Lab Members

Principal Investigator
Marcia Haigis, PhD

Department of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
LHRRB Room 301A
240 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Phone: 617-432-6865
Fax: 617-432-6932

Marcia C. Haigis, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA,  a member of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, and the Ludwig  Center at Harvard Medical School. Following graduate training in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biochemistry, Dr. Haigis studied mitochondrial metabolism during her postdoctoral research at MIT. She has contributed to understanding the role that mitochondrial sirtuins play in metabolism and disease. She has received a number of honors, including the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, the Brookdale Foundation Leadership in Aging Award, and selection for the National Academy of Medicine's Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Program. 

Lab Manager
Olivia Rombold

Olivia graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from The Pennsylvania State University.

Postdoctoral Fellows
Ilaria Elia, PhD

Ilaria was born in Italy and received her Ph.D. at the VIB of Leuven, in Belgium. During her studies, she investigated how metabolism defines a cancer phenotype and discovered two metabolic pathways that can be targeted to impair metastasis formation. As a postdoctoral researcher, she would like to link metabolic pathways to immune system regulation in order to identify effective therapeutic strategies. Her work is supported the European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship

What she is up to now: currently sleeping on the floor because Ikea hasn't delivered her bed yet. It's been 2 months. 

Kiran Kurmi, PhD

Kiran completed his Ph.D at Mayo Clinic in the lab of Taro Hitosugi, studying how oncogenic signals modulate mitochondrial metabolism. Kiran's current work focuses on areas of immunometabolism, primarily investigating various cell-intrinsic metabolic processes that can influence the performance of immune cell function. 

Favorite food: chicken chihuahua from Taco Bell

Most (mis)used phrases: to be honest, per se (also misspells it 'per say')

Alison Ringel, PhD

Alison is interested in studying the connection between metabolism and mitochondrial stress responses, with a focus on mitochondrial proteotoxicity. Her work is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society.

Robert van de Ven, PhD

Robert is interested in the central role for mitochondria in the aging process. Specifically, he is studying the significance of mtDNA damage in the development of age-related diseases.

Major accomplishment in life: has been breathing air for 32 years.

Haejin Yoon, PhD

Haejin completed her Ph.D research at Seoul National University Medical School, where she studied hypoxia signaling pathway in cancer and healthy bone. She is currently researching the molecular mechanisms that cancer-associated metabolic enzymes regulate, fatty acid oxidation and nutrient-dependent signaling pathways. She is also interested in sirtuin-driven pathological conditions and the role of sirtuin in adipose. Her work is supported by the American Diabetes Association.

Spends most of her money on: Uber rides between lab and home (total distance: 0.5miles)

Elma Zaganjor, PhD

Elma received her Ph.D. at UT Southwestern, where she studied signaling pathways that promote proliferation and migration of non-small cell lung cancers. She is currently interested in the role of metabolism in cellular response to stress. Specifically, she is interested in how mitochondrial sirtuins regulate fat metabolism and contribute to pathology. Elma is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association.

Favorite scientist: Marcia Haigis
Favorite organelle: marciachondriaTM

Graduate Students
Jefte Drijvers

Jefte's work, mentored by Marcia Haigis and Arlene Sharpe, focuses on the metabolic regulation of T cell functionality, particularly in the context of immune responses against cancer. He is supported by a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.

Has a love-hate relationship with: chocolate (it's complicated).

Liam Kelley

Liam did his undergraduate research in the laboratory of Bryan Ballif at University of Vermont, where he studied blood group systems. He is currently researching the interaction between tumor metabolism and urea cycle dysfunction in the context of hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, he is interested in studying the contributions of proteomic changes to cancer metabolism.

Hobbies: Editing Wikipedia
Favorite protein: SrcASM

Giulia Notarangelo

Giulia completed her undergraduate studies at Mount Holyoke College. After graduating, she spent two years at the NIH in the lab of Michael Lenardo, working on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control cellular responses, and how defects in such responses may lead to diseases of the immune system. She is currently interested in characterizing tumor-immune metabolic interactions in the tumor microenvironment. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Most likely to: appear on the next season of the Bachelor.

Jessica Spinelli

Jessica is interested in the adaptive reprogramming of cancer cells under the selective pressure imposed by therapeutics that enriches the microenvironment with resistant cells. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the metabolic requirements that support this transition. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Most defining life moment: Earning last place in the 4th grade spelling bee for misspelling banana
Favorite song: Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

Sarah Tucker

Sarah completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her undergraduate research in the laboratory of Martin Burke was focused on synthesizing less toxic derivatives of antifungal natural products. She is currently interested in understanding mitochondrial sirtuin activity and substrate specificity in the context of metabolic diseases. Her work is supported by a fellowship from Joslin Diabetes Center.

Favorite alpaca name: Alpacino
Hobbies: Telling people no

Samantha Wong

Sam received her BS in biomedical science at Imperial College London, studying infectious diseases. She then worked as a technician for a year in Bruno Reversade's laboratory before ending up at HMS. Her current work examines the enzymology of prolyl hydroxylase 3 and its role in lipid metabolism. Her studies are supported by the National Science Scholarship (PhD) from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) from Singapore.

Life slapped her in the face when: She wanted to become a pilot but was denied because of her height. Getting a PhD was her back-up plan.

Research Assistants
Shakchhi Joshi

Shakchhi received her undergraduate degree from Creighton University and graduated with a bachelor of science in neuroscience and psychology. As a research assistant, she is responsible for running and maintaining the mass specs in the lab. 

Known for: challenging people to spice-offs 
Favorite quote: “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag” - Beyonce 

Visiting Research Scientists
Aslihan Inal

Aslihan was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She received her bachelor degree in Genetic and Bioengineering from Istanbul Bilgi University and is currently a 2nd year master student at Heidelberg University and German Cancer Research Center (DFKZ). After 5 months of training in the Spatial Metabolomics group of European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL), she joined the Haigis Lab as a visiting researcher to learn about mitochondrial sirtuins and cancer metabolism.

Fun fact: Whenever I feel down, I always watch Beyonce live performances on Youtube (100% effective)​"

Yoshiki Tsubosaka, PhD

Yoshi is a visiting scientist from Teijin Pharma Limited, in Japan. He is interested in the relationship between metabolic changes diseases.


Lost in translation: Before I came to the US, I had no doubt in my mind that okra was a Japanese word, just like sushi and teriyaki. I think many Japanese people still think so.