Lab Members

Postdoctoral Fellows

Xiaokang Wu, MD, PhD (2021 - present)

Dr. Wu earned her medical degree and a doctorate in clinical medicine at the West China Medical College in China. She received her first postdoc training at Smidt heart institute of Cedars Sinai medical center and focused on studying the endovascular inflammation and calcium regulation in HFpEF (Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction) and testing the efficacy of Cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) and their secreted exosomes (CDCexo) for heart failure. She comes to Alexander's lab with expertise in calcium handling and cell therapy in rodents’ models of heart failure. Dr. Wu is currently leading our research efforts on studying the mechanisms underlying the development of transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis (ATTR). Her work using iPSC and animal models as well as human samples will undoubtedly lead to important insights into this deadly disease and improve outcomes for cardiac amyloid patients.

Life Science Research Professionals

Nixuan Cai, BS (2022 - Present)

Nixuan was born and raised in Shenzhen, China. She moved to San Diego from her high school in 2016 and finished her undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz as a neuroscience major in 2021. She became a registered behavior technician at Thrive Autism Center in 2019 and provided Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA) therapy to the children with ASD spectrum. During her last undergraduate year, she was a volunteer lab assistant at David Feldheim lab studying the role of the Tbr2 transcription factor in the development and maintenance of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells(ipRGCs). After she graduated, she worked at a biotech company Vibrant America as a molecular genetics technologist focusing on detecting the potential genetic risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In 2022, Nixuan joined Dr. Alexander’s lab to study, understand and work on the key molecular pathways related to transthyretin amyloidosis(ATTR). In her spare time, Nixuan enjoyed dancing Hip-hop, skateboarding, and hiking. Her personal goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology and neuroscience in the future.

John Isaiah Jimenez (2023- Present)

Isaiah was born and raised in Woodland, California. In 2019, he attended Saint Mary’s College of California for his undergraduate studies where he majored in biochemistry and ran Division 1 cross country & track field. During his time at Saint Mary’s College, he served as a STEM tutor and community service volunteer. In addition, he joined the Karen Ruff lab studying gene regulation through tandem aptamer dimerization of a glycine riboswitch found in V. cholerae. In the summer of 2022, Isaiah participated in the Stanford Cardiovascular Summer Research Program working in the Svensson Lab carrying out an in vivo analysis of hepatic GLUT8 as a potential fructose transporter. In the future, he plans to pursue a career in medicine with an intention of coupling patient care with his enthusiasm for scientific innovation and research.

Clinical Fellow

Khushali Shah, BS, MS, (DO Candidate of 2026) 

Khushali was born in Gujarat, India, and has grown up in Orange County, California. She earned her B.S. in Biology from UC Riverside in 2020. During her undergraduate studies, she worked with a cardiovascular team at the Riverside Hospital to shadow and gain clinical experience in the field. She was an undergraduate member of the Riverside Free Clinic providing free medical supplies and conducting health awareness seminars to the underserved community of San Bernardino County. Further, she was a foreign medical intern under the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where she was able to observe complex cardio-thoracic surgeries, and appreciate medicine performed in a different country. She then proceeded to earn a Master's in Biomedical Studies from Drexel University in 2022. Now, she is working in the Alexander Labs for the summer before beginning her 2nd year of medical school at A.T. Still University. She is examining outcomes in cardiac amyloidosis patients who undergo heart transplantation.

Alexis Edmonds, B.S.

Alexis is from Denver, Colorado and is a 2nd year medical student at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. Alexis aspires to be a physician, although she is still considering a variety of specialties such as anesthesiology and cardiology. She joined Dr. Alexander’s lab in May 2023 through the Stanford-Howard HBMC Reach program in hopes of receiving more experience in clinical research and to explore cardiology as a potential specialty to pursue in the future. 

Emmanuel Fale, MD Candidate (Stanford CVI Summer Program)

Emmanuel is originally from Minneapolis, MN. In 2018, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Gannon University in Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate studies, Emmanuel volunteered with the NAACP as the 3rd Vice President and with the African American Male Forum as a Youth Mentor. He also researched solar-powered cooling systems under the Gannon University Engineering department and played football as a full-time student-athlete. After graduating, Emmanuel moved back to Minneapolis, where he began to work for Biosense Webster, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, performing maintenance on the CARTO3 mapping system, educating, and assisting physicians in using the CARTO3 system. Since then, Emmanuel has begun his medical education at the University of Minnesota Medical School. In 2022, Emmanuel joined the Stanford CVI summer program as a volunteer in Dr. Alexander’s lab to work on understanding the pathology of Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy.

Marina Adrianzen, MD

Marina is a resident physician in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin. She joined Dr. Alexander’s lab after her rotation in the Division of Cardiology at Stanford University through the SCORE program in the Fall of 2022. Marina was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Marin County, California. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering where she completed an honors thesis on temperature-responsive hydrogels and was inducted into the Sigma Xi Research Honor Society. Before medical school, she volunteered at free clinics, hospitals, and abroad as a certified Spanish interpreter, which reinforced her passion for a career in medicine. Marina earned her medical degree with distinction in research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research in medical school involved studying differential gene expression in post-operative peripheral nerve repair. In Dr. Alexander’s lab, Marina is working on studying disparities in the diagnosis of transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis (ATTR) at academic centers. Marina aspires to pursue cardiology fellowship after completing her internal medicine residency. 

Undergraduate Students

Akash Shah, BS Candidate

Akash is a sophomore at Stanford studying Biomedical Computation. Having joined Dr. Alexander's lab in 2022, Akash's goal is to learn as much as possible about transthyretin amyloidosis and have an impact on the field of amyloidosis research. In his free time, Akash reads, sings, plays music, and plays sports such as table tennis and basketball.

Alicia Wu, BS Candidate

Alicia Wu is a rising freshman at New York University studying Liberal Studies and Medical Anthropology. Last year, she joined the Alexander Lab through the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research program (SIMR) and is back this year to continue researching Transthyretin Amyloidosis. Alicia hopes to go to medical school and become a physician because she is passionate about medicine and helping people. In her free time, Alicia enjoys knitting, going on hikes/outdoor walks, and solving crossword puzzles.

Summer Students

Leavy Hu, High School Student

Leavy Hu is a rising senior at Poolesville High School in Maryland. She previously interned at Arbor Assays, where she spearheaded quality control, R&D, and marketing work of commercial ELISA kits. Leavy is passionate about medicine and science and aspires to be a physician in the future. She joined the Alexander lab to learn more about cardiac amyloidosis and gain additional laboratory experience. In her free time, Leavy likes to listen to music, play volleyball, and binge true crime.

Lab Alumni

Alessandro Evangelisti, BS (2018 - 2021)

Alessandro is originally from Latina, Italy. He moved to the US to pursue undergraduate studies at Concordia College New York. In 2018, he completed the competitive Fellow (Honors) Program and received a BS in Biology. During his undergraduate studies, he was an important member of the varsity tennis team, which reached the National Championship sweet sixteen for two consecutive years. During the summer of 2016, he interned in Dr. Liao’s lab focusing on studies in human iPSC cardiomyocytes. Fascinated by scientific research, the following summer he returned to Dr. Liao’s lab and worked with Kevin Alexander on elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms underlying transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy. After the research training at Stanford, Alessandro joined a Ph.D. program at Weill Cornell Medicine in August 2021 to further pursue his scientific interests and explore potential future careers in biomedical research.

Adam Raouf Roeske, BS (2021 - 2022)

Adam is originally from London, UK. He moved to the US to pursue undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley where he received a BS in Human Biology in 2020. During his undergraduate studies, he was a member of the Kidney Disease Screening Awareness Program, where he provided free health screening to underprivileged individuals in the Bay Area and performed weekly dialysis testing. In the summer of 2016, Adam worked at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York shadowing Dr. Emile Bacha in surgery and providing palliative care to children with chronic heart failure. Since then, he has volunteered at the Dubai Autism Center, acted as a PA under Dr. Abdel Fattah Agameya in the El Shatby Hospital of Obstetrics & Gynecology in Alexandria, Egypt, and has volunteered at St. Mary’s Hospital, London taking patient histories and physical examinations. After graduating from college in December 2020, Adam joined Dr. Alexander’s lab to work on elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms underlying transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy through the development of an in vivo model.