Sankaran Laboratory





Principal Investigator

Vijay Sankaran, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital/ Harvard Medical School
Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Associate Member, Broad Institute

Vijay received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Lemmon on biochemical studies of signal transduction. He went on to get an M.Phil. in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, where he worked with Prof. Sir Tom Blundell and studied protein crystallography. He then earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 2010. He worked with Dr. Stuart Orkin as a graduate student, where he studied fetal hemoglobin regulation and hematopoiesis. He then received training as a house officer in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and as a fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. Vijay also performed postdoctoral research with Drs. Harvey Lodish and Eric Lander at the Whitehead and Broad Institutes in Cambridge.



Lab Members

Nour Abdulhay, B.A.

Nour graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and is currently a Research Assistant and Lab Manager for the Sankaran Lab. She is performing functional follow up on the results of human genetic studies of blood disorders. Nour is planning to pursue her graduate training in Cell & Molecular Biology in the near future.

Erik Bao, B.S.

Erik received his B.S. in Biology from Duke and is currently an M.D. student in the Harvard-MIT Program of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School. His research interests are focused on conducting computational genetics studies to gain insight into hematopoiesis. In his free time, Erik enjoys playing and watching basketball, playing acoustic guitar, and getting bubble tea with friends.

Anindita Basak, Ph.D.

Anindita performed her graduate studies under the mentorship of Dr. Charles Query at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab interested in the molecular mechanisms governing the developmental regulation of the fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switch in humans. She is performing a variety of functional and genomic studies to gain insight into this process.

Claudia Fiorini, Ph.D.

Claudia received a Ph.D. in Virology and Microbiology from the University of Brescia, Italy. She subsequently gained research training in molecular diagnostics, immunology, and cell-based therapies at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH and at several pediatric hospitals in Italy and in the US. Claudia is focused on performing functional studies to gain deeper insight into human erythropoiesis and how this process goes awry in disease.

Ah Ram Kim, Ph.D.

Ah Ram Kim received her B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Rochester in 2015, where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. James Palis. Her current research is focused on studies of hematopoietic cytokine signaling and modulation of differentiation of both primary hematopoietic cells and those derived from pluripotent stem cells.

Leif Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D.

Leif received his medical and research training in Germany and completed his graduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Harvey Lodish at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow who is jointly supervised by Dr. Aviv Regev of the Broad Institute. His research interests include the development of lineage tracing tools and the use of single cell transcriptomics and epigenomics to study native hematopoiesis and the underlying pathophysiology in congenital anemias.

Laura Mateyka, B.S.

Laura graduated with a B.S. in Molecular Biotechnology from the Technical University Munich in 2015 with a focus in protein engineering. Laura is a M.S. student in the program of biochemistry at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Laura is developing functional approaches to manipulate and study human hematopoietic cells to follow up on the results of human genetic studies.

Sean McFarland, Ph.D.

Sean performed his graduate studies at the University of California Berkeley under the mentorship of Drs. Douglas Clark and David Schaffer studying pluripotent stem cell differentiation. Sean is a postdoctoral fellow focused on (1) using computational methods to design and draw meaning from sequencing experiments currently being generated in the lab and (2) analyzing and extending said methods to build better computational tools.

Satish Nandakumar, Ph.D.

Satish performed his graduate thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Derek Persons at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he studied the role of the transcription factor GATA2 in hematopoiesis. Satish joined the Sankaran lab in October 2014. He is studying the mechanisms underlying population-based genetic variation in blood cell traits using functional and genomic approaches. His long-term goal is to develop improved cell and gene therapy approaches that are guided by insight from human genetics.

Kristina Tourt, B.A., M.S.

Kristina graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Management. She is the Program Coordinator in the Sankaran lab and assists with all administrative matters for the laboratory.

Jacob Ulirsch, B.S.

Jacob received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining the Sankaran lab, he was a junior data analyst in the UNC department of Anesthesiology where his research focused on understanding pain recovery after trauma. Now, as a computational analyst, Jacob works with multiple lab members on their research projects, and his primary research focuses on understanding how both common and rare genetic variation influences human blood cell production and diseases affecting this process. When not on his computer, Jacob likes to run, cook, and plant tomatoes on his fire escape.