Lab Members


Principal Investigator

Frank Slack, Ph.D

Shields Warren-Mallinckrodt Professor of Medical Research

Dr. Frank Slack is the Shields Warren Mallinckrodt Professor, Department of Pathology, and Director of the Institute for RNA Medicine, BIDMC. He received his BSc from the University of Cape Town in South Africa before completing his PhD in molecular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine. He began work on microRNAs as a postdoctoral fellow in Gary Ruvkun’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, where he co-discovered the second known microRNA, let-7.

Email me: fslack@bidmc.harvard.edu


Post-doctoral Fellows

Latika Matai, Ph.D

Latika is from New Delhi, India where she pursued her doctoral research studying aging, dietary restriction and stress responses using C. elegans as the model organism. She moved to United States in 2017 and later joined the Slack lab in 2019. She is interested in investigating the role of juvenile microRNAs in promoting healthier aging. Besides, she loves to travel and explore new places and food. 

Email me: lmatai@bidmc.harvard.edu

Chun Li, Ph.D

She was born and grew up in northeastern China. She received her PhD degree from Nagoya University, Japan under the supervision of Dr. Kunihiro Matsumoto in 2012. She received a JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Research Fellowship for young scientists (DC2) from 2011 to 2013 and also received a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Overseas Researchers from 2013 to 2015. And she worked as a designated Assistant Professor at Nagoya University from 2015 to 2020. During the period she worked at Nagoya University, she studied axon regeneration in C.elegans. From October 2016, She worked with Dr. Slack as a visiting researcher and now she is working as a postdoctoral fellowship on studying new genes in the lin-28/let-7 pathway. She likes cooking and baking especially with her two young children. She also likes traveling with her family and friends.

Email me: cli6@bidmc.harvard.edu

Maria Mavrikaki, Ph.D

Maria studied Neuroscience at the University of Crete (Greece, EU). She moved to the US to pursue a PostDoc position at Scripps FL (2012-2014). She then pursued a PostDoc and Instructorship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School (2014-2019) where she became interested in the neurobiology of opioid addiction. In the Slack lab, Maria is studying the role of miRNAs in opioid addiction. In her free time, she enjoys cooking international food, hiking, traveling and spending time with her loved ones. ​

Email me: mmavrika@bidmc.harvard.edu

Meirav Segal, Ph.D

Email me: msegal3@bidmc.harvard.edu

Urmila Jagtap, Ph.D

Urmila is born and brought up in India. She graduated with a 5-yr Integrated Master’s degree in Biotechnology from University of Pune. After her masters, she worked as a project fellow in National institute of Immunology for 2.5 years exploring C. elegans as a model to understand the gene-diet pair in regulation of longevity. In January 2014, Urmila started her PhD journey in Institute of Genomics and Integrated Biology and utilized zebrafish model to study liver damage and regeneration and also to discover small molecule modulators of Drug Induced Liver Injury. Urmila joined Slack lab in June 2020 and will be evaluating microRNAs as a therapeutic target for hepatocellular carcinoma. Outside the lab, she enjoys various activities like painting, watching movies and traveling. She is a very people person who loves meeting new people and listening to their life stories.

Email me:upjagtap@bidmc.harvard.edu

Jonathan Lee, Ph.D

Email me: jdlee@post.harvard.edu


Graduate Students

Soo Mi Lee (Harvard Virology Program)

Soo Mi was born in South Korea and grew up in Alaska, Japan, South Africa and California. After graduating from Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, she majored in Human Biology at University of California San Diego and graduated with a B.S. in Biology and Biotechnology from Tufts University. During her undergraduate studies, she was a research intern at the Salk Institute and Lee Gil Ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute, where she studied TGF-beta signaling in gastric cancer, and she completed her thesis work in Dr. Catherine Freudenreich’s lab at Tufts, studying chromosomal instability at human fragile site FRA16D. Before graduate school, she was a research associate in Dr. James Cunningham’s lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, investigating the mechanisms of Ebola virus entry to design small molecules that inhibit infection. Soo Mi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Virology Program at Harvard. Her thesis focuses on understanding the role of host noncoding RNAs in viral oncogenesis using both computational and experimental approaches. Outside the lab, she enjoys Rotemburo, golfing and Bonsai gardening.

Email me: soomilee@g.harvard.edu

Allison Baker (Harvard BBS Program)

Allison is from Greensboro, NC and graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
with a B.S. in Biology. In her undergraduate thesis work, Allison studied the relationship
between the structure and function of lncRNAs with Dr. J. Mauro Calabrese. She began her PhD
in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard in 2016 and joined the Slack lab
the following year. For her graduate thesis studies, Allison is using mammalian cell lines to
study the role of the A-to-I RNA editing enzyme ADAR1 as an oncogene in triple negative breast
cancer. In her spare time, Allison plays the flute, goes hiking, or works on perfecting her baking
skills.

Email me: bakerar@g.harvard.edu

Christos Miliotis (Harvard Virology Program)

Christos grew up in Nicosia, Cyprus. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Natural Sciences (Pathology). During his undergraduate studies, he participated in the Amgen Scholars Program at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where he became interested in cancer and viral immunology. He started his PhD in Virology at Harvard in 2017 and he joined the Slack lab in September 2018. For his thesis, he is using both computational and wet lab approaches to understand the importance of miRNAs in immune escape in cancer. Outside the lab, he enjoys running and traveling.

Email me: cmiliotis@g.harvard.edu

Tanvi Saxena (Harvard BBS Program)

Tanvi grew up in New Delhi, India and graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a B.Tech and M.Tech in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Having always been interested in the biological sciences and disease focused research, she worked as a research technician in the Housman Lab (MIT), Wang Lab (MIT, University of Florida) and the Hynes Lab (MIT) studying diseases like Huntingtons Disease, Myotonic Dystrophy and breast cancer before starting her PhD in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) at Harvard University in 2017. She joined the Slack lab in 2018. For her thesis, she is looking into the role of novel lncRNAs in non small cell lung cancer.

Email me: tanvisaxena@g.harvard.edu

Adrienne Vancura (Visiting PhD Student)

Adrienne grew up in Switzerland and worked as a lab technician at Roche (2005-2009) where she became interested in noncoding RNAs. She graduated from the the University of Bern, Switzerland (2011-2014) in Biological Sciences. During her Master’s degree in Biomedicine at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014-2016) she worked on platelet mRNA and miRNAs to use as cancer biomarkers. Currently, she is a PhD student at the University of Bern, Switzerland computationally investigating functional cancer lncRNAs and addressing miRNAs in chemotherapy resistance in lung cancer cells in the lab. This year she was granted a personal fellowship (SNF Doc.Mobility) and joined the Slack lab to study novel lncRNAs in lung cancer.  Adrienne enjoys cooking, swimming, hiking, traveling, history and painting.

Email me: avancura@bidmc.harvard.edu


Research Assistants

Anan Quan

Anan grew up in Beijing, China, and attended high school in Cape Coral, Florida. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a BS in Biology, and concentration in Spanish. During her undergrad, she spent a summer in Mexico researching the role of innate immune system in liver regeneration at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán. She joined the Slack lab in June 2020 as a Research Assistant. Outside the Lab, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and ice skating.

Catherine Wu

A Houston native, Catherine is a recent graduate from MIT, with a major in Biology and a minor in Applied International Studies. During her undergraduate studies, Catherine worked in the Vander Heiden Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, where she discovered her passion for science. After graduation, Catherine moved to Brazil for her Fulbright Fellowship Award, where she taught English and promoted cultural exchange. Catherine joined the Slack Lab in 2020 as a research technician. Outside the lab, she enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, and traveling. In the future, she plans to attend medical school.


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