Team

Jose Ordovas-Montanes
Principal Investigator

Jose grew up in a Spanish household within the Boston area, circling the perimeter with high school in Framingham, MA, college at Tufts University, and graduate studies in the Harvard Immunology program. During his undergraduate, Jose worked in human immunology labs at Biogen Idec, University College London, and Children's Hospital Boston, where he focused on monogenic immune deficiencies. For his PhD work, Jose trained with Uli von Andrian, studying how the nervous system and the immune system function together as the principal sensory interfaces between the internal and external environments.

Due to his problem of reading a lot, having ignored epithelial cells, and wanting to return to the human system, he decided to take the plunge into the field of single cell genomics to be able to work on all cell types, all the time. As a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Alex K. Shalek at MIT, the Broad, and the Ragon Institute, he began charting maps of human gut and airway, and discovered how human stem cells can be shaped by, and remember, inflammation. He was supported by a great team of undergraduate students, graduate students, and technicians.

Sam Kazer
Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, Ordovas-Montanes and von Andrian Labs

Sam is a joint postdoctoral fellow in the Ordovas-Montanes and von Andrian (HMS) labs interested in studying immune memory to viral infections at barrier tissues. Focusing on the upper respiratory tract, Sam's research aims to characterize and functionally test epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms of trained immunity capable of protecting against viral infection. After attending grades K-12 across four different states, Sam completed his B.A. at Columbia University, and graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry at MIT. Majoring in Chemical Physics at Columbia, his research applied non-linear spectroscopy to study enzyme-DNA and small-molecule-DNA interactions. At MIT and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT & Harvard, he trained with Alex Shalek, adapting low-input bulk and single-cell RNA-sequencing technologies for acute HIV infection samples to study longitudinal immune dynamics during the earliest stages of HIV disease. He plans to build on his interests in dynamic immune responses and the roles innate immune cells therein during his Postdoctoral Fellowship. Outside lab, Sam brews beer for friends and family, plays and hosts weekly bar trivia, and sits on the board of a science & technology summer camp.

Virginia (Ginny) Camacho
Postdoctoral Fellow


Virginia (Ginny) is a postdoctoral fellow in the Ordovas-Montanes lab. She returns to Boston after completing her PhD at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in the lab of Robert Welner. During her graduate work, Ginny studied how Tregs in bone marrow condition stromal cells and support hematopoiesis via IL-10 with a specific focus on how T cell alterations, contribute to leukemic evolution. She is interested
in developing immunological interventions to reduce the risk of accelerated clonal hematopoiesis and leukemic transformation. During her postdoc she plans to investigate how inflammation and immune dysfunction promote the neoplastic remodeling of hematopoietic and barrier tissue niches. Outside the lab Ginny enjoys reading fiction, running, cuddling with her pup, and spending time on the ocean.

Maria Sacta
Pediatrics Resident and Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center
Maria is a pediatrics resident at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She completed her MD-PhD training at the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program. Her PhD work in the Rogatsky lab focused on transcriptional regulation, particularly studying how the glucocorticoid receptor inhibits the activation of pro-inflammatory genes in macrophages. She continues to be interested in transcriptional regulation and how this can lead to changes in the phenotypes and functions of immune cells. While in the lab, she will expand her skill set within computational biology. In her free time, Maria likes to explore Boston.

Amanda Hornick
Graduate Student, Harvard-MIT HST Program

Amanda is a graduate student in the lab. Returning to the Greater Boston Area, where she grew up, from the University of Rochester (U of R) with a degree in biomedical engineering, she is pursuing a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics through the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. At the U of R, Amanda also concentrated in cell and tissue engineering and minored in computational biology. She worked in David Dean’s lab at the U of R Medical Center, researching the safety of in vivo gene delivery via electroporation and the specificity of nuclear localization sequences. During the summers of 2017 and 2018, Amanda worked in George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School. In summer 2017 – as a Harvard-Amgen Scholar – she researched how cancer cells can be selectively killed by inducing synthetic lethal mutations into them using CRISPR. In summer 2018 – as an intern – she evaluated whether base editors that avoid nicking DNA can increase the survival of highly edited cells.

As a graduate student, Amanda is interested in applying her experience with genetic engineering, in combination with new computational and wet lab methods, to understand the mechanisms behind food allergies and autoimmune diseases better and ultimately create therapies for them. Beyond the lab, Amanda enjoys singing, dancing, writing poetry, composing music, and going for long walks.

Peter Lotfy
Graduate Student, HMS Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Peter comes to the lab from Southern California, where he grew up and attended UC San Diego (UCSD) for his BS (Physiology & Neuroscience) and MS (Biology) degrees. At UCSD, Peter worked with Larry Goldstein, modeling neurodegenerative diseases in human stem cell-derived neurons and glia and developing methods for performing genome-wide CRISPR screens in these cell types. He then joined the lab of Patrick Hsu at the Salk Institute, where, as a research technician, he contributed to the metagenomic discovery, characterization, and application of novel RNA-targeting CRISPR systems. As a graduate student, Peter is interested in expanding on and integrating his background in genome editing, technology development, neurobiology, and stem cell biology to study mechanisms and potential therapeutic opportunities in inflammatory diseases. Outside of lab, Peter loves watching basketball, reading, and listening to podcasts.

Andrew Kwong
Graduate Student, HMS Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Andrew is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program who is interested in defining how intercellular circuits are formed to maintain health and sustain inflammatory disease. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, he attended McMaster University where he majored in Biochemistry. Here, he worked with Patricia Liaw and investigated the mechanisms of neutrophil extracellular trap release and their involvement in the pathophysiology of sepsis. He spent a summer under Charlie Rice at The Rockefeller University where he explored the antiviral properties of stem cells. Now, he is broadly interested in systems immunology. Outside of the lab, Andrew loves trying new recipes, reading and running.

Joshua de Sousa Casal
Graduate Student, HMS Immunology
Josh is a grad student in the lab within the department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. Prior to coming to the United States for school, Josh grew up just outside of the city of Toronto, Canada, in the small town of Stouffville, Ontario. For his undergraduate studies, he attended the University of Toronto where he did a specialist degree in immunology. During this time, he worked in the lab of Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, and investigated the stromal signals involved in early T cell commitment and aided in the development of a new technology for the generation of T cells from various stem cell sources. As a PhD student, Josh aims to continue his work to understand the role of stromal-immune cell cross talk, but in the context of barrier protection and chronic disease. He is extremely interested in understanding the role of the immune system in stromal development and how these interactions and environments change throughout life. Outside of science, Josh is an avid basketball fan and in his free time he enjoys sport climbing, reading, and baking a variety of breads.

Kyle Kimler
Computational Research Associate, Ordovas-Montanes, Shalek, and Kean Labs
Kyle is the lab's computational research associate, where he analyzes inflamed pediatric gastrointestinal single-cell RNA sequencing data in a joint project with the Shalek and Kean Labs. Before moving to Boston, he did a MS centered at SciLifeLab in Sweden, where he sequentially worked in the Elsässer lab with unnatural amino acids, the Sonnhammer lab with networks of coexpression in spatial transcriptomics, and the Hudson lab making model chemolithoautrophic bacteria. Before that, he worked for three years in R&D Cell Bio Custom Services at Thermo Fisher. Before Thermo, he researched mosquito vision in the O’Tousa lab while doing a BS at Notre Dame. Kyle is looking for a deeper understanding of general cell biology, which is why he chose to move into computational biology. He is excited to work with human data, and with so many humans on a joint project. While outdoors, he loves to go aimlessly exploring, foreign and domestic, by running and biking long distances and learning languages. While indoors, he loves reading and making music.

Faith Taliaferro
Research Associate
Faith is a research technician in the lab. Having decided that she was tired of constantly perfect weather and not having to own winter clothing back home in southern California (the better part of California), Faith attended the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her B.S.E. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. Before joining the lab, she worked in the lab of Lawrence (Skip) Brass at Penn, creating computational models in order to study how molecular transport within a hemostatic mass is affected by changes in mass microarchitecture. She is excited to dive into the world of inflammation and looks forward to studying more human-facing concepts as opposed to those found primarily in physics textbooks. Outside of lab, Faith enjoys taking public transit to new places, listening to podcasts, doing DIY crafts, and reading too much about skincare.

Chelsea Asare
Undergraduate Student, Harvard College
Chelsea is from the small town of Cranston, Rhode Island. She is currently in her third year at Harvard College, where she majors in human developmental and regenerative biology. While not in class, Chelsea volunteers at a elementary school in Cambridge as a mentor scientist, where she helps younger girls conduct experiments (safely) and learn more about the world of science! Some of her scientific interests include learning about cell function, and how this function changes under the constraints of disease. After college, she hope to attend medical school and become a doctor.
Outside of science, some of Chelsea's interests and hobbies include reading fictional books, video editing, playing games with friends and family, and listening to music!

Evans Berreondo Giron
Undergraduate Student, Harvard College
Evans is a current junior at Harvard College concentrating in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology with either a secondary in Applied Math or Latinx Studies. His future goal is to attend medical school to become a pediatrician to work specifically with immigrant and lower income communities. He grew up in a Guatemalan household in the Boston area and is lucky to go to college close to home to get home cooked meals every so often. He is very excited to learn more about immunology, inflammation in particular, and about the applicability of lab research to clinical research. Outside of academics and lab, Evans loves traveling to new places (Chile and Austria have been some of his favorite places so far) and experiencing new things. He am also an avid Reggaeton listener and Netflix binge watcher (any and all show recommendations will be thoroughly researched).

Alumni
Elena Christian
Ben Doran
Marko Vukovic
Martin Axegård

Rotation Student
Current PhD student in the Sokol Lab at MGH

Computational Research Associate, Shalek and Kean Labs
Current PhD student at UChicago

Research Associate, Shalek Lab
Current world traveler

Visiting MS Student, Ordovas-Montanes and Shalek Labs
Current medical student at Karolinska Institutet