Chiara Mariottini, PhD – Research Assistant Professor, Project Manager
Chiara’s first interaction with research was during her undergraduate years at University of Perugia, in Italy, where she studied Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacy. Towards the end of her undergraduate studies, she spent approximately a year in the Department of Pharmacology under the supervision of Dr. Carlo Riccardi and Dr. Maria Cristina Fioretti, both known as international experts in cell biology and immunology. It was during her tenure with them that she decided to pursue a career in science.Chiara then moved to Florence, where she specialized in behavioral neuroscience and neuropharmacology and obtained her PhD in Physiological and Nutritional Sciences (with specialty in Neuropharmacology) from the University of Florence. In January 2008, Chiara joined the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai, New York, for her postdoctoral studies with Dr. Ravi Iyengar. Chiara’s research at the Iyengar Lab focused on the transcriptional mechanisms that can regulate memory strength, flexibility, and persistence in health and disease, with a particular focus on the hippocampus.
Throughout her career, Chiara’s interest in translational research and clinical development has grown considerably, and for this reason, Chiara joined the Krammer Laboratory in November 2018, as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology to work on developing a universal influenza vaccine, in collaboration with Dr. Palese and Dr. Garcia-Sastre. Outside of research, Chiara enjoys any outdoor activity, in particular running and hiking. Chiara loves dogs.
Meagan received her undergraduate degree at Deakin University, where she majored in Biology. The following year, she completed her honours year under the guidance of John Stambas and Daniel McCulloch at the School of Medicine, Deakin University in Australia. During this honours year she assessed the role of ADAMTS enzymes in influenza virus infection. Meagan went on to continue studying the role of ADAMTS enzymes in influenza virus infection and immunity in the Stambas and McCulloch laboratories as a PhD student and graduated in 2017. Meagan’s current research interests include developing a universal influenza virus vaccine, assessing broadly protective monoclonal antibodies and researching influenza virus transmission in animal models.
Meagan is originally from Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Here she enjoyed following the Collingwood Magpies, an Australian rules football team and being champion of board games, like Cyclades and Settlers of Catan.
Changsu received her BS in Management of Information Systems from the University of South Florida in 2014. After she graduated, she moved to New York City and worked at the Bioinformatics Core Informatics Infrastructure Laboratory (BCIL) at Hunter College for two years. She was involved in multiple projects that resulted in several publications. Changsu’s main projects involved working on the RNA-seq Gene Differential Expression of mice samples and developing an iOS gene structure app (DNAgrams). In November 2019, Changsu joined the Krammer Laboratory as a Data Manager.
In her free time, Changsu enjoys traveling and outdoor activities.
As a kid, I could never make up my mind whether I wanted to be a scientist, a doctor, a ballet dancer, or a writer. However, when my sister took me to a biology lab and showed me how to plate bacteria for the first time, the decision has been made. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Biology (2008) and Master’s degree in Molecular Biology (2010) at the Comenius University in Bratislava (SK). During my Master’s Degree research, at the Institute of Molecular Biology at The Slovak Academy of Sciences, I studied how individual proteins interact in a bacterial spore coat during the process of sporulation. I earned PhD in Biotechnology (2015) from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (AT) where I worked with mammalian cell culture and established stable cell lines for production of recombinant IgMs. Part of my PhD studies was done at the University of California Irvine, in Dr. Forthal’s lab, focusing on HIV research – where I discovered the charm and treachery of immunological assays, and at the Technical University in Munich in the lab of Dr. Groll, focusing on X-ray crystallography – where I realized that sometimes your plans to crystallize a protein may be just a wishful thinking. Outside of the lab I like driving, reading and videogames and contrary to the general belief of my colleagues, I spend some time outdoors occasionally.
Juan Manuel obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and then joined the Arias-Lopez group at the Institute of Biotechnology UNAM to obtain his Master’s Degree, where he had the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of viruses studying the restriction of rotavirus by interferons. He then pursued his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland in the laboratory of Dr. Burkhard Ludewig, and during his studies he focused on the immune responses against Salmonella typhi and the development of vaccines against this pathogen. With the keen interest of reincorporating to the virology field, Juan Manuel recently joined the Krammer Laboratory and is currently working on understanding the mechanisms of immunological imprinting during influenza virus infection. Outside of the lab, Juan Manuel enjoys to run in central park, participate in indoor sports, and to travel around in his bike. He spends time with family and friends exploring all the culinary, cultural and amusement attractions that this great city has to offer.
Daniel received both his Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Daniel undertook his doctoral studies as a visiting student in the Krammer Laboratory and was interested in investigating countermeasures against emerging avian influenza subtype H7N9 viruses, allowing him to gain insights into H7N9 vaccine design.
In 2019, Daniel joined the Krammer Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. His current research interests include investigating the influenza virus neuraminidase as a vaccine antigen, characterizing anti-neuraminidase antibodies and aiding in the development of a universal influenza vaccine candidate. Additionally, Daniel is overseeing and managing the influenza serology core in the Krammer Laboratory.
Catherine received her Bachelor’s degree from the National University of Singapore where she specialized in Life Sciences and worked on Dengue Virus. She went on to pursue her PhD in Virology at the Imperial College London under the guidance of Peter O’Hare. During her studies she focused on the spatiotemporal analysis of de novo translation and transcription during Herpes Simple Virus infection by employing click chemistry. During her first postdoctoral fellowship she worked on the characterization of monoclonal antibodies against influenza virus, in particular the H5 and H7 subtypes. She also investigated Fc-mediated antibody effector functions and their in protection against influenza virus infection. Catherine’s current research interests include developing vaccines and antibodies against influenza viruses and emerging zoonotic viruses such as hantaviruses and arenaviruses. Outside of the lab, Catherine enjoys exploring the city and adventuring out into nature.
Isabel Francisco, DVM
Isa grew up in Manila, Philippines and came to the US to complete her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, where she majored in Biology and minored in English. She went on to receive her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. While in veterinary school, she completed an International Veterinary Medicine postgraduate certificate, volunteered for veterinary service trips in Morocco and the Dominican Republic, and worked on public health research in her home country of the Philippines. After receiving her DVM, she completed an equine medical and surgical internship at Vermont Large Animal Clinic and then worked for Health Resources in Action, a public health nonprofit in Boston. She is interested in working at the intersection between animal, human, and environmental health, and in public health work related to health and environmental justice.
Isa joined the Krammer Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in partnership with the nonprofit BioBus. She will be conducting virus surveillance in bird species found in NYC parks as well as training and mentoring high school youth seeking hands-on experience in the sciences. In her free time, Isa enjoys reading, cooking, listening to musical theater, and hanging out with her cat, Ferreira.
Parnavi Viral Desai, MSc
Christina graduated in 2018 from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and joined the Krammer lab in September that year. Outside of work she enjoys trying new bars and restaurants, fitness, and spending time with friends and family.
Disha Bhavsar, MS
Disha completed her undergraduate degree in India in 2015 and decided to continue with her scientific studies by attending graduate school in the USA. She earned her master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2018. During her master’s degree, she worked on the properties and cross-linking in the proteins found in Alzheimer’s plaques. In her time outside the lab, she likes to explore new places and undertake different activities, such as hiking.
Kaijun received his first MS in China with a major in Infectious Disease. During his MS he was involved in avian influenza virus (AIV) surveillance of the live poultry market and also developed several monoclonal antibodies towards AIV and Newcastle disease virus. He also studied the transmissibility of pandemic H1N1 and H9N2 influenza virus reassortants among guinea pigs. Kaijun’s second MS was an Infectious Disease major at Mississippi State University. Here he focused on the sialic acid receptors of influenza viruses. He established a method to detect and quantify the sialic acid receptors in vivo and in vitro. He also attempted to use CRISPR to generate the sialyltransferase knockout cell lines to evaluate their importance for influenza viral infection. Outside of the work, Kaijun likes basketball, cooking and travelling.
Nichalle Brito, MS
Nichalle finished her Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Masters Degree at the University of British Columbia where she studied the Cricket Paralysis Virus. Outside of the lab, Nichalle enjoys knitting, cooking and exploring the city.
Philip is a PhD student who joined the lab in 2015, defecting from GGS. He has never looked back. Now, he plans to use influenza protein microarrays to answer questions about the antibody response to infection with influenza virus.
Jessica graduated from Temple University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and in 2014 she graduated with a Professional Science Master’s in Biotechnology. She began her medical school training in 2015 and Joined the Krammer Laboratory in 2017. She is interested in developing novel treatments and vaccine strategies and is currently focusing on investigating the antibody response against influenza B virus neuraminidase. Outside the lab, Jessica likes to read for fun, watch dramas with English subtitles, cook, eat delicious foods and spend time with family and friends.
Guha graduated from VIT University, India, with a B.Tech in Biotechnology. He then made his way to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and graduated with a Master of Biotechnology degree with a specialization in Molecular Biology. His research experience at Penn involved working on the effect of plasminogen on CXCR4, and mechanosensitive transcription factors such as TBX5, in Dr. Daniel Rader’s lab in the Perelman School of Medicine. Through the course of his Master’s, Guha undertook courses such as Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vaccines and Therapeutics, and Virology to indulge his interest in the field of viruses and how to combat them. He then decided to dive deeper into these fields by joining the PhD in Biomedical Sciences program at Mount Sinai in the Microbiology department. Following his PhD, Guha hopes to be involved in virus vaccine related research and development in an industrial setting. Outside of the lab, Guha enjoys photography, supporting Tottenham Hotspur (London based football/soccer club), being involved in student governance and organizations, being a foodie, playing video games, and listening to Electronic Dance Music.
Shirin is originally from a small town in Austria called Graz and came to New York for her masters thesis and then fell in love with the city. She likes kickboxing, exploring new restaurants and working with animals in different in vivo studies.