Steen Laboratory - Lab Members

Dr. Judith Steen is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Director of the Neuroproteomics Laboratory in the F. M. Kirby Neuroscience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her laboratory works to understand neuro-regeneration and neurodegenerative diseases using systems biology approaches. The laboratory develops novel qualitative and quantitative methodologies at the interface of proteomics and transcriptomics with special emphasis on computational proteomics approaches. These novel quantitative methods and bioinformatics tools developed by the Steen Laboratory are being applied to understand the biology of regeneration and neurodegeneration in both mouse models, stem cells and human tissues, to find molecular targets for therapeutics, and to identify biomarkers of the neurodegenerative process. Further functional studies using biochemical, molecular and cell biology approaches are used to verify and understand the role of the targets and biomarkers in the context of injury and disease. The goal of this research is to use molecular information provided by our quantitative proteomics measurements in order to ameliorate neurodegeneration and promote regeneration. judith.steen@childrens.harvard.edu


Dr. Hanno Steen, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, whose laboratory is located at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Steen's group research has three focal areas:

i) The discovery of urinary biomarkers for diagnostic purposes  in a wide range of acute and chronic diseases including appendicitis, Kawasaki disease, TB,  traumatic brain injury, and Crohn’s Diseases. To this end the Steen Lab has developed a urine proteomics platform which allows for the fast and efficient processing and proteomic analysis of urine specimens.

ii) Use of proteomics to study post-translational mechanisms of protein regulation, with particular emphasis on protein degradation in mitosis and development. The Steen group developed the concept of co-regulation proteomics algorithms that correlates protein abundance traces specific enzyme activities and functions. This work resulted in the identification of kinens, as a new class of cell cycle dependent substrates of the Anaphase Promoting Complex.

iii) Method development to improve a) processing of proteomic samples, b) accuracy and precision of protein quantification and iii) computational methods for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of proteomic data. For instance, the FLEXIQuant approach developed by the Steen lab, which allows for the exquisitely detailed characterization of selected proteins and their post-translational modification, has been instrumental for studying multikinase mechanisms (Nat Methods. 2012;9:504), and the post-translational regulation of Tiki1 in Xenopus development (Cell. 2012;149:1565) and kinesin C1 during mitosis (EMBO J. 2014;33:385). hanno.steen@childrens.harvard.edu


Ceren, is from Antalya, Turkey. She graduated from Istanbul University. After teaching high school biology for a year she decided to move to the US and became a member of Steen Lab in 2011. She is currently the lab supervisor and the animal surgeon of Steen Lab. Aside from managing the lab, Ceren is working on developing new mouse models to get a better understanding on neurodegenerative diseases like Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and she is preparing samples for Mass Spectrometry. Outside the lab Ceren practices and teaches Yoga and enjoys cooking with friends and family. ceren.uncu@childrens.harvard.edu


Long Cheng is an instructor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School working as a senior scientist and lab manager of Steen Lab. He received Ph.D. and had been trained at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Tsinghua University in China.  His research had been focused on the neurobiology of neural stem cells in cerebral lesions and diseases as well as the molecular mechanisms of several of cellular signaling pathways underlying human neurological diseases and cancers. At end of 2006, he joined Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School working as a postdoctoral research fellow to study neurobiology and mechanisms of motor neuron developmental diseases, neurodegeneration and regeneration. He became a team member of Steen Lab since 2017 and has been working on functional studies to try to translate the proteomics findings in the lab into neurobiology and molecular mechanisms underlying human neurodegenerative diseases. Long enjoys cooking, listening to music and radio, playing soccer with friends and traveling with family. He enjoys very much making delicious food for his family and friends. long.Cheng@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Meenakshi was born and raised in India. She post graduated in Biotechnology from Bangalore University, India. After her post graduation, she worked for the firm Ernst & Young. She moved to the United States in Jan 2018. Her interest in Science made her switch her career to Science and she eventually got an opportunity to join Steen lab as a Research Assistant in May 2018. Currently, she is exploring the different facets of quantitative proteomics. She loves music, singing is her favorite pastime. She also loves traveling and exploring new places around the world. meenakshi.jha@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Amanda joined the Steen Lab as a postdoc in 2015. She received a B.A. in Biological Sciences and German Literature from Cornell University, and spent a year as an English teacher in Erlangen, Germany before reuniting with molecular biology in graduate school. Amanda completed her Ph.D. in Ileana Cristea's lab at Princeton University, where she studied the regulation of histone deacetylases and their roles during viral infection. Amanda is interested in understanding the functions of non-canonical RNAs and translation products in response to viral challenge and in autoimmune diseases. Outside of the lab, Amanda enjoys rock climbing, dogs, and Diet Coke.amanda.guise@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Hendrik studied biotechnology at University of Münster, Germany and received a PhD from University of Cambridge, where he employed mass spectrometry to investigate proteomic and metabonomic abnormalities in psychiatric diseases under the supervision of Prof. Sabine Bahn. His fascination for mass spectrometry and neuroscience drew Hendrik to the Steen Lab where he elucidates now the molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies. His project investigates global protein network perturbations and Tau post-translational modification abnormalities in cellular models and biological specimen with a focus on disease progression, Tau propagation and inflammation/viral infection. When not tuning the mass specs, analysing data or reaching the top shelves in the lab, Hendrik enjoys escaping the neon lab lights by traveling the world, electronic music and concerts, running, hikes, and exploring New England Restaurants. hendrik.wesseling@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Christoph Schlaffner was born and raised in Germany. He graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Bioinformatics) and a Master of Science in Engineering (Bioinformatics). He went on to receive his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK where he worked with Dr. Jyoti Choudhary at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Dr. Andreas Bender at the Center for Molecular Informatics, University of Cambridge, on developing tools and analyzing data for proteogenomics and personal proteomics. Christoph is interested in developing bioinformatics tools to understand the function of non-canonical RNA and translation products and untangling disease related from personal variation. Outside the lab, Christoph enjoys cooking and baking, traveling, and choral music. christoph.schlaffner@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Pieter Beerepoot graduated from McMaster University Department of Biology & Pharmacology in Canada. He continued his training in pharmacology at the University of Toronto, Canada  in the department of Pharmacology, where he worked on small molecule approaches to rescue membrane protein folding in the context of neurological disorders. Pieter is primarily focused on development of therapeutics in the neuroscience area, and is pursuing training in mass spectrometry proteomics as a target discovery tool. Currently Pieter is characterizing proteomic changes associated with the neurodegenerative disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE is a devastating condition caused by traumatic brain injury that has been diagnosed post-mortem in contact sport athletes and militairy personnel. There is currently no method to diagnose living invididuals with CTE, and Pieter is therefore focused on identifying potential biomarkers. Pieter is also engaged in identification of posttranslational modifications that can serve as targets for antibody development in the neurodegeneration field. As if mass spectrometry was not exciting enough, Pieter fills his free time with rockclimbing, mountainbiking, martial arts, and endurance sports.pieter.beerepoot@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Ying Xiong graduated from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. During her Ph.D, she focused on identifying suppressors of abnormal phenotypes associated with tau aggregation in Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies through genetic screen. She joined the Steen’s Lab as a postdoc seeking to understand the pathological mechanism and identify potential biomarkers for another group of neurodegenerative diseases - synucleiopathies using proteomics. Ying likes music and enjoys spending time with friends and family. ying.xiong@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Saima graduated in 2016 with a Master's in Biotechnology from Harvard Extension School. She completed her Master Thesis " Biomarker Discovery for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia using Mass Spectrometry Based Urine Proteomics" under supervision of Dr. Hanno Steen. Her affinity for the Steen Lab was so strong she decided to pursue her PhD in the lab. Her project involves improving proteomic workflows for biomarker discovery as well as investigating the phosphoproteome of body fluids such as human cerebrospinal fluid and urine. She will also analyze the proteome of infant brains in hopes to understand the pathophysiological impact resulting from brain injury. Saima's love for the color pink shades all aspects of her life, including her lab bench. saima.ahmed@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Dr. Fatou obtained his Ph.D. in physics and biology focused on the development a new mass spectrometry-based instrument for real-time guided surgery of cancer at the University of Lille in France. After receiving his Ph.D., he did his first postdoctoral training during one year on the same projects in the lab where he did his thesis. Dr. Fatou is now a postdoctoral researcher under the PI Dr. H. Steen at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on developing and applying targeted and quantitative proteomics methods for biomarker discovery neurodegenerative diseases. Outside the work, Benoit likes to spend some time cooking, fishing during summer and skiing during winter. benoit.fatou@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Mukesh joined the Steen lab as Postdoc in Oct 2017. He did his PhD work in the lab of Dr. Andrej Shevchenko at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), Dresden, Germany. Currently, in the lab he is employing his favorite quantitative mass spectrometry to understand the role of proteins (abundance, aggregation, post-translational modification etc.) in neurodegeneration. In free time, he likes bike riding, cooking, playing cricket, and sleeping! mukesh.kumar@childrens.harvard.edu

 

 

Anaïs Meziani joined the Steen lab in 2017 as a student to complete her master program. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Lille University (France).  She continued with a M.S. program in Genomics and Proteomics in Lille. October 2018 Anaïs will start her phD thesis in the lab. Anaïs enjoys team sport as hand-ball and loves to eat mangos from Mexico! anais.meziani@childrens.harvard.ed

 

 

Frederik Post was born and raised in Muenster, Germany. After focusing on chemistry and geography in his German High School Diploma Abitur, he decided to start his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Muenster. During his studies, he especially developed an interest in proteomics and Big Data. Therefore, Frederik ventured out of his hometown to acquire the proficiencies of proteome research in Steen Lab. There he is examining Tauopathies of different diseases like Alzheimer’s. Outside the lab, he likes following and exercising cycling, soccer and other sports, going to the cinema or to concerts. frederik.post@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Michaela Svrdlikova was born in Czech Republic. She is currently enrolled in a Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience with the specialization in Drug Development and Neurohealth with the Maastricht University in the Netherlands. In the Steen lab she is conducting her internship and running a project for her master's thesis, which is focused on immunoprecipitation of alpha synuclein and tau for further analyses by Mass spectrometry. She fell in love with proteomics and mass spectrometry at first sight and she would like to stay in this field for her future career. In her free time she likes to do skiing, hiking, running or cycling. michaela.svrdlikova@childrens.harvard.edu

 

 

Sinead Greally was born in Galway, Ireland and graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Due to her interest in pharmacology and neuroscience, she continued her studies with a Research Masters in Drug Development and NeuroHealth from Maastricht University, in the Netherlands. Sinead is currently in her second year of this masters and  is carrying out an internship at the Steen Lab. She is working with Ying Xiong PhD, using mass spectrometry and proteomics to quantify and characterise  a-synuclein in the neurodegenerative disease MSA. While completing this internship Sinead enjoys soaking up the American culture here in Boston, and likes travelling, movies and going out with friends. sinead.greally@childrens.harvard.edu