Current Lab Members


Jan Lammerding Principal Investigator: Jan Lammerding, Ph.D.
Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University
235 Weill Hall; Ithaca, NY 14853
607-255-1980 (Lab)
607-255-5961 (Fax)

Postdoctoral Associates
Noam Noam Zuela-Sopilniak
I came to Cornell from Israel, where I obtained a B.Sc. in basic medical science and Ph.D. in human genetics from the Hebrew University. I am interested in studying the diverse roles of the nuclear envelope protein lamin A/C in both cardiac disease and cancer. Specifically, I aim to uncover the molecular mechanisms leading to lamin A/C related cardiomyopathy, as well as to determine the role lamin A/C play in cancer severity and metastatic potential in vivo and how alterations in cancer cell metabolism affect lamin A/C levels.
Tyler Tyler Kirby, PhD
I am originally from Canada, where I received my Bachelors from St. Francis Xavier University in Human Kinetics. I then moved to the United States for my graduate work, obtaining my Masters in Exercise Science at Appalachian State University, followed by a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Kentucky. I am interested in understanding how mechanical cues are transmitted and sensed within skeletal muscle cells, specifically focusing on how these mechanical forces are “sensed” by the cell nucleus and, in turn, regulate the muscle phenotype. Similarly, I am interested in understanding how nuclear mechanotransduction is affected by the normal aging process, and whether dysfunction in this critical cellular response leads to age-related muscle loss and frailty.
Hind Hind Zahr
I am from Lebanon, where I received my PhD degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the American University of Beirut. My long-term goal is to employ science and biotechnology in discovering and developing therapies for devastating diseases. My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy arising from lamin mutations. Specifically, I am interested in determining the downstream effects of DNA damage response pathways that are mechanically activated in myonuclei weakened by lamin mutations, and to understand their contribution to impaired muscle function and progressive myocyte death. I am also interested in exploring the consequences of lamin mutations on mitochondrial function and maintenance in skeletal muscle fibers and iPSC-derived cardiac myocytes.
PhD Students
Richa Richa Agrawal
I am a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology (BMCB) program. I am originally from Columbus, OH where I obtained my undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Ohio State University. My overarching goal in the Lammerding laboratory is to understand the interplay of metabolism during confined migration. Specifically, I aim to provide an estimate of metabolic cost of confined migration, understand if various metabolic aspects are a constraint, and probe what determines fitness for confined migration. Simultaneously, I am working on engineering some improved microfluidic devices for high-throughput analysis. After obtaining my PhD, I intend to use my knowledge of cancer metabolism to work on drug development in the biotechnology industry.
Jeremiah Jeremiah Hsia
I am a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology (BMCB) program. I am from Taiwan, a small but beautiful island country in East Asia. I came to the US after finishing my bachelor’s degree in Life Science at National Taiwan University. I am interested in the biological consequences of cancer cell migration in confined spaces, such as epigenetic modifications and gene expression changes. In particular, by exploring the impact of nuclear deformation and nuclear envelope rupture, I want to see if we can find potential targets for preventing cancer progression and invasion in the future. My long term goal is to pursue a career in R&D of pharmaceutical companies.
Jeremy Jeremy Keys
I am a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program. I grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts and completed my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (as well as a Certificate in Film Studies) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The principal goal of my research is to determine how cancer cells generate forces which act on the nucleus to migrate through confined spaces. Specifically, I am looking at how the cell uses intracellular protein structures to push or pull on the nucleus as it squeezes through extracellular constrictions. My goal is to elucidate the role of these mechanical forces in metastasis to identify novel targets for cancer treatment.
Joseph Joseph Long
I am a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program. I am originally from the Portland, OR, area and obtained my B.S. Bioengineering from Oregon State University. After college, I spent two years teaching at the elementary school level and performing tissue engineering research before coming to Cornell. My overarching career goals are to pursue science policy, outreach, and education to continue my journey of advocating for STEM and expanding the role STEM has in society. The main goal of my research is to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind how mechanical force to the nucleus directly impacts changes in mechanosensitive gene expression. Furthermore, I am investigating whether these changes are due to nuclear deformation itself or downstream mechanotransduction pathways.
Melanie Melanie Maurer
I grew up near Chicago, and completed my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas. I spent a year researching how to improve stem cell cardiac differentiation with mechanical cues in Stuttgart, Germany before starting my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell in 2017. In the Lammerding Lab, I am interested in elucidating the specific mechanisms of dilated cardiomyopathy caused by LMNA mutations through the use of an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model. Specifically, I am using patient-derived LMNA mutant iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to understand how LMNA mutations drive altered nuclear morphologies and mechanobiological behavior, and how DNA damage plays a role in LMNA dilated cardiomyopathy. After my PhD, I would like to obtain an industry research position using stem cell models as a means to study and treat human diseases.
Pragya Pragya Shah
I am a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical and Biological Science (BBS) program. I hail from Kolkata, a city in the eastern part of India. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Pune, obtaining an Integrated Masters of Science degree in Biotechnology. As part of the Lammerding lab, my project involves studying the consequences of confined cancer cell migration on genomic instability of those cells. Specifically, I want to understand the effects of migration induced deformation and rupture on DNA damage in metastatic cancer cells. I am also interested in studying the DNA damage response pathways and how their impairment can affect migration induced DNA damage and genomic instability in different cancer cells. My long term goals include using my scientific knowledge to drive drug discovery research in biotech industry.
Hannah Ern Hwei Hannah Fong
I am originally from Singapore, and have also lived in Hawaii, England, Nigeria, India, and Taiwan, before completing my Hon.B.Sc. in immunology at the University of Toronto, Canada. I also hold an M.Phil. in immunology from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and an M.S. in immunology from Cornell University. I am working in the laboratories of Dr. Ben Cosgrove and Dr. Jan Lammerding to manage the rodent colonies of both labs, and provide support for various research projects in the lab.

Alexandra Corbin
Alexandra Corbin
Connor McGuigan
Ovais Hasan
Gwenda Law
Gwenda Law
Shriya Perati
Zach Shrem
Lindsey Johnson
Lindsey Johnson
Svea Cheng
Alexa Podolsky
Shaminta Hamidian
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