Lab Members

Megan Hitchins, PhD

Principal Investigator
Francesca Paola Aguirre
Clinical Research Coordinator I

Francesca earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines in 2009 and Doctor of Medicine degree from the Far Eastern University – NRMF in Quezon City, Philippines. In 2014, she started her practice in general medicine in Manila. She was involved in research that focused on the genetic predisposition to certain cardiovascular diseases in a selected Filipino population and continued to be involved in clinical trial studies during her career. She joined the lab of Megan Hitchins, PhD in October 2019.

Rocio "Rosie" Ramirez Alvarez, MS
Research Associate III

Rosie Alvarez received a master's degree in chemistry from California State University, Los Angeles, and has extensive experience in laboratory management and molecular biology with both in vitro and in vivo systems. She joined the Hitchins Laboratory in January 2018.

Zareen Sultana, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Zareen earned her B.S. and M.S. in Zoology at the University of Calcutta, India. She received her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the same University in 2018. It was during this time that she was first introduced to Cancer Genetics. Her thesis focused on studying the association between genetic polymorphisms in pro-inflammatory cytokine genes and gastric cancer development. A part of her doctoral training was spent at Imperial College London as a Newton-Bhabha fellow exploring the underlying pathways of pro-inflammatory genes in gastric carcinogenesis. She joined the Hitchins laboratory in November 2019. Zareen is also an avid painter and loves all things colorful. In her spare time, she loves cooking lip smacking dishes for her friends!

Contact the Hitchins Lab

8700 Beverly Blvd.
Steven Spielberg Building, Room 119
Los Angeles, CA 90048