Principal Investigator

Issam Ben-Sahra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Issam received his Master research degree in Genetics, Development and Immunity from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis in France in 2007. He obtained his Ph.D. from the same university in december 2010, where he studied the molecular and cellular effects of metabolic perturbators on cancer cells and tumor growth under the supervision of Dr. Frederic Bost. In 2011, Issam joined the laboratory of Prof. Brendan D. Manning in the department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. There, he combined his knowledge in metabolism and signaling pathways to understand how mTORC1 drives anabolic cell growth and proliferation. In January 2017, Issam joined Northwestern University/Feinberg School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Lab Manager


Brendan P. O'Hara

Research Lab Manager

Brendan earned a Master degree in biochemistry at the University of Bath, UK. Brendan is the Research Laboratory Manager and has expertise encompassing a broad range of techniques related to the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology. He has also critical knowledge in laboratory and budget management. Brendan joined the Ben-Sahra lab at Northwestern University in March 2019. His research is geared towards understanding the regulation of signaling and cellular metabolism in cancer cells.

Education:                                                                                                           Master of Biochemistry, UK, 2004


Eunus S. Ali, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow

After obtaining his Master degree in medicinal & protein chemistry at Stockholm University Arrhenius Laboratory, Eunus earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry & cell biology at Flinders University School of Medicine (Adelaide, Australia) where he identified and proposed a model where low cellular Ca2+ levels help synthesize more lipids in fatty liver cells. In the Ben-Sahra laboratory, Eunus is interested in the molecular interface between signal transduction pathways and cellular metabolism in cancer.


Ph.D., 2016, Flinders University School of Medicine, Australia

M.S., 2010, Stockholm University, Sweden


Umakant Sahu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow

Umakant did his M. Sc. in Biotechnology at the University of Allahabad (Allahabad, India). He earned his Ph.D. degree from the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore, India) where he studied the transcriptional metabolic regulation of non-fermentable carbon compounds in a methylotrophic yeast, Pichia pastoris. In the Ben-Sahra laboratory, Umakant is interested in understanding the regulation of nucleotide metabolism in cancer cells. 


Ph.D., 2017, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Elodie Villa, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow

Elodie obtained her Ph.D. degree at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, where she studied cell death escaping mechanisms developed by cancer cells, which consist of the selective elimination of damaged mitochondria by autophagy, identifying a new ubiquitin ligase as a key player in this process. She also studied the molecular characterization of the Caspase Independent Cell Death (CICD). In the Ben-Sahra laboratory, Elodie is interested in understanding how TSC loss of functions and oncogenes regulate metabolic pathways in human cells. Elodie is supported by the TS Alliance Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.



Ph.D., Dec 2017, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France

Former Members

Zied Djabari

Zied Djabari was the Research lab Manager of the Ben-Sahra lab from April 2017 to May 2019.

His research was geared towards understanding the regulation of cellular metabolism in cancer cells.

Current position: Research Engineer at the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging (IRCAN), Nice, France


B.S., 2004, University of Nice – Sophia-Antipolis, France.

Sandy Giuliano, Ph.D.

Visiting scientist from the Scientific Center of Monaco

Aug-2017 - Dec 2017


Current position: Principal Investigator at the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging (IRCAN), Nice, France