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Current Lab Members

  • Chris Sassetti

    Chris Sassetti, PhD

    Professor

    Tuberculosis remains a serious threat to global health. The development of transformational new interventions for this disease relies on understanding the fundamental biology that determines the pathogenesis of the disease. We are a diverse group of bacteriologists, immunologists, and geneticists that are focused on understanding the critical interactions between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its human host that determine disease progression and treatment response.

    Christopher.sassetti@umassmed.edu
    508-856-3678

  • Lisa Lojek

    Lisa Lojek, PhD

    Postdoc

    Lisa received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Ohio University. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University in the lab of Dr. Eric Skaar, where she studied metal regulation in Staphylococcus aureus and heme degradation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.  In the Sassetti lab, Lisa is focused on better understanding carbon catabolism in various Mycobacterial species. 

    Lisa.Lojek@umassmed.edu

    508-856-3074

  • Fred Boehm

    Fred Boehm, PhD

    Postdoc

    Fred earned a statistics Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019. He now investigates questions related to quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping studies in multiparent populations, such as the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outbred mouse cohorts. Fred anticipates that his research will increase statistical power to detect QTL in systems genetics studies and ultimately will enhance scientific understanding of molecular processes involved in M. tuberculosis infections. He blogs at https://fboehm.us/blog

    Frederick.Boehm@umassmed.edu

  • Abbas Raza

    Abbas Raza, PhD

    Postdoc

    Abbas is a postdoctoral associate in the Sassetti Lab and his research focuses on the host-pathogen interactions of intracellular pathogens with regards to mycobacterium tuberculosis. Abbas grew up in Pakistan and attended the University of the Punjab and the National University of Sciences and Technology where he earned B.S. in Biochemistry and M.S. in Virology. He later moved to the Green Mountains of Vermont, USA, where he obtained a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, specializing in Immunology. 

    Abbas.Raza@umassmed.edu

  • Charlotte Reames

    Charlotte Reames

    Research Associate

    Despite a concerted scientific effort, treatment for tuberculosis continues to be slow, difficult, and variably effective. In order to understand the many challenges involved in tuberculosis treatment, it's essential to study the genetic makeup of M. tuberculosis and its relatives.With a focus on bacterial genetics, Charlotte contributes to a variety of the lab's ongoing projects. She received her B.S. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she studied the mycobacterial stress response in the lab of Dr. Scarlet Shell. 

    Charlotte.Reames@umassmed.edu

    508-856-3074

  • Samantha Nelson

    Samantha Nelson

    PhD Student

    Samantha Nelson completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. She is fascinated by the ability of bacteria to acquire nutrients and alter their metabolism to suit inhospitable host environments. Currently, she is characterizing an intramembrane protease inMycobacterium tuberculosisrequired for iron homeostasis and growth in mice.

    Samantha.Nelson@umassmed.edu
    508-856-3074

  • Eleni Jaecklein

    Eleni Jaecklein, MSc

    PhD Student

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis is metabolically flexible which contributes to its success as an obligate pathogen of humans. During infection, Mtb typically persists in the phagosome of macrophages where it must acquire nutrients from the host. Eleni’s work focuses on identifying the host factors that control the accessibility of these nutrients during infection.  Eleni received her B.S in Biological Science from Florida State University and her MSc in Integrated Immunology from the University of Oxford.

    Eleni.Jaeckelin@umassmed.edu

  • Mike Luna

    Mike Luna

    PhD Student

    Mike is interested in the varied ways in which bacteria adapt to host and antibiotic pressures. In particular, Mike is investigating how homopolymers throughout the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome can act as a source of genetic variation. Prior joining the Sassetti Lab, Mike graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in biology. 

    Michael.Luna@umassmed.edu

  • Alex Czuchra

    Alex Czuchra

    PhD Student

    Alex is a PhD student in the lab of Chris Sassetti and is interested in the ways by which Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulates cell wall synthesis and formation of the cell division complex. More specifically, Alex studies how ser/thr kinases alter protein complex interactions in response to cell wall perturbations. Alex previously graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Biology & Biotechnology. 

    Alexander.Czuchra@umassmed.edu

  • Peter Oluoch

    Peter Oluoch, M.S.

    PhD Student

    Peter’s work focuses on the integration of computational biology and microbial genomics to identify transient genetic variations within homopolymeric tracts that characterize the adaptive evolution of drug resistance/tolerance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Peter received his B.S in Biochemistry from Kenyatta University and M.S in Medical Biotechnology from Maseno University, both in Kenya and has previously worked  on cytokine polymorphic variations in endemic Burkitt lymphoma and genomic signatures of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum.

    Peter.Oluoch@umassmed.edu

  • Kenan Murphy

    Kenan Murphy, PhD

    Research Assistant Professor

    "Recombination Guru"
    Kenan.Murphy@umassmed.edu
    508-856-6861

  • Kadamba Papavinasasundaram

    Kadamba Papavinasasundaram, PhD

    Instructor