MIT Microbiology Graduate Students
(always under construction!)

     
Ortiz Lopez, Anthony
Entry Year: 2016
1st Year

BS: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
 
Padmakumar, Jai
Entry Year: 2016
1st Year

BS: University of Washington
 
Schwartz, Sarah
Entry Year: 2016
1st Year

BS: University of California, San Diego
MS: MIT
 
Soble, Rachel
Entry Year: 2016
1st Year

BS: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
 
Ward, Elizabeth
Entry Year: 2016
1st Year

BS: University of Utah
 
Blank, Caitlin
Entry Year: 2015
Bell Lab

BA: Amherst College


 
Cervantes, Bernardo
Entry Year: 2015
Prather Lab and Collins Lab

BS: University of California, Berkeley

 
Clark, Emily
Entry Year: 2015
Grossman Lab

BA: Bowdoin College

 
Enghuus, Casper
Entry Year: 2015
1st Year
Weiss Lab

BNG, MNG: Technical University of Denmark

 
Wang, Benjamin
Entry Year: 2015
Laub Lab and Ribbeck Lab

BS: California Institutte of Technology

 
Wheeler, Kelsey
Entry Year: 2015
Ribbeck Lab

BA: University of Chicago

 
Nathaniel Chu
Entry Year: 2014
Alm Lab

BS: Brown University


I am fascinated by two questions: What processes govern the evolution and ecology of microbial communities? And how can we harness these processes to create practical solutions to problems in human and ecological health? Towards this end, I am studying how interactions between our gut microbiota and immune system result in diseases like obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and behavioral disorders. Beyond science, I love alpinism, thru-hiking, and outdoor education. For more information see my website: http://nathanieldavidchu.wordpress.com
Joseph Elsherbini
Entry Year: 2014
Polz Lab

BS: Georgia Institute of Technology


My research before coming to MIT used genetic tools to understand group behaviors in the bacterium V. cholerae. At MIT I am learning quantitative techniques for analyzing high throughput sequencing data, but I'll be using a mix of both dry and wet lab techniques to get at ecological questions. I am particularly interested in understanding the extent to which bacteriophage control populations of bacteria in the healthy human gut. Aside from research, I enjoy cooking, indoor rock climbing, and exploring the Boston area.
Joshua Jones
Entry Year: 2014
Grossman Lab

BS: University of Maine


Jason Nguyen
Entry Year: 2014
Ploegh Lab

BS: University of California, Santa Cruz

Jing Zhang
Entry Year: 2014
Voigt Lab
2014-2015 Chevron-MIT Energy Fellow

BA: Smith College

My research interest lies at the interface of synthetic and system biology. I’m interested in using sequencing tools to understand and characterize the interaction of synthetic genetic circuits and host organisms. Outside the lab, I enjoy traveling, reading, and fluffy animals.
Mary Anderson
Entry Year: 2013
Grossman Lab

BS: University of Wisconsin, Madison


I did my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go badgers!) where I worked on bacterial metabolism in Salmonella enterica.  Currently, I work in the Grossman Lab and I am primarily interested in the coordination of gene expression and cell division in Bacillus subtilis.

Djenet Bousbaine
Entry Year: 2013
Ploegh Lab

BS, MS: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology



I did my bachelor and master at EPFL in Switzerland where I worked on the cell cycle in Mycobacterium smegmatis. Before coming to MIT, I spent two years studying the Type III Secretion system in Salmonella enterica at Yale University. Currently in the Ploegh lab, I study the response of immune cells to their cognate antigen using transnuclear mouse models specific for ovalbumin and a commensal bacteria.

Isaak Mueller
Entry Year: 2013
Lu Lab

BS, MS: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology



I did my bachelor and master at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In the Lu lab, I'm working on microbiome and probiotic engineering to sense and treat inflammation in the GI tract. In my free time I enjoy watching (real = European) football and traveling. 

David VanInsberghe
Entry Year: 2013
Polz Lab

BS: University Of British Columbia


Before coming to MIT my research was primarily focused on studying the ecology of bacterial communities in forest soils across North America. I came here interested in studying the ecological processes that drive the evolution of interactions between microbial lineages in the environment. In my spare time I like to hike, take photos, and garden.

Benjamin Waldman
Entry Year: 2013
Saeij Lab

BS: University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Philip Arevalo
Philip Arevalo
Entry Year: 2012
Polz Lab
2012-2013 BP-MIT Energy Fellow

BS: Brown University

I arrived at MIT with a strong interest in microbial ecology and evolution. In particular, I'm interested in understanding how complex microbial communities assemble. When I'm not thinking about science, I'm probably singing some Gilbert & Sullivan or playing guitar.
Christopher Bandoro
Christopher Bandoro
Entry Year: 2012
Runstadler Lab

BS: University of Guelph

During my undergrad I studied the outer membrane vesicles produced by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the context of Cystic Fibrosis. At MIT I'm interested in studying how the external and host environments influence the transmission and evolution of pathogens. Aside from research, I enjoy running along the Charles River, playing squash, watching TV, and learning to cook delicious meals.
Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
Entry Year: 2012
Runstadler Lab
2012-2013 BP-MIT Energy Fellow

BS: University of California, Santa Cruz

I am interested in pathogenic microbes and understanding how these organisms can evolve to survive in new environments and cause disease. My research utilizes experimental evolution in combination with next-generation sequencing to understand the mechanisms that allow influenza A virus to adapt to a novel host.
I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing, and anything else that gets me outside.
Logan Higgins
Logan Higgins
Entry Year: 2012
Gore Lab

BA: Lewis & Clark College

As an undergraduate, my research focused on the ecology of plant-symbiotic bacteria and fungi in forests of the Pacific Northwest. At MIT, I am primarily interested in how diversity is generated and maintained in different microbial ecosystems. I enjoy grocery shopping, architecture and design, hiking, and cats.
Michael Maloney
Entry Year: 2012
Bell Lab

BS: University of Wisconsin, Madison

Jennifer Nguyen
Jennifer Nguyen
Entry Year: 2012
Stocker Lab

BS, MS: University of California, San Diego


Research Focus: Linking physiology and ecology of marine bacteria, Bacterial growth efficiency.
Robert Citorik

Robert Citorik
Entry Year: 2011
Lu Lab
2015-2016 William Asbjornsen Albert Memorial Fellow

BS: University of New Hampshire

I completed my undergraduate studies in microbiology at the University of New Hampshire, where I studied toxin production in EHEC. I decided to continue in the field of pathogenic bacteria as a research assistant in the Infectious Disease department at Massachusetts General Hospital exploring virulence factors in Salmonella and Vibrio cholerae. Currently, I am seeking to work somewhere at the interface of synthetic biology and infectious diseases, with particular interests in both antibiotic resistance and enteric pathogens. Outside of academia, I enjoy running, hiking, and mixed martial arts, as well as weekend trips back to the clean air of NH where syrup is simply assumed to be pure maple.
Diana Falla Castillo
Alejandra Falla Castillo
Entry Year: 2011
Niles Lab

BS, MS: Universidad De Los Andes



Plasmodium falciparum is the causative agent of most severe form of malaria. The lack of an effective vaccine to combat this disease highlights the importance of developing new therapies that target essential functions in the parasite. However, genetic manipulation of P. falciparum is difficult because of the absence of RNAi machinery and limited transcriptional regulatory systems. My research is focused on the development and utilization of inducible transcriptional regulatory strategies for identifying and controlling the expression of essential P. falciparum genes.
Leonor Garcia Bayona
Leonor Garcia Bayona
Entry Year: 2011
Laub Lab

BS, MS: Universidad De Los Andes



I work with a freshwater bacterium called Caulobacter crescentus, which has the ability to thrive in very nutrient poor conditions.  I'm characterizing a bacteriocin system: a group of genes that allow the cells to kill closely related bacteria, usually to outcompete them when resources are limited in the growth environment.

 

Mark Mimee
Mark Mimee
Entry Year: 2011
Lu Lab

BS: McGill University

I earned my B.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University, where I pursued undergraduate research on characterizing virulence factors in EHEC and EPEC. I came to MIT with a strong interest in applying synthetic biology techniques to develop new tools to combat bacterial pathogens and other infectious diseases. Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking and laying down a groove on my double bass.
Katie Moravec
Entry Year: 2011
Laub Lab

BA: Amherst College

Yekaterina Tarasova
Yekaterina Tarasova
Entry Year: 2011
Prather Lab
2011-12 Total-MIT Energy Fellow

BS: University of California, San Diego
Ph.D.: MIT

Diane Haakonsen (Baer)
Entry Year: 2010
Laub Lab

BS, MS: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Postdoctoral Associate at University of California, Berkeley
Diana Chien
Diana Chien
Entry Year: 2010
Polz Lab
2010-11 Shell-MIT Energy Fellow

BS: Princeton University
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Manager and Instructor in the MIT Biological Engineering Communications Lab

Kimberly Cirelli
Kimberly Cirelli
Entry Year: 2010
Saeij Lab

BS, MS: Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Postdoctoral Researcher at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Julia Co
Julia Co
Entry Year: 2010
Ribbeck Lab

BS: University of California, Los Angeles
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford University
Fahim Farzadfard
Fahim Farzadfard
Entry Year: 2010
Lu Lab

BS, MS: Tehran University


I earned my Bachelor and MSc degrees in Biotechnology from University of Tehran, Iran. My previous research experiences include study of glucose signaling pathway in yeast, fermentations and microarray data analysis. My research interests range from building new tools for synthetic biology to modeling signaling pathways and regulatory networks. Currently, I am developing a synthetic receptor system in yeast for sensing extracellular synthetic ligands.
Jacob Rubens
Entry Year: 2010
Lu Lab
2010-11 Shell-MIT Energy Fellow

BA: Washington University, St. Louis
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: VentureLabs Associate at Flagship Ventures
Christopher Aakre
Entry Year: 2009
Laub Lab

BS: Stanford University
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.
Andres Cubillos Ruiz
Andres Cubillos Ruiz
Entry Year: 2009
Chisholm Lab
2009-10 BP-MIT Energy Fellow

BS, MS: Universidad De Los Andes
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Post-Doctoral Associate in the Collins Lab at MIT.
Anna deRegt
Anna de Regt
Entry Year: 2009
Sauer Lab

BS: Swarthmore College
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Post-Doctoral Appointee at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Nicole Kavanaugh
Entry Year: 2009
Ribbeck Lab

BS: Hofstra University
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Scientist at Aldevron
Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Entry Year: 2009
Alm Lab
2009-10 BP-MIT Energy Fellow
2012 Martin Fellow

BA: Princeton University
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Co-Founder and Research Director at Open Biome
Ninghan Yang
Entry Year: 2009
Saeij Lab

BS: Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine
Ph.D.: MIT
Currently: Postdoctoral fellow in Antonio Bertolleti’s lab at National University Singapore
tyler dewitt

Tyler DeWitt
Entry Year: 2008
Grossman Lab

BS: Brown University
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Education Consultant and YouTube Education Creator
Kayla Menard
Kayla Menard
Entry Year: 2008
Grossman Lab

BS: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Postdoctoral Appointee at Sandia National Laboratories.
Ana Oromendia
Ana Oromendia
Entry Year: 2008
Amon Lab

BS: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Research Scientist at Celmatix Inc.
Alison Takemura

Alison Takemura
Entry Year: 2008

Polz Lab
2013 Martin Fellow
2014-2015 Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fellow

BS: Rice University
Ph.D.: MIT


Jessica Thompson
Jessica Thompson
Entry Year: 2008
Chisholm Lab

BA: Princeton University
Ph.D.: MIT

Currently: Post-Doctoral Associate at MIT.


 

Benjamin Vincent
Entry Year: 2008
Lindquist Lab

BS: Stanford University
Ph.D.: MIT

 

Currently: Scientist at Yumanity Therapeutics.

 

 

Inquiries regarding the Microbiology Graduate Program may be sent to:

B L Whang
Microbiology Graduate Program
Building 68-139
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

e-mail:  microbiology [at] mit.edu