Current Environment:

Meet Our Team

Principal Investigator

Read more about Ofer Levy, MD, PhD

Director, Precision Vaccines Program; Senior Physician in Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Research Associates and Fellows

Read more about Asimenia Angelidou , MD, PhD

Physician in Medicine, Division of Newborn Medicine

Instructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Joann Arce, PhD

Lead, Data Management and Analysis Core, Precision Vaccines Program; Scientist, Division of Infectious Diseases

Instructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Soumik Barman, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Precision Vaccines Program, Division of Infectious Diseases

Research Fellow in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about David Dowling, PhD

Scientist, Division of Infectious Diseases

Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Etsuro Nanishi, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases

Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Dheeraj Soni, PhD

Research Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases

Read more about Al Ozonoff, PhD

Director of Data Management Core, Precision Vaccines Program

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Guzman Sanchez-Schmitz, MSc, PhD

Scientist, Precision Vaccines Program, Division of Infectious Diseases

Instructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Read more about Simon van Haren, PhD

Principal Investigator, Division of Infectious Diseases

Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Research Assistants, Coordinators & Managers

Danielle Chaney, BS

Danielle Chaney, BS

Danielle Chaney received her Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Iowa in May 2018. As a Research Technician for the Adjuvant Development Program, she is working on optimizing the immunologic activity of novel small molecule adjuvants to create a more robust immune response to the pertussis vaccine that mimics natural infection. Danielle’s career goals are to pursue an MD/MPH combined degree with a focus on infectious disease and epidemiology. 


Mitchell Cooney, BA

Mitchell Cooney, BA
Research Assistant

Mitchell Cooney earned his dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Geography with a special focus on spatial epidemiology from Colgate University in May 2017. After beginning his career at a well-funded NYC startup, he has since returned to medical research, joining Boston Children’s Hospital as a Research Assistant within the Precision Vaccines Program. Mitchell currently works alongside Dr. Sanchez-Schmitz further developing human three-dimensional bioactive tissue constructs. He also employs human microphysiologic tissue constructs to characterize vaccine-induced molecular pathways in vitro correlating with CoP in vivo as a member of the EPIC-HIPC project. Mitchell plans to attend graduate school following his time at Boston Children’s Hospital. 


Simon Doss-Gollin, BS

Simon Doss-Gollin, BS

Simon Doss-Gollin received his Bachelor's of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in May 2020. As an undergraduate student he studied bacteria-bacteriophage interactions, using experimental evolution to demonstrate the potential to produce evolved antibiotic resistance in E. coli through treatment with bacteriophages. As a member of the Precision Vaccines Program, Simon works with Dr. Simon Van Haren to study the molecular mechanisms of combination adjuvants, and with the EPIC-HIPC team. Simon's research interests are in immunology and host-pathogen interactions, and he hopes eventually to enter an MD/PhD program.


Jensen Pak, BA

Jensen Pak, BA
Research Assistant

Jensen Pak graduated from Williams College in 2018 with degrees in Biology and Classics. He currently works with Dr. van Haren studying the mechanism of age-dependent synergy between specific TLR and CLR agonists, combination adjuvant candidates for a potential vaccine enhancing early-life immunity against respiratory syncytial virus. He is also a member of the EPIC-HIPC project, assisting clinical operations and characterizing molecular signatures predictive of neonatal vaccine immunogenicity in vitro. Jensen plans to attend medical school, specializing in pediatrics or medical genetics.


Alec Plotkin, BS

Alec Plotkin, BS
Research Assistant

Alec Plotkin received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in May 2018, with a Minor in Biochemical Engineering. As a Research Assistant in the Precision Vaccines Program, Alec works with Dr. Smolen on the Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) to detect signatures of immune responses in newborns during the first week of life. His particular areas of responsibility include collecting and processing biosamples from newborns and adults, conducting immunological assays on these samples, and analysis and QC/QA of the data generated. Beyond this, he is always looking for new ways to improve workflow and help others in the lab. Alec has an interest in identifying and characterizing mechanistic pathways that are involved in the development of immune responses, including the development of predictive models for disease states. He is currently preparing applications for MD and Ph.D. programs and aims to start in the fall of 2020. Alec enjoys spending his free time outside, in the mountains or on the beach, and likes to play guitar.


Juan Carlos (Charlie) Ramirez

Juan Carlos (Charlie) Ramirez, BS, MS Candidate
Research Technician

Juan Carlos (Charlie) Ramirez earned his dual Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Molecular Biology from Brandeis University in May 2017 and has since been a research technician under the Adjuvant Discovery/Development Programs within the Precision Vaccines Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital. Focusing on the in vitro modeling of adjuvants, Charlie has explored the age-specific responses of mononuclear cell populations to exogenous stimuli, centering on quantifying immunosignaling proteins and identifying receptive subpopulations for adjuvant development. He is also pursuing a Master’s of Science in Biotechnology at Harvard University, where he is focusing on computational and bioinformatic methods to better interrogate the high volumes of complex biodata as related to human health. Charlie aims to ultimately earn his PhD, and is interested in the intersection of the aging process and the onset of disease, along with therapies which may be able to delay morbidities in the late stages of life. 


Yoshine Saito, BS

Yoshine Saito, BS
Research Assistant

Yoshine Saito received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in June 2019. During her undergraduate, Yoshine was involved extensively in experimental and computational bioprocess engineering research; she studied the optimization for production, separation, and characterization of recombinant products in microbial systems. As a research assistant in the Precision Vaccines Program, she works closely with Dr. Dowling on the Adjuvant Discovery/Development Program to discover novel small molecule adjuvants via characterization of molecular mechanisms and evaluation in animal models. Yoshine is passionate about translational medicine and hopes to become a physician-scientist.  


Sofia M. Vignolo, BS Sofia M. Vignolo, BS
Research Data Manager I

Sofia Vignolo earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering pre-medical concentration with an Applied Mathematics minor from the University of Miami (May 2018). She joined the Precision Vaccines Program in October 2018. Working under the Data Management Core (DMC) and being a part of the operational Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) team, Vignolo is strengthening her computational skills as she analyzes and runs quality control assessments on large datasets from experimental results/metadata in an international collaboration. She is also working on data deposition of published vaccine studies into public databases (such as ImmPort and GEO) in order to share data with the rest of the scientific community. Vignolo’s research interests are in the biomedical sciences, specifically immunology and biomedical engineering, and her career goals are to pursue an MD-PhD degree.

International Lab Members

Elena Morrocchi

Elena Morrocci
Graduate Research Student (PhD Student in Molecular Immunology and Applied Biotechnology)
  Elena Morrocchi received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology and her Master Degree in Industrial Biotechnology respectively in 2014 and 2016, both at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. During her Internship at the ENEA Research center (Cesano, Italy) she was involved in the production of an immunocitokyne in a glyco-engineered plant of Nicotiana Benthamiana. Then she started her Ph.D. focusing her attention on the evaluation of B cells phenotype and transcriptomic profiles in HIV vertically infected patients who started the ART therapy early. Elena’s goal is to earn her Ph.D. deepening the knowledge of immune responses in immunocompromised cohorts of patients.


Shun Rao Shun Rao
Undergraduate Student Intern (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen)
  Shun Rao is currently an undergraduate studying Data Science-Statistics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHKSZ). During her time at CUHKSZ, she used computational biology to explore the molecular mechanism for certain naturally occurring bioflavonoids, model proteins and simulate molecular docking processes. As a student intern in the Precision Vaccines Program, Shun works with Dr. Al Ozonoff under the Data Management Core (DMC) to design and develop an RShiny app to facilitate the analysis of data. She keeps strengthening her programming skills by getting exposures in different projects. Shun plans to attend graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. degree in Biostatistics after graduation in 2021.


Diana Vo, BA Diana Vo, BA
Program Coordinator, Precision Vaccines Program, Division of Infectious Diseases