People

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Isaac Chiu

Associate Professor of Immunobiology
Ph.D. in Immunology - Harvard Medical School
 
Isaac Chiu is Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. He received his undergraduate training in Biochemistry at Harvard College, working with Dr. Jack Strominger on MHC molecules in immune synapses. He then received a PhD in Immunology at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Carroll, working on immune responses in neurodegeneration. He then trained in Dr. Tom Maniatis’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow on ALS. He did his second postdoctoral fellowship on the neurobiology of pain at Boston Children’s Hospital under Dr. Clifford Woolf. He started his lab at Harvard medical school in 2014.
 
His research focuses on interactions between the nervous system, immune system, and microbes in host defense and inflammation. He has found that nociceptor neurons directly sense bacteria and immune mediators to produce pain. These neurons signal to the immune system via neuropeptides and neurotransmitters to mediate immunity in the skin, gut, and lungs. Recent work has shown that immune modulators also regulate itch during allergic inflammation. Defining neuroimmune crosstalk could lead to novel treatments for allergic diseases, infection, and pain. Dr. Chiu has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Ben Barres Award, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award.


Harvard Medical School
4 Blackfan Circle Building, Room 812A
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 432-1236
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Himanish Basu

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences - Harvard University, Boston


Himanish was born in Kolkata, a city in the eastern part of India. After getting his undergraduate degree in microbiology from St. Xavier's College, he moved to the west cost of India to a city called Mumbai. There he got his Master's degree in Biological Sciences from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research while working on the biology of the malarial parasite and exploring potential therapeutics to prevent and treat malarial infections. For his Ph.D., he moved to Boston and worked in Dr. Thomas Schwarz's lab at Harvard Medical School, on mitochondrial dynamics in neurons and its implications on neuronal glucose metabolism and diabetic neuropathy.... Read more about Himanish Basu

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Matthew Bergstresser

Research Assistant
B.S. in Clinical Neuroscience – Virginia Tech

Matthew is a Charlottesville, Virginia native who received his bachelor’s degree in Clinical Neuroscience at Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate he worked in the Sontheimer lab, mentored by Dr. Tré Mills, studying astrocytes and their contributions towards the blood brain barrier. During his time between leaving Blacksburg and moving up to Boston, he completed an epic thru-hike of the 2,193 mile-long Appalachian Trail. In the Chiu lab, Matthew is interested in studying how neuro-immune interactions contribute towards neurodegeneration diseases such as ALS. Outside of the lab, he enjoys exploring the... Read more about Matthew Bergstresser

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Samantha Choi

Lab Manager/ Research Assistant
B.S. in Molecular and Medical Biology - MCPHS University


Samantha was born in Ohio and lived in South Korea and Massachusetts. She received her B.S. degree in Molecular and Medical Biology at MCPHS University. She was an undergraduate research student in the Chiu lab working with Kimbria Blake. Samantha worked to determine the mechanisms of itch during a Staphylococcus aureus epicutaneous skin infection on mouse model. As a research assistant, she will be working to determine if Botox can treat a variety of bacterial skin infections. ... Read more about Samantha Choi

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Liwen Deng

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology - University of California San Diego/ San Diego State University joint doctoral program


Liwen grew up in San Francisco, California. She earned her B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California San Diego and her Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego/ San Diego State University joint doctoral program in Cell and Molecular Biology. For her doctoral research, Liwen worked in the laboratory of Dr. Kelly Doran where she examined host and bacterial factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of Group B Streptococcus, a leading cause of neonatal pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis.... Read more about Liwen Deng

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Ozge Erdogan

Graduate Student
DMSc Student, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Yeditepe University Dental School, Turkey

Ozge graduated from Yeditepe University Dental School, Turkey and completed endodontic (root canals!) residency training at Hacettepe University, Turkey. During residency, she treated patients with excruciating toothache on a daily basis. This experience motivated her for pain research. She worked as a full-time instructor at NYU College of Dentistry, and was involved in clinical pain studies. In hopes of better understanding the underlying mechanisms of dental pain and its relationship with dental infection, she decided... Read more about Ozge Erdogan

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Larissa Ferrari

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

Larissa was born and grew up in Adamantina, a small town located inside of Sao Paulo. She earned her B.S in Pharmacy, and to pursue the career in science she started her master’s degree in Experimental Pathology at the State University of Londrina. Larissa worked in the lab of Dr. Waldiceu Verri where she studied the mechanisms of painful chronic conditions (i.e. gouty and septic arthritis and neuropathy). Because of her interest in pain, Larissa went to the University of California San Francisco to work with Dr. Jon D. Levine. There she studied the mechanisms... Read more about Larissa Ferrari

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Georgia Gunner

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. in Neuroscience – University of Massachusetts Medical School

Georgia was born in England but grew up in Massachusetts. She received her B.S in Biology-Psychology from Tufts University in 2012. She went on to do her Ph.D in Neuroscience under the mentorship of Dr. Dorothy Schafer at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a graduate student, she studied microglial contributions to cortical synapse remodeling in response to sensory deprivation. In the Chiu lab, Georgia hopes to interrogate the role of innate immunity... Read more about Georgia Gunner

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Ryo Kawamoto

Visiting Scholar
Medical Student - The University of Tokyo

Ryo was born and grew up in Hyogo, a prefecture located in the west of Japan. He is a medical student at the University of Tokyo and working as a research intern at National Institute of Infectious Diseases where he studies how intestinal helminth infection modulates the gut microbiota and host immune response.... Read more about Ryo Kawamoto

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Yueting Lu

Undergraduate Student
Behavioral Neuroscience and Global Health – Northeastern University
Yueting was born in Suzhou, China. She is a sophomore at Northeastern University studying behavioral neuroscience and global health. Yueting has previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Affective and Brain Sciences Lab where she studied victim blaming and affective response to violent scenarios. At Chiu lab, Yueting is mentored by Dr. Georgia Gunner and investigates how pyroptotic cell death and... Read more about Yueting Lu
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Kimberly Meerschaert

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. in Neuroscience - University of Pittsburgh

Kim was born in Bay City, Michigan. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Saginaw Valley State University and her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. For her graduate work, Kim worked in the lab of Dr. Brian Davis studying the role of visceral afferents arising from the spinal nerves and vagal nerves in colon function. In Dr. Chiu’s lab, she is interested in how spinal and vagal afferents interact with the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract during... Read more about Kimberly Meerschaert

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Dylan Neel

Graduate Student
M.D. PhD Student, Harvard/MIT
M.Phil in Pharmacology - University of Cambridge and A.B. in Neurobiology - Harvard College


Dylan grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard College (A.B. neurobiology) and subsequently earned an M.Phil in pharmacology from the University of Cambridge. As an undergraduate, he worked in Dr. Angela Koehler’s lab to use chemical-biology approaches to target transcription factors in human cancers. Dylan is currently a student in the Harvard MD-PhD program (BBS), and hopes to graduate sometime in the next several decades. He is interested in studying how neuro-immune interactions can modulate pain responses and contribute to processes like neuropathy and neurodegeneration. ... Read more about Dylan Neel

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Chang Ook Park

Visiting Scholar
Associate Professor at Yonsei University College of Medicine
M.D. and Ph.D. - Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea and Dermatology Residency - Severance Hospital
Chang Ook Park was born and grew up in South Korea, where he received a MD and a PhD at Yonsei University College of Medicine and trained a dermatology... Read more about Chang Ook Park
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Felipe Ribeiro

Postdoctoral Researcher
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 and PhD degree in Experimental Pathology at the State University of Londrina (UEL). Felipe previously worked with prof. Dr. Waldiceu Ap. Verri Jr at UEL where he described the therapeutic potential of new compounds that modulate immune responses to treat inflammatory pain and was awarded the best thesis prize by the Brazilian government in 2017 (CAPES Thesis Prize). Felipe is currently working with Dr Isaac Chiu to understand how the interplay between neuronal signaling and immune cells contributes to diseases caused by bacteria in order to find new approaches to treat infectious diseases. ... Read more about Felipe Ribeiro

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Tori Tong

Research Assistant
A.B. in Neurobiology, Music Secondary - Harvard College

Tori was born in Sydney, Australia.  She moved to Boston in 2016 for college and completed her A.B. in neurobiology (secondary in music) at Harvard College.  As an undergraduate, she worked in the lab of Dr. Hopi Hoekstra, mentored by (now) Dr. Felix Baier, and studied the evolution of visually guided defensive behaviours in ecologically diverged species of Peromyscus mice.... Read more about Tori Tong