Huachun Liu, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Education Background: BS in Agronomy, Zhejiang University, China; PhD in Molecular Biology, UCLA

Research Projects: Capsid engineering of AAV

Research Interest: Delivery method for gene therapy

Career Ambition: Develop translational products to benefit patients

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Jiten Doshi, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Education: Bachelors and Masters in Biotechnology, Doctoral degree in Synthetic Biology

Research Projects: I am undertaking the existing challenge associated with the manufacturing of AAV vectors by adopting a synthetic biology approach in engineering the key molecular determinants.

Research Interest: Gene Therapy, Synthetic Biology, DNA/RNA therapeutics, Viral vectors development/engineering

Career Ambition: Development of genetic medicines while using the principles of synthetic biology

Awards & Honors: Scholarships for both Masters and Bachelors studies from the respective educational institutions.

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Michael Florea

PhD Candidate

Education: BSc – Biology, Imperial College London, MSc – Biotechnology, ETH Zurich

Research Project: Engineering AAVs to study hematopoiesis and aging

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Cheikh Diop

Research Technologist

Education: BA in Biochemistry, Suffolk University, Boston, MA

Research Project: Building AAV capsid libraries

Research Interest: Gene therapy, Infectious diseases, drug  discovery

Career Ambition: Gain more research experience while actively contributing to the research projects carried out at the Vandenberghe lab. Eventually pursue a PhD in molecular biology / biochemistry in graduate school

Membership: ACS

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Reynette Estelien

Research Technologist

Education: BS in Biological Sciences/Biotech, University of Massachusetts Lowell, RALAT Certified, Certificate in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Boston University

Research Project: Gene Therapy

Research Interest: Gene therapy and drug discovery

Career Ambition: To further my study in Animal Research and Epidemiology

Membership: Member of New England Branch for American Association of Laboratory Animal Sciences (NEBAALAS)

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Julio Sanmiguel

Senior Research Technologist

Education: B.Sc., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, U. of Miami; ALM, Biotechnology, Harvard Extension School (in progress)

Research Project: Quality Control, Vector Characterization, Nucleic Acid Quantification, Discovery Group

Research Interest: AAV Structure, Virology, Biology of Memory, Personal Medicine

Career Ambition: Ph.D. and long life learning

Membership: ASGCT

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Urja Bhatt, MS

Senior Research Technologist

Education: MS Molecular and Cell Biology, B.Tech Biotechnology

Research Project: Use diverse molecular biology tools to perform cloning

Research Interest: Synthetic Biology, Molecular Biology

Career Ambition:

  • Short-term: Achieve excellence in practicing my education, skills and expertise in Molecular Biology & Bioanalytical techniques.
  • Long-Term: Gain meaningful experience to work for betterment of society.

Awards and Honors:

  • Awarded GOLD MEDAL & Merit Scholarship in Biotechnology for consistently outstanding performance, D.Y. Patil University, 2016.
  • Accorded prestigious Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE), Gov. of India, 2011.
  • Won Amul Vidya Bhusan award for academic excellence in science stream, 2011.
  • Awarded Certificate of Honor and Memento by current Prime Minister of India, Shree Narendra Modi for participation in National Biodiversity Quiz, 2007

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Jackson W. Lau, MHA

Senior Lab Manager

Education Background: MHA, Boston College. B.S., Premedical and Health Studies, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Research interest: Virology

Career Ambition: Institution/system level research lab management, standardization and improved utilization of resources from both research and clinical fields.


Vandenberghe Lab Team

Anil Chekuri, PhD


Research Projects:  Translational gene therapy approach to treat retinal degenerative diseases

Research Interest: Broad research goal is to identify molecular mechanisms underlying retinal degeneration and thereby design therapeutic targets for treatment

Career Ambition: To evolve as an independent researcher in near future

Vandenberghe Lab Team

Nerea Zabaleta, PhD


Nerea Zabaleta, PhD, is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. Her research lab forms part of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, USA, and of the Ocular Genomics Institute. She received a PhD degree in biomedical research from the University of Navarra, Spain, in 2018. She has a strong background in translational gene editing and gene therapy for inherited liver metabolic disorders as well as preclinical development of vaccines. Her laboratory aims at developing and optimizing adeno-associated viral vector (AAV)-based therapies for inherited and infectious disorders. Her goal is to create custom AAV vectors that adequate to the needs of each disease and target specific cell types rather than specific organs, creating more effective and safer therapies. Her work has been published in high impact journals, and she is inventor of two patents, including an AAV-based vaccine platform. Additionally, she is a board member of ECUSA (Spanish Scientist in the USA, non-profit) and volunteers her time to advocating for inclusion and gender equity.

Vandenberghe Lab Team

© 2018 Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center

20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114