Our success rests with the scientific acumen and expertise of our people. The resolute efforts of our investigators personify the ethos of Bluestone as we deliver timely, high-quality clinical trials that our sponsors can trust.

In-House Investigators
Brian Schmidt

Dr. Schmidt is a clinician scientist and surgical oncologist who specializes in the comprehensive surgical management of head and neck cancer. His research interests and clinical practice are closely integrated. His basic science laboratory focuses on neuronal mechanisms of cancer pain including the interaction between squamous cell carcinoma and peripheral afferent fibers in the cancer microenvironment. His clinical research program investigates biomarkers of oral cancer.

Detailed CV and selected publications:

Bradley Aouizerat
Deputy Director

Dr. Aouizerat’s program of research focuses on defining the underlying biological mechanisms that contribute to the inter-individual variability in common symptoms (e.g., pain, fatigue) in patients with chronic diseases including patients with cancer and persons living with HIV/AIDS. The biological mechanisms underlying inter-individual variability in treatment response (e.g., pharmacogenomics) is also a primary focus of Dr. Aouizerat’s group. He holds a PhD in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Clinical Research from the University of California at San Francisco.

John Dolan, DDS, MS
Associate Director, Research and Development

Detailed CV and selected publications:

Donna Albertson, PhD

Dr. Albertson holds a PhD in Biochemistry from Harvard University. Her research focuses primarily on biomarkers of oral cancer and precancer, as well as the relationship between the oral bacterial community and oral cancer and precancer. Dr. Albertson has authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications and currently holds 17 patents. She is a recipient of the American Association for Cancer Research Second Annual Team Science Award and the 2013 American Academy for the Advancement of Science Newcomb Cleveland Prize, which is awarded annually to recognize authors of an outstanding paper published in the journal Science.

Detailed CV and selected publications:

Yi Ye, MS, PhD
Associate Director, Clinical Research Operations

Dr. Ye currently is the Associate Director of Clinical Research Operations at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research at New York University, and an Assistant Professor at the department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at NYUCD. Dr. Ye holds a PhD in neuroscience, a Master’s degree in clinical research, and is expecting her MBA from NYU Stern in 2016. She is a certified principal investigator (CPI) through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). Her research aims to understand neurobiological basis of cancer pain, with additional focus on carcinogenesis and tumor progression. She is interested in both preclinical and clinical drug development in cancer pain treatment.

Ismael el Khouly Castilla
Associate Director, Periodontology & Implant Dentistry

Dr. Khouly has several years of experience conducting clinical trials of all phases. He obtained his DDS from the University of Granada College of Dentistry where he also obtained his master’s in tissue engineering. At the NYU College of Dentistry, he completed a three year advanced program in implant and comprehensive dentistry. This was followed by his PhD and International Doctorate Certification in biomedicine, specializing in maxillary sinus augmentation. Dr Khouly has also published in major journals such as the International Journal of Periodontics & Restorative Dentistry and the Journal of Periodontology.

Dr. Khouly is an active member of the American Academy of Peridontology, American Dental Association, and International Congress of Oral Implantologist (ICOI). He is also a Diplomate and Fellow of the ICOI.

Dr. Khouly enjoys soccer, surfing, and spending time with his family.

Aditi Bhattacharya
B.D.S., M.D.S, PhD

Dr. Aditi Bhattacharya is an Assistant Professor in the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. She earned a B.D.S. degree from the Regional Dental College, India; and a M.D.S. degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from the Manipal College of Dental Sciences, India. More recently at the University of California San Francisco she was awarded a Oral and Craniofacial Sciences and a certificate of Advanced Training in Clinical Research. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in oral cancer genetics and genomics at the University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also completed a CODA accredited residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and a fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Dr. Bhattacharya investigates biomarkers of oral squamous cell carcinoma, and has identified a genomic biomarker for low metastatic risk in patients with oral cancer. Her research includes development of clinical tests to identify these biomarkers in oral cancer patients. She is currently investigating the role of the cancer microenvironment in the causation of oral cancer pain. Her clinical interests include early detection of oral cancer, cancer progression and metastasis, autoimmune and immune mediated oral diseases, odontogenic tumors and salivary gland pathology.

Clinical Operations and Compliance
Arly Tuysuzian
Director, Finance & Administration

Arly's primary focus is managing all aspects of Bluestone’s financial and business operations. She has over 12 years of experience in finance and grants management, having worked for hospitals, academic institutions, and a major US bank.

Summer Gonzalez
Clinical Research Operations Administrator

Summer is the Clinical Research OPerations Administrator and has an extensive background in the regulation of clinical research. She has completed exhaustive training on the code of federal regulations governing clinical research, and is a certified IRB professional. Her expertise is invaluable to the conduct of research at Bluestone where she coordinates all aspects of a research project. This includes but is not limited to recruitment, screening, the consent process, research data collection, organizing research procedures, and maintaining the research binder.

Summer is enjoying the experience of being a mom to her first child.

Angela Wu
Research Nurse Practitioner

Angie executes research studies with uncanny precision. Being a highly skilled nurse practitioner with a supreme aptitude for administration, Angie provides a level of expertise in clinical research that is rare. Angie manages highly complex studies that require a great deal of clinical and research knowledge. She performs physicals, conducts dosing and monitors vulnerable or compromised subjects. Angie has an intricate knowledge of the health care and research systems at both the NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital. Angie has a strong sense of initiative and perseverance which helps her complete even the most complicated of tasks.

Although Angie has extremely demanding responsibilities she insists that all she needs is a delicious meal and all will be right with the world. She knows the best lunch spots in the neighborhood and often leads the lunch charge.

Maria Rusinak, BA
Executive Assistant

Maria joined the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research in September 2015. Prior to working at Bluestone, Maria received a degree in finance from Baruch College and has worked at K&K renovations for over 5 years as an administrative office manager.

Maria brings a friendly face to the Bluestone Center, where she enjoys working and interacting with our patients and staff. On her free time, she enjoys reading and traveling, especially to her home country Slovakia.

Vachelle Tan
Financial Analyst

Vachelle has ten years of experience working with hospitals and academic institutions, and has experience in a variety of areas including grants management and accounting, financial operations and health information management.

In her spare time she likes traveling to new places, finding fun places to eat good food, and exploring New York City.

Diana Martinez
Patient Service Representative

Diana joined our team at Bluestone Center for Clinical Research in 2016 as a Patient Service Representative.

Diana has over 5 years of experience working in the field of dentistry. She assists in coordinating and overseeing many aspects of the daily office function which include scheduling, insurance claims and accounts as well as other administrative responsibilities. She plays an integral role in making sure the front office runs smoothly and efficiently.

Diana's enthusiasm combined with her strong work ethic makes her a welcomed member of our team.

Clinical Research Coordinators
Makeda Culley, ASc, CCRC

Makeda is a lead coordinator on a highly complex research study. She can often be found recruiting subjects across three institutions. It’s one of her strengths. Her easy-going nature allows her to interact comfortably with research subjects. Her previous experience in human subject protection has been put to good use, as she now spends a considerable amount of her time engaging with research subjects at all stages of the clinical trial. She is the point person for all the administrative duties and ensures that all parties are at the right place at the right time.

Makeda enjoys making her own jewelry. She has completed a silversmithing course and continues to acquire the skills needed to make intricate designs to be molded in the metal of her choice.

Se Jeong Yeo, MSc, CCRC

Se Jeong is a graduate of the NYU Master’s in Clinical Research program. She is a natural at organizing research studies. Working at Bluestone while pursuing her degree enhanced her academic experience by providing her with real world applications of the topics covered in class. She is an innovative problem solver who can strategize and organize resources with pure charm. Being extraordinarily detail-oriented has made Se Jeong a principal player at Bluestone.

Se Jeong is a foodie at heart, and she is in constant pursuit of the best food New York has to offer.

Adenike Akapo, BA, CCRC

Adenike is the lead coordinator on numerous complex research studies, and a student in the NYU Master’s in Biomaterials Science program. She is results driven, disciplined, and proficient in organizing and executing complex clinical trials

Adenike has a gift for immediate and effective problem solving, and connecting with research subjects. Adenike plays a direct role in reviewing and assessing research protocols, recruiting subjects, collecting research data, conducting site initiations, and study monitoring. She regularly collaborates with other research teams, and plays a direct role in mentoring other research staff.

In the future, Adenike aspires to positively influence and promote dental medicine as a practicing dentist.

Hanting Liang
Clinical Study Coordinator

Hanting Liang obtained her Bachelor of Dental Science from the Capital Medical University in Beijing, China and is a recent graduate of the NYU Master’s in Clinical Research program.

Hanting started her research practicum at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research during her second year of the master program, which broadened her academic knowledge and enhanced her hands on research skills. Now she is an organized, dedicated and detail-oriented study coordinator working on oral cancer related researches at the Bluestone Center. She enjoys working with others and her considerate and compassionate nature comes out especially when interacting with research subjects.

During her free time, Hanting enjoys visiting art museums and painting pictures. Moving to New York has been an invaluable experience and opportunity for her to explore different cultures and to pursue her career.

Joanna Navedo
Clinical Study Coordinator

Joanna is a graduate of the NYU College of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Program. She is a registered dental hygienist and study coordinator.

Joanna’s training and personality give her the ability to multitask and work well under pressure. Joanna coordinates multidimensional clinical trials which include recruitment, screening and enrolling study subjects. She also maintains clinic operations, and processes biological specimens. Every day, Joanna interacts with research subjects providing exceptional specific dental treatment.

Joanna loves to travel, enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends.

Branden Bar

Branden is a dental student at New York University College of Dentistry. He is from Vancouver, BC where he completed his undergraduate studies in health science at the University of British Columbia. Branden’s previous volunteer and research experience in the area of oral oncology led him to develop a passion and curiosity for oral healthcare and oral cancer research. These experiences also exposed Branden to oral surgery and allowed him to interact heavily with individuals battling oral cancer. Their stories filled him with compassion and curiosity, motivating him to become even more involved in research. He quickly came to realize the importance and need for oral surgeons who are knowledgeable about oral cancer. The two fields are heavily intertwined and it is his goal to become an oral surgeon specialized in head and neck cancer.

Outside of academics, Branden is enjoying his move to the east coast and living in New York. He enjoys the fast paced lifestyle and abundance of food and activities this city has to offer. He also enjoys fitness, movies and socializing with friends and family.