The Team

Current members

Talia H. Swartz, MD, PhD (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor

Talia is originally from New York (born at Mount Sinai Hospital). She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Barnard College and completed her MD and PhD at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She then completed her Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital through the research track and joined the laboratory of Dr. Benjamin Chen to where she obtained a K08 award to support her research project probing the role of purinergic signaling in HIV-1 infection. Talia’s R01-funded laboratory is focused on understanding the role of inflammatory signaling in HIV-1 infection and inflammation. Talia is passionate about physician scientist careers, understanding the challenges of women and trainees who are underrepresented in science and medicine, and understanding the mechanisms of host pathogen interactions. Outside of lab, Talia enjoys spending time with her family, two kids and dog, Chickpea and cat, Omaha.


Trinisia Fortune, MSc (she/her/hers)

Research Associate

Trinisia is originally from West Harlem. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the City College of New York and her Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Trinisia is studying the impact of drugs that target the purinergic signaling and NLRP3 inflammasome pathway on HIV-1 infection using a human tonsil explant model. Her career goal is to pursue an MD-PhD and to be a physician-scientist. Outside of lab, Trinisia likes to run marathons, travel, cook, loves the outdoors and is a huge foodie.


Alice Min, MD, PhD (she/her/hers)

Infectious Disease Clinical Fellow / Post-doctoral Fellow

Alice is originally from New Jersey. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Wellesley College in 2009, her PhD in Molecular Biology from Princeton in 2016 and her MD at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 2018. Alice is currently completing her Infectious Diseases fellowship and is developing a humanized mouse model and iPSC-derived microglial model to evaluate the role of HIV infection and inflammation in the brain. Alice’s career goal is to do translational HIV research as a physician-scientist. Outside of lab, Alice enjoys watching Netflix, specifically documentaries, reading books, spending time with family and friends IPA beer.


Natalia Rodriguez (she/her/hers)

Research Associate

Natalia (Nat) is originally from Santiago de Cali, Colombia. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with a Concentration in Mathematics from Columbia University. Nat is developing an understanding of the impact of purinergic receptor targeting on early stages of HIV-1 infection correlating the use of flow cytometry with a single cell optofluidic platform. Her career goal is to pursue an MD-PhD and to be a physician-scientist. Outside of lab, Nat loves dance (was a member of Columbia University’s First Latino Dance Troupe), action movies, and spending time with her family and friends.


Connie Zhao (she/her/hers)

Internal Medicine Resident

Connie is from Toronto and went to Yale for her undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, studying small molecule modulators of cell signaling. Connie then went to Harvard Medical School where she completed an Honors thesis and Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship studying small molecule MF275 as a novel class of HIV-1 entry inhibitor. Connie is passionate about social action, having served in leadership positions in AIDS support advocacy and HIV counseling and prevention. As a resident at Mount Sinai, Connie has been working in the Swartz lab studying the single cell transcriptomic profiles of HIV-1 infected lymhphoid tissue. Connie hopes to become an academic Infectious Diseases clinician scientist. Outside of lab, Connie has two rescue dogs, a Chihuahua mix named Penny and a Shih Tzu-poodle mix named Grady, and enjoys camping and freshwater fishing.


Esha Hegde (she/her/hers)

Undergraduate Student

Esha is originally from Columbia, South Carolina. She is currently majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in History from the University of South Carolina Honors College. Esha joined the Swartz lab as a NIDA Summer Research Intern and has been continuing research investigating the role of purinergic signaling in HIV-1 infection using a single cell optofluidic platform to correlate calcium signaling with HIV-1 productive infection. Esha is hoping to obtain an MD-PhD and to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. Outside of lab, Esha enjoys reading, walking her dog, and running a podcast with some of her friends.


Lab alumni

Trainee name Start/end date of training Terminal degree received and year Position while a trainee Current position
Rebecca Lee, DO 2011-2012 MSBS, 2012 Masters student Doctor of Osteopathy
Kenneth Law, PhD 2011-2016 PhD, 2016 PhD student Associate Director at Rocket Pharmaceuticals
Laura Cheney, MD 2014 -2015 MD, 2013 Internal Medicine Resident Infectious Diseases fellow, Montefiore Medical Center
Maxwell Allison 2015 -2017 BS, 2022 High school student Undergraduate student, Tufts University
Anthony Esposito, PhD 2015 -2017 PhD, 2010 Post-doctoral fellow Assistant Professor, New Jersey City University
Allison Glaser, MD 2015 -2017 MD, 2013 Infectious Diseases Fellow Infectious Diseases Physician, Private Practice
Natasha Durham, PhD 2016 -2017 PhD, 2015 Post-doctoral fellow Instructor, UMass Chen Medical School
Elizabeth Osota 2017 -2019 BS, 2018 SURP student Business Analyst/Consultant at Clarkston Consulting
Foram Patel 2017 -2019 MSc, 2016 Research Assistant PhD Student, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Alexandra Soare 2017-2019 BS, 2017 Research Associate PhD Student at University of Maryland
Hagerah Malik 2020-2021 BA, 2020 Research Associate MD/PhD Student at University of Chicago
Tracey Freeman 2018 -2021 BA, 2018 SURP student MD/PhD Student at University of Pittsburg-Carnegie Melon
Caroline Mullis, MD 2018 -2020 MD, 2016 Research Resident Infectious Diseases Fellow, Montefiore Medical Center
Karishma Rahman, MD 2020 -present MD-PhD, 2019 Resident Resident, Mount Sinai Hospital
Kanen Embery 2021-present BS, 2022 APSA Virtual Summer Research Program Undergraduate Student, Howard University