in 2016 and has been working on the role of immune response and gut microbiota in melanoma. Email

                    Yongmei Feng


Yongmei received her Ph.D. from National University of Singapore. In her previous postdoctoral positions, she focused on the transcriptional regulation of Cdk11 and its role in melanoma. She joined the lab in 2011, and is currently working on screening and characterization of small molecule and peptide inhibitors for ubiquitin ligases Siah2 and RNF5 and development of novel inhibitors to overcome melanoma resistance to therapy. Email -

                            Yan Li


Yan received her M.D. in clinical medicine and Ph.D. in cell biology from the China Medical University. She joined the lab in 2014 and has been working on the role of RNF5 in immune checkpoint control in melanoma. Email -

                          Gaurav Pathria


Gaurav received his PhD in Cancer Biology in 2012 from Medical University of Vienna. During his 6 year tenure as a PhD and later as a Postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Stephan Wagner, he worked on multiple aspects of melanoma biology. Following a short Postdoc in the lab of Dr. Robert Grosse in Marburg, Germany, Gaurav joined the lab in summer 2016 and is working on characterizing novel metabolic pathways in melanoma.


                     Stephanie Myers


Stephanie graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2016 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. She worked as a Lab Assistant in the Ju Chen Lab at UCSD while earning her B.S. Stephanie joined the Ronai Lab in 2016 as the Lab Coordinator/Research Assistant. Email-


To view our Technion Lab members - look here


Ronai Lab Alumni - Where are they now?

Giuseppina Claps, PhD

Giusy have completed PhD in our lab in 2015 and following a one year post doctoral training she moved to extend her training in INSERM Paris with Drs. Carolin Robert and Stephan Vagner

Eric Lau, Ph.D.

Eric received his Ph.D. from UCSD in 2008 and performed post doctoral training which focused on the regulation and function of ATF2. Eric demonstrated the role of subcellular localization in ATF2 function, as the role of FUK in control of melanoma metastasis. He was awarded K00/99 for his work and is currently Assistant Member at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Florida. Email -

Begona Diaz Fernandez, Ph.D. 

Begona has spent a short time in our laboratory, studying novel aspects for the PDK1 kinase, as she transitioned from Dr. sara Courtneidge to her own laboratory at the LA BioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance CA.

Daniela Senft, Ph.D.

Daniela received her Ph.D. from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany in 2012. She joined the Ronai lab to further elucidate the roles of the transcription factor ATF2 in melanocyte biology, melanoma genesis and melanoma progression in response to UV-irradiation. Currently back at her homeland.

Young Joo Jeon, Ph.D.

Young Joo joined the lab from School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and was studying the role of RNF5 in the control of glutamine metabolism in breast cancer and melanoma. She paublished a landmark paper in Cancer Cell and currently setting her own laboratory in Seol, Korea.

Marilyn Leonard, Ph.D.

Marilyn was our lab manager, overseeing the mice colony and managed our lab's day-to-day operation. She is currently working at UCSD 


Adrienne Crown, J.D.

Adrienne oversaw the operation of the lab and the office of the Scientific Director (2011-15). She currently manages the RAS department at SBP.  Email - 

Jianfei Qi, Ph.D.

Jianfei trained as a postdoc and later as a staff scientist focusing his studies on the role of the ubiquitin ligase Siah1/2 in prostate cancer. He was awarded a K99/R01 and has established his own laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

Chelsea Ruller, M.Sc. 

Chelsea worked as our lab coordinator from 2010 to 2013. Following a 2 year tenure at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, she has recently relocated to Moffitt Cancer Center.

Ersheng Kuang, Ph.D.

Ersheng worked as a postdoc in our lab. He has established his laboratory at the Institute of Human Virology, Zhangshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Mei-Fan Cheng, Ph.D.

Mei-Feng performed her graduate studies in our lab, with focus on the cross talk between ER stress and cell cycle. She moved to perform a  postdoctoral training in neurobiology at UCSD, La Jolla, CA.

Gustavo Gutierrez, Ph.D.

Gustavo completed postdoctoral training in our lab, during which he first-authored two studies concerning the regulation and function of JNK in cell cycle. He is currently at the Laboratory of Cell Genetics, Department of Biology, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium.

Agnes Delaunay, Ph.D.

Agnes moved to our lab in 2005 as a postdoctoral fellow. She studied the role of RNF5 in mouse models, using Tg and KO mice. Her work established a link between RNF5, ER stress and muscular disorders, in particular inclusion body myosities. In 2008, Agnes assumed an independent position as a principal investigator at the CEA in Paris.

Pablo Lopez-Bergami, Ph.D.

Pablo joined our group in 2002 to study the role of MAP kinases in melanoma development and progression. Pablo's work provided the foundation for understanding the nature of re-wired signal transduction patways in melanoma, with particular attention to ERK-JNK and PKC-JNK cross-talk. In 2008, Pablo assumed an assistant professor position in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Koh Nakayama, Ph.D.

Koh joined the lab in 2002 as a postdoctoral fellow. He established the line of research concerning the role of the Siah2 ubiquitin ligase in hypoxia. Koh is currently an associate professor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Japan.

Limor Broday, Ph.D.

Limor studied the ubiquitin ligase RNF5 using C. elegans as a model system and also explored the funciton of SUMO during postembryoinic development. She is currently a faculty member at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel, where she is currently studying RNF5 and related proteins in C. elegans.

Serge Y Fuchs, M.D.

Serge was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab from 1994 to 1997, exploring the kinaseless role of JNK in mediating the ubiquitination-dependent degradation of its non phosphorylated substrates c-Jun, ATF2 and p53. Serge was among the first to discover bTrCP as the E3 ligase for IkB and b-catenin. He is currently a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia,

Marianna Tcherpakov, Ph.D.

Marianna received her Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in Israel and joined the lab in 2005. She worked on a novel protein identified in our lab, which was designated JAMP, an anchor for proteasomes recruitment to the ER. Marianna is currently a scientist at a local San Diego biotech company.

Shoichi Takahashi, M.D./Ph.D.

Shoichi discovered that ATF2 can also be phosphorylated by ATM, a finding that led to the icharacterization of ATF2 in DNA damage response. He returned to Japan where he serves a clinical function and performs research in parallel at Hiroshima University.

Christine Didier, Ph.D.

Christine studied the ubiquitin ligase RNF5, a RING finger protein that regulates cell motility by targeting paxillin ubiquitination and altered localization. Christine returned to the Centre de Recherche en Pharmacologie-Sante, UMR 2587 CNRS in Toulouse France.

Takayuki Kadoya, M.D.

Taka received his M.D. degree from Hiroshima University in Japan. During his postdoctoral training in our lab, he characterized the newly discovered 7 transmembrane protein JAMP (JNK associated membrane protein), which resides in the ER membrane and is an RNF5 associated protein. He returned to Hiroshima University, where he divides his time between clinical and research activities.

Hasem Hapahake

Hasem joined the lab as a postdoc after he received his Ph.D. in Japan. In our lab, he studied the ubiquitin ligase Siah and its role in the degradation of TRAF2 and ODGC-E2. In 2005, Hasem moved to the University of Iowa where he assumed an independent position as an Assistant Professor. He continues to study post translational modifications underlying the regulation of ATF2 functions.

Aaron Laine

Aaron received his B.S. in chemistry from Arizona State University and joind our lab as an M.D./Ph.D. student. As part of his Ph.D. thesis, he explored the novel mechanisms underlying the regulation of p53 activity, and the role of ubiquitin in regulation of p53 localization, rather than stability. 

Dania Alarcon-Vargas

Dania performed her Ph.D. thesis in our lab, studying the mechanisms underlying the regulation of c-myc stability. She complete her requirements for her Ph.D. at MSSM/NYU in 2004. She continued her reserach as a postdoctoral fellow at Albert Einstein School of Medicine in NYC.

Anindita Bhoumik

Anindita worked in our lab for over 8 years, making major contributions to our studies with ATF2 and melanoma. Anindita is currently working for a biotech company in San Diego, specializing in stem cells.

Vladimir Ivanov, Ph.D.

Vladimir was a Research Assistant Professor in our lab. Vladimir studied the regulation of apoptosis in melanoma, with focus on TRAF, NFkB and Fas signaling pathways. Now, he's an Associate Research Professor at the Center for Radiological research at Columbia University NY.

Toshinari Minamoto, M.D.

Toshinari was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab from 1996-1998. At present Toshi is Professor and Head of the Division of Oncology at Kanazawa University in Japan (

Ssang Goo Cho, Ph.D.  

Ssang Goo was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab from 2000-2001 and worked on the regulation of ATF2 by TIP49b. Ssang Goo returned to Korea where he is currently faculty member.

Susan Rutberg, Ph.D.

Susan was postdoctoral trainee in our lab from 1991-1995, when she moved to a scientist position at NCI. Susan moved from NCI to work as a senior scientist in Gillette corporation. Recently, Susan has relocated to Boston where she serves as a senior scientist in a startup company.

Philip Lazarus, P.h.D.

Philip was training in our lab from 1991-1992. Philip was associate professor at H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center University of South Florida and currently serves as Associate Director of Penn State Cancer Institute

Boris Fichtman, Ph.D. 

Boris performed an 18 month training in our lab with focus on ATF2 and moved for a second post doc at UCSD. 

Thomas Buschmann, Ph.D.

Thomas was a postdoctoral trainee from 1997 till 2001. Thomas assumed the position of a Research Administrator at the Europroteorue Institute in Berlin Germany.

© Ronai Lab 2017