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Quintana Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Francisco J Quintana, PhD

Francisco J. Quintana, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Center for Neurologic Diseases, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

Dr. Quintana, a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires (1999, Argentina), obtained his PhD in immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science (2004, Israel). He received postdoctoral training at the Weizmann Institute of Science and at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, Dr. Quintana joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Quintana’s research investigates signaling pathways that control the immune response and neurodegeneration, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for immune-mediated disorders. Dr. Quintana has published over 140 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. In addition, Dr. Quintana’s research has resulted in multiple patents which have been the foundation of three companies: ImmunArray Ltd, Alma Bio Therapeutics and AnTolRx Inc. Dr. Quintana is the Director of the course Autoimmunity at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Quintana is the recipient of the Lady Anne Chain Prize for Academic Excellence and Scientific Achievements, the Junior Investigator Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Pathway to Independence Award of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Award for Outstanding Research Achievement form Nature Biotechnology and the Tecan Award for Innovation, the Harry Weaver Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Young Mentor Award from Harvard Medical School and the Milestones in MS research from the National MS Society.

Research Fellows

Maisa Takenaka, PhD

Maisa received her PhD in Immunology from Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and she has a background in tolerance and dendritic cells. She joined the Quintana’s lab as PhD student in 2013 where she did an interesting work showing how AHR controls the metabolism, differentiation and function of Tr1 cells, a subset of regulatory T cells important in controlling autoimmune diseases. In 2015 she started her postdoc in Fran’s lab and she is focused on the mechanisms by which innate immune cells can regulate the adaptive immune response in brain disorders, as glioblastoma and multiple sclerosis.

Chun Cheih Chao, PhD

Chun-Cheih received his PhD from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. He join Dr. Quintana’s group on 2015 as a research fellow, studying in two projects, one is to study the role of sphingolipid metabolism in control of reactive astrocyte driven chronic neuroinflammation and the other is to identify novel environmental risk factors in inflammatory bowel diseases onset by in silica and in vivo assays.

Michael Wheeler, PhD

Michael Wheeler received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins, where he worked in the lab of Hongjun Song studying adult neural stem cells in the hippocampus. He graduated in 2011 with honors in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. He maintained his academic focus and began his PhD work in Neuroscience at the University of Virginia under the mentorship of Chris Deppmann and Ali Güler. His thesis focused on neural circuit development and engineering novel electromagnetic tools to study the nervous system. Michael was awarded his PhD in 2016 and joined the Quintana Lab later that year, where he shifted his academic focus toward Neuroimmunology. His current research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of macrophages and astrocytes in multiple sclerosis and glioblastoma. For fun, Michael likes trying new restaurants, going to museums, and watching movies at the Coolidge Corner Theater.

Cristina Gutierrez-Vazquez, PhD

Cristina obtained her PhD by Autónoma University of Madrid in 2016 where she also got her Bachelor in Biochemistry and Masters in Molecular Biomedicine. Her PhD research focused on the intercellular communication between T cell and antigen presenting cells mediated by the transfer of microRNAs and extracellular vesicles at the immune synapse as well as the posttranscriptional regulation of microRNAs during T cell activation. She joined Dr Quintana’s lab in 2017 where she is currently studying AhR implication in brain tumors and the therapeutic potential of nanoparticles loaded with AhR modulators.

Iain Clark, PhD

Iain Clark graduated from Cornell University in 2003 with a B.S. in Biological Engineering. Afterward he joined the Peace Corps, working on sustainable agriculture in the Paraguayan countryside. In 2009 he completed a masters in Biosystems Engineering at UC Davis, where he studied waste-to-energy systems and anaerobic microbiology. He completed his PhD in Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2014, working under John Coates on the molecular genetics of bacterial chloroxyanion respiration. He is currently a postdoc in the Abate Lab at UC San Francisco and a visiting scholar in the Quintana Lab, where he is developing new methods to isolate and study rare cells based on their nucleic acid content. He is interested in droplet microfluidics, high throughput single cell analysis, molecular genetics, and more broadly, in leveraging engineering in biology.

Visiting Scientist

Andreia Barroso

Andreia graduated in Biological Sciences, received her Master degree in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine from Medical School, and is a PhD student from the department of Biochemistry and Immunology, all from Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. She has experience with the experimental model of Chagas disease, and has studied the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) during this neglected and important disease. At Dr. Quintana Lab Andreia has been studying the role of AhR in the context of autoimmune diseases.

Bioinformatics Specialist

Emily Tjon

Emily works in the Quintana Lab as a bioinformatician and received her M.S. in Bioinformatics from Northeastern University and her B.S. in Neuroscience from University of California, Santa Cruz. She performs bioinformatics analysis for -omics data in R and Python and her research interests include using computational approaches to investigate transcriptional regulation and signaling pathways in autoimmune and neurological diseases.

Graduate Student

Federico Giovannoni

Federico is a PhD student at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His research is focused on understanding how hemorrhagic fever-causing viruses evade cell intrinsic immunity. The recent outbreak of Zika virus, which has been shown to infect cells in the CNS, has sparked our interest into finding common pathways of disease for Zika virus and other neurologic conditions.

Laboratory Technician

Patrick Hewson

Patrick Studied biology at Northeastern University obtaining his bachelors degree in 2016. He joined the lab in 2017 and currently manages both the as well as the mouse colony. Patrick hopes to attend medical school in the near future.

Administrative Assistant

Ashley Parsons

Financial Manager

Matt Varley


2006-2009 Mauricio F. Farez, MD / Resident in Neurology, FLENI, Argentina

2009 Andrezza Santiago, PhD / Assistant Professor, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

2009-2011 Silvio M. Viera, PhD / Post-doctoral Fellow, Yale University

2009-2011 Roya Rahbari, PhD / Advanced Economic Analyst, Citizens Bank

2007-2010 Roopali Gandhi, PhD / Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

2010-2016 Lior Mayo, PhD / Assistant Professor, Tel Aviv University

2011-2012 Ruxandra Covacu, PhD / Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institute

2011-2016 Ada Yeste, MSc / Post-doctoral fellow, Barcelona

2012 Miri Gordin, MSc / Graduate Student at Bar-Ilan University

2012-2013 Chun Cheih Chao, MSc / Post-doctoral Fellow Harvard Medical School

2012-2015 Ivan Mascanfroni, PhD / Group leader, Abbie

2012 Nadya Ali, MSc / MD student at Michigan State University College

2013 Leslie Cuellar, MSc / Visiting scientist.

2013 Georges Guillaume, MSc / Visiting scientist.

2013 Megan Rodgers, MSc / Visiting scientist.

2013-2014 Lukas Bunse, MD / Post-doctoral Fellow, Heidelberg University.

2013-2014 Swasti Barthi, MSc / Visiting scientist.

2014-2015 Mauricio F. Farez, MD / Assistant Professor, FLENI, Argentina

2014-2016 Merja Jaronen, PhD / Assistant Professor, University of Kuoppia.

2016-2017 Kalil Alves da Lima, MSc / Visiting Scientist