Meet the Team

Thomas V. O’Halloran

Faculty Director, Center for Developmental Therapeutics

Thomas V. O’Halloran, Ph.D., directs interdisciplinary research programming at the interfaces of cell and molecular and cell biology, nanotechnology and bioinorganic chemistry. In his role of the Director of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Dr. O’Halloran brings together teams of researchers from the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, medicine, proteomics, nanobiotechnology, molecular therapeutics, and biological molecular imaging with the mission of developing new insights and engineering solutions to pressing biomedical problems.

C. David James

Faculty Director, Developmental Therapeutics Core

The DTC is led by C. David James, PhD, Professor & Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Neurological Surgery, and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. James has served as a PDX Core Director for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) at Mayo Clinic and UC San Francisco, and has 17 years of experience in establishing PDX and publishing on the use of PDX for therapeutic hypothesis testing.

Bill Sargent

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Center for Developmental Therapeutics

William Sargent, PhD, is former President and General Manager of Lorex Pharmaceuticals and member of Chicago Innovation Mentors.  Dr. Sargent has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, preceded by 10 years as an independent researcher in academia.  He  provides mentoring in the drug development process, from initiation to FDA marketing approval, to interested researchers across campus looking to explore commercialization.


Jack Henkin

Senior Translational Fellow, Research Professor

Jack Henkin has carried out and led biomedical research for over 30 years, more than 25 years being in drug discovery at Abbott Laboratories where he was named outstanding researcher of the year 2003 for advancing novel clinical development candidates to treat thrombosis, cancer and neovascular disease, and for pioneering safe novel targeted agents to treat cancer in pet dogs.

Irawati Kandela

Assistant Director, Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Irawati (Angki) Kandela joined Northwestern University in April 2011. Prior to joining Northwestern, she was the Manager of the Biology Department at Novelos, Inc. (formerly Cellectar), located in Madison, WI. Her research was focused on targeted drug delivery using alkyl-phospholipid bound to radio-iodine 131 (I-131) for cancer treatment. While at Cellectar, she filed 7 patent applications with her team, built up the GLP based laboratory and submitted INDs to the FDA.

Wenan Qiang

Associate Director of Patient-Derived Cancer Models, Research Associate Professor

Dr. Qiang’s research focuses on developing clinically relevant and molecularly profiled patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor models and 3D tumor spheroid/organoid cultures that cover a wide variety of human cancer types including solid tumors and hematologic malignancy.   He received an MD from Yan’an University, his PhD from Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, and did his postdoctoral research at the University of Cincinnati.

Fraser Aird

Research Associate

Dr. Aird received his PhD from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and is responsible for carrying out in vitro testing of therapies using molecular and biologic assays. Dr. Aird also assists with in vivo toxicity and tumor response studies using PDX and cell-line xenograft models.

Ignacio Melgar Asensio

Research Technologist

Coming Soon

Iwona Stepien

Research Technologist

Ms. Stepien has more than 10 years of laboratory research and management experience with an extensive background in the care and use of animals for research.  She previously worked in academic laboratories at Northwestern University as well as the University of Buffalo, and has a BA from the University of Lublin, Poland.

Michael Sara

Operations Coordinator

Michael manages day-to-day operations of the Center and leads the  administrative support of the ongoing research projects and the core facility.  He holds a B.A. from Marquette University.