Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Doug Kwon

Doug Kwon

Principal Investigator - dkwon@mgh.harvard.edu

Doug is a physician scientist at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and Director of Clinical Operations at the Ragon Institute. He has a clinical practice in the division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his M.D. Ph.D. degrees from New York University and then underwent Internal Medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco and New York Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He then completed his training in the combined Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Infectious Disease fellowship program.

Björn Corleis

Björn Corleis

Senior Research Scientist - bcorleis@mgh.harvard.edu

Björn is a Research Fellow at the Ragon Institute with an interest in mucosal immunology and HIV/TB co-infection. He received his Master in Immunology from the University of Freiburg (Germany) and finished his master studies at the University of Cambridge (UK) with a project on B cell development and British pubs. He obtained a PhD in Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine working on the Interaction of human neutrophils and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (quote: “Neutrophils are super cool!”). Bjorn grew up in Northern Germany and has educated the Kwon Lab in soccer and the famous German pirate Stortebecker since January 2012.

Seth Bloom

Seth Bloom

Postdoctoral Fellow - sbloom@mgh.harvard.edu

Seth joined the Kwon Lab in July 2016. He is an Infectious Diseases fellow in the combined Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital program. He earned a BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2004, performing his undergraduate thesis work on influenza virus. Seth stayed at Washington University for his MD/PhD training and Internal Medicine residency, focusing his research on the role of commensal intestinal bacteria in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. In the Kwon lab, his current work involves understanding interactions between bacterial microbiota and mucosal lymphocytes in the female genital tract, with a focus on how these interactions may influence risk of primary HIV infection. Outside of the lab, Seth enjoys running, hiking, spending time with family, and international travel.

Crystal Rawlings

Crystal Rawlings

Postdoctoral Fellow - crawlings@mgh.harvard.edu

Crystal is a postdoctoral fellow who joined the Kwon Lab in 2012 and received her Ph.D. in 2018 from the Harvard Biological & Biomedical Sciences program. Her thesis encompassed the investigation of HIV-1-associated alterations in the metabolism of vitamin A by human intestinal dendritic cells, as well as the effect of therapeutic retinoic acid supplementation on disease progression in HIV-1-infected individuals. She continues in the lab as a Research Fellow, moving her work toward publication and while maintaining her role as lab birthday celebration coordinator. Prior to moving to Boston, she worked as a technician and lab manager at the Benaroya Research Institute in her hometown of Seattle, WA. Crystal earned her BS in Biology and minor in Chemistry from the University of Washington while competing in Division I swimming. Outside of the lab, she now expends excess energy on her road bike with the Harvard University Cycling Association and maintains an open-access repository of gastronomic recommendations.

Matt Hayward

Matt Hayward

Postdoctoral Fellow - mhayward2@mgh.harvard.edu

Matt proudly joined the Kwon lab as a Research Fellow in October 2017 to investigate the interplay between commensal microbes and tissues of the vagina in relation to HIV acquisition. From studying enteric pathogen, Salmonella enterica for his PhD, to elucidating the role of microbial communities in human health and disease for his first postdoc, Matt has maintained a focus on the microscopic. With extensive experience in both the wet-lab and dry-lab environments he has developed both pipetter’s shoulder and programmer’s slouch. In 2015, Matt was the lucky recipient of a Marie Curie Fellowship to pursue a project at EMBL Heidelberg with Prof Peer Bork on the relationship between the commensal microbes of the human gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer development. In his free time Matt can be found either pumping iron in the gym or with his nose stuck in a musty old book.

Abby Schiff

Abby Schiff

Graduate Student - aschiff@mgh.harvard.edu

Abby is an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School. She received her A.B. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard College, and then worked at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York for a year before starting back up again at Harvard. She is from Brookline, MA and is a true local. She loves singing, activism, and traveling, and you can ask her about her year studying art history in Paris. She started in the lab in June 2013, and is working on a project to characterize the immune response in the lung in the setting of HIV-TB coinfection.

David Gootenberg

David Gootenberg

Graduate Student - dgootenberg@mgh.harvard.edu

David is an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. He received his A.B. in Chemical and Physical Biology from Harvard College. As an undergraduate, David worked in Peter Turnbaugh’s lab at the FAS Center for Systems Biology studying the interactions between diet, xenobiotics, and the gut microbiota. After graduating, he continued working in the Turnbaugh lab for a year and is proud to note that he is a “published poop researcher.” If you ask him, he will assure you that it is just as glamorous as it sounds. David joined the Kwon Lab in January 2014 and is interested in the interaction between the immune system, gut epithelium, and gut microbial community, and how this relationship changes during HIV infection and across different geographic locations.

Meaghan Flagg

Meaghan Flagg

Graduate Student - mflagg@mgh.harvard.edu

Meaghan received her B.A. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013. She completed her undergraduate thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Rui Yi, focusing on micro RNA regulation of stress responses, including viral infection, in mouse epidermis. She then entered the Ph.D Program in Virology at Harvard University, where she joined the Kwon lab in the summer of 2014. She is interested in the role of epithelial cells during the immune response against HIV at mucosal surfaces.

Allison Yan

Allison Yan

Undergraduate Student - apyan@mgh.harvard.edu

Allison is a junior at Harvard College studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. She joined the Kwon lab in August 2017 and is interested in the effects of smoking on the immune response of monocyte-derived macrophages against tuberculosis. When not asking the lung group questions, Allison can usually be found going to spin classes or hunting for the best brunch restaurant in Boston.

Shillah Luhembo

Shillah Luhembo

Undergraduate Student - snakulima@partners.org

Shillah is an undergraduate student at Boston University who joined the Kwon Lab in March 2018. She is currently studying HIV infection in macrophages where she is interested in evidence of post-entry restriction in cell-free and T cell-dependent macrophage infection. Originally from Kampala, Uganda, she enjoys cooking new recipes and traveling to new places.

Jiawu Xu

Jiawu Xu

Lab Manager - jxu25@mgh.harvard.edu

Jiawu had the honor of joining the Kwon Lab in May 2018. He is a research scientist working on microbes in the gut and female genital tract, and their interactions with HIV/AIDS. As the lab manager, he enjoys helping the lab run smoothly and efficiently and providing support and encouragement to the hard-working Kwonnies each day. Prior to joining the Kwon Lab, Jiawu conducted research on population genetics, molecular ecology and evolution at Brigham Young University and Rutgers University, and on human microbiome and metagenomics at The University of Oklahoma. Jiawu received his PhD in biology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a major in genetics and molecular evolution. He likes to do research in genetics, genomics and microbiome in relation to human health and diseases.

Mara Farcasanu

Mara Farcasanu

Research Technician - mfarcasanu@mgh.harvard.edu

Mara joined the Kwon lab as a research technician in July 2015. She received a B.S. in the Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago where she applied synthetic antibody engineering technology to design pathogen-specific therapeutic agents, focusing on anthrax toxins. Mara spends much of her spare time outdoors on walks, hikes, and other mini adventures but also loves a good zumba class and is an ardent follower of the Daily Show.

Timothy Musoke

Timothy Musoke

Research Technician - tmusoke@mgh.harvard.edu

Timothy joined the Kwon lab as a technician in July 2017. He graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he completed his undergraduate thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Alexey Veraksa, studying the regulation of cell signaling pathways in fruit flies. He grew up in Kampala, Uganda, and moved to the US to pursue his undergraduate studies. He also spent time working in the laboratories of various hospitals while in Uganda. He enjoys soccer, reading novels, and learning new languages.

Alice Linder

Alice Linder

Research Technician - ahlinder@mgh.harvard.edu

Alice joined the Kwon Lab as a Research Technician in June 2017 after graduating from Harvard College with an A.B. in Integrative Biology. She is originally from Corrales, NM and likes to spend her spare time listening to podcasts, wandering the Emerald Necklace, or heading north to hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She hopes ultimately to pursue an MD, focusing on Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease. Within the lab, she works with the lab’s lung group.

Nomfuneko Mafunda

Nomfuneko Mafunda

Research Technician - nmafunda@mgh.harvard.edu

Nomfuneko is a research technician in the Kwon Lab. She graduated from Smith College in 2017 with an A.B. in Chemistry. She is from Botswana. On her free time you can catch her cooking, at the gym or watching her favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy. She joined the Kwon Lab in October 2017.

Candace Gregg

Candace Gregg

Staff Assistant - cgregg@mgh.harvard.edu

Candace joined the Kwon Lab as Staff Assistant in July 2017. Prior to working with the lab, she studied cultural anthropology at UCLA and worked with the 5 Gyres Institute, an environmental non-profit focused on the crisis of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Originally from the Rocky Mountains, Candace loves to explore New England by car, bike and foot, and can often be found reading a good book or baking the world’s most delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Kwon Lab – South Africa

Sinaye Ngcapu

Sinaye Ngcapu

Postdoctoral Fellow - sinaye.ngcapu@caprisa.org

Dr Sinaye Ngcapu, is a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Drs Douglas Kwon, JoAnn Passmore and Quarraisha Abdool Karim at CAPRISA Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Durban, South Africa. He is also an honorary lecturer at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  Sinaye’s main research focuses are on characterizing the earliest immune responses and the potential mucosal risk factors involved in susceptibility and protection to HIV infection in the genital mucosa. In collaboration with Dr Kwon, Sinaye aims to understand the composition of bacterial species in young women of different ethnic groups in South Africa and characterize the connection between vaginal microbiome, endogenous reproductive hormones, genital inflammation and risk of HIV acquisition. In his spare time, he spends time with family, watch movies and he is the best couch coach ever produced by science.

Nondumiso Xulu

Nondumiso Xulu

Research Technician - nxulu@mgh.harvard.edu

Nondumiso is in the South African branch of the Kwon Lab and HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) which she joined in October 2016. She has always been passionate about science, and after her Matric she enrolled for BSc. Microbiology (University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa, South Africa). After completion of her undergraduate degree, she went on to enroll for postgraduate studies with a Bachelor of Medical Science Honours and Master Of Medical Science (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban, South Africa). Her research projects focused on the characterization Chlamydia trachomatis inclusions as well as the identification and characterization of a novel toxin produced by some serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis. In the Kwon Lab, Nondumiso focuses on processing cytobrush and PBMC samples, flow cytometry and cell sorting. For fun, she enjoys dancing and watching football (soccer).

Honorary Lab Member:

Boomer

Boomer

Honorary Kwon Lab Member - boomer@kwonlab.org

Boomer joined the Kwon Lab in the fall of 2014. He has advanced degrees in squirrel chasing and table scrap eating. Although technically banned from the bench, he continues to assist with computational projects and advises graduate students on how to successfully deal with the stresses of completing a Ph.D.

Lab Alumni