Postdoctoral Fellows

Chad Walesky, Ph.D.

Chad completed his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2014 under the supervision of Professor Udayan Apte. His thesis focused on a novel role of the nuclear receptor hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4α) in hepatocyte proliferation. Chad joined the lab in April 2014 and is interested in understanding mechanisms surrounding liver regeneration. In addition, he is working on understanding the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in hopes of finding new treatment strategies. His current projects are supported by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, American Liver Foundation, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).


Paul Wrighton, Ph.D.

Paul earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 under the supervision of Professor Laura Kiessling. In the Kiessling group, Paul used chemical biology approaches to understand cellular signal transduction mechanisms. Paul joined the Goessling group in 2015 where he has developed zebrafish tools and methods to study mitophagy in vivo. Paul has been funded by the NIAAA and the American Liver Foundation. He is interested in understanding the roles that autophagy and mitochondria play during normal development, tissue regeneration, and hypoxic stress.

pwrighton [at]

Patrick Wilkinson, Ph.D.

Patrick grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and earned his B.S. in Biology from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in 2014. He then completed his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 under the direction of Dr. Andrew Duncan. His doctoral thesis focused on studying the role of polyploidy in liver regeneration and aneuploidy-mediated adaptation to chronic liver disease. He joined the Goessling lab in 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow to study developmental biology. Patrick’s research is focused on utilizing CRSIPR/Cas9-generated zebrafish models, combined with diet challenges and RNAseq analyses, to determine how lipid metabolism influences liver growth and development, and whether modulation of early lipid metabolism affects fatty liver disease susceptibility. Outside of the lab, Patrick enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, spending time with family and friends, visiting historical sites, and cheering on the Pittsburgh sports teams.

pdwilkinson [at]

Andy Cox, Ph.D.

Emily Kurdzo, Ph.D.

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.

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.

Sahar Nissim, M.D., Ph.D.

Sahar completed his Ph.D. at the Harvard Medical School in 2005 under the supervision of Professor Cliff Tabin. His thesis focused on signaling centers and genetic interactions that pattern the embryonic limb. Sahar joined the lab in July 2010 and is interested in using zebrafish to characterize new pathways involved in pancreas development and cancer. His current funding includes a grant from the National Pancreas Foundation. Sahar also completed his M.D. at the Harvard Medical School in 2007. He is completing a fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and sees patients in a GI Cancer Genetics Clinic at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

snissim [at]

Graduate Students

Maija Garnaas, Ph.D.

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.

Leah Liu, Ph.D.

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.

Katie Hwang, Ph.D.

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.

Saireudee “Gal” Chaturantabut, Ph.D.

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.

Milad Rezvani

Milad is a senior resident in the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School) and Boston Medical Center (Boston University). He graduated in Medicine from the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg (Germany) and worked in global health projects in Peru, Argentina, Ghana and Nepal. As a graduate student, he joined Holger Willenbring’s lab at the University of California San Francisco where he established how mouse livers could be repopulated with hepatocytes engineered from human skin cells. There, he also demonstrated how adeno-associated viral vectors can be used in liver fibrosis to reprogram disease-associated myofibroblasts into fully functional hepatocytes in vivo to limit the scarring response and replenish the hepatocyte mass. Next, he pursed his residency in Pediatrics in Boston and he is particularly interested in both adult and pediatric hepatology. He joined the lab of Wolfram Goessling where he is currently working on modeling different hepatocyte and biliary injuries in organoids.

milad.rezvani [at]

Technicians and Undergraduates

Delaney Ingalls

Delaney graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Boston in May of 2018 with Honors and Distinction in Biology. While there, she completed an undergraduate thesis in the Siegfried lab, studying the differential expression of a novel cdk gene found to be essential in zebrafish germ cell differentiation and maintenance. Delaney started in the Goessling lab in October 2018 where she now works with Arkadi on his project, as well as assisting with other lab duties. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, playing music, and watching too much Netflix.

DIngalls [at]

Diane Saunders

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.

Julia Wucherpfennig

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.

Keelin O'Connor

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.

A.J. Kim

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.

Steph Schatzman-Bone

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.

John Hedgepeth

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.

Allison Tsomides

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.

Kyle Labella

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.

Jake Henderson

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.

Marcelle Goggins

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.

Jiyun Chang

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.

Comus Hardman

Comus honorably served in the United States Navy prior to starting his civilian career as a researcher. Comus received a full-tuition scholarship from the Posse Foundation to attend Vassar College, where he graduated in May of 2019 with a BA in Biology, and subsequently joined the Goessling lab in June 2019. At Vassar, Comus investigated the effects of pesticides on the healthspan, lifespan, and functioning of the nematode C. elegans, under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Susman. At present, Comus works alongside Sahar characterizing pathways implicated in pancreatic cancer, as well as helping with the care and husbandry of zebrafish. Outside of the lab, Comus enjoys exercising, nutrition, sleep, consuming science fiction novels and films, and being in nature.

chardman [at]

Ellie Quenzer

Ellie graduated from Bowdoin College in 2017 with a B.A. in Neuroscience, with Honors, and a minor in Classical Studies with a Greek concentration. At Bowdoin, she studied the behavioral effects of the injury-induced compensatory growth response in the auditory system of the cricket. In the Goessling Lab, Ellie assists Paul with his research examining mitophagy and exploring the ways that it impacts normal organ development and regeneration in the presence of environmental insults. She also helps with other general tasks, including care and husbandry of the zebrafish. Outside of the lab, Ellie enjoys watching Boston sports, running, and relaxing with friends at the beach. She hopes to apply to medical school in the near future.

equenzer [at]

Carolyn Winston

Carolyn graduated from Johns Hopkins University with honors in December 2017 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Mathematics. Prior to joining the Goessling Lab, Carolyn worked at the Halpern Lab in the Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore where she aided in adapting the bipartite Q-transcriptional regulatory system to zebrafish. Carolyn is currently working with Chad, using single-cell RNA sequencing techniques and confocal microscopy to study changes in the transcriptional expression of genes in the liver following acute and chronic injury.

clwinston [at]