Principle Investigator

  1. Isaac Chiu

    Assistant Professor of Micro & Immunobiology

    Ph.D. Immunology - Harvard Medical School

    Isaac grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts, which is a quiet suburb of Boston. He worked in the Immunology laboratory of Dr. Jack Strominger as an undergraduate student at Harvard College, where he became interested in neuro-immune interactions. He went on to attend the PhD program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School, working in Dr. Mike Carroll's lab on how microglia and T cells affect the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Isaac worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Tom Maniatis's lab on transcriptional analysis of microglia during spinal cord activation. To study the neurobiology of pain, Isaac worked in Dr. Clifford Woolf's lab at Boston Children's Hospital on the inflammatory mechanisms of neuronal activation during bacterial infection. Isaac's personal interests include kayaking, hiking, and reading.


Research Assistant

  1. Kaitlin Goldstein

     

    B.S. Behavioral Neuroscience - Northeastern University

    Kaitlin grew up in the suburbs outside NYC before coming to Boston. She attended Northeastern University and earned a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience. During her studies she completed a co-op at Boston Children's Hospital in Dr. Larry Benowitz's lab, where she studied axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury. Post graduation she conducted pre-clinical pharmaceutical toxicity and efficacy studies at Toxikon Corporation, focusing on ocular research. Currently, in Dr. Chiu’s lab, she is interested in nociceptor-bacteria interactions in relation to host defense and pain production. In her personal life Katie spends her time volunteering for an animal rescue, backpacking, and reading.


Graduate Students

  1. Nicole Lai

     

    B.A./M.A. Neuroscience- Wesleyan University

    Nicole was born in Hong Kong and came to the USA in 2004 to earn her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Neuroscience at Wesleyan University, CT. She worked in Dr. David Bodznick's laboratory to characterize the plasticity of sensory processing signals in fish, and showed that the neural firing patterns were specific, independent, and additive. After graduating, she worked in Dr. Sylvie Le Gall's laboratory at the Ragon Institute and studied antigen processing mechanisms during HIV infection. In conjunction with members of the lab, she found that differential HIV epitope production by dendritic cells and macrophages impacted subsequent recognition by anti-viral CD8+ T cells. Nicole is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at HMS. Currently in Dr. Isaac Chiu's lab, her research interests include investigating the interactions between nociceptor neurons and the microbiota of the skin, specifically in relation to pain production and microbial homeostasis.


  1. Kimbria Mills

     

    B.S. Biochemistry - Rochester Institue of Technology

    Kimbria was born in California and since then has lived in Canada, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and now Massachusetts. She earned her B.S in Biochemistry at the Rochester Institute of Technology. As an undergraduate she worked with Dr. Suzanne O'Handley on characterizing potential novel antibiotic targets. Kimbria is now pursuing her PhD in the BBS program at Harvard. In Dr. Chiu's lab she is currently focusing on S. aureus toxins and their ability to produce pain. In her free time she enjoys cooking, knitting, and reading.


Postdoctoral Fellows

  1. Pankaj Baral

     

    Ph.D. Microbiology - Mahidol University, Thailand

    Pankaj was born in Nepal. He did a Masters in microbiology at Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He worked at Dr. Pongsak Utaisincharoen lab, Mahidol University, Thailand during his PhD in the projects related to immunopathogenesis of Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Tier 1 select agent. He found that this agent (i.e. B. psedomallei) is able to modulate the key TLR signaling pathways during infection in host cells for its intracellular lifestyle. He completed his PhD in 2013 and moved to Dr Samithamby Jeyaseelan lab at Louisiana State University for the postdoctoral training, where he worked in a multiple projects related to the host innate immunity in bacterial pneumonia and microbial sepsis. He found the key role of neutrophil chemoatttractant protein, CXCL1, in regulating the major host defense mechanisms during Gram-positive bacterial pneumonia. In another project, he discovered a novel immuno-regulating role of NLRP10 protein in microbial sepsis. Currently, at Dr Chiu lab, his major focus is on understanding the interaction of sensory neurons, immune cells and pathogen during pulmonary bacterial infection, particularly in investigating the impact of such interaction on lung inflammation and host defenses. Pankaj personal interests include hiking, traveling and reading.


  1. Nicole Yang

     

    Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering - MIT

    Nicole received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT. For her graduate work in Dane Wittrup's group, she developed bacterial pore-forming toxins as a cytoplasmic delivery tool for protein and siRNA payloads. Currently she is investigating the interaction between anthrax toxins and nociceptors and their effect on pain.


  1. Tiphaine Voisin

     

    Ph.D. Neurosciences- University of Montpellier, France

    Tiphaine was born in Nantes, a city on the west coast of France. She obtained her Master’s degree in Health Biology at the University of Montpellier in the south of France. For her PhD, she worked in Dr. Philippe Lory’s lab on the metal/redox modulation of the calcium channel Cav3.2 in the pain pathway. In collaboration with Dr. Emmanuel Bourinet, she showed that DRG neurons from mice lacking this modulation had an altered excitability. Currently in Dr. Chiu’s lab, she is interested in the interaction between the sensory neurons and the immune system and how it plays a role during itch and pain.


  1. Felipe Ribeiro

     

    Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology - State University of Londrina, Brazil

    Felipe was born and grew up in Londrina, a city located in the south of Brazil. He earned his B. S. in Biomedicine and his Master`s degree in Experimental Pathology at the State University of Londrina (UEL). He has been working with prof. Dr. Waldiceu Ap. Verri Jr. on how inflammation contribute to induce pain, focusing on the role of cytokines and reactive oxygen species. Felipe continued in the same program for his PhD and now is working in Chiu`s lab to describe the mechanisms by which bacterial infections cause pain and the role of neurons in the course of infection


Visiting Scientists

  1. Hailian Shi

     

    Ph.D. Traditional Chinese Medicine-- Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China

    Hailian was born and grew up in Zhejiang Province, China. She attended Ningbo University, China and easrned a B.S. in Biological Science. She received her Ph.D. in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Shanghai University. She then became an Associate Professor at Shanghai University. In the first years, she has done research on gastrointestinal cancer treatment with natural chemical compounds from traditional chinese medicine. Later, she became interested in neuropharmacology with TCM and demonstrated the pathological/neuropharmalogical mechanismas of neuropsychiatric disorders based on the gastrointestinall tract through neuro-immune interaction. Now, in Dr. Chiu's lab, she is interested in how gut microbiota affects gut motility and visceral pain. Hailian's personal interests include growing flowers and reading.


Former Lab Members

  1. Yibing (Michelle) Wei

     

    B.S. Life Sciences -- Nankai University, China

    Yibing is finishing her undergraduate degree at Nankai Univserity in China.


  1. Yan Zhou

     

    Ph.D./M.D. Medical Microbiology - Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

    Yan is now a Scientist in Dr. Darren Higgin's lab at Harvard Medical School


  1. Rianne Haarsma

     

    B.S. Biomedical Sciences- University of Groningen, Netherlands

    Rianne will be attending Medical School in the Netherlands in 2017.


  1. Balthasar Heesters

     

    Ph.D. Immunology - Utrecht University, Netherlands