Emily Kurdzo, Ph.D. (Post-doctoral research fellow)

Emily was born and raised in New England. She attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA where she earned her BS in Biology in 2009. She then worked as a technician for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City, OK where she studied the T cell immune response to the seasonal and swine flu vaccine in immunocompromised patients. She then joined another lab at OMRF and became a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) where she studied chromosome pairing and segregation in budding yeast meiosis. She graduated with her PhD from OUHSC in Fall of 2016.


Jake Henderson (Research Technician)

Jake joined the Goessling Lab shortly after graduating from Bates College in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. At Bates he worked to utilize chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) to identify the role of a transcription factor in responding to oxidative stress and red blood cell development in zebrafish. In the lab Jake works with Sahar to study pancreatic cancer. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy books, playing tabletop games, drawing, and running around Boston.


Kyle Labella (Research Technician)

Kyle graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2016 with a BS in Biology. Prior to joining the Goessling lab, Kyle was researching the cellular and molecular mechanisms of limb regeneration in axolotls. He now assists Kristen with her research and also helps with the care and husbandry of the zebrafish. Outside of the lab, Kyle enjoys skiing and playing hockey in the winter, and likes spending time at the beach during the summer.


Saireudee “Gal” Chaturantabut (Graduate Student)

Gal was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. She came to the U.S. to pursue her undergraduate degree at Columbia University, majoring in Biochemistry. Gal is a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at Harvard, and her research is funded by the Michael and Anna Vranos Graduate Fellowship Fund in the Life Sciences. Gal joined the Goessling lab in September 2011. She is interested in signaling pathways that control liver development and growth and how the deregulation of these pathways leads to liver carcinogenesis. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading, traveling and outdoor activities.


Allison Tsomides (Research Technician)

Allison graduated from Bates College in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology and a double minor in Chemistry and Anthropology.  At Bates she studied a transcription factor involved in controlling globin expression and red blood cell development in the zebrafish. Allison joined the lab in July 2014 and works with Andy, as well as helping with general tasks and zebrafish care. Outside of the lab, she enjoys exploring Boston, watching the Patriots, and playing with her kitten, Mufasa.


Katie Hwang, (Grad Student )

Katie is an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program.  Prior to beginning medical school, Katie attended the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship where she received an MSc in Integrated Immunology and studied the mechanisms of immune-privilege in embryonic stem cells.  As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, she earned degrees in Biochemistry and Chemistry.  Katie's research interests are in pathways that control cell fate and growth and how these processes can become perturbed in cancer.  Outside of the lab, Katie enjoys exploring the Boston area and trying new recipes.


Leah Liu, (Grad Student/Post Doctoral Research Fellow)            

Leah Liu received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The Pennsylvania State University and is currently a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Programat Harvard. Leah joined the Goessling Lab in 2010 and studies the role of G-protein coupled receptor-mediated pathways in liver development and liver diseases. She is funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Vranos Family Graduate Fellowship for Developmental and Regenerative Biology. When she’s not in lab, Leah participates in science outreach and enjoys watching college football, running along the Charles River, and trying new restaurants.


Hongchao Zhou, M.D., Ph.D.

Hongchao completed his MD and PhD in China in 2000. His research involved investigating the plasticity of murine fetal liver stem cells and identifying adult stem cell lineage in human cirrhotic liver. He also worked on developing a safe and effective preparative regimen for hepatocyte transplantation, as well as investigating the therapeutic potential of hepatocyte transplantation. Hongchao is currently a clinical fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Boston Children’s Hospital. He joined the Goessling lab in July 2014, focusing on establishing a new zebrafish model of hepatic fibrosis, and studying the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis.


Andy Cox, Ph.D. (Post Doctoral Research Fellow)


John Hedgepeth, (Research Technician)

John joined the lab in the summer of 2014 after graduating from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, he worked in a lab at that studied how diet affects neuroendocrine signaling in mice. He now assists Sahar in projects studying pancreatic cancer. Outside of the lab, John enjoys the outdoors and playing guitar.


Steph Schatzman-Bone, (Research Technician)            

Steph joined the Goessling Lab in October 2014. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 with a BA in Economics and minors in Chemistry and International Area Studies. Following graduation, Steph worked as a research assistant to Dr. J. Kimble Frazer at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center in the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Outside of lab, Steph enjoys reading, cooking, and urban hiking.


A.J. Kim, (Research Technician)

A.J. became a part of the lab in the summer of 2013 after he graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Biology and minor in Anthropology. While at Vassar he researched gene expression profiles in canine cancers with Dr. Dave Jemiolo. A.J. helps manage the lab and assists in several ongoing projects. While away from the zebrafish, he enjoys biking along the Charles and going to Red Sox games.


Jiyun Chang, (Grad Student/Post Doctoral Research Fellow)            

Jiyun Chang is an undergraduate at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology. She joined the Goessling lab in June 2014, and was under the mentorship of Leah Liu,. When not in lab, Jiyun loves crocheting and playing volleyball.


Maija Garnaas, Ph.D., (Grad Student/Post Doctoral Research Fellow)     

Maija completed her Ph.D. in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School in February 2014.  She originally joined the Goessling Lab as a graduate student in September 2009 and is currently continuing her dissertation research investigating the role of nuclear receptor signaling in hepatic specification and differentiation.  Prior to entering grad school, Maija earned a degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.  Following graduation, she was awarded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Post-baccalaureate Fellowship and studied vascular development in zebrafish under the guidance of Dr. Ramani Ramchandran at the NIH and the Children's Research Institute at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  When she is not in lab, Maija can be found battling it out on the soccer pitch.


Keelin O'Connor, (Research Technician)

Keelin joined the lab in 2013 after graduating from Bates College with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Philosophy.  As an undergraduate, Keelin studied a transcription regulator involved in ECM maintenance in C. elegans, and worked for several summers at a Veterinary biotech company in Portland, Maine. Keelin works with Andy and Katie, and helps with general lab tasks and fish care. She likes to run and spend time with her Irish Setter, Seamus.


 Julia Wucherpfennig, (Research Technician)

Julia joined the lab in October of 2012 after graduating from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Biological Sciences.  As an undergraduate, Julia did completely different research, studying the evolution of beetles from the Galapagos Islands in the lab of Dr. Andrea Sequeira at Wellesley College.  Outside of lab, Julia can sometimes be found around Boston with her old school film camera.



Marcelle Goggins, (undergrad)

Marcelle Goggins graduated from Harvard College in 2014, where she studied Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology and French. She joined the Goessling lab in November 2012  and worked on an independent research project under the mentorship of Leah Liu. When not in lab, Marcelle enjoys hiking and playing the ukulele.


Diane Saunders, (Research Technician)

Diane joined the Goessling lab in 2011 after graduating from Bates College with a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Studio Art.  She worked as an undergrad in Dr. James Coffman’s lab at MDIBL, which connected her to developmental bio and eventually the Goessling lab.  Diane characterized novel liver mutants, collaborated with Kristen on SNP mapping, and helped with portions of Andy and Sahar's ongoing projects.  She also left an extensive color coding legacy behind!  Diane is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology at Vanderbilt University under the mentorship of Alvin Powers, MD.



Additional Goessling and North Lab Alumni


Sebastian Beltz (visiting medical student)

Ignaty Leshchiner (Senior Computational Biologist, Broad Institute)

Lea Sheward, M.S. (M.D. candidate, Tufts University)

Claire Cutting, M.P.H.

PJ Kelsey (M.D./M.B.A. candidate, Tufts University)