Serendipity Zapanta Rinonos, MD, PhD

Dr. Serendipity RinonosResearch Interests:

  • Epigenetics of malignant glioma and development of targeted molecular therapies

Clinical Interests:

  • Primary brain tumors, malignant glioma, glioblastoma


Serendipity Zapanta Rinonos, M.D., Ph.D. is a board-certified neurologist and scientist, specializing in Neuro-Oncology.  Besides her clinical practice at the University of Florida, specializing in the treatment of adult Neuro-Oncology patients, she is also a principal investigator of an independent laboratory, as a member of the Adam Michael Rosen Neuro-Oncology Laboratories at UF.   Her research interests include translational neuroscience as it pertains to the development of novel, targeted molecular therapeutics.  The mission statement of Dr. Rinonos’ laboratory is to harness epigenetics and basic molecular biological phenomena for the development of novel pathophysiologic and treatment paradigms.

Originally a Manhattanite/New Yorker, Dr. Rinonos was a Howard Hughes Research Scholar at Cornell University, where she received a B.A. in Neurobiology/Biological Sciences, Cum Laude, graduating in only 3 years, while also conducting her honors thesis research in the Dept. of Neurobiology.  Dr. Rinonos then graduated from the Medical Scientist Training Program (combined M.D./Ph.D. program) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, conducting her Ph.D. thesis in Cell Biology.  While a graduate student at CWRU, she was also a recipient of the NIH T32 Neuroscience predoctoral training grant.  Afterwards, she completed her Neurology residency training at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital/VCU Health System.  During her residency, Dr. Rinonos was the recipient of multiple awards, including the American Academy of Neurology’s “Futures in Neurologic Research” award.  Most recently, Dr. Rinonos completed her Neuro-Oncology Clinical and Research Fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles, working closely with her neuro-oncology faculty mentors, Dr. Timothy Cloughesy, Dr. Albert Lai, and Dr. Leia Nghiemphu, to provide comprehensive, innovative care and compassionate education for neuro-oncologic patients and their families.  During her tenure as UCLA Neuro-Oncology Fellow, Dr. Rinonos was the recipient of two research grants/awards:  The competitive NIH T32 Tumor Biology Postdoctoral Research Award, as well as the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Postdoctoral Award, totaling $100,000 in research support.  Together with her former research mentor, Albert Lai, MD, PhD, also a physician-scientist, Dr. Rinonos also successfully secured a provisional patent for their research developing targeted epigenetic editing as a novel therapeutic approach for malignant glioma.  The goal is to ultimately translate this novel therapeutic strategy into clinical trials.

Besides her professional roles as neuro-oncologist and principal investigator, Dr. Rinonos enjoys creative expression, as a lifelong concert violinist, performing classically since the age of 3 ½  years old, making her debut at the United Nations Headquarters at the age of 4,  with subsequent solo performances throughout the United States and internationally.  She founded the Case Med String Quartet, a group of medical student/resident musicians performing for hospitals and hospices, while in Cleveland, OH.    She is also an award-winning writer, selected as a recipient of the Cornell University Knight Institute Writing Prize for her essay, “The Violin Over Brain and Body,” integrating both neuroscience and musical passions.