Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Wolfram Goessling, M.D., Ph.D.

Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD, is an oncologist and gastroenterologist who treats patients with chronic liver disease and liver cancer. Wolfram did his graduate work in liver physiology and metabolism and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in zebrafish genetics and developmental biology. His work is inspired by the lack of treatment opportunities for his patients and the hope to have the research in the lab change the way we diagnose and treat liver disease. Wolfram still gets excited about looking at fluorescent zebrafish under the microscope and reviewing new experimental data with the members of his lab. He teaches medical students in the “Introduction to Clinical Medicine” course and graduate students in the Developmental and Regenerative Biology bootcamp. Wolfram is the Robert H. Ebert Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Jules L. Dienstag, MD and Betty and Newell Hale Endowed Chair in Gastroenterology. He is Chief of Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the HMS Director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

wgoessling [at]

Postdoctoral Fellows

Kristen Alexa, Ph.D.

Kristen attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where she studied endoderm patterning in zebrafish under the tutelage of Charles Sagertrom Ph.D. She graduated with her Ph.D. in December 2009 and joined the Goessling Lab in January 2010 as a postdoc research fellow. Kristen worked on various projects during her postdoc in the lab and took another role, laboratory manager, in September 2014. Balancing both roles, Kristen continued research and managing the lab until July 2017 when she reduced her hours to part time status and continues managing the lab.

kalexa [at]

Arkadi Shwartz, Ph.D.

Arkadi completed his bachelors degree in life science in 2009 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. For his MSc and Ph.D. studies he joined the lab of Professor Ben-Zion Shilo and Dr. Eyal Schejter at the Weizmann Institute of Science. During his MSc he conducted research to elucidate different mechanisms of EGFR pathway regulation. His Ph.D. thesis focused on cell biological aspects of myogenesis, specifically on the formation and maintenance of actin based thin-filament arrays. He joined the Goessling lab in November 2016 as a postdoc. He plans to utilize his imaging expertise to study liver development and regeneration.

ashwartz [at]

Isaac Oderberg, Ph.D.

Isaac grew up in Los Angeles, and earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California Berkeley in 2010. He completed his doctoral work in 2017 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Peter Reddien. There, he studied the regeneration of an adult tissue organizer and the patterning of stem cell lineages in planarians. He joined the Goessling lab in June 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow. Isaac is interested using single-cell sequencing and genetic approaches to studying liver regeneration in zebrafish. His current projects are supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

ioderberg [at]

Brian Pepe-Mooney, Ph.D.

Brian completed his Ph.D. in Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University under the supervision of Dr. Fernando Camargo, focused on utilizing single-cell sequencing, complex transgenic mouse models, three dimensional in-vitro organoid culture techniques, and various molecular assays to understand the signaling pathways that regulate liver homeostasis and injury response in the adult mouse. Brian joined the Goessling lab in September 2018. He is interested in utilizing live imaging techniques in zebrafish to study the relationship between the immune system and liver cancer.

bpepe-mooney [at]

Marc Sherman, M.D., Ph.D.

Marc obtained his bachelor degree in Mathematics at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and studied at Washington University in St. Louis for his MD and PhD. His thesis work in the lab of Dr. Barak Cohen primarily focused on stochastic physics models of gene expression fluctuations in single yeast cells, and how noise signatures might impart mechanistic information about the process of transcription. He then completed his Internal Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and remains a gastroenterology fellow there while he applies his expertise in quantitative single cell biology to understanding autoimmune hepatitis.


Olivia Weeks

Olivia Weeks received her B.A. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University in 2013. She is currently a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School. Olivia is interested in the developmental origins of adult disease and studies the impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on adult health outcomes. Using human and zebrafish cohort studies, she has explored the link between PAE and obesity/metabolic disease. She also investigates the molecular mechanisms of ethanol's teratogenicity using the zebrafish model.

oweeks [at]

Manjari Trivedi, Ph.D.

Manjari studied Biotechnology at VIT University, Vellore in India before doing a research-based Master's in Biomedical Sciences at University of Glasgow in 2016. Her Master’s focused on atherosclerosis and spinal cord injury, projects that inspired her to do a PhD. Supported by a President's PhD scholarship from Imperial College London, she joined Dr Wei Cui's lab to study molecular mechanisms that regulate TGF-β signaling in human embryonic stem cells. Her work showed an important role of Smad2 linker region phosphorylation in modulating the intensity and duration of TGF-β signaling, which has important implication for early embryonic development. Manjari joined the Goessling lab in May 2022 and is interested in exploring the role of leukocytes in liver regeneration and fibrosis. Outside the lab, she enjoys cycling, hiking, yoga, and learning about world geopolitics.


Graduate Students

Scott Freeburg

Scott grew up in Memphis, TN and graduated with a degree in biology from Kenyon College in 2016, where he studied the transcriptional regulatory functions of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor paralogs in Xenopus laevis. Scott is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard Medical School and joined the Goessling Lab in 2017. He is interested in the molecular mechanisms of liver formation and the functions of Vitamin D Signaling in endoderm development.

shfreeburg [at]

Bess Miller

Bess is a graduate student in the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard. She joined the lab in 2019 and is interested in the role of innervation in liver development and function. Bess graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology in 2016 and did undergraduate research studying genetic determinants of aggressiveness in acute myeloid leukemia in Dr. David Scadden’s lab.

elizabethmiller [at]

Titus Butzlaff

Titus grew up in Dortmund in the north west of Germany. After finishing school he moved to Munich to attend Medical School at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University. After passing his first state exam he changed Universities to the Technical University Munich and joined the Lab of Prof. Feuchtinger for his doctoral thesis. Here he focused his work on studying ways to improve CAR T cell therapy in pediatric acute leukemia. Titus joined the Goessling lab in 2022 and is interested in early markers of NAFLD and NASH.

titus [at]

Enrica Wedig

Enrica is a fifth-year medical student at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. During her clinical elective at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospital Vienna, Austria, Enrica discovered her passion for hepatology research and finding novel treatment approaches for chronic liver disease. Enrica joined the Goessling Lab in March 2023 to write her medical dissertation on the role of macrophages in hepatobiliary development. After completing her medical degree, she wants to specialize in gastroenterology and hepatology. In her free time, Enrica enjoys reading, hiking, judo, and exploring new cities.

ewedig [at]

Technicians and Undergraduates

Colton Smith

Colton graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston Summa Cum Laude with Honors in Biology in May 2019. His senior thesis focused on steroid-mediated sex behavior in B6D2F1 male hybrid mice. Colton joined the Goessling lab in July 2019 where his main functions are to assist Brian and Olivia with their projects as well as performing other essential duties within the lab. He ultimately plans to return to school and pursue an MD/PhD dual-degree.

csmith125 [at]

Yujin Moon

Yujin graduated from Bowdoin College in 2020 with a B.A. in Biology, with Honors, and a minor in Chinese. At Bowdoin, she studied tooth-specific cis-regulation of the dlx2b gene during zebrafish development. In the Goessling Lab, Yujin assists Arkadi with his research examining the non-canonical function of macrophages in hepatic structure regulation and the effect of mmp14 genes in liver development. Outside of the lab, Yujin enjoys playing the guitar, cooking, and walking along the Charles River. She is planning to apply to a PhD program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences in the near future.

ymoon1 [at]

Lauren Snow

Lauren graduated from Queens College Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in neuroscience and a minor in chemistry in May 2021. During college, she studied axonal guidance in the zebrafish posterior lateral line, and wrote her thesis addressing the role of semaphorin 7a in this process. Since joining the lab in August 2021, Lauren has been studying the role of hepatic stellate cells in Alcoholic Liver Disease, in conjunction with Isaac. In her free time, Lauren enjoys swimming, reading, and spending time outside.

lsnow4 [at]