Lab Members

Patrick Burkett, MD, PhD

I’m originally from Indiana, but moved around a lot as a kid, spending time in Michigan, Sierra Leone, and Kansas. I eventually ended up in Minnesota where I did my undergraduate work at Carleton College, earning a B.A. in biology in 1999. I moved on to the University of Chicago to pursue both an MD and PhD. There I worked with Averil Ma, studying the role of IL-15 and IL-15Rα in CD8 T cell memory, earning my PhD in Immunology in 2004, and my MD three years later. I then came to Boston, where I completed clinical training in internal medicine and pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2011 and have been working on mechanisms that regulate T cell mediated tissue inflammation. I became an Instructor at HMS in 2014 and my current research focus has been examining the role of how innate inflammatory signals modulate adaptive responses, while also attending on the lung transplant service at BWH.

Madhumita Das, PhD

My research focus has been studying the signaling circuitry that impacts cross-talk between cell types in regulating disease progression. I am a PhD in Molecular Biology with research experience ranging from gene regulation in prokaryotic organism in my PhD thesis to cutting-edge research in mouse models of human diseases as a post-doctoral research scientist. As a research fellow and as an Instructor at UMASS Medical School and Tufts Medical Center, I was involved in research in signal transduction pertaining to inflammation and cancer. 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. My research goal is to elucidate the molecular pathways and mechanistic themes that link different pathologies and to participate in scientific hypotheses development. 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 research faculty at Harvard 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 unravelling 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 a small area called Boardsmill in Ireland. 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). There I worked on the regulation of Dendritic cell populations and the IL-12 family. After my graduation, 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 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.

Danyang He, PhD

I was born and grew up in Xinyang, a city in central China. I completed my undergraduate 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 and my thesis was 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 and 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.

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 lead to clinical trials for Rheumatoid Arthritis which all made it too exciting to leave and my stay here became permanent.

Jessica Kilpatrick

I am a technical research assistant working closely with Dr. Sheng Xiao, studying Tim-1 positive, IL-10 secreting, B regulatory cells in EAE and colitis mouse models. I graduated from Stonehill College in 2013, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. I will be attending the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health this fall, pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health.

Deneen Kozoriz

I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Regina in 1992. I began my career at the Saskatchewan Health Department clinical laboratory acquiring experience in the Virology, Immunology and Flow Cytometry departments. After gaining a special interest in flow cytometry, I moved to Boston in 2003 to further my career in the field of flow cytometry focusing on cell sorting. I currently manage the Center for Neurologic Diseases’ Flow Cytometry Core Facility. I focus my research interests on the current and changing flow cytometry applications in order to assist researchers in their experiments. I am also an active member of the Boston High Speed Cell-Sorting Users Group.

Asaf Madi, PhD

I am a computational immunologist with a high tolerance for chaos. My background is in B-cell and T-cell repertoires, using Antigen chip technology and TCR sequencing, both in health and disease. I completed my PhD and subsequently a postdoctoral fellowship at Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel in the labs of Eshel Ben-Jacob, Irun R. Cohen and Nir Friedman. My current research involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of T cell differentiation, activation, and inhibition using high throughput methods such as single cell RNAseq, Chipseq and CyTOF. More specifically, I am investigating the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the development of Type 1 regulatory (Tr1) T cells; Tr1 cells maintain peripheral tolerance and contribute to the prevention of autoimmune inflammation. Another field of research that has captured my interest is cancer immunology, where I use the same exact tools to understand T cells in the context of the tumor microenvironment, to identify triggers that might lead to T cell exhaustion, to discover novel co-inhibitory targets and their potential transcriptional regulators, and to further understand how all of this changes in the face of immunotherapy.

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 in 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, Sam holds 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, she became interested in pursuing interdisciplinary, biological questions. She 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 her to work on developmental gene regulation. In 2013, she 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, she also joined the Kuchroo lab, where her 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 pursued 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 for 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 am 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 and spent the ensuing two years in the Internal Medicine and Rheumatology Residency Program at the University Hospital of Munich. During daily medical routine and as a physician involved in clinical trials I was able to witness the impact experimental achievements can finally have on each patient’s life. Fascinated by the discoveries and rapid developments in the field of T cell immunology within recent years I joined the Kuchroo Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. A fellowship by the German Research Foundation currently allows me to further elucidate the pathogenesis of common autoimmune diseases and discover potential new therapeutic targets.

Meromit Singer, PhD

I am interested in the development and application of algorithmic and statistical tools to reconstruct cell circuits governing dynamic immune responses. Following my passion for computational biology, I completed my BSc in Computer Science and Biology at Tel-Aviv University, and my PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. During my PhD, I was advised by Prof. Lior Pachter and worked on the development of algorithms for the comparative analysis of DNA methylation across different species and genomic regions. Expanding these comparative analyses techniques to the systems-level and the immune system, I am currently working on identifying critical pathways that regulate T cell dysfunction in the tumor environment as a postdoc in the labs of Vijay Kuchroo and Aviv Regev. My aim is to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of the T cell dysfunctional state within tumors and to enable perturbations of this dysfunctional state, enhancing efficacy, by the identification of critical pathways.

Helene Stroh

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in Biology. After graduation I joined the Division of Genetics at 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 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 adherences 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 degree in the US. I attended Columbia University in New York, where I discovered my interest in immunology during my sophomore year. I gained research experience in Dr. Sankar Ghosh’s research laboratory at Columbia and am now a graduate student in the Immunology Program at Harvard. I joined the Kuchroo lab in 2013. 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 pursued my master thesis on B cell development and plasma cell differentiation in 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 how molecular and cellular pathways regulate the development of tissue inflammation and is supported by a PhD fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds.

Chao Wang, PhD

I was born and raised in the garden city of China with rice and fresh water  fish aplenty. Then the world came to me when I joined one of the United World Colleges as 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.

Junrong Xia

I have more than 20 years of laboratory experience with the HMS community (1993-2004 in Dr. Michael Carroll lab; 2004-2011 in Dr. Klaus Rajewsky lab; 2012-present in Dr. Vijay Kuchroo 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.

Sheng Xiao, PhD

I received my bachelors degree in Biochemistry from Xiamen University in China. After that, I was accepted as a research assistant in the National Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology in Beijing, China where I worked on T cells and cell death in Dr. Dexian Zheng’s laboratory. It is under the guidance of Dr. Zheng that I became interested in the biology of T cells. I then joined Dr. Shyr-Te Ju’s laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine as a Ph. D student to obtain further academic training. I worked on the roles of Fas/FasL and IL-2 in normal and autoimmune T cell responses during the development of lupus and colitis. From Dr. Ju, I learned how to think, find and solve scientific problems. Working with Dr. Ju, I became more interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cell responses under various normal and pathological conditions. After I received my PhD, I joined Dr. Vijay K. Kuchroo’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow to pursue a higher training. Currently, I’m mainly studying the regulatory mechanisms of T cell responses and the role of Tim-1 in immune regulation and autoimmune diseases.

Etminan Yasaman

I spent most of my life in Tehran, Iran. As I grew up in a large city, I feel more at home in Boston than in Baltimore suburbs, where I lived after I moved to the US eight years ago. I got my Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences in Iran. Before joining the master’s program, I worked in a biochemistry lab in the University of Maryland for 6 months. My Masters research at UM, Baltimore County was focused on animal modeling of lethal human prostate cancer in rat. We successfully characterized the phenotypes of the transgenic model that was made in our lab. I’d like to continue my graduate studies, but I wanted to extend my experience in other fields related to cancer research before registering in a PhD program. Being in Kuchroo and Anderson labs helps me find my personal field of enthusiasm.

Huiyuan Zhang

I was born and raised in Yantai, a city near the east coast of China. I got my undergraduate degree from China Agricultural University, where I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Bin Wang on biomarker study for the prediction and stratification of human type 1 diabetes. Later research experience at Dr. Wanli Liu’s lab at Tsinghua University further boosted my interest in Immunolgy 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 Immunology Program of Harvard Medical School. I have a keen interest in how dysfunction and misregulation of T cells contribute to diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer, and my current focus is on regulatory T cells.