Ehrt Lab & Schnappinger Lab


Current members of the Ehrt and Schnappinger labs


Arwa Alharbi

Arwa obtained her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and her master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Her thesis was to discuss the “Role of alkyl-hydroperoxide reductase subunit C (AhpC) of Francisella tularensis in resistance to oxidative stress and virulence in mice.” She joined Dr. Dirk Schnappinger’s laboratory in October 2018.

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Arka Banerjee

Arka is originally from Kolkata, India. After completing his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India, he joined the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2018. His research interests focus on developing directed regulatory switches in mycobacteria and use them to better understand the cellular physiology. In his free time, Arka enjoys cooking and reading about popular science and current affairs.


Harmanjit Singh Bansal

Harman grew up in Punjab, India. He did his Bachelor of Technology in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in 2014, in the program of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering where he worked with essential ribosomal assembly protein in mycobacteria, EngA. After that, worked as a Graduate Trainee in National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, working with and developing statistical methods to analyze fluorescent imaging data from high throughput cell-based phenotypic screens. He joined Ehrt Lab in Fall 2018 and started working with the stringent response in mycobacteria. Outside of the lab, he likes running, painting, gaming, and reading classic fiction.


Tiago Alfredo Rodrigues Beites

Tiago received his PhD degree in Biology from the University of Porto, Portugal. During graduate school he worked with Streptomyces, a genus known to be a prolific source of antibiotics, focusing on the optimization of secondary metabolite biosynthesis. He joined Sabine Ehrt’s laboratory in March 2015. As a postdoctoral researcher, he has been interested in questions regarding the interface between energetic and carbon metabolism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Specifically, Tiago’s work aims at 1) unveiling respiratory chain redundancies and their implications on drug development, and 2) the identification and characterization of genes required for survival in lipid-rich microenvironments.


Yogesh Chawla

Yogesh pursued his PhD at National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi. He worked on deducing the function of PknB kinase of Mtb before joining Dirk Schnappinger lab in October, 2015. He is working towards understanding the role Biotin protein ligase (BPL) in M. tuberculosis survival and pathogenicity. He enjoys cooking, relishes different cuisines and travel destinations.

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Curtis Engelhart

Curtis Engelhart completed his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at North Dakota State University in Fargo in 2009, and completed a Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 2012. He spent one year working on a project at GlaxoSmithKline in Tres Cantos, Spain, to develop a targeted whole-cell screen for inhibitors of biotin protein ligase from Mtb. In February 2014 he joined Dirk Schnappinger’s lab. His current work focuses on early drug discovery and target validation of drug candidates in development from various academic and industrial collaborative partners via chemical susceptibility profiling of Mtb conditional knock-down mutants (in single strain and mixed strain formats) and isolation/characterization of resistant Mtb mutants. In his free time Curtis enjoys hiking, cycling, video gaming, and hanging out with his cat Charlie.


Alexandre Gouzy

Alexandre Gouzy obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Toulouse, France. During his PhD, he studied the mechanisms by which Mycobacterium tuberculosis exploits nitrogen during infection in Dr. Olivier Neyrolle’s laboratory at the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology (IPBS). Since 2014, he is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Sabine Ehrt at Weill Cornell Medicine where he investigates the contribution of bacterial nutrition and metabolism in the resistance against immunity and anti-tuberculosis drugs.


Shipra Grover

Shipra obtained her PhD in Biosciences from the University of Birmingham, UK under the supervision of Prof. Gurdyal S. Besra. Her doctoral research was focused on uncovering the mode of action of new antituberculars and the transcriptional regulation of genes involved in cell wall biosynthesis. As part of a collaborative effort between the Schnappinger Lab at Weill Cornell and Tres Cantos Open Lab foundation, Glaxo Smith Kline, Spain, Shipra is focusing on developing and employing high throughput methods for screening of anti-mycobacterial compounds against the essential genes of mycobacteria and evaluating their potential as drug targets.


Claire Healy

Claire is from Dublin, Ireland. She received her BA in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin in 2008. She earned her PhD at University College Dublin in 2014 in the lab of Prof Stephen Gordon investigating a virulence-associated transcriptional regulon in M. tuberculosis (Mtb) and BCG. She joined the Ehrt lab as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2014 and has looked at the apparent redundancy of peptidoglycan modifying enzymes in Mtb. She has also been examining the adaptation that Mtb undergoes in response to acidic pH, a condition that the bacteria is exposed to in the host, in a collaborative project with fellow lab member Alexandre Gouzy. She has also been involved in developing paucibacillary models of infection in mice as part of the Tri-Institutional TBRU.


Jia Kim

Jia is from South Korea, and studied M. smegmatis in Dr. Jessica Seeliger's lab prior to joining our team. She joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt and Dr. Dirk Schnappinger’s labs to continue being in the TB field.


Heather Kim

Heather joined the Ehrt-Schnappinger Labs in July of 2019. She received her B.S. in biology at SUNY New Paltz, and her M.A in biology concentrating in biotechnology at Hunter College. Previously, she worked in the clinical genetic diagnostic department at the University of Pennsylvania analyzing blood and tissue samples to identify hereditary disease markers; and in the mucosal immunology department at SUNY-University at Albany examining the interactions of fungi and beta-glucan particles with murine Peyer’s Patches.

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Kaj M. Kreutzfeldt

Kaj is from Berlin, Germany and earned her Bachelor’s degree at The University of Edinburgh. She then earned her Masters there, studying Mycobacterium abcessus. Here she is pictured with her rescue dog Trevor, who is a very good boy.


Thaís Klevorn

Thaís is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She completed her Bachelors in Biomedical Science at Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health in Brazil with one year at Barnard College of Columbia University in NY as part of the Science Without Borders program. In Brazil, she did research on the immune response against Leishmania spp. at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and Federal University of Sergipe. Before starting graduate school at Weill Cornell, she worked as a research technician at New York University, studying mechanisms of T cell evasion by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She joined the Ehrt lab in June 2019 because she loves infectious disease research and could not think of a better lab in the world to carry out her PhD. Thaís also loves cycling, hiking and camping, but if the weather is bad, there is nothing like a cooperative-strategy board game session.

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Sophie Lavalette-Levy

Sophie obtained her Bachelor’s degree in life sciences and technology at the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris (France) in 2006 and then worked for nine years in a lab that studies the implication of monocytes in inflammatory mechanisms in eye diseases. She joined Weill Cornell in 2016 and since then contributes to both lab’s efforts to validate new drug targets for tuberculosis treatment.

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Ha-Na Lee

Ha-Na received her Ph.D degree with the major of microbiology from Pusan National University in South Korea in Feb 2018. During her Ph. D, she studied the regulation of peroxide stress responses in Mycobacterium smegmatis. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Dirk Schnappinger in Apr 2018 and now is working on a project for identification and characterization of genes involved in the utilization of biotin in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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Yao Liu

Yao Liu is from Yangzhou, China. He received his B.S. degree from Central South University (Changsha, China) in 2011 with a major in biotechnology. He joined Dr. Zhao-Qing Luo’s Lab at Purdue University in 2013, where he studied the modulation of actin cytoskeleton by L. pneumophila effector proteins. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in December 2018 and joined the Ehrt lab as a postdoctoral associate in March 2019. He is currently studying factors involved in the relapse of tuberculosis.


Frances Marks

Frances Marks is a graduate student in Weill Cornell’s Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology program. She joined the Ehrt lab in 2019.


Alexandra Haley Miller

Alexandra Miller grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, then attended Columbia University and graduated with a degree in biochemistry in 2014. After college, she worked at the National Institutes of Health for a year as a post-baccalaureate intramural research training award fellow before starting the Tri-I MD-PhD program in 2015. Alexandra joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s lab in the fall of 2017. Her project uses molecular biology and genetic techniques to identify mycobacterial genes required during nutrient starvation. Outside of lab, she is interested in promoting health equity and works as the research coordinator for the Weill Cornell Community Clinic, Cornell’s student-run free clinic. For fun, she plays the violin and hangs out with her cat, Sasha!


Rodrigo Aguilera Olvera

Rodrigo is from Yuriria, Mexico/Elkton, Maryland and attended Case Western Reserve University for his degree in Biochemistry. He has previously worked with acute myeloid leukemia, GI microbiota, and malaria and is interested is studying the ways by which infectious diseases escape immune system detection and elimination. If the weekend weather is nice, you can usually find Rodrigo fishing on the shores of New Jersey or hiking to some lake/river to catch a bass or trout.

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Sae-Woong Park

Assistant Professor

Sae Woong Park is from Seoul, Korea. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from Yonsei University and has been working at Weill Cornell Medicine since 2008. His research focus is biotin biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the interaction of Mtb with microbiota.

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Di Qu

Di Qu obtained her Ph.D. at the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai. During her Ph.D., she mainly focused on the molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 replication and latency in Dr. Jianhua Wang’s laboratory. She joined Dr. Dirk Schnappinger’s laboratory at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Cornell Medicine in November 2017. At present, she is working on the metabolism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, specifically biotin synthesis, in attempt to validate new drug targets for tuberculosis treatment.


Joanne Soong

Joanne received her Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2014. For the majority of her research career, she has focused on Oncology but aspired to branch out and explore different types of diseases. She joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s lab in the summer of 2019, where she hopes to contribute to the ongoing Mycobacterium tuberculosis projects in the lab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys heavy metal music and bad horror movies.

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Hongwei Su

Hongwei is from China. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Jilin University in 2012. Then he started his PhD studies at Tsinghua University. He joined Dr. Babak Javid’s lab to study mycobacteria pathogenesis and drug tolerance. After he graduated from Tsinghua University in 2017, he joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s lab to study the host-pathogen interaction of tuberculosis and develop a new tuberculosis vaccine.


Carolina Trujillo Trujillo

Carolina grew up in Medellín, Colombia and received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Boston University in 2009. She joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s Lab as a Postdoctoral Associate initially exploring the nutritional requirements of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) essential for establishing and maintaining a chronic infection. Since then, she has been contributing to multiple projects in the lab, including efforts to characterize mechanisms important for Mtb virulence, validation of new drug targets for tuberculosis, and identifying molecular processes that Mtb requires for paucibacillary persistence. Besides her research, she likes to keep the lab running and organized.


Josh Wallach

Josh graduated from the University School of Milwaukee and New York University. He came to Weill Cornell in 2006. Josh is one of the original members of the Schnappinger lab. *Webmaster note: Josh is incredibly helpful when you need to troubleshoot cloning, and has been on every winning trivia team our lab has had.


Ruojun Wang

Ruojun graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, China with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in 2012. As an undergraduate, she studied bacterial components that govern cell morphology in Mycobacterium tuberculosis under the mentorship of Dr. Xuelian Zhang. Later that year, she was accepted into the IMP program at Weill Cornell. She joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s lab in 2013 and has since been studying cell division in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Outside of lab, she enjoys watching birds and squirrels in Central Park.


Meredith Wright Whitaker

Meredith is from West Orange, NJ and graduated from Princeton University in 2013 with a degree in Molecular Biology. Her undergraduate research in Dr. Coleen Murphy’s lab focused on learning and memory using C. elegans as a model. After falling in love with microbiology during senior year course work, she started the Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis PhD Program in 2013 and joined the Ehrt lab in 2014. Her main project focuses on two genes of unknown function in Mtb. Meredith loves tending to her plants, baking treats for the lab, and communicating science to everyone she meets.


Anisha Zaveri

Anisha Zaveri did her PhD in the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under the supervision of Dr. Sandhya Visweswariah. Her thesis focused on the characterization of multidomain adenylyl cyclases in M. tuberculosis. She joined Dr. Sabine Ehrt’s group in 2016 as a Postdoctoral Associate. She works on the characterization of essential genes in M. tuberculosis and is also interested in applying machine learning techniques to biological datasets. In her spare time, she teaches herself computer science and co-organizes the Effective Altruism NYC group.


Former Members

Tiffany Yu

Jennifer McConnell

Helene Botella, PhD

Laure Botella, PhD

Nadine Rucker, PhD

Paula Pino Tamayo

Jaclynn Andres

Israel Da Silva

Kan Lin, PhD

Yonatan Akivis

Linnan Zhu, PhD

Weizhen Xu, PhD

Shuang Song

Ritu Sharma, PhD

Jennifer Farrell

Natalia Betancourt

Uday Ganapathy, PhD

Susan Puckett, PhD

Divya Tiwari, PhD

Kathryn O’Brien, PhD

Joeli Marrero, PhD

Mercedes Monteleone, PhD

Shaun Walters, PhD

German Rehren, PhD

Xiaoxiao Pan, PhD

Uday Tak

Sheetal Gandotra, PhD

Antje Blumenthal, PhD

Jee Hyun Kim, PhD

Toshi Odaira, PT

Jen Small-Saunders, MD/PhD

Xinzheng Guo, PhD

Marcus Klotzsche, PhD

Nichole Goodsmith, MD/PhD

Julian A. Ferreras, PhD

Omar Vandal, PhD

Maria B. Lebron


Where did they go?

Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Food Lab Supervisor at NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Imperial College London

Senior Laboratory Research Scientist, The Francis Crick Institute

Freelance data analyst

Research Associate at Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Rutgers University PhD Program

Northwestern University PhD Program

Hengrui Medicine Co. Ltd

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine

Institute of Precision Oncology, BGI, Shenzhen, China

Postdoctoral Fellow at National Centre for Infectious Disease, Singapore

University of Pennsylvania Nursing Program

AveXis, Inc.

Georgia Tech PhD Program

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Senior Research Associate, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

University Medical Center, Utrecht

The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance

Senior Medical Director, The Scienomics Group

Freelance Science Writer

University of Queensland, Australia

University of Queensland, Australia

Director of Development & Innovation, Universidad Austral de Chile

Reviewer at Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland

Graduate Student, Graduate Biomedical Sciences, University of Alabama

Scientist at CSRI, Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology

Associate Professor, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Clinical Project Manager, Silla-Jen Biotherapeutics

Physical Therapist/Resident, Body Gears Physical Therapy, Chicago area

Infectious Diseases Fellow, Columbia Uni. Medical Center, New York, NY

Manager, Humane Immune Monitoring, Columbia Uni. Medical Center

Max Rubner Institut, Germany

National Clinician Scholars Program, UCLA

Director, Institute of Subtropical Biology (UNaM-CONICET), Argentina

Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle

Principal Research Associate, Cancer Immunobiology at Eli Lilly and Company, NY