Meet Our Team

Alina Maloyan, Principal investigator of the Maloyan Lab sitting by a window

Dr. Maloyan earned her Ph.D. in Physiology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She holds an Associate Professor position in the Knight Cardiovascular Institute at the Oregon Health and Science University where she and her research group investigate how maternal obesity affects placental function and predisposes the offspring to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in adult life, so-called developmental programming.   

More than 65% of women entering pregnancy in the US are overweight or obese. Maternal obesity increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes including malformations, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and stillbirth. Most importantly,  in utero exposure to maternal obesity causes changes in the offspring's body composition, cardiovascular and metabolic function thereby predisposing the offspring to obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in later life.  Dr. Maloyan's research focuses on understanding the effect of maternal obesity on placental and fetal metabolism, including metabolic, physiological, and epigenetic dysregulations.  

The focus is on three major areas:

  • The role of the placenta in the developmental programming of maternal obesity;
  • Fetal immune, metabolic and epigenetic changes in response to adverse intrauterine environments;
  • Role of autophagy in developmental programming.
Elysse Phillips, Lab manager of the Maloyan lab

Elysse joined the Maloyan team in early 2020 as a Research Assistant, and she spends most of her time with placentas investigating altered autophagy and metabolic function related to maternal obesity. She's called Portland home for 6 years, during which she studied Biology, Chemistry, and German at the University of Portland. Growing up in Maui, she was raised to love the ocean and sunshine - since then she's learned to appreciate the PNW rain by spending time hiking, rock climbing, biking, or baking bread in all weather. Elysse plans on attending graduate school to pursue her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.

Kim Montaniel carrying a pink kayak

Kim grew up in the Philippines and came to the US in 2010. His research interests lie at the intersection of immunology, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases.  Kim's dissertation is focused on understanding the role of the immune system in developmental programming due to maternal obesity. His long-term goal is to develop an independent academic research program that is focused on understanding fundamental immunological mechanisms of chronic diseases. In his free time, Kim enjoys spending time with his cat - Butternut, dancing, ice skating, whitewater kayaking, snowboarding, and riding onewheel.

Yem Alharithi, Research assistant in the Maloyan Lab

Yem Alharithi received his Bachelor's degree from  Northwestern University. He is currently studying the effect of maternal obesity on the immune system of the offspring. In the future, Yem is planning on going to medical school to become a physician.  

Matthew Bucher

Lab manager (2016-2020),

Now PhD student at University of Oregon

Bailey Simon

Research assistant (2016-2018)

Now studies at WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Matthew Lambert, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral fellow (2017-2018)

Now faculty at Linfield University

Nora Hendriks, Murdock scholar (2017-2019)

Carole J.  Kassab, volunteer student  (2017-2020)