Principal Investigator

Fred Maxfield is the Vladimir Horowitz and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also the interim Chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. He received a PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Before coming to Weill Cornell, he was a Professor at NYU School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. He is interested in the use of quantitative methods measure dynamic processes in cells. These studies have included analysis of endosome pH, kinetic mapping of endocytic pathways, and studies of cholesterol transport. Translational applications of these methods include (1) studies of the interactions of macrophages with lipoproteins and with dead cells, (2) analysis of the degradation of Alzheimer’s amyloid plaque by microglia, and (3) development of novel therapies for Niemann-Pick C disease.

Male Researcher


Postdoctoral Associate

Santiago Solé-Domènech received his Ph.D in Medical Science from Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden) in 2012. Before that, he obtained his bachelor degree in Chemistry from Girona University in 2006 (Girona, Spain). Santiago joined the Maxfield lab as a postdoctoral associate in 2013. He is interested in the study of microglia endocytosis, lysosomal pH, and the role played by these processes in Alzheimer’s disease. In the Maxfield lab, Santiago uses intravital and confocal microscopy and various other digital analysis techniques to study lysosomal dynamics and pH, both in-vivo and in-vitro, in microglia. The main goal of Santiago's work is to develop therapies that enhance the degradative capacity of myeloid cells as alternative to amyloid-beta immunotherapy.



Research Fellow

Nina received her Ph.D. from Loyola University, Chicago. Her research in the Maxfield lab focuses neurodegenerative diseases like Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1) and Alzheimer’s disease. She has expertise in high throughput/ high content screening (HTS/HCS) and assay development. She works on drug discovery and has conducted small molecule screen to identify drug candidate to treat NPC1 disease. Her findings on HDACi as a potential therapeutic agent has resulted in the small limited patient clinical trial at NIH. She has also conducted genome-wide RNAi screen to identify genes involved in cholesterol metabolism. She has and is collaborating on various different projects including stem cell research, Alzheimer’s disease, and Carbon nanotubes as a diagnostic tool for lipid metabolism-related diseases. Nina received her BS in Chemistry and MS in Organic Chemistry Major and Analytical Chemistry Minor from Mumbai University (India).



Research Associate

Rajesh received his Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London in November 2011. The focus of his work in the Maxfield Lab is how low-density lipoprotein (LDL) initiates inflammation in the arteries and how macrophages digest LDL during atherosclerosis. He was awarded an American Heart Association and Stanley Stahl Research Fellowship in 2015, and has made significant progress on this work. This has resulted in several research publications, and discovery of many proteins that cause digestion of LDL during atherosclerosis. 

Science Researcher


Lab Manager

Dana received her Ph.D. from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Her Alzheimer’s disease-related research in the Maxfield lab focuses on the lysosomal degradation of amyloid-beta plaques by microglia. She also conducts high-throughput screens of chemical compounds for the treatment of Niemann-Pick Type C disease. Dana received her BA in Biology from Mount Holyoke College.

Smiling Nurse


Postdoctoral Associate

Valéria Cintra Barbosa Lorenzi received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from University of São Paulo (Ribeirão Preto, Brazil) in 2014. During her Ph.D. she was mostly interested in understanding the biological activities of lectins on mast cell activation. Valéria joined the Maxfield lab as a postdoctoral associate in 2014. Her research at the Maxfield lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which macrophages clear apoptotic adipocytes. This process occurs in part through an extracellular lysosomal hydrolysis process called “exophagy”, which our group has recently described. More specifically, Valéria has been studying the signaling pathway that mediates this process. Her research project is mostly based on confocal microscopy combined with refined fluorescent data analysis.



Research Technician

Zach has a B.A. in Biochemistry with a Neuroscience concentration (Grinnell College ’18). He has worked with Dr. Erick Leggans on liquid phase peptide synthesis and evaluation of Teixobactin analogues, Dr. Watkinson at QMUL synthesizing nitrogen coordination complexes, and with Dr. Louise McCullough at McGovern Medical School investigating the neuroprotective properties of endothelial Pak1 during stroke. Currently, Zach is investigating the role of STARD4 on cholesterol regulation and transport kinetics.

Science Researcher


Neuroscience PhD Student - 3rd Year

It didn’t take long for Carol Adams to make a big impact as our new Lab Manager. Professionalism to a tee and never without a smile, Carol Adams is more than an asset to the Maxfield Lab.



Neuroscience PhD Student - 3rd Year

Zammam graduated from Rutgers University in 2015 with a BA in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropharmacology and a BA in Cell Biology & Neuroscience. While an undergrad, he worked under Dr. George Wagner investigating the role of NRF2 in neurodegenerative diseases. Following graduation, he worked with Dr. Kasia Bieszcad studying the implications of epigenetic modifications on auditory memory in songbirds, and Dr. Benjamin Samuels where he explored the molecular mechanisms and neural circuitry underlying antidepressant treatment response or resistance. Zammam is currently a 3rd year graduate student interested in the role chaperone proteins play in Niemann-Pick's disease. Beyond the bench, Zammam enjoys blockchain technology and Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting. 

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Research Technician

Stephanie recently received her B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior at Columbia University. While there, she studied fear and anxiety within the hippocampus. Stephanie joined the lab in August 2017 and aspires to go on to medical school.

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Postdoctoral Associate

Xiaoxue Zhang

Xiaoxue received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stony Brook University in August 2018. Her Ph.D. background involves biophysical and biochemical studies of amyloid formation by islet amyloid polypeptide and peptide-membrane interactions in type 2 diabetes. Xiaoxue joined the Maxfield lab as a postdoctoral associate in 2018. The focus of her research in the Maxfield lab is to characterize the process of cholesterol trafficking modulated by STARD4-membrane interactions and to understand the cellular mechanisms of sterol trafficking and distribution involved in maintaining sterol homeostasis.