Principal Investigator

Anil Bhushan, PhD
Dr. Bhushan earned his PhD in Biophysics at University of California, Davis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies where he worked on TGF-beta signaling in the specification and patterning of endoderm. He subsequently worked at Institute Curie and Hospital Robert Debre in Paris on pancreatic development. The major goals of his laboratory are to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern beta cell formation and regeneration of pancreatic beta cells. An inadequate mass of functional beta cells results in diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disorders characterized by hyperglycaemia and defective metabolism of glucose. Therapeutic strategies involve restoring functional beta cell mass by exogenous replacement or transplantation of a source of beta cells such as embryonic stem cells derived beta cells or activation of endogenous regeneration of beta cells. Elucidation of the epigenetic network that regulates transcription during pancreatic developmental and regeneration will provide the blueprint by which the extra-cellular cues are interpreted at the nuclear level by the transcription machinery to select the repertoire of beta cell-specific genes. Such a blueprint will inform us on how to direct stem cells to beta cell fate in vitro and allow us to devise pharmacological interventions toward selective manipulation of gene expression to promote regeneration of beta cell mass. Furthermore, generation of animal models of diabetes and strategies to develop novel cellular therapies for diabetes can enable and test outcomes for candidate therapeutic approaches. While the interest of the laboratory is on beta cell formation and regeneration, a number of molecular components of the epigenetic network we study are involved not only in the formation of diverse organs but they also contribute to the development of cancer. Close proximity with these groups within the center should generate molecular tools, genetic resources, and experience that will greatly enhance the efforts of investigators in this center to assess and experimentally manipulate the stem cell and regenerative based research.

Lab members


Shivani Arora, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
I completed my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University of Delhi, India in 2015. During my Ph.D I worked to identify the unique neo-antigens formed during progression of alcoholic liver disease and their role in driving the pathogenesis of alcoholic hepatitis. I extensively used proteomics to characterize the modified proteins at sub-cellular level in the hepatocytes. Further, I analyzed the inter-play between in vitro protein modification with MDA and Acetaldehyde; effect on enzymatic activity in context to progression of Alcoholic liver disease. I joined Bhushan Lab in August, 2019 and I am currently exploring senescence in context to pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.
Rami Jaafar, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
I am French originally from Lebanon. I earned my PhD in France, where I studied muscle differentiation and muscle atrophy/hypertrophy. I did postdoctoral work at Cancer Research Centre Lyon (CRCL) on diabetes and pancreatic endocrine tumors. In my free time I like to workout, play volleyball, explore the world and eat delicious food.
Ajit Shah, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
I am originally from Mumbai, India. In 2013, I earned my PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from University of Texas at Dallas,where I used yeast as a model to understand molecular mechanisms underlying hypoxia response and tolerance. Further I investigated how oxygen and heme regulate cellular localization and transcriptional activity of key transcription factors in yeast. I joined the Bhushan lab in November 2014, currently investigating epigenetic changes associated with diabetes.
Peter Thompson, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
I am Canadian, from the city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta. In 2015, I earned my PhD in medical genetics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where I worked on the mechanisms of transcriptional silencing by histone methyltransferases in mouse ES cells. I joined the Bhushan lab in January 2016 to investigate the relationships between metabolic states, stress responses and epigenetic regulation in beta cells. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer and basketball, a good game of chess, a pint of beer and exploring the city with my wife and two sons.
Charalampia-Christina Apostolopoulou
Staff Research Associate
Jimmy Chen
Administrative Assistant
I have a B.A. from University of California Santa Cruz, and have lived in the Bay Area for thirty years. I assist Dr. Bhushan and his lab with daily administrative duties.

Bhushan Alumni


Senta Georgia, PhD
Principal Investigator
Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Sangeeta Dhawan, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Translational Research & Cellular Therapeutics
City of Hope
Josie Xi Zhou
Associate Partner
McKinsey & Company
Shanghai, China
Stella Tran
Research Scientist, Genome Sciences
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, California
Murtaza Kanji
Engagement Manager
McKinsey & Company
Toronto, Canada