Lab Members

Lionel Apetoh, PhD

I started my research career in Pr. Laurence Zitvogel’s laboratory (Paris, France) where I worked on tumor immunology. After completing my PhD work, I joined Pr. Vijay Kuchroo’s laboratory from 2008 to 2010 to gain further experience in understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to the differentiation of effector and regulatory T cells in autoimmune diseases and tumors. I returned to France in 2011 to set up a research team and I am now working as Research Associate Professor in Immunology at INSERM. My team aims to get greater insight into the molecular mechanisms that can endow CD4 T cells with anticancer properties to contemplate their use in anticancer adoptive T cell therapy. I am pleased to join the Kuchroo laboratory again as a Visiting Fellow to expand my knowledge on gene expression analyses and reinforce collaborations between France and the US.

Lloyd Bod, PhD

I grew up in Martinique, a beautiful island in the French West Indies. After leaving this paradise at 18 years old, I went to Paris to study at university. At the end of my Bachelor’s degree, I discovered Immunology and immediately fell in love. The complexity of this dynamic network deeply captivated me. After completing my studies, I began my Master’s at the Pierre and Marie Curie University, the “Ecole Normale Superieure” of Paris in Immunology, which confirmed my passion for the immune system and its application in diseases, such as cancer. I then completed my PhD thesis at the Cochin Institute, where I had the chance to learn about Melanoma immunology or B-cell, γδ T-cells, and the physiology of Tregs. I joined the Kuchroo Lab in September 2017 to further work on the dialogue between immune cells and tumors in order to better understand and optimize the angle of attack!

Rocky Barilla

I was born in New York City and raised between Brooklyn, Long Island, and Hawaii. I was first exposed to biomedical research in 2008 during my undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, investigating the functions of γ-secretase and BACE1 in Alzheimer’s Disease and Schizophrenia endophenotypes. After graduating in 2011, I returned to New York to work with Dr. George Miller at the NYU Langone School of Medicine. In my 5 years at NYU, I explored the immunological underpinnings of Pancreatic Cancer—studying dendritic cells, γδ T cells, necroptosis, and pattern-recognition—while contributing to research on pancreatitis, liver regeneration, and fatty liver disease. I began my Ph.D. studies at Harvard Immunology in 2016, focusing on the critical intersection of the immune and nervous systems. I joined the Kuchroo Lab in 2018, hoping to characterize the enteric neuron-lymphocyte dialectic and elucidate its role in gastrointestinal physiology and inflammatory control.

Madhumita Das, PhD

I am a PhD in Molecular Biology with research experience ranging from gene regulation in prokaryotic organisms, my PhD thesis, to cutting-edge research in mouse models of human diseases as a post-doctoral research scientist. As a research fellow and then Instructor at UMASS Medical School and Tufts Medical Center, I was researched signal transduction pertaining to inflammation and cancer. Throughout my career, my overall research goal has been to understand the role of cell signaling in basic cellular processes such as proliferation, senescence, apoptosis and inflammation, and to elucidate how these fundamental processes are regulated in different cell types in different models of immune-related diseases and cancer. A large part of my work is involved in studying the cross-talk between immune cells and other cell types in driving inflammatory diseases and cancer. My long-term goal as a junior faculty member in Dr. Kuchroo’s lab is to delve deep into addressing the role of key players in the immunotherapy landscape with particular emphasis on the role of immune checkpoint molecules in autoimmunity and cancer. I am keen on unraveling the fascinating biology of immune-regulatory molecules and contributing to novel translational research initiatives in cancer and autoimmune diseases immunotherapy to promote drug discovery initiatives.

Karen Dixon, PhD

I grew up in the countryside in Ireland in a small area called Boardsmill. I began my studies in Galway and finished in Dublin where I received a First Class Honours degree in Biomedical Science. Following that, I received a Marie-Curie fellowship and moved to Leiden, the Netherlands to complete my Ph.D. in Medicine (Immunology) at Leiden University. While there I worked on the regulation of Dendritic cell populations and the IL-12 family. After graduating in 2014, I began working in the Clinical Immunology department at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. Encounters with patients suffering from a variety of immunological conditions from allergies and primary immunodeficiencies to autoimmune diseases such as MS and NMO motivated me to join the Kuchroo lab in 2016 as a Marie Curie Global Fellow. During my time here I hope to improve our understanding of the mechanisms driving these debilitating immune-mediated diseases.

Johannes Fessler, PhD

I grew up in a small university town in the green heart of Austria where I also started my studies in molecular biology. During my Master’s thesis, I discovered my interest in immunology, while investigating the role of T-cell subsets in bone metabolism. I pursued my education at the Medical University of Graz at the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology supervised by Christian Dejaco, to whom I owe my enthusiasm for medical science. During my time there, I studied T-cell responses and immune regulation in the context of aging. With the aid of the Max Kade fellowship, I joined the Kuchroo lab in Summer 2017 to broaden my understanding of the immune system and its role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

Danyang He, PhD

I was born and raised in Xinyang, a city in central China. I completed my undergraduate studies in Biological Science at Tsinghua University in 2011, and my PhD in Integrative Biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2016. During my PhD, I was advised by Dr. Richard Lu. My thesis focused on transcriptional and epigenetic regulatory circuits that orchestrate oligodendrocyte development and regeneration in demyelinating diseases. Throughout my PhD studies, I became interested in the crosstalk between cells in neuroglial cells and immune cells under homeostasis and autoimmunity. I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2016, my current research is focused on understanding the molecular basis underlying T cell differentiation and dysfunction in chronic inflammation.

Allen Ho, MD, PhD

My research interests center on understanding the specific mechanisms that regulate inflammatory disorders.  While completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago, I worked with Tom Gajewski investigating T cell anergy as a negative regulator of anti-tumor immunity. For my graduate thesis work, while I obtained my MD/PhD, I examined the molecular and cellular contributions of IL-17 signaling to host defense against fungal infections in the laboratory of Sarah Gaffen. Following my medical school graduation, I began residency training in dermatology at the Harvard Combined Program. In addition to my clinical dermatology training, I joined the Kuchroo lab to work on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate T cell mediated tissue inflammation.

Yu Hou, PhD

I grew up in Yingkou, a small city in the northeast of China. When I was 18 years old I went to Beijing to obtain my undergraduate degree from China Agricultural University in 2002. After that, I joined Dr. Fuchou Tang’s lab, one of the pioneers in revealing the molecular mechanisms during early embryonic development with single-cell high-throughput sequencing techniques. During my Ph.D. program, I mainly focused on exploring single-cell omic sequencing techniques and the application to human disease research. I joined Dr. Kuchroo’s lab in 2018 as a postdoc. I am interested in exploring the regulation network on multiple-omics in the regulation between functional and dysfunctional T cells.

Nasim Kassam, MSc

I joined the Kuchroo Lab in 2003 and currently manage the Hybridoma facility. With over 30 years experience in Antibody Science, my notable career in research commenced in mid-70s at the University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada on “Tolerance” related biological science research before shifting gears to the private sector, working with various biotech companies making antibodies. These companies included Chembiomed Ltd. (Edmonton, Canada) Summa Biomedical of Canada (Edmonton AB), Seargen Inc. (Hopkinton, MA), LeukoSite Inc. (Boston, MA), and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Boston, MA). I am a native of Tanzania, East Africa and earned my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology with Honors from the University of Pune in India. During my distinguished career, I have had the opportunity to represent Seargen in Oslo-Norway, receive training at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and assist in training personnel to make hybridomas at the Arthritis Centre Sydney-Australia. My move to Massachusetts in 1985 was only supposed to be a two-year spell however, I met with success making antibodies to chemokine and chemokine receptors and my subsequent antibody work led to clinical trials for Rheumatoid Arthritis which all made it too exciting to leave and my stay here became permanent.

Conner Lambden

I grew up in Morrison, CO where I competed in Mogul Skiing and played soccer throughout High School. For my undergraduate degree, I studied Immunology/CS at UC Berkeley where I became fascinated with the intersection of biological and computational systems. I joined the Kuchroo lab in Summer of 2018. I am excited to explore the intricate connections between information theory, RNA expression, and adaptive immunity.

Madhvi Menon, PhD

My pursuit of research led me to complete my M.Sc. in Molecular Medicine at University College London (UCL), UK, after graduating from Anna University, India with a B.Tech. in Biotechnology. Endlessly fascinated by the immune system, I completed my Ph.D. in Immunology at UCL under the mentorship of Prof. Claudia Mauri.  My research was focused on the immunological mechanisms driving heterogeneous drug responses to B cell depletion therapy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This work resulted in the identification of a novel crosstalk between B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in healthy individuals, that was aberrant in SLE patients. During my two years of postdoctoral training in the Mauri lab, I addressed the mechanisms that underlie concurrent inflammation in the gut and joint, using mouse models of arthritis.

My current work in the Kuchroo lab is focused on investigating the inflammatory mechanisms contributing to age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss in individuals over the age of 60. My research interests include translational immunology and the identification of novel drug targets for the improved management of immune-mediated disorders.

Mathias Pawlak, PhD

I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow. I am interested in translating basic research into more clinically relevant applications in particular regard to autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. The Kuchroo lab, with its broad spectrum of expertise, is a perfect place to do so.

Samantha Riesenfeld, PhD

Originally from Salt Lake City, UT, I hold a BA in Mathematics and Computer Science from Harvard University and a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Through interactions with colleagues in molecular biology, I became interested in pursuing interdisciplinary, biological questions. I joined the Pollard lab at the Gladstone Institutes, UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow to devise evolutionary methods for analyzing metagenomic data. A partnership with a zebrafish lab led me to work on developmental gene regulation. In 2013, I came to the Regev lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to design computational and systems biology approaches to model mammalian gene regulatory networks, with applications in immune cell biology. Soon afterward, I also joined the Kuchroo lab, where my research focuses on the differentiation, plasticity, and pathogenicity of T cells and other cells that are both required for immune defense and implicated in inflammatory diseases.

Alexandra Schnell

I was born and raised in Kelkheim, a small town in Germany. After finishing high school, I moved to Tuebingen, Germany, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I continued my education with a Masters in Molecular Biosciences- Major “Cancer biology” at the German Cancer Research Center and Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. Throughout the course of my studies, I developed a strong interest in the immune system and its regulation in the context of autoimmunity and tolerance. I, therefore, joined the Harvard Immunology PhD program in 2015. Since October 2016, I have been a member of the Kuchroo lab where I am studying intestinal mucosa- adaptive immune system interactions in the context of extra-intestinal autoimmune disease.

Markus Schramm, MD

I grew up in Freiburg im Breisgau, a university city in southwest Germany. In 2013 I graduated as an M.D. from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. I spent the next two years in the Internal Medicine and Rheumatology Residency Program at the University Hospital of Munich. During daily medical routines, and as a physician involved in clinical trials, I was able to witness the impact of how experimental achievements can have on each patient’s life. Fascinated by the discoveries and rapid developments in the field of T cell immunology in recent years, I joined the Kuchroo Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. A fellowship by the German Research Foundation allowed me to further elucidate the pathogenesis of common autoimmune diseases and discover potential new therapeutic targets.

Jingwen Shi, PhD

I was born and raised in Changzhou, a beautiful city near the east coast of China. I completed my undergraduate and PhD training in Biological Science at Tsinghua University in 2011 and 2018, respectively. During my PhD, I was advised by Dr. Hai Qi and my research was focused on the development and migration of TFH cells and their roles in germinal center-derived memory B cells generation. Greatly inspired by the versatility and plasticity of numerous T helper cell subsets, I joined Dr. Kuchroo’s lab in 2018 to further pursue my research interest in T helper cells, especially in their differentiation regulation network and dysfunctions in disease models.

Anvita Singaraju

I grew up in Chennai, a city on the eastern coast of India, and where I received my undergraduate degree from SRM University. During the course of my studies, I developed a keen interest in Immunology. I completed my senior year project in the Sengupta Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. There, I worked on developing nanotheranostic systems that could relay the efficacy of a cancer immunotherapy in real time. Eager to continue my pursuits in the field, I joined the Master’s program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School. As a part of my Master’s thesis in the Kuchroo lab, I am studying various aspects of intestinal immune populations and how they can contribute to extra-intestinal autoimmune diseases.

Helene Stroh

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Colorado. After graduation, I joined the Division of Genetics at the National Jewish Hospital and Research Center in Denver. My move from Colorado to Boston was the impetus to a long and productive career in the research field, beginning with Boston Children’s Hospital and later to include Tufts Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the biotech sector.

In the Kuchroo lab, I bring this experience to the position of Lab Manager providing coordination of the daily operations within the lab in addition to overseeing adherence to lab standards and compliance, as well as performing administrative duties relative to the budget, animal protocols, and personnel.

Waradon Sungnak

I was born and grew up in Nakhon Nayok, a small town in central Thailand. After finishing high school there, I received a scholarship to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in the US where I attended Columbia University in New York. While there, I discovered my interest in immunology during my sophomore year. I gained research experience in Dr. Sankar Ghosh’s research laboratory at Columbia and I am now a graduate student in the Immunology Program at Harvard. I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2013 where I am currently working on follicular helper T cells and T cell-mediated regulation of antibody responses. Besides science, I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, and visiting art museums.

Antonia Wallrapp

I grew up in Germany and studied Molecular Medicine at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Following my great interest in Immunology, I conducted my Master’s thesis in B cell development and plasma cell differentiation at the laboratory of Dr. Hans-Martin Jäck. After obtaining my Master of Science degree in Molecular Medicine, I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2015 as a graduate student, jointly supervised by Dr. Vijay Kuchroo and Dr. Hans-Martin Jäck. My current research addresses the question of how molecular and cellular pathways regulate the development of tissue inflammation and is supported by a PhD fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds.

Chao Wang, PhD

I was born and raised in the garden city of China with rice and freshwater fish aplenty. The world then came to me when I joined one of the United World Colleges. I came of age amidst 87 nationalities in a little village south of Vancouver Island in Canada. Music and the Pacific Ocean are what kept me as an individual and an integral part of the little “United Nations”. I owe my fascination in science to Jamie Scott, my undergraduate honor’s thesis supervisor, who introduced me to antibody engineering in HIV research. I continued to explore chronic viral infections from other aspects of the immune system for my Ph.D. thesis with Tania Watts. I joined the Kuchroo lab to broaden my understanding of the immune system and its role in chronic inflammation and have since been immersed in a different world of fascinating science.

Mona Wang

I was born in Detmold, Germany and grew up in Beijing, China. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Heidelberg, Germany where I also completed my Bachelor’s studies. I previously held an internship at the German Cancer Research Center in which I focused on signaling pathways in T-cell metabolism. Through further studies, I developed a profound interest in the immune system and its regulatory mechanisms. I decided to deepen my knowledge in this field by conducting my master thesis on co-inhibitory molecules in T-cell dysfunctions in Dr. Kuchroo’s lab.

Junrong Xia

I have more than 20 years of laboratory experience within the Harvard Medical School community (1993-2004 in Dr. Michael Carroll’s lab; 2004-2011 in Dr. Klaus Rajewsky’s lab; and 2012-present in Dr. Vijay Kuchroo’s lab). My research skills and interests include: genotyping mice with PCR and FACSCalibur, labeling DNA probe with 32P-dCTP for hybridization by Southern blot membranes, and culturing tumor cells. My personal interests include cooking with my husband and daughter, catching up with family over social media, and traveling.

Huiyuan Zhang

I was born and raised in Yantai, a city near the east coast of China. I received my undergraduate degree from China Agricultural University, where I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Bin Wang on biomarker studies for the prediction and stratification of human Type 1 diabetes. Later research experience at Dr. Wanli Liu’s lab at Tsinghua University furthered my interest in Immunology and encouraged me to further pursue a PhD in this field. In the fall of 2014, I joined Dr. Kuchroo’s lab as a graduate student in the Immunology Program at Harvard Medical School. I have a keen interest in how dysfunction and misregulation of T cells contribute to diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer. My current focus is on regulatory T cells.