The Experts - In the Lab

Get to know the experts lending their knowledge to your projects!

Our team blends their strong scientific expertise with a unique collaborative approach to become a natural extention of your R&D operations.

Ben Curry, PhD

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Divisional Director of Laboratory Services

Dr. Curry attended the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in biological science with a concentration in microbiology, and a Doctorate in nutritional sciences with a cognate in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology.  Dr. Curry’s research project involved investigating the effects of dairy products on obesity – associated inflammation with particular focus on adipose tissue inflammatory cytokine production/signaling and how this process alters monocyte – endothelial cell adhesion. 

Rick Alleman,PhD

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Project Manager

He obtained a PhD in physiology from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University studying the role of cellular redox control and cardioprotective mechanisms in acute coronary syndromes. His background is in cardiovascular physiology where he has published peer-reviewed research articles in the fields of cardiac, vascular, and metabolic disease. Dr. Alleman’s research focus is on mitochondrial function in the treatment/prevention of acute coronary syndromes and heart failure. Dr. Alleman has worked with biotech companies since 2012 where he has managed preclinical and clinical studies, and developed high throughput screening assays for pharmaceutical drug discovery.

Juan Cárdenas, PhD

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Project Manager, Sample Management Solutions

Dr. Cardenas-Mora graduated as a microbiologist from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. To further his research experience, he interned at the National Institute of Health in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases department where his worked aimed at understanding papilloma virus retention, and started his endeavor in cancer research with cervical carcinoma. He them moved to Lafayette, Indiana to pursue a doctorate in cancer cell biology at Purdue University.

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Under the guidance of Dr. Sophie Lelievre, Dr. Cardenas worked with state of the art 3D cell culture technology to investigate how our diets could cause alterations in the epithelium that could lead to cancer. Thanks to 3D cell culture, model cell lines more accurate mimic their behavior and organization in the body, making the screening of different compounds much more accurate before moving into animal models. At CirQuest Labs Dr. Cardenas is working with multiple clients to ensure their drug discovery demands are met and constant reliable data be provided to move forward in the goal toward eradicating cancer. Dr. Cardenas not only works with new hematologic cancer drugs, but provides management and logistic solution for the biostorage of samples from multiple drug discovery studies.

Xue (Roger) Zhai, PhD


Dr. Zhai obtained his PhD in Physiology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. His research focused on ion channel function to understand the mechanism of hypertension in the cardiovascular system. During his PhD training, he studied protein trafficking of ion channels regulated by vasoconstrictors in the cerebral arteries. By using state-of-art patch-clamp electrophysiology and pressure myography, he found that protein trafficking of ion channels is dysfunctional in preclinical models that spontaneously develop hypertension. Prior to his PhD, Dr. Zhai obtained his Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS) from the College of Medicine, Nankai University in China.

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During his tenure in graduate school, Dr. Curry developed a series of flow-based assays to determine hemoco mpatibility of surface modified biomaterials and cardiovascular medical devices such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenators, PICC catheters, hemodialysis catheters, ventricular assist devices, and infection resistant materials. Dr. Curry has 10 years of medical device testing experience ranging from initial product design and development to pre-clinical and clinical studies. At CirQuest Labs, Dr. Curry is further developing the medical device testing division of the company to expand their capabilities and provide additional services to both existing and new clients. He also continues to manage our cell-based projects, particularly in the platelet and inflammatory areas. Prior to his role at CirQuest, Dr. Curry served as a Director for Ension, a Pittsburgh based medical device company, where he was involved in product research and development, and received NIH funding to develop a hemocompatibility testing perfusion system to standardize in vitro blood compatibility evaluations.

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CirQuest Labs
140 Collins Street

Memphis, TN 38112

Phone: 901.866.1700

Fax: 901.866.1702

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