In The News


Phil Demokritou, associate professor of aerosol physics and director of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology,  celebrated 20 years of association with the School on 10/23/2018.  You can read about Phil’s work by clicking here.


Lior Atia, along with other MIPS researchers in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Fredberg (Yasha Sharma, Jennifer A. Mitchel, Bomi Gweon, Stephan Koehler, Stephen J. DeCamp, Bo Lan, Jae Hun Kim, Rebecca Hirsch, Jin-Ah Park, and James P. Butler), and collaborators at Norheastern University and MIT published an article in Nature Physics that links physics of granular systems to biology of asthma and embryonic development;  Read More


Jeffrey Fredberg has been selected by the American Thoracic Society to receive the “Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments”  at the ATS 2018 International Conference in San Diego, CA


Dr. Quan Lu, Dr. Hae-Ryung, and Dr. Ronald Paniganiban recently identified a gene associated with lowerasthma risk and its role in disease progression, paving the way for new treatments. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and reported in the Boston Globe represents an important advancement in the field of asthma as a way to develop new and more effective therapies.
Read More


ordija-christineChristine Ordija successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Free Actin and Effects on Lung Macrphage Bacterial Defenses“.


beyene-josephJoseph Beyene, a Ph.D. student in the MIPS Program, has passed his qualifying exam.  The title of his thesis is: ” An in vivo study of extracellular vesicles in C. elegans“.



Kobzik, Les

Les Kobzik received an R01 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases entitled: “Plasma Gelsolin as Immunotherapeutic for Antibiotic-Resistant Pneumonia”
The grant is part of a NIAID effort to identify novel therapeutics
for antibiotic-resistant infections. Les plans to explore how a normal blood protein, plasma gelsolin, can serve this purpose for pneumonias. Plasma gelsolin can improve the antibacterial killing function of lung macrophages, and it helps clear away harmful free actin released by damaged cells (actin can also impede bacterial clearance). The project will study mice with bacterial pneumonia that will be treated with suboptimal doses of antibiotics to model the real-world problem. The hope is that adding treatment with plasma gelsolin will improve outcomes in these models. The project is in partnership with a biotech company, BioAegis, which will be working in parallel on formulation and regulatory issues needed to advance plasma gelsolin towards clinical trials.


Demokritou, PhilPhil Demokritou was awarded a new contract from NIOSH and the US Consumer Product  Safety Commission (CPSC) entitled Environmental Health and Safety
Implications from engineered nanomaterials (ENMs)  released from nano-enabled products (NEPs) during consumer use: Case study  of printer emitted engineered nanoparticles (PEPs)”.


Fredberg, JeffJeff Fredberg
 received a new U01 grant entitled “Epithelial Layer Jamming in Breast Cancer Cell Migration”.




Drazen, Jeff

Dr. Jeff Drazen is awarded the 2015 ERS (European Respiratory Society) Presidential  Award.  The Presidential Award is presented by ERS to recognise an outstanding contribution to the strengthening of respiratory medicine worldwide.



Dr. John Godleski Promoted to ProfessorGodleski,John
John Godleski has been promoted to Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, as well as, Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Recent MIPS Graduates

Suber, FreemanFreeman Suber successfully defended his doctoral dissertation: Childhood resistance to influenza mortality: analysis in a mouse model on June 14, 2016.
Freeman was born and raised in Newark, NJ.  He attended Columbia University in the City of New York where he studied biology.  He went on to the University of Virginia School of Medicine where he was awarded the Larry S. Nichter Award for Plastic Surgical Research.  He remained at the University of Virginia to attend its graduate school where he studied bioethics and was appointed the Donchian Foundation Fellow for Bioethics.  He then became a surgical resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he was a Quality Research Grant Investigator at Dartmouth Medical School.  He served on the ethics committees at Virginia, Dartmouth and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.   He was a fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School.
After the University of Virginia, before entering the Harvard Medical School Graduate Program in Immunology, he was a research fellow in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Surgery where he received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32).  His PhD dissertation work in the laboratory of Lester Kobzik modeled childhood resistance to influenza in a mouse model.  He was awarded the Best Abstract/Poster Award at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health Research Day, the Research Excellence Award (Infectious and Immunologic Diseases) from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital,  and a Carl Storm Fellowship Award from the Gordon Research Conference in the Biology of Acute Respiratory Infection Program.  Currently, he is continuing at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kobzik’s lab.

We are pleased to announce the graduation of Sandra Pirela, Peter Wagner, and Muzo Wu on thursday, May 28, 2015


Sandra V. Pirela LeonSandra Pirela and family
Sandra V. Pirela celebrated her graduation from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health where she received a Doctor of Science in Environmental Health with a focus on Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences.  This family celebration came 15 years after Sandra’s parents decided to immigrate to the United States from Caracas, Venezuela.  After finishing high school in Queens, New York, Sandra pursued her interest in the sciences and earned a B.S. degree in Biology from the City College of New York, and an M.S. degree in Environmental Health Sciences with a focus on Molecular Toxicology from New York University.

In 2012, Sandra joined the laboratory of Dr. Philip Demokritou at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health as a doctoral candidate.  There she received training to characterize engineered nanoparticles (ENMs) and evaluate their toxicity using both in vitro and in vivo models.  For her dissertation, Sandra investigated respirable particles emitted from the use of laser printing equipment, their properties, and implications on human health.  The title of her dissertation was: “Linking Exposures to Engineered Nanomaterials Released from Nano-Enabled Products to Biology: A Case Study of Laser Printers.”  Sandra’s focus has now shifted to science policy, understanding how the results from numerous research studies can influence decisions from both state and federal regulatory bodies as it pertains to air quality in both residential and occupational locations.  She will be continuing her work in the laboratory of Dr. Demokritou as a post-doctoral fellow.
For more info on Sandra, please go to:

Peter WagnerPeter Wagner and parents
Peter received a PhD. from his work in the laboratory of Dr. Quan Lu.  His disserttion topic was: “From Neural Stem Cells to Children: Secreted Phosphoprotein 1 in Lead Neurotoxicity.”
Peter will be leaving the MIPS Program to become an Associate Consultant in Life Sciences at Clarion Healthcare.  Clarion Healthcare partners with clients in the life sciences industry to develop growth strategies and build organizational capabilities that generate lasting value, ultimately helping them deliver products and services that improve patients’ lives.  At Clarion, he will be joining previous MIPS graduates Sonia Rosner and Ruoxi Hu.
For more on Peter’s life see:

Muzo Wu
Muzo’s work in the laboratory of Dr. Lester Kobzik led to her receipt of a Doctor of Science degree.  Her dissertation topic was: “Innate Immunity Immunomodulators of Post-influenza Bacterial Pneumonia.”  After graduation she will continue her research on pneumonia.