• Wen Liu, PhD

    Lab Manager

    Education and Training
    MB, 1993, Shanghai Medical College of JiaoTong University, Shanghai, China
    PhD, 2001, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

    I received a PhD in medical science from Tohoku University School of Medicine in Japan and worked as a postdoctoral fellow and then associate research scientist in Mount Sinai Medical Center. My research mainly focused on biomechanical regulation of ion transport in distal nephron in health and disease (polycystic kidney disease), as well as pathogenesis of glomerulosclerosis in diabetic nephropathy group. I came to Columbia University Medical Center in 2012 and worked in the Pathology and Pulmonary group as a research worker, where I was in charge of processing samples for frozen section diagnosis and receptor analysis. I also participated in the study to identify the ligands bound to sRAGE in plasma in adults with clinical and subclinical ILD using co-IP to isolate sRAGE/ligand complexes followed by MS to distinguish the ligands. I have extensive experience in cell biology, protein chemistry assay, and molecular biology. Since joining in Dr. Reilly’s group, I’m acquiring skills in iPS and SGBS culturing and CRISPR technology under the direct supervision of Dr. Hanrui Zhang and Dr. Xuan Zhang. Additionally, I am the lab manager for our group and oversee purchasing and other items.

    Wen Liu
  • Sarah Trignano, EdM

    Clinical Research Coordinator

    Education and Training:

    •         EdM 2015, Applied Physiology, Teachers College Columbia University, New York NY
    •         BA Anthropology and BFA Dance, 2002, University of Arizona, Tucson Arizona

    Prior to joining the Reilly Lab, I conducted Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPETs) for CUMC's Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health. This role followed a research internship focusing on sedentary behavior interventions. I previously served as program coordinator of Mount Sinai Heart’s Women’s Heart NY program for female cardiology patients. I am a MedCA Certified Phlebotomy Technician, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, am ACLS-CPR certified, and a Fulbright Scholar (2008, Netherlands).

    Sarah Trignano, Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Hanrui Zhang, MB, PhD

    Associate Research Scientist

    Education and Training
    MB, 2003, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
    MSc, 2006, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
    PhD, 2011, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

    I am interested in the role of myeloid cells in human cardiometabolic diseases (CMD) utilizing a broad range of techniques at molecular, cellular and whole animal levels, as well as human studies. My postdoctoral research focuses on functional validation of CMD GWAS loci, and the genetic and molecular mechanisms that connect lipid metabolism to chronic inflammation. My research projects include: (i) Characterization and utilization of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived macrophages and endothelial cells as human physiology-relevant cell models to study human CMD; (ii) Disease modeling using patient-specific iPSC-derived cells for the study of Mendelian lipid disorders; (iii) High-resolution transcriptomic profiling and functional interrogation of human macrophage non-coding transcriptome during inflammatory and alternative polarization; (iv) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knock-out and knock-in of genetic variants in iPSC and differentiation to macrophages to elucidate human macrophage-specific functional consequence of CMD-associated genetic variants; (iv) The synergistic role of CCR2 and CX3CR1 in obesity-associated adipose inflammation. My research was supported by the American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellowship, and I am currently funded by an NHLBI Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). I am also a member of the AHA Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB) Women’s Leadership Committe.

    Hanrui Zhang
  • Xuan Zhang, PhD

    Associate Research Scientist

    Education and Training
    BS, 2005, Nanjing University, Nanjing China
    PhD, 2011, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

    My research projects focus on studying functional impacts of non-conserved, human long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) in adipose biology and obesity as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms of their biological actions in adipocytes. In particular, I am interested in investigating lincRNAs at obesity-associated GWAS loci and how the genetic regulations of theses lincRNAs impact predisposition of obesity and metabolic disorders in human. My research is supported by Postdoctoral Fellowship of American Diabetes Association.

    Xuan Zhang
  • Daniel (Yuhuang) Li

    Associate Research Scientist

    Education and Training:
    M.D. 2007, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    Ph.D. 2012, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    Research Summary:
    Daniel has been trained extensively in in cancer and cardiovascular research. During his Ph.D., his works focus on vascular remodeling and underlying mechanisms, which gained him solid knowledge in cardiovascular and expertise in molecular biology. He joined Dr. Mushui Dai’s Lab (2012-2014) in Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, USA, as postdoctoral researcher. There he extent his training in biochemical and molecular mechanisms, like p53 regulatory network, miRNA validation and ribosomal protein functions. He was awarded the Tartar Trust Fellowship in 2014. Meanwhile, he was actively leading several collaboration projects with Prof. Yulong He, the director of Centre of Gastric Cancer, First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. He was able to discover several promising prognostic predicted biomarkers and new therapeutic drug for gastric cancer. In 2014, he got awarded a CERIC (Center of Excellence for Research on Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Diseases) scholarship to join Lars Meagdefessel’s Molecular Vascular Medicine group in Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. He then dedicated to exploring role of miRNA in stent restenosis (ISR) and carotid plaques, and function of lncRNAs in atherosclerosis and aneurysms. Daniel relocated with Lars Meagdefessel to Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich in 2016. He was promoted as Group Leader of Molecular Vascular Biology, where he contributed to discover GWAS SNP and its regulatory role in plasma factor XI levels, phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis, and novel treatments in stabilizing atherosclerotic plaques.

    Daniel joined Dr. Reilly’s lab in 2018 and continued his efforts in identifying and functionally assessing lncRNAs in cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), especially in macrophage and smooth muscle cell biology. His publications include Circulation, Cir Res, Hum Mol Genet, Mol Ther, ATVB, Oncotarget, JBC, ect (

    Daniel Yuhuang Li
  • Huize Pan, PhD

    Postdoctoral Scientist

    Education and Training
    BS, 2011, Anhui University, Hefei, China
    PhD, 2016, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

    I am interested in the mechanistic and translational study of GWAS loci related to cardio-metabolic disease by utilizing both human iPSC models and transgenic murine models. My PhD training focused on the mechanism study of human stem cell function regulation using gene editing and stem cell differentiation technologies. My postdoctoral training is using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing and iPSC-VSMC differentiation technology, as well as murine models to study the mechanism of cardiovascular disease-related genetic loci identified in GWAS. My current projects include: 1) Function and mechanism of some GWAS loci in atherogenesis; 2) Identifying transcriptional regulators of ADAMTS7 expression and potential genetic loci related to the human smooth muscle cell function regulation by utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 screening; 3) Defining the landscape of human monocyte subpopulations via single cell RNA-seq, and examining their relation to cardiovascular risk states, e.g., smoke, hyperlipidemia, Type 2 Diabetes by comparing the monocyte subpopulations’ compositions between normal cohort and people with cardiovascular risk states.

    Huize Pan, PhD
  • Chenyi Xue, MS

    Staff Associate, Bioinformatics

    Education and Training
    BS, 2010, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
    MS, 2012, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    I am the bioinformatician of the lab, managing data storage, quality control and analysis. I work closely with research scientists in the lab on different projects. I have extensive experience on RNA-seq data analysis and long intergenic noncoding RNA (lincRNA) identification using deep sequencing data.

    Chenyl Xue
  • Jian Cui, MB, MSc

    Research Specialist

    Education and Training
    MB, 2003, Hebei Medical University
    MSc, 2006, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

    I joined Dr. Reilly’s group in 2012 as a research specialist. I have extensive experience in cell and tissue culture, molecular biology, immunology, mouse colony management, small rodent surgeries, and laboratory management.

    Jian Cui
  • Jianting Shi, MS

    Technician B

    Education and Training
    BE, 2010, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou, China
    MS, 2014, UMDNJ (now Rowan University), Stratford, NJ

    My work focuses on exploring the functionality of myeloid lineage cells and their role in progression towards cardiometabolic diseases. More specifically, my current project is to study and understand the mechanism in efferocytosis of macrophages in order to promote their phagocytic function to clear the apoptotic cells and prevent the trigger of inflammation, which might serve as the defective factor to atherosclerosis.

    Jianting Shi
  • Esther Cynn, BA, MS

    Graduate Student

  • Marcella O’Reilly, BSc, PhD

    Postdoctoral Scientist

    Marcella trained in cardiometabolic research during her PhD at University College Dublin. Her project focused on investigating the effects of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in an obesogenic diet on reverse cholesterol transport, HDL functionality and adipose tissue function and inflammation. Her work led to two first author papers; High Density Lipoprotein Composition and not Efflux Capacity, Reflects Differential Modulation of Reverse Cholesterol Transport by Saturated and Monounsaturated Fat Diets Circulation. 2016;133:1838-1850 and Nutritionally Derived Metabolic Cues Typical of the Obese Microenvironment Increase Cholesterol Efflux Capacity of Adipose Tissue Macrophages Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Jan;63(2):e1800713. Her key research skills include HDL Proteomics (Mass Spectrometry), Fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC), HDL function assays, Murine Handling and Breeding, Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) and Insulin Tolerance Tests (ITT), SPSS statistics, Perseus software and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software's and Teaching.

    Marcella joined the Reilly lab in 2019 as a Postdoctoral Researcher. Her research focus is understanding the role of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) in adipose and macrophage biology within obesity associated adipose tissue inflammation and cardiometabolic disease.

    Marcella O’Reilly, BSc, PhD
  • Alex Bashore, B.S., PhD

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    I studied lipoprotein metabolism during my PhD training at Wake Forest University. My project focused on investigating the role of hepatocyte ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) in high density lipoprotein metabolism. The key research skills I acquired during my training were fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), incorporating radiolabels into lipoproteins for metabolic studies, in vitro and in vivo HDL functional assays, and murine handling and breeding.

    I joined the Reilly lab in 2019 as a Postdoctoral Researcher. My research focuses on identifying common and rare monocyte subpopulations using single cell RNAseq, and how these subpopulations differ between healthy individuals and individuals with different cardiovascular disease risk states (e.g., cigarette smoking, diabetes, hyperlipidemia).