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Lab Members

Michael Czech

Michael P. Czech, PhD

Principal Investigator

The Isadore & Fannie Foxman Chair of Medical Research, 
Program in Molecular Medicine,
UMass Chan Medical School

Michael Czech earned his PhD in biochemistry in 1972 at Brown University under the mentorship of Professor John Fain, and completed postdoctoral study in the Biochemistry Department at Duke University Medical Center. He became Assistant Professor at Brown in 1974, rising to the rank of Professor in 1980. Czech moved to the UMass Chan Medical School as Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1981 to 1989, and was the founding Chair of the Program in Molecular Medicine (1989-2018). 

Czech has served on several editorial boards and NIH Study Sections and is a member of the Scientific Review Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He's received the Scientific Achievement Award (1982), the Banting Medal (2000) and the Albert Renold Award for mentorship (2004) from the American Diabetes Association, the David Rumbough Scientific Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (1985), NIH MERIT Awards (1997-2005 and 2012-2022), the Elliot P. Joslin Medal (1998), and the Jacobaeus Prize awarded in Umea, Sweden in 2009.

  • Najihah Aziz

    Najihah Aziz

    Graduate Student

    Najihah is originally from Malaysia. She earned her Bachelor's degree (Hons) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York before moving to Boston for a role as a research technician in the Sykes Lab at MGH focusing on developing differentiation therapy for acute myeloid leukemia. She joined the Czech lab in 2022 as a graduate student, dedicating her efforts to developing cell-based therapy for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions.

    Hobbies: Bouldering, pilates and baking

  • Kaltinaitis dos Santos

    Kaltinaitis dos Santos, PhD


    Kalti is from São Paulo, Brazil, where he earned his MSc and PhD degrees in Biomedical engineering from University of Mogi das Cruzes. He joined the Czech lab in 2021. The aim of his research is to explore and understand the functions of adipose tissue in systemic glucose and lipid metabolism. The specific focus is autophagy in white adipose tissue, a crucial process for maintaining cellular health and energy balance. These studies will provide a deeper understanding of metabolic mechanisms and may pave the way for new therapeutic approaches to treat metabolic disorders.

    Hobbies: Spending time with friends, travel, music, video games & going to the beach

  • Adilson Guilherme

    Adilson Guilherme, PhD

    Associate Professor

    Adilson received his BS in Cell Biology and PhD in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His research addresses mechanisms of signal transduction, metabolism, and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

    Researcher Spotlight

  • Mark Kelly

    Mark Kelly

    Research Associate

    Mark began his biomedical journey at Genzyme, before moving to Children’s Hospital Boston where he received his research surgical background. In 2015 he joined the Czech and Fitzgibbons labs to focus on surgical contribution for adipose tissue, cardiovascular, and whole-body metabolism. 
    Hobbies: Spending time in his wood shop, working with his gardens, and honey bees.

  • Sarah M.C. Nicoloro

    Sarah M.C. Nicoloro

    Research Scientist/Lab Manager

    Sarah received her BS in Biology from University of Massachusetts Lowell. She's been a Czech lab member since 1999 and her work involves several lab projects including research to genetically modify fat cells using CRISPR technology. 

    Researcher Spotlight

  • Kerri Miller

    Kerri Miller

    Administrative Coordinator

    Kerri received her BA from Assumption College in Worcester, MA. She's worked for UMass Chan Medical School for more than 15 years and has been with the Czech lab since 2018.
    Hobbies: Spending time family & friends, travel, cooking, music, going to the beach, boating, great wine, great food and great company!

  • Naideline Raymond

    Naideline Raymond

    PhD Candidate - Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

    Naideline completed her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr College in 2019. She joined the Czech lab August 2021. The aim of her thesis is to unravel the molecular mechanism of 17-Beta Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase 13 in the pathophysiology of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
    Hobbies: Knitting, drawing, creative writing, Orangetheory fitness, and cooking

  • Leslie Rowland

    Leslie Rowland, PhD

    Assistant Professor

    Leslie received her PhD in Biomedical Science from The Ohio State University in 2015. She trained as a postdoc in Dr. Laurie Goodyear’s lab at the Joslin Diabetes Center where she studied mechanisms of exercise-mediated improvements in metabolism. In late 2018, she joined the Czech lab to focus on the contribution of adipose tissue to glucose homeostasis and whole-body metabolism.
    Hobbies: Spending time with her husband and son, exercising, and finding new doughnut shops.

    Researcher Spotlight

  • Emmanouela Tsagkaraki

    Emmanouela Tsagkaraki, MD, PhD

    Research Instructor

    Emmanouela is from Heraklion Crete, Greece and received her MD and MSc degrees from University of Crete. She joined the Czech lab in 2017 for her masters thesis, then began her PhD thesis working on CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering in adipocytes to ameliorate their metabolic activity and improve glucose homeostasis.

    Researcher Spotlight 

  • Hui Wang

    Hui Wang, PhD


    Hui is originally from China and received her PhD at Technical University of Munich, Germany. She joined the Czech lab in 2019. The goal of her research is to investigate the functions of adipose tissue on systemic glucose metabolism and lipid metabolism.
    Hobbies: Playing badminton and hiking.

  • Batuhan Yenilmez

    Batuhan Yenilmez, PhD

    Assistant Professor

    Batu is from Istanbul, Turkey, where he earned his BSc and MSc degrees in Bioengineering from Sabanci University. He has been working on developing RNAi therapeutic strategies against metabolic and fibrotic diseases. He earned his Ph.D in September 2021 and promoted to faculty position shortly after, in December 2023. His current projects involve 1) identifying novel therapeutic targets against metabolic dysfunction associated steatohepatitis (MASH)  2) developing a dual targeting RNAi strategy to treat MASH 3) investigating cell type specific (i.e. Stellate cells, adipocytes) RNAi delivery methods in collaboration with Anastasia Khvorova’s lab. 
    Hobbies: Hiking, photography, playing/watching sports (especially handball), and training/playing with his dog, Mr. Chandler.