Group Members

Sue Kangiser (Senior Administrative Assistant)

Sue KangiserI am the administrative assistant of Sangeeta Bhatia and LMRT. I grew up in California, New Jersey, and Texas, and received my B.S. in Psychology from U.T. Austin and M.S. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. I started working at M.I.T. in 2000 and joined the LMRT group in 2005.
E-mail: kangiser@mit.edu

Heather Fleming (Research Director)

I completed my undergraduate training at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, earning my B.Sc.H in Life Sciences in 1996. My PhD was granted in 2002 by University of Toronto’s Immunology department, for my research performed in the laboratory of Christopher Paige at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Princess Margaret Hospital. My work focused on the signaling pathways responsible for an essential selection point in early B lymphocyte differentiation. I continued to explore how microenvironmental signals influence cell fate decisions during postdoctoral work with David Scadden at Massachusetts General Hospital. While part of this group, I helped design, implement and direct an undergraduate research intern program at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. I moved from the bench to scientific publishing when I joined Cell Press as a founding editor of the journal Cell Stem Cell. I joined LMRT in the fall of 2011, where I serve as a “chief of staff” to the Director, Dr Bhatia, by helping to oversee the research and operations of the entire group. In this role, I function as an internal resource person for all matters related to experimental design and conduct, scientific paper and grant writing. I also work to support and promote the professional development of all group members.
E-mail: hfleming@mit.edu

Lian-Ee Ch'ng (Lab Manager)

Lian-Ee is a Singaporean native, who received her B.A. in Biology from Cornell University in 1996. After two and half years as a Research Assistant at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, she decided to pursue her Ph.D. at Tufts University School of Medicine. She joined the lab of Dr. John Coffin, working on the effects of the surrounding chromosome environment on retroviral expression. After completing her Ph.D. in 2006, she returned to Longwood Medical Area as a lab manager in the lab of Dr. Richard Blumberg at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, focusing on musocal immunology. She took a short hiatus after the birth of her second child and subsequently became the Lab Manager in the Fiebiger Lab at Children’s Hospital, working on food allergies for almost two years. She made her way to the corporate world and became Operations Manager at Widestreets Corp, an IT startup.  In the spring of 2014, she decided to return to science and joined LMRT as Lab Manager. 

Email: lechng@mit.edu

Tarek Fadel (Assistant Director, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine)

Dr. Tarek Fadel is the Assistant Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Before joining MIT, Dr. Fadel was a Staff Scientist at the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), the coordinating body for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). During his time at NNCO, he served as the Executive Secretary for the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the White House’s National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Technology. The NSET Subcommittee coordinates planning, budgeting, program implementation, and review of the NNI. 

 

Dr. Fadel received his PhD from Yale University in 2011, where he continued as a post-doctoral researcher to develop nanoscale platforms for cancer immunotherapy. He previously held positions as Vice President for Research at the International Technology Research Institute, and Product and Systems Interaction Engineer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Dr. Fadel is lead author of several peer-reviewed publications in the fields of nanomedicine, cancer immunotherapy, and biophysics.

 

Email: tfadel@mit.edu

Research Scientists

Sandra March-Riera

I received my Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University of Barcelona I Hospital Clinic working on the biology of hepatic stellate cells in the context of liver pathophysiology. In the Bhatia laboratory, I have been interested in understanding the maintenance of the functional phenotype of cultured liver sinusoidal cells and hepatocytes with the goal of developing in vitro systems that better recapitulate liver biology. Recently, we have started to use these models to recapitulate and characterize the liver stage of Malaria infection. Our current goals are to establish a reproducible human platform in order to 1) study the biology of the infection process in the liver; 2) screen compounds for activity against the liver stage of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax (including the hypnozoite); and 3) develop and validate pre-erythrocytic vaccines.
E-mail: smarch@mit.edu

Liliana Mancio Silva

Liliana graduated from Universidade do Porto (Portugal) in 2003 and completed her doctoral studies in 2009 at Institut Pasteur (France). Liliana has a long term interest in malaria research that stemmed in the laboratory of Artur Scherf in Paris (France), where she was engaged in deciphering the mechanisms of gene regulation and antigenic variation in the most virulent malaria parasite. Later, in the laboratory of Maria Mota (Lisbon, Portugal), she focused on understanding host nutrient sensing by malaria parasites, using animal models. Currently, in the Bhatia group, she is working with the liver team to investigate host-parasite interactions during liver-stage malaria.

 

Email: mancio@mit.edu

Post-Doctoral Researchers and Fellows

Piyush Jain

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Piyush received a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Dr. Harisingh Gour University, Sagar, India in 2006. He then received an interdisciplinary PhD degree in pharmaceutical sciences (major) and chemistry (minor) from University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 2013 under the mentorship of Professor Simon H. Friedman. During his PhD, he worked on multiple projects at the interface of chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sciences, including development of an insulin photoactivated depot (patent pending), light activated RNA interference, and a universal reagent for site specific end-labeling of nucleic acids. His undergraduate and graduate work was supported in part by several scholarships and fellowships including K. C. Verma Endowment Scholarship, India (2004), Times of India Scholarship, India (2006), Preparing Future Faculty Fellowship, UMKC (2008-2011) and School of Graduate Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, UMKC (2011-2012). 
In the Bhatia laboratory, Piyush is working on the development of nanotechnology therapies for the treatment of traumatic brain injury and associated infections. Furthermore, he is also interested in extending these therapies for the treatment of cancer.
Email: piyushj@mit.edu

Justin Voog

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Justin was born and raised in Minnesota.  He completed his undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Cell Biology at Minnesota State University and was a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow at Stanford University. He matriculated into the Medical Science Training (MD/PhD) program at the University of California - San Diego School of Medicine. His thesis work, under the mentorship of Leanne Jones at the Salk Institute, focused on understanding mechanisms regulating the maintenance and regeneration of the stem cell microenvironment. Following completion of his internship at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, Justin entered the Harvard Radiation Oncology Residency Program. He is broadly interested in the role of regenerative therapies in oncology. 

Email: jvoog@mit.edu

Liang Hao

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Liang received her B.S. in Biotechnology from Nankai University (Tianjin, China) in 2006. She then studied at University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada) where she obtained her M.S. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry. From 2009, she enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences program at Northwestern University completing her doctoral studies in Professor Chad Mirkin’s laboratory. Her dissertation research was at the interface of biology and materials science, and focused on the synthesis, characterization, and application of nanostructures for nucleic acid therapeutics. Throughout her education, her work was recognized by honors such as the HHMI International Student Research Fellowship, the Ryan Fellowship and the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.

 

After earning her Ph.D., Liang joined the LMRT in April 2015. Here at LMRT, she is working to further develop therapeutic delivery solutions from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, with a continuous interest in exploring the diagnostic and therapeutic capacities of nanomaterials against tumor metastasis.

Email: lhao@mit.edu

Leslie Chan

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Leslie received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009 and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 2015. She completed her graduate work in Professor Suzie Pun’s lab developing synthetic polymers for in situ cross-linking of fibrin matrices in blood clots to accelerate clotting kinetics and increase clot stiffness for hemostatic applications. She was recognized for her graduate work and received the 2015 UW College of Engineering Award for outstanding service and achievement. Her research interests broadly encompass drug delivery and the human microbiome. At LMRT, she is developing nanomaterials for intracellular delivery of antibiotics to multidrug resistant bacteria to increase therapeutic efficacy of drugs previously limited by their poor penetration. Outside of lab, Leslie enjoys the occasional run, karaoke, strategy board games, and trips to Costco.

Email: lwchan@mit.edu

Tiffany Vo

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Tiffany received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Rice University in 2015. Her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Antonios Mikos focused on the development of injectable, dual physically and chemically gelling hydrogels for craniofacial bone tissue engineering, for which she was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein F31 fellowship from the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research. At LMRT, Tiffany is interested in further exploring the interaction between biomaterials and cell biology, especially in regards to microarchitecture for liver tissue engineering and pathogenesis. 

Email: tvo@mit.edu

Jiang He

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Jiang received his B.S. in Biology from University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei, China) in 2009. He then obtained his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry under the mentorship of Xiaowei Zhuang at Harvard University in 2015. His work at Harvard focused on developing single molecule imaging techniques and applying them to study biological processes. By applying single-virus tracking, super-resolution imaging (STORM), and other imaging techniques in combination with conventional biochemical and cellular approaches, his work elucidates molecular mechanisms of several host factors for flu virus infection, activation of B cell signaling, and developmental mechanism of a novel periodic membrane skeleton in axons of neurons. Here at LMRT, Jiang is interested in research at the interface of cell biology, single-molecule imaging and human parasitic diseases. He is currently applying high-resolution imaging to study liver stage infection of malaria, as well as developing novel approaches for drug delivery.

Email: jianghe@mit.edu

Allison Demas

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Allison received her B.A. in Biology from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) in 2007. Following undergrad, she spent a year investigating malaria in pregnancy and drug resistant malaria parasites as a Fulbright Scholar with Dr. Daouda Ndiaye at the University Cheikh Anta Diop and Le Dantec Hospital in Dakar, Senegal. This experience sparked a deep interest in understanding both malaria parasite biology, and the public health interventions needed to control malaria disease. From 2008-2010, Allison was an Emerging Infectious Disease Training Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, where she worked to develop novel molecular diagnostic tools for malaria with Dr. Venkatachalam Udhayakumar. Allison continued her work in malaria as a graduate student with Dr. Dyann Wirth at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, receiving her Ph.D. in 2016. Her NSF-supported dissertation research investigated fatty acid metabolism in Plasmodium falciparum parasites. She also used in vitro drug resistance selection approaches to identify novel genetic markers for artemisinin resistance. In the Bhatia lab, Allison is interested in understanding the host immune response to the liver stage of malaria infection.

Email: ademas@mit.edu 

Kavitha Reddy

Visiting Scientist

Kavitha Reddy is a Dermatologist, specializing in Dermatologic Surgery and Procedural dermatology. She is board-certified in Dermatology, as well as certified in Procedural Dermatology by the ACGME, and in Dermatologic Surgery and Mohs Micrographic Surgery by the American College of Mohs Surgery. Dr. Reddy serves as Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Boston University Medical Center. 

 

She graduated with honors from the Boston University School of Medicine and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society. Dr. Reddy completed Dermatology residency training at the Boston University School of Medicine and fellowship training in Procedural Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. 

 

In addition to her basic science research, she has conducted clinical trials using lasers and other medical devices for the treatment of skin conditions. She has received an American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Cutting Edge Research Grant, as well as grants from the American Skin Association and Aid for Cancer Research. Dr. Reddy serves as a workgroup member for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Connector. She has helped lead community organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology Camp Discovery Program, Harvard University Project Health Program, and Boston Public Health Commission Youth to Health Careers Program. 

 

Dr. Reddy has authored numerous scientific and educational publications in textbooks such as Lasers & Related Technologies in Dermatology, and Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine, and medical journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, and the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Email: kavi518@gmail.com

Graduate Students

Arnav Chhabra

Arnav graduated summa cum laude in December 2012 from the Engineering Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. At UT, Arnav was a recipient of the National Merit Fellowship and several Cockrell School of Engineering multi-year fellowships. Prior to attending MIT, Arnav worked as a researcher in several different labs: a) Experimental therapeutics department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, b) Femtosecond Laser Laboratory at UT Austin, and c) Multiscale Thermal Fluids Laboratory at UT Austin. His work on the role of apoptotic proteins in cancer, superhydrophobic surfaces for energy reduction and polymeric materials for surface energy control culminated in several first author publications and American Physical Society conference presentations. During the summer of 2012, Arnav served as an engineering research consultant in the Heat Transfer division at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (EMRE), working specifically in the areas of heat exchanger fouling management and design. 
Arnav is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). Broadly, Arnav is interested in modeling human physiology. His work at the LMRT encompasses several aims: a) recapitulating liver pathophysiology in vitro, b) modeling multi-organ pathological conditions on chip, and c) elucidating a library of biomarkers for liver disease processes. Arnav is currently funded by the Paul & Daisy Soros Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF). 
E-mail: arnav@mit.edu

Jaideep Dudani

Jaideep graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a B.S. in Bioengineering and a minor in Biomedical Research. At UCLA, as a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar, he worked in the Microfluidic Biotechnology lab led by Professor Dino Di Carlo where he developed microfluidic technologies for cell-based diagnostics. He specifically focused on automation of cytopathology, high-throughput single-cell biophysical measurements, and spatiotemporal control of reactions on cell surfaces. He was additionally a NSF REU fellow in the lab of Ravi Bellamkonda at the Georgia Institute of Technology. For his undergraduate work, Jaideep was recognized as the top Howard Hughes Scholar and the top Bachelor of Science within the school of engineering. His undergraduate design work has also been recognized and awarded by the NIH and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. 
Jaideep is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at MIT in Biological Engineering as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow. At LMRT, he is interested in developing nanosystems for the analysis, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and other debilitating diseases such as thrombosis. 
E-mail: jdudani@mit.edu

Nil Gural

Nil graduated from Washington University in St Louis in 2011 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. At WashU, as a McKelvey Scholar, she worked in the lab of Dr. Rohit Pappu in simulating the conformational preferences and aggregation mechanisms of flanking sequences in polyglutamine expansions. After graduation, she worked at the BioMEMS Resource Center led by Dr. Mehmet Toner where she worked on developing microfluidic mazes for quantifying cancer cell migration as well as a microfluidic chip for Tuberculosis Diagnostics. Nil is currently pursuing a PhD at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). At LMRT, she is interested in establishing in vivo and in vitro liver platforms for testing Malaria drugs and vaccines. 

E-mail: ngural@mit.edu

Colin Buss

Colin came to MIT in 2013 after working as a research assistant in Sohail Tavazoie’s lab at the Rockefeller University in NYC, where he studied biomolecular and post-transcriptional mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis, particularly in melanoma. Before that, he received his B.S. cum laude in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2011.

 

At MIT, Colin is pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering & Medical Physics through the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology (HST) Program. At LMRT, he is studying targeted, modular siRNA delivery vehicles for therapeutic applications primarily in cancer and bacterial infections. Additionally, he is interested in research at the interface between nanotechnology and synthetic biology, to develop responsive, tunable therapeutics.

E-mail: cbuss@mit.edu

Amanda Chen

A Goldwater Scholar, Amanda Chen graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rochester (UR) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2014. Her undergraduate work with Dr. Danielle Benoit on cartilage tissue regeneration was recognized by the Society for Biomaterials. At UR, Amanda was the recipient of several national and college-wide awards for leadership, research, and teaching efforts.

 

She was awarded the Whitaker International Fellowship to pursue a Master of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. Here, she focused on developing synthetic liposome vaccines in the laboratory of Dr. Nigel Slater. 

 

As an NSF Fellow, Amanda is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering. Broadly, she is interested in leveraging pathophysiology, systems biology, and materials science to engineer better organs on both the "tiny" (i.e. sub-cellular activity, tissue microarchitecture) and "large" (i.e. organ/system crosstalk) levels. At LMRT, she aims to work on the design and fabrication of multicellular tissue-engineered platforms that perform liver function.  

Email: axchen@mit.edu

Jesse Kirkpatrick

Jesse Kirkpatrick is a native of Miami Beach, Florida, where he was in a rock band. He eventually came to his senses and decided to pursue a degree in Biological Engineering at MIT. There, he engaged in a variety of research activities that fueled his desire to translate engineering technology to the clinic. He worked on liver tissue engineering with Dr. Joseph Vacanti (MGH), studied inflammatory bowel diseases with Dr. Maria Abreu (University of Miami) and Dr. Chen Varol (Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center), developed computational tools for the study of infectious diseases with Dr. Ram Sasisekharan (MIT), investigated the role of innate immunity in the liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) with Dr. Steven Freedman (BIDMC) and helped validate a microfluidic chip for intracellular delivery at the laboratory of Dr. Robert Langer (MIT). 

 

Upon joining the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics PhD program through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Jesse’s deep interest in the liver, particularly cholestatic liver diseases, led him to connect with Dr. Bhatia. At LMRT, Jesse develops nanosystems to aid in the early detection of cancer in high-risk patients, particularly focusing on malignancies of the liver, prostate and lung.

Email: jk15@mit.edu

Melodi Anahtar

Melodi graduated from MIT in June 2016 with a B.S. in Biological Engineering. As an undergraduate, she studied optogenetics under Kay Tye (MIT) and hepatocyte growth under Sangeeta Bhatia (MIT). In the summer of 2015, she also researched proteasome localization under Hermann Steller (Rockefeller University) as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. Upon graduation, Melodi began pursuing a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics through the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. At LMRT, she is interested in studying infectious disease and developing diagnostics with direct applications to global health. Melodi is being supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. In her spare time, she loves going to concerts and running around Boston.

Email: melodi@mit.edu

Ava Soleimany

Ava Soleimany is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Harvard in Biophysics as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She graduated from MIT in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Molecular Biology. There, she worked with Dr. Timothy Lu in MIT’s Synthetic Biology Group on engineering state machines, a model of computation, in living cells using synthetic gene networks. While at MIT, Ava was honored with the Henry Ford II Scholarship, awarded to the student with the highest academic standing in the school of engineering. Broadly, Ava is interested in the intersection of nanotechnology, bioinformatics, and immunology. At LMRT, she aims to develop novel nanosensors for understanding disease biology, with a specific focus on the immune system’s role in cancer metastasis.

Email: asolei@mit.edu

Research Technicians

Alex Miller

Alex grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Harvard with a B.S. in bioengineering and a minor in computer science. While at Harvard, he spent 3 years as a member of Dr. David Mooney's lab, working on a variety of projects including wound healing and cancer treatment, culminating in his senior thesis on drug refillable vascular grafts. At LMRT, he is now studying the liver stage of malaria.

Emilia Pulver

Emilia received her B.S in biological sciences with a concentration in animal physiology from Cornell University.  After graduating in 2014, she returned home to the North Shore of Massachusetts and began a neuroscience research position at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, MA.  As a member of the Integrative Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean, she helped conduct genetic and behavioral experiments for projects on drug addiction and autism.  Now part of the cancer subgroup at LMRT, her work focuses on nanoparticle therapeutics and delivery in pancreatic cancer. 

 

Email: epulver@mit.edu

Henry Ko

Henry grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated with departmental honors from the University of Maryland in 2015, where he earned his B.S. in bioengineering with a minor in statistics.  As an undergraduate in Dr. John Fisher’s Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Laboratory, Henry investigated tubular perfusion system bioreactors in the context of three-dimensional culture of critical-sized bone constructs. 

 

At LMRT, Henry is working on nanoparticle drug delivery for applications in traumatic brain injury and clot dissolution. 

 

Email: hko@mit.edu

Maria Ibrahim

Maria was raised in Long Island. After completing high school, she moved to Boston and attended MCPHS University for a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She continued her education at Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and received her M.Sc. in Pharmacology and Drug Development. At Tufts, she worked in the Yee lab on Wnt/β- Catenin signaling pathway function in uterine leiomyoma and potential for therapeutic intervention. At LMRT, she works on nanoparticle therapeutics and delivery for prostate cancer.

 

Email: mariaibr@mit.edu

Kelsey Hern

Kelsey is a born and raised Bostonian who received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Simmons College in 2016. While there, she received honors for her thesis work in Dr. Mary Owen’s lab studying developmental abnormalities in the hindgut of mice with Dominant hemimelia. At LMRT, Kelsey works on a project focusing on using nanoparticles to improve antibiotic delivery into gram-negative bacteria. Outside of lab, Kelsey enjoys telenovelas, cats and a strong cup of coffee.

 

Email: hernk9@mit.edu

Keval Vyas

Keval grew up in Brookfield, CT and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2016. There, he recieved his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Materials Science and Engineering. At UConn, Keval worked on a variety of projects from developing synthetic esophageal scaffolds for tissue engineering to an automated wheelchair lift prototype for patients. 
Upon graduation, Keval moved to Cambridge to work at the Anderson/Langer labs on the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program. During his time there, he performed research and design on implantable multielectrode arrays for nerve injuries. At LMRT, he is now working with the team on hepatic tissue engineering projects.