Publications

Research Team

Elyssa Chen

Elyssa Chen, MD, MS, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Dr. Chen graduated from Shanxi Medical School in the city of Taiyuan, China in 1984. She received her MS degree in occupational disease from Shanxi medical school in 1987. She earned her doctoral degree from Beijing Medical University in 1995 and subsequently undertook postdoctoral fellowship training at three institutions: National Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Peking University, Beijing, China; Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Department of Insect Physiology and Behavior, National Institute of Sericultural and Entomological Science, Tsukuba, Japan; and Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, New York. She has extensive training in electrophysiology including in vivo patch-clamp recording. She has 25 years of experience as an electrophysiologist and has been a member of The Society for Neuroscience since 2001.

Dr. Chen’s research focuses on the mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain. Most of her effort involves work as an electrophysiologist at NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
In association with the NYU Oral Cancer Center. Her research findings have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, PNAS, and American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. Her electrophysiology work has contributed to several successful NIH grant applications. Her career is now devoted to the study of somatosensory mechanisms that generate cancer pain.

Dr. Chen joined the Cancer Pain laboratory in 2016.

    


    

Zina Dubeykovskaya

Zinaida A. Dubeykovskaya, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
NYU Cancer Pain Labortory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Dr. Zinaida Dubeykovskaya earned a Master of Science in Biochemistry at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow) and a PhD in Biochemistry at Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology (Moscow). She was recruited as a research scientist at State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (Obolensk, Moscow Region, Russia) where she investigated micribiological pesticide alternatives for agriculture and forestry. After undertaking a disparate array of scientific studies, Dr. Dubeykovskaya joined a French team working in the field of erythropoiesis that investigated a key regulator of β-globin gene promotor transcription factor GATA1 (La Faculté de Pharmacie de l’Université Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, France). She then investigated transcription factors Fli-1 and SPU-1/PU.1 that negatevly regulate erythroid differentiation (Institut Cochin, Paris, France). Dr. Dubeykovskaya also participated in an investigation of gene function and biosynthesis of lypohytooligosaccharides that plays a role in the symbiosis of nitrogen-fixing bacteria and plants (Scryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Pushchino, Russia). After coming to the U.S. a decade ago, Dr. Dubeykovskaya studied the function of protein TFF2. This protein is an important anti-inflammatory factor and acts as a barrier during mucosal repair of the stomach (Columbia University, New York, US). Dr. Dubeykovskaya found that TFF2 regulates the production of immature myeloid cells/MDSCs that significantly promote tumor progression. She demonstrated efficacy of TFF2 therapy in a mouse preclinical model of colon cancer.

Dr. Dubeykovskaya joined the NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory in 2018. She studies the role of tumor-derived exosomes that contain pain-inducing factors in patients with orofacial cancer.  

    


    

Kenji Inoue DDS, PhD

Kenji Inoue DDS, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Kenji Inoue earned a DDS in 2009 and a PhD in oral pathology in 2016 from Tokyo Dental College, Japan. He completed residency training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Keio University, School of medicine in 2011. The following year he completed advanced clinical education in the National Hospital Organization Higashi-Saitama National Hospital in Japan. His research interests include gene regulation and gene therapy, molecular therapeutic targeting of proteases secreted from oral cancer, and the use of in vivo lineage tracing to define the fate of specific cell populations in tumorigenesis. Dr. Inoue has a background in oral pathology and translational research; he intends to develop his research findings into innovative targeting strategies to treat oral cancer pain.

Dr. Inoue joined the Cancer Pain laboratory in 2018.  

   


    

Tu Nguyen

Huu Tu Nguyen
Assistant Research Scientist
NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Dr. Nguyen earned an MD degree from Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam and a PhD in neuroscience and pain from Kansai Medical University, Japan. He completed postdoctoral training at NYU College of Dentistry. His research focuses on the interaction between cancer and the peripheral nervous system. He investigates molecular mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain. Much of this works involves the investigation of proteases generated by oral cancer as well as the protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2). As part of his work Dr. Nguyen also studies mechanisms that regulate cancer growth.

Dr. Nguyen joined the NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory in 2017.

   


    

Caroline Sawicki DDS, PhD

Caroline Sawicki DDS, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research
PGY-1, Department of Pediatric Dentistry
NYU College of Dentistry

Dr. Caroline Sawicki is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Cancer Pain Laboratory and a dental resident in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry. Dr. Sawicki received a DDS and PhD from The Ohio State University (OSU) in 2020. Her doctoral thesis work, performed under the mentorship of Dr. John Sheridan, focused on the physiological and behavioral effects of psychological stress, including stress-induced mechanisms of pain. Dr. Sawicki received a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Pre-Doctoral F30 Research Fellowship Award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and multiple research fellowships through the American Association for Dental Research. Upon graduation from OSU, she was awarded the Pierre Fauchard Academy Senior Student Award in recognition of her leadership, contributions to science, and advancement of the dental profession. Dr. Sawicki remains an active member of numerous national and international organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience, American Dental Association, International Association for Dental Research/American Association for Dental Research, American Dental Education Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Sawicki’s postdoctoral research at NYU is focused on neurobiologic mechanisms associated with oral cancer pain. Utilizing clinical and preclinical approaches she endeavors to define the clinical pain phenotype of oral cancer pain in patients and determine the receptor subtypes responsible for nociceptive behavior in an oral cancer pain mouse model. Dr. Sawicki’s primary long-term research interest is the neurobiology of orofacial pain in pediatric patients. Her overall career goal is to be a productive clinician-scientist in academic dentistry. She seeks to advance pediatric pain research, facilitate the translation of research from the bench to bedside, and ultimately improve pain management of children suffering from chronic orofacial pain.

Dr. Sawicki joined the NYU Oral Cancer Center in 2020.  

   


   

Lei Yang, MD, PhD

Lei Yang, MD, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Lei Yang earned an MD and PhD at Harbin Medical University in China in 2008 and subsequently joined Dr. Lawrence G. Palmer’s Laboratory in the Physiology and Biophysics department at Weill Cornell Medical College. In 2020, he joined The NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory. He currently investigates transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 4 (TRPV4) electrophysiology in the trigeminal ganglion.
Dr. Yang has been interested in neuroscience since completing his undergraduate work. While earning his MA (2005), he undertook research on the effect of Orphanin FQ on Na channel currents of cerebral cortex neurons. He went on to pursue research on thin sections of the hippocampus as a visiting researcher at Hokkaido University in Japan. In 2006 he began research related to his PhD. This work generated several publications related to ion channel molecular physiology. The specific topics of this work are reflected in the titles of his publications at the time including: “Thrombin and its receptor enhance ST-segment elevation in acute myocardial infarction by activating the KATP channel” (2010); “Magnesium Modulates ROMK Channel–Mediated Potassium Secretion” (2010); “Ion selectivity and current saturation in inward-rectifier K+ channels” (2012); “SGK1-dependent ENaC processing and trafficking in mice with high dietary K intake and elevated aldosterone” (2016). Throughout his career Dr. Yang has utilized patch-clamp techniques including inside-out single-channel recording on the oocyte (2012), measuring hASIC currents in outside-out excised patches (2014), and whole-cell recording on renal collecting duct (2016).

Dr. Yang joined the Cancer Pain laboratory in 2020.