Faculty Council Member Bios

Shahab Asgharzadeh

Shahab Asgharzadeh, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology (2016 – 2019)


Shahab Asgharzadeh is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and a pediatric hematologist-oncologist in the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA, where he has been since 2001. He is the director of the Neuroblastoma Basic and Translational Program and member of the KSOM Cancer Center Tumor Microenvironment Program. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University and medical degree from University of Illinois. He completed pediatric residency and a fellowship in clinical medical ethics at University of Chicago in 2000 and subsequently worked as a research associate professor in Bioinformatics at Northwestern University. He completed his training in pediatric hematology-oncology at CHLA in 2005 prior to joining the faculty of the USC.   Dr. Asgharzadeh is a physician-scientist spending about 10% of his time performing clinical duties, and the majority of his time performing research.

Dr. Asgharzadeh’s research laboratory is focused on understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment and developing novel immunotherapies for children with peripheral and central nervous system tumors, focusing primarily on high-risk neuroblastomas and medulloblastomas. His group’s first report of identification of tumor-associated macrophages in neuroblastomas and medulloblastomas has helped to better understand the role of the immune system in biology of childhood tumors. His research has also led to the development of several novel assays to identify subtypes of neuroblastomas and medulloblastomas and predict outcome.

Sia Daneshmand, M.D

Sia Daneshmand, M.D.
Associate Professor of Urology (Clinical Scholar) (2015-2018)


Dr. Sia Daneshmand earned his medical degree at the University of California, Davis and completed his residency at the University of Southern California (USC) followed by a two-year fellowship in Urologic Oncology at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. He spent almost 6 years at OHSU where he established the Section of Urologic Oncology as a center of excellence for treatment of bladder and testis cancers. He was recruited to USC Institute of Urology in 2010 as Director of Urologic Oncology. He is currently an associate professor of urology with clinical scholar designation.

Dr. Daneshmand has several leadership roles within the department including director of clinical research as well as the urologic oncology fellowship director. He also serves on the education council and is associate program director. He maintains a busy clinical practice and serves as director of several courses related to urologic oncology on a regional and national level. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, and has been designated one of the “America’s Top Doctors” for several years. His clinical interests include bladder cancer, advanced kidney cancer and testicular cancer. His research interests include enhanced recovery following surgery for bladder and testicular cancers, molecular and serum markers for prognostication and outcomes in bladder cancer and pituitary-Leydig axis dysfunction in testicular germ cell cancers.

Amir Goldkorn, M.D.

Amir Goldkorn, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine (2015 -2018)


Dr. Amir Goldkorn obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology at Harvard University and his medical degree and internal medicine training at UCLA. He subsequently trained in hematology/oncology at UCSF, where he stayed for three additional years of postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel laureate and discoverer of telomerase.

Dr. Goldkorn was recruited from UCSF to USC in 2007 as a physician-scientist in the field of oncology. He has built a laboratory-based research program focused on developing the therapeutic and prognostic potential of circulating tumor cells, cancer stem cells, and telomerase; areas that offer unique opportunities to better understand and treat cancer. Dr. Goldkorn’s research has been supported by multiple NIH grants, published in high-impact journals, and honored with several awards, most recently the American Federation for Medical Research’s Outstanding Investigator Award. At the same time, Dr. Goldkorn continues to provide care for cancer patients in the hospital wards and to mentor students and house-staff in the classroom, laboratory and clinic. In addition, Dr. Goldkorn recently founded and directs a first-of-its-kind Circulating Tumor Cell Research Core at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, which received an outstanding NCI review and facilitates new research collaborations with colleagues at USC and beyond.

Jennifer Israel, M.D.

Jennifer Israel,  M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology (2016-2017, appt)


Dr. Jennifer Israel has been associated with the University of Southern California for a substantial portion of her adult life.   She received both her undergraduate and medical degrees at USC, and went on to perform her residency at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Women and Children’s Hospital.  She joined the Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty as an assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2002. Prior to her appointment at USC, she worked as an adjunct professor of Surgery at City of Hope Medical Center from 2003 to 2005. Dr. Israel’s clinical interests focus on treatment of women surviving cancer, breast and ovarian cancer prevention, as well as minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.  Dr.  Israel was appointed to finish Dr. Claire Templeman’s term by Faculty Council vote after she left USC.

Rima Jubran, M.D

Rima Jubran, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics (2014- 2017)
President Keck Faculty Council (2016-2017)


Rima Fuad Jubran, MD, MPH, MACM is medical director of the Retinoblastoma Program in the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she cares for children with central nervous system tumors, retinoblastoma and neuroblastoma. In addition, Dr. Jubran has been the Fellowship Program Director since 2006. She received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, her Masters of Public Health at George Washington University, Washington, D.C and Masters in Academic Medicine at University of Southern California. Following her residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, she completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jubran is a member of the retinoblastoma committee of the national Children’s Oncology Group and chair of a clinical trial for patients with advanced intraocular retinoblastoma. In addition, she serves on the study committees of several retinoblastoma studies. Her investigations focus on retinoblastoma and Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a cancer-like condition that may be treated with chemotherapy. A frequent lecturer and author, she is an active member of the international Histiocytosis Society. Dr Jubran became the Director of Pediatric Sub-specialty fellowships at CHLA in 2011 and has developed workshops and a core curriculum to teach common ACGME requirements, leadership skills and team management.

Joshua Sapkin, M.D.

Joshua Sapkin, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine (2015-2018)


Joshua D. Sapkin has been on the Department of Medicine faculty of the Keck School of Medicine since July 2002.  He attended undergraduate school at UC San Diego, then came to USC to get his medical degree (1998).   Her performed and internship and residency at LAC+USC Medical Center in Internal Medicine. Dr. Sapkin believes that most disease states including diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia can be prevented or effectively managed with lifestyle changes or medications.  He enjoys educating his patients and encourages them to be well informed so they can take a team approach toward the prevention and management of conditions and diseases.  As a result, he can effectively work with each patient to set goals and tailor a regimen to systematically meet these goals.  As an associate program director for the LAC+USC Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, Dr. Sapkin works hard to stay abreast of the medical literature and is constantly incorporating the results of published medical research into his clinical practice.   One of his primary goals is to keep his patients healthy so they have more time to spend doing the things they love and less time in the clinic and hospital. He was voted a Top Doctor by Pasadena Magazine in 2011.

Richard Watanabe, Ph.D

Richard Watanabe, Ph.D.
Professor of Preventive Medicine (2014 – 2017)


Richard Watanabe is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Preventive Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in Physiology & Biophysics.  He obtained all his degrees, including his Ph.D. from USC.  He did his post-doctoral training in statistical genetics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics and after a brief period as a research faculty member of that department, he returned to USC in 2000 to join the faculty in the Department of Preventive Medicine.   Dr. Watanabe is a member of the Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and co-organizes the institute’s symposia and seminar series.  His research program focuses on the genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity.  He has helped to lead several consortia that have identified genetic loci underlying risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity and related traits.  He is also interested in the understanding the physiologic consequences of genetic variation and how it contributes to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Alison Wilcox, M.D

Alison Wilcox, M.D.,
Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology (2016 -2019)


Dr. Alison Wilcox originates from Cincinnati, Ohio but grew up in Northern California. She came to Southern California for her undergraduate degree from Occidental College where she majored in biology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She then attended medical school at the USC School of Medicine as a Dean’s Scholar. Following medical school, she completed her radiology residency and body imaging fellowship with USC. She joined the faculty of USC’s Department of Radiology with a specialized interest in cardiothoracic imaging. For eight years she was the program director of the residency training program, and stepped down to assume the role of Section Chief of Cardiothoracic Imaging.   She has been the Medical Director for Radiology for Keck Hospital for the last two years.   In the capacity of medical director, she has served on several hospital committees including the Medical Executive Committee, Integrated Peer Review Committee, Patient Safety Committee, and Performance Improvement Committee and is the Chair of the Radiation Safety Committee.

On the UPC campus, Dr. Wilcox has served on the Academic Senate Non-tenure track Faculty Committee which has recently been renamed and participated in the current white paper submitted to the Dean of the school to help direct the school into more uniform methods of evaluation, promotion and support in response to many of the concerns submitted by the non-tenure track faculty.

Gabriel Zada, MD, MS, FAANS

Gabriel Zada, MD, MS, FAANS
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, and Internal Medicine (2016-2019)


Dr. Zada is a board-certified neurosurgeon and nationally recognized expert in brain and pituitary tumor surgery, as well as a variety of endoscopic and minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques. He is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC with dual appointments in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Internal Medicine. As the Co-Director of the USC Pituitary Center, Co-Director of the USC Radiosurgery Center and Director of the USC Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery Program, Dr. Zada directs a comprehensive neuro-endoscopic program including endoscopic skull base/pituitary surgery, exoscopic channel (BrainPath) surgery and intraventricular neuro-endoscopy. He also co-directs the USC Radiosurgery Center and performs both Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery.

Dr. Zada has a keen clinical and academic interest in brain and skull base tumor surgery and has published over 110 peer-reviewed articles on various neurosurgical topics, mostly relating to brain and pituitary tumors as well as endoscopic skull base surgery. He authored and edited the textbook entitled The Atlas of Sellar and Parasellar Lesions.