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Current Lab Members

  • Read Pukkila-Worley

    Read Pukkila-Worley, MD, FIDSA

    Read is an infectious diseases physician and PI of the lab. He received his MD from the UNC- Chapel Hill and completed his clincial training at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Read was a postdoc with Fred Ausubel, PhD at MGH before joining the UMass faculty in 2015. He is an avid cyclist, runner and hiker, and he plays the cello. He spends most of his spare time though chasing his two kids, Eli and Vivian, with his wife, Anya.

  • Mohamad Nasrallah

    Mohamad Nasrallah

    Mo is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate doing his thesis research in the Pukkila-Worley lab.  He grew up in Queens and graduated from SUNY-Albany.  Mo is a salsa dancer, guitarist, proud New Yorker, and die-hard Knicks fan.

  • Samantha Tse

    Samantha Tse

    Sammy is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate who joined the lab in 2019. She is a proud Massachusetts native and graduate of Boston College. She loves roller coasters, rock climbing, snowboarding, adventurous foods, and anything related to intestinal immunity.

  • Amanda Page

    Amanda Page

    Amanda is a research technician/ lab manager. She joined the lab in 2021 after graduating from Gordon College in Massachusetts. Amanda was a two varsity sport athelete at the Division III level (track and field, and cross country) and is in the lab for post-bach research training prior to applying to graduate or medical school.

  • Khursheed Wani

    Khursheed Wani

    Khursheed Wani, PhD is a senior scientist in the lab who has a long-standing interest in using C. elegans as a model organism to understand fundamental biological phenomena. He has brought a wealth of energy and great ideas to the laboratory. When not in the lab, Khursheed likes to run, hike, read, visit fruit farms and orchards of central Mass, cook, bake (you must try Khursheed's banana and zucchini breads!), and spend quality time with his better half, Foziah.

  • Subhash Mehto

    Subhash Mehto

    Subhash Mehto, Ph.D. is a senior scientist in the lab. He is an expert on the study of innate immunity using cell culture and mouse genetics. He joined the lab in 2022 to help us translate our findings to mammals. Out of the lab, he spends as much time as he can with his wife and 3-year-old son. 

  • Akshay Alaghatta

    Akshay Alaghatta

    Akshay is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate in the lab. He is interested in exploring C. elegans biology and the molecular interactions between the innate immune system, the gut microbiome, and the nervous system. After growing up in San Jose, California, Akshay moved to the east coast to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in Neuroscience, minored in Space Science and Technology, and ran cross country and track. Outside of the lab, he loves playing his guitar and singing, making art, exercising, and spending time with his family and friends.


  • Sarah Anderson

    Sarah Anderson

    Sarah was the second Ph.D. student to join the lab and second to sucessfully defend her thesis.  Sarah graduated with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2021. She now works for Editas Medicine, a biotech company in Cambridge, MA.

  • Hilary Cheesman

    Hilary Cheesman, M.S.

    Hilary was our lab manager from 2014 to 2020. She was the first person to join the lab. She helped Read unpack boxes and become an excellent C. elegans geneticist. She now works as the in vitro lab manager at Biomere Biomedical Research Models, Inc.

  • Nick Peterson

    Nick Peterson

    Nick is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate who successfully defended his thesis in 2022. Nick is currently finishing his medical training and will graduate from UMass Chan in 2024.

  • Richa Chhaya

    Richa Chhaya

    Richa worked with us for three summers while an undergrad at UConn. She attended medical school at UMASS Chan and is now an internal medicine resident in New York City. 

  • Kyle Foster, Ph.D.

    Kyle Foster, Ph.D.

    Kyle did his thesis research in the Pukkila-Worley lab. He successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis in September 2020. He is now working as a Scientific Consultant for Recruitomics Consulting in Boston, MA.

  • Elizabeth Salisbury

    Elizabeth Salisbury

    Elizabeth is an alumna of the lab. She worked with us for one year as a reserach technician and is now a medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.