Lab Leadership

Viviana Simon, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor | Simon Lab
Director | Personalized Virology Initiative

Dr. Viviana Simon’s research focuses on understanding viral-host interactions in the context of human and viral diversity. She is interested in the mode of action of known (APOBEC3 cytidine deaminases, SAMHD1) and novel retroviral restriction factors as well as the corresponding HIV, SIV and HTLV antagonists. In addition, she studies the mechanisms driving HIV-1 drug resistance, the role of copy number variation within immune system genes and develop tools to study HIV latency and anti-sense transcription at the single cell level. Her research has been continuously funded by NIH/NIAID since 2003. In addition to conducting basic research, she serves the community by mentoring and teaching. Not only is she a member of the M.D./Ph.D. Admissions committee, but she is also Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute Seminar Series and since 2016, the Director of the Personalized Virology Initiative.

Faculty Page        PubMed

Lubbertus Mulder, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor | Mulder Lab

Dr. Lubbertus Mulder is a research assistant professor in the Microbiology Department at ISMMS and joined the Simon lab in 2006. Prior to that he received his formal education and initial training in Italy, (University of Milan, European Joint Research Center Ispra, and the Institute for Immunobiological Research Siena now GSK). He did his post-doctoral work at the Skirball Intitute at NYU Medical Center, and at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center where he trained in molecular virology. His research interest include the interaction of host factors with HIV-1, the impact of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) on HIV-1 life cycle, the use of ERVs as molecular markers of different pathological states.

Faculty Page        PubMed

Giulio Kleiner, Ph.D.

Laboratory Operations Manager

Dr. Kleiner is the lab manager for the Simon lab since joining in 2019. Prior to joining Mount Sinai Dr. Kleiner achieved a Masters in Medical Biotechnologies and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience – Neurobiology at the University of Trieste in Trieste, Italy. Dr. Kleiner worked in different fields of the neurosciences. His PhD thesis was centered on an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease, his first postdoc was focused on the rare genetic disease “Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency” and, finally, Dr. Kleiner’s research at Columbia University investigated the role of sulfide oxidation impairment in the pathogenesis of primary CoQ deficiency.

Outside of the lab Dr. Kleiner enjoys scuba diving and playing rugby!


Komal Srivastava, M.S.

Director, Strategy & Operations

Ms. Srivastava joined the Simon Lab in 2020 as the clinical research manager focusing on operations and managament for the Personalized Virology Initiative. Prior to joining the lab, Komal worked at Mount Sinai for the Program for the Protection of Human Subjects and then for the Leni & Peter W. May Department of Orthopedics. Komal earned her bachelors in Economics and Sociocultural Anthropology from University of California, Davis and then achieved her Masters in Health Care Delivery & Leadership from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Outside of the lab Komal enjoys dance, travelling (especially where beaches are involved) and party planning!

Post Doctoral Fellows

Grace Eunhye Kim, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Eun Hye Kim joined the Simon laboratory in 2019. She received her Ph.D. from Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. Prior to joining the Simon laboratory, Dr. Kim was a senior research scientist at a non-governmental organization (NGO). She focused her research efforts on developing single dose, mucosal vaccination strategies based on live-attenuated vaccines against infectious diseases for developing and low income countries. In the Simon laboratory at the ISMMS, her research focuses on development of lentiviral dual-reporter vector systems, examining the susceptibility of CD4+ memory T cell subsets, such as stem cell memory and other cell types in human brain, to HIV infection, and investigating approaches to prevent these cell types from becoming a latent HIV reservoir. Dr. Kim also contributes to human influenza virus surveillance and risk assessments.

Lab Members

Hala Alshammary, M.S.

Ph.D. Student

Hala is an accomplished scientist who completed her master’s from New York University. Hala specializes in coordinating lab experiments and working with the Pathogen Surveillance Program.

María Carolina Bermúdez González, M.P.H.

Study Coordinator 

Carolina joined the Simon Lab in 2016. She completed her Masters degree in Public Health from the ISMMS. Prior to her Masters degree, Carolina worked as research technician in different laboratories at NYU studying malaria parasites. Currently she coordinates the Personalized Virology Initiative.

Outside of the lab you can spot Carolina biking around town, her other interests also focus on camping and vertical indoor farming!

Gianna Cai, B.A.

Clinical Research Assistant

Gianna joined the Simon Lab in 2021. She accomplished her Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry at Mount Holyoke College. Her research interests primarily include vaccine responses among immunosuppressed populations and in the future, Gianna plans on attending medical school.

Outside of the lab, Gianna enjoys baking and bubble tea!

Daniel Caughey, B.S.

Administrative Coordinator

Daniel accomplished his BS in Health Policy and Management from Providence College, including a program in Copenhagen, Denmark studying Healthcare Delivery and Prioritization. Prior to his time in the Simon Lab, Daniel worked as a Medical Team Associate in the Boston Children’s Hospital NICU. He is currently a master’s candidate in the Healthcare Administration program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Outside of the lab, Daniel enjoys running, hiking, and dogs!

Christian Cognigni, BA

Associate Researcher

Christian accomplished his Bachelors of Arts in Biology with a minor in history from New York University, awarded with the Garcilaso De La Vega Prize in Latin American History. His research interests span microbial drug resistance and pathogenesis. In the future, Christian plans to attend graduate school and conduct his own research in Microbiology.

Outside the lab, Christian enjoys cooking and reading books!

Charles Gleason, B.S.

Senior Data Analyst

Charles achieved his Bachelor’s of Science from Brown University and completed post graduate training in data science. His research interests span synthetic biology and data structures!

Outside of the lab Charles is passionate for biophysics, mountains, and pie! (Especially ones he has made)

Hyun Min Kang, B.A.

Associate Researcher

Hyun Min accomplished his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Hunter College, City University of New York with a major in biochemistry. His research interests include Microbiology and Immunology. In the future, he plans on attending medical school and becoming a physician. His hobbies include the following: astrophotography, playing the piano, amateur radio, attending opera.

Neko Lyttle, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator

Neko achieved his Bachelors of Arts in Biology and plans to pursue a career in clinical research! Neko is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Clinical Trial Management

Jake Mauldin, B.S.

Clinical Research Assistant

Jake accomplished his B.S. in Global Public Health from New York University. His research interests include Health Policy and Environmental Health. In the future, he plans on expanding his knowledge in graduate school.

Outside of the lab, Jake enjoys coaching, basketball, and e-sports!

Brian Monahan, M.S.

Associate Researcher

Brian accomplished his MS in Public Health with a focus in Epidemiology from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his BS in Microbiology from University of Maine. His research interests include virology, immunology, genetics, biostatistics, epidemiology, and public health. Eventually, he would like to pursue a PhD in either virology, epidemiology, genetics or biostatistics.

Outside of the lab, Brian enjoys photography, cooking, climbing.

Jessica Nardulli, B.S.

Clinical Research Assistant

Prior to joining the Simon Lab, Jessica received her B.S. in Biology and Society with a minor in Psychology from Cornell University in 2021. Her research interests include epidemiology, healthcare policy, public attitudes toward vaccination, as well as Alzheimer’s research. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing trumpet, guitar, and piano! Jessica also enjoys cooking and donating blood.

Annika Oostenink, B.S.

Clinical Research Assistant

Annika completed her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology at Tulane University. Her research interests include COVID-19, addiction, and neurodegenerative diseases. In the future, Annika plans to attend medical school and hopes to become a Psychiatrist that works within prison populations. In her free time, Annika loves to hangout with friends and cook new recipes.

Jose Polanco, B.S.

Associate Researcher

Jose accomplished his Bachelors of Science in Public Health from Syracuse University. His research interests span microbiology, cardiology, and genomics. In the future, he plans on becoming an orthopedic surgeon!

In his free time, Jose enjoys playing sports, video games, and spending time with his friends.

Morgan van Kesteren, B.A.

Clinical Research Assistant

Morgan accomplished her B.A. in Classical Studies from Colgate University. Her research interests include viral pathogenesis, vaccines, bone pathology, and effectiveness of surgical techniques. Morgan’s future plans include attending medical school and pursuing a career in pediatric orthopedic surgery.

Outside of the lab, Morgan enjoys sailing, hiking, playing soccer, singing, and baking with friends!

Graduate Students

Arman Azad, B.A.

Medical Student

Arman achieved his Bachelors in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University. He is interested in immune responses to infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Arman is currently working on a project evaluating responses to SARS-CoV-2 in people with HIV, including antibody responses to vaccination and natural infection. He will be finishing up medical school at Mount Sinai before heading off to residency!

In his spare time, he loves biking around New York City and venturing out on longer rides upstate!