Current Environment:

Meet Our Team

Principal investigator

Carla Kim, PhD

Principal Investigator, Boston Children’s Hospital Stem Cell Program Faculty, Stem Cell Program

Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Carla Kim, PhD

Dr. Kim is a professor of genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her laboratory has pioneered the use of stem cell biology approaches for the study of adult lung progenitor cells and lung cancer. Her work has contributed to a better understanding of stem cell biology in the lung, development of innovative approaches for examining the cellular and molecular basis of cancer and pulmonary disease, and identification of new therapeutic avenues for lung cancer.

The success that Dr. Kim’s lab has had investigating the molecular pathways that regulate lung stem cells and the role of stem cells in lung cancer is a testament to her potential to make strides in understanding lung disease and basic biology. Working with genetically engineered mouse models that accurately represent human lung cancer, Dr. Kim’s group was the first to identify cancer stem cell populations in the two most frequent types of lung cancer in patients (Cell Stem Cell, 2010 and Cancer Cell, 2014). Her lab’s knowledge in lung stem cells has revealed a new combination therapy approach for particular subsets of lung cancer patients (Fillmore et al, Nature, 2015). Dr. Kim’s has developed a three-dimensional lung organoid system that makes it possible to derive specialized lung cells from lung stem cells (Lee et al, Cell, 2014). The organoid culture system developed by the Kim Lab grows tiny replicas of lungs, allowing them to model the complex interactions of lung stem cells and their neighboring cells. Most recently, the Kim Lab used the organoid cultures to define new types of mesenchymal cells that are required to support lung injury repair (Lee et al, Cell, 2017). This system can now be used to probe the role of lung stem cells and the diverse cell types with which they interact in lung cancer, in lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis, and during lung development. These advances by the Kim Lab provide a new way to study lung diseases in the laboratory dish and to find new therapeutic interventions.

The impact of Dr. Kim’s work has been acknowledged in a myriad of ways. From her publication in Cell Stem Cell winning Best Cancer Paper of 2010 to her receipt of the William Rippe Distinguished Award in Lung Cancer Research from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, she has been widely acknowledged as one of the brightest researchers in lung stem cells. Dr. Kim received her PhD in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. She joined the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and established her laboratory in September 2006.

Postdoctoral Fellows

 
Jingyun Li, PhD

Jingyun Li, PhD

Jingyun completed her undergraduate studies at China Xiamen University. For her PhD, she joined Dr. Fuchou Tang’s lab, where she focused on developing single-cell multi-omics sequencing techniques and investigating the key events during the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer. In the Kim Lab, she is interested in the roles of epigenetic distortion during the carcinogenesis of lung cancer, especially at early stage. Outside lab she likes hiking with friends and traveling with family. She also enjoys playing ping pong.
 

 
Julio Sainz de Aja, PhD

Julio Sainz de Aja, PhD

Julio received his BSc in neurobiology from Complutense University and his master's degree in molecular biomedicine from the Autonoma University of Madrid in 2012. He did his PhD on the role of pluripotency factors in late embryonic development, and specialized in blood formation and functional genomics. He joined the lab in October 2018 and is interested in the interaction between lung and immune system in the context of cystic fibrosis.
 

 
Aaron Moye, PhD

Aaron Moye, PhD

Originally from Hawaii, Aaron did his undergraduate study at the University of Sydney in Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honors). He conducted his PhD research at Children's Medical Research Institute and the University of Sydney under the guidance of Professor Tracy Bryan. He studied the interaction between telomerase and DNA structures called G-quadruplexes, and he was awarded the Peter Bancroft Prize for outstanding PhD thesis. In the Kim Lab, Aaron studies the role of cell-to-cell signaling during lung cancer initiation and progression using single-cell RNA-seq, mouse models, and organoid cultures.

 
Monica Liu headshot

Monica Liu, MD, PhD

Monica completed a combined BS/MS in biology at Yale University, working in the lab of Elsa Yan on the biophysical properties of rhodopsin, the light-sensitive protein responsible for dim light vision. She then joined the MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, completing her thesis in the lab of Rahul Kohli, where she studied epigenetic DNA modifications and the enzymology of TET family proteins. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She joined the Kim Lab in 2021 and is interested in developing patient-derived organoid models of lung diseases, especially inflammatory lung injury.

Graduate students

Irene Wong, BS

Irene Wong, BS

Irene is a graduate student in the biological and biomedical sciences PhD program at Harvard and joined the lab in July 2018. She is interested in studying how immune cells affect the lung stem cell niche. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Brandeis University and completed her senior thesis in the lab of Dr. Suzanne Paradis, studying Semaphorin4D as a novel anti-epileptic drug. During summers while an undergrad, she completed two exterior research internships. First, she investigated the effect of age on triple-negative breast cancer progression in the lab of Dr. Sandra McAllister (Brigham and Women’s Hospital). Second, she searched for transcription factors that promote hematopoietic stem cell differentiation in the lab of Dr. George Daley (Boston Children’s Hospital). In her free time, Irene likes traveling, cycling, SCUBA diving, weightlifting, and baking.
 

Susanna Dang

Susanna Dang

Susanna is a graduate student in the Biological & Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program at Harvard University who joined the lab in July 2021. She is interested broadly in mechanisms of lung cancer development and progression. Susanna received her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2018 and completed her senior thesis in the lab of Dr. David Raulet, studying gene regulation in natural killer cells, an innate immune cell that detects and kills tumor cells or cells infected with a virus. After undergrad, she worked as a technician in the Raulet Lab on a new project investigating the immunogenicity of the CRISPR/Cas9 enzyme. In her free time, Susanna plays bassoon in the GSAS orchestra and enjoys spending time outdoors.

Laboratory Staff

Margherita Paschini, PhD

Margherita Paschini, PhD
Staff Scientist

Margherita received her bachelor's and master's degrees in molecular biotechnology from the University of Bologna, Italy. She then obtained her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, working on the replication of yeast telomeres at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. She joined the Kim Lab in August 2015, and she is currently focused on the paracrine signaling occurring in the pulmonary niche after injury and during cancer progression.
 

Andrea Shehaj, BS

Andrea Shehaj, BS
Research Assistant

Andrea graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 2021 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted muscle physiology research investigating the affects of eccentric exercise, diet, and fiber composition on muscle properties. Andrea joined the Kim Laboratory in June 2021 and is currently studying the impact of lung progenitor cells on lung repair following injury. In his free time, Andrea loves playing soccer, weightlifting, and trying new restaurants in the Boston area.
 

Yvonne Nguyen, BS

Yvinne Nguyen, BS
Research Technician

Yvonne graduated with honors from Boston College in 2021 where she obtained her B.S. in Biology. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Hans Oettgen's lab at Boston Children's Hospital, where she assisted in studying the immunology and mechanisms of food allergy. After joining the Kim Lab in June 2021, she has been working on multiple projects relating to lung cancer, aging, and epigenetics. In her free time, Yvonne enjoys cooking, reading, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Kim Lab Alumni

Kim Lab alumni

Caroline Fahey

  • PhD candidate, Harvard University
  • studied the susceptibility of lung cancer to targeting of epigenetic regulators while she was in the lab

Rebecca Roach, DO, MPH

  • research assistant and lab supervisor of Kim Lab, 2006-09
  • MD student, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Ore.
  • examined lineage tracing of quiescent cells in lung tumors
  • completed the master’s of public health program, Boston University
  • contributed data for authorship on multiple Kim Lab publications including in Cell Stem Cell, 2010

Rebecca currently serves as a resident physician at the University of California, San Francisco in the Department of Pediatrics.

 

Sima Zacharek, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2006-12
  • staff scientist, Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science, Boston
  • characterized novel Bmi1 targets and stem cell regulators in BASCs and developing a mouse model for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)
  • received the Judah Folkman LAM Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • published second-author peer-reviewed paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008
  • won “Best Collaborative Effort” for her poster at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Annual Meeting, 2010
  • won Keystone Symposia “Stem Cells, Cancer and Metastasis” Travel Award
  • published first-author peer-reviewed paper in Cell Stem Cell, 2011

Sima currently works at Modern Therapeutics as a senior scientist.

 

David Raiser, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow and a rotation student in the Kim Lab, 2007-10
  • developed a transplantation assay to test BASC potential
  • received the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Training Grant Predoctoral Fellowship
  • published two review articles, one in the Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology in 2008 and the other in Stem Cells in 2009

David is currently CEO of Aldatu Biosciences, which he co-founded.

 

Stephen Curtis, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow and a rotation student in the Kim Lab, 2007-11
  • analyst, Bioscience Ventures, 2M Companies Inc.
  • examined the cancer stem cell hypothesis in murine lung cancer
  • received a Department of Defense NDSEG Graduate Fellowship
  • awarded a Karnovsky Fellowship, BBS/HMS, 2008
  • published first-author peer-reviewed paper in Cell Stem Cell, 2010
  • won International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting Travel Award

Stephen currently works at MPM Capital as a principal.

Kerstin Sinkevicius, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2008-15
  • research scientist II, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • researched the characterization of human lung cancer stem cells and the relationship between cancer stem cells and metastasis
  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-12
  • supported by Harvard Stem Cell Institute Training Grant
  • published first-author book chapter in Lung Cancer: Principles and Practice, 2010
  • published second-author peer-reviewed paper in Cell Stem Cell, 2010
  • published first author peer-reviewed paper in PNAS, 2014
  • received the Young Investigators Award from the National Lung Cancer Partnership, 2011

Kerstin currently works at ImmunoGen Inc. as a Scientist III.

 

David Gludish, MS

  • research assistant in Kim Lab
  • developed murine lung stem cell transplantation in chick lung
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in Cell Stem Cell, 2011

David is currently a DVM-PhD student at Cornell University.

 

Eva Leder, MD

  • clinical fellow in Kim Lab
  • studied the affects of fetal lung injury treatment on lung stem cells, which related to her clinical fellowship with the Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Pulmonary Medicine
  • co-authorship on publication in Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, 2012

Eva is currently working in Vienna, Austria, as a pediatric pulmonologist.

 

Allison Lau, BS

  • postdoctoral fellow in the Kim Lab, 2009-14
  • studied the role of lung tumor-propagating cells in metastasis
  • supported by a Department of Defense NDSEG Graduate Fellowship
  • published first-author paper in EMBO, 2014
  • defended thesis, March 2014
  • postdoctoral fellowship, MIT, Matt Vander Heiden Lab
  • supported by Damon Runyon Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellowship

Allison is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Vander Heiden Lab at MIT.

 

Arven Saunders, MLA

  • master’s student at Harvard Extension School in Kim Lab, 2009-10
  • medical communications, New York
  • PhD program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
  • examined the gene expression analysis of lung stem cells
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in Am J Resp Cell Molec Biology, 2013
  • completed master’s thesis from the Harvard Extension School, 2010

Arven is currently the associate director of medical and scientific affairs at Synapse Biotech Ltd.

 

Raffaella Zamponi, MS

  • lab supervisor of Kim Lab, 2009-10
  • staff scientist at Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • assisted other lab members and examined lineage tracing of quiescent cells in lung tumors
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in Cell Stem Cell, 2010

Raffaella currently works as a biomedical research assistant at Santa Maria Hospital in Florence, Italy.

 

Joo-Hyeon Lee, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2009-16
  • examined the microenvironmental regulation of lung stem cells and lung cancer
  • supported by the Hope Funds for Cancer Research Fellowship
  • published first author paper in American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 2012
  • won the Agarwal Award from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which is presented annually and targets a researcher of outstanding achievement in the field of biological sciences or biomedical sciences
  • selected for oral presentation at Keystone Lung Symposium, 2011; International Society for Stem Cell Research, 2013 and 2014
  • published first-author peer-reviewed paper in Cell in 2014

Joo-Hyeon currently works as a Principal Investigator at the University of Cambridge.

 

Christine Fillmore, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2009-16
  • researches epigenomics and lung cancer cell differentiation
  • supported by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cancer Research, Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-12
  • supported by American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012-15
  • published a co-first author paper in Cancer Cell, 2014
  • selected for oral presentation at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2014
  • published a first author paper in Nature, 2015

Christine currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky.

 

Kristen Tropea Leeman, MD

  • fellow and instructor in Kim Lab, 2010-16
  • studied the affects of fetal lung injury treatment on lung stem cells
  • named chief fellow of the Neonatology Program, 2011
  • published first author peer reviewed paper in Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, 2012
  • received the Loan Repayment Program Award
  • won the Ikaria Advancing Newborn Medicine Grant
  • awarded Pediatric Academic Society Travel Award
  • won a Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Junior Investigator Award, 2013

Kristen is the associate medical director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

 

Juliana Barrios, BS

  • undergraduate and research assistant in Kim Lab, 2010-12
  • studied the role of E-cadherin in lung cancer metastasis
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in EMBO, 2014

Juliana is a PhD student at Boston University.

 

Christina Kriegel, PhD

  • laboratory supervisor in Kim Lab, 2011-12
  • assisted lab members and examined lineage tracing of quiescent cells in lung tumors
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in PNAS, 2014

Christina is a scientist at Roche in Switzerland.

Alexander Beede, BA

  • research assistant in Kim Lab, 2012-14
  • assisted other lab members and performed a chemical screen for regulators of lung stem cell differentiation
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in EMBO, 2013

Alex is an analyst for The Cadmus Group LLC in Washington.

 

Joanne Berry, BS

  • research assistant in Kim Lab, 2012-14
  • assisted other lab members and performed a chemical screen for regulators of lung stem cell differentiation
  • contributed data for authorship on Kim Lab publication in EMBO, 2013
 

John (Jed) Mahoney, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2014-15
  • studied the heterogeneity of lung progenitor cell populations using single cell RNA-Seq
  • received an NIH/NHLBI Jumpstart Award

Jed is a senior scientist II for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics.

 

Hongmei (Lisa) Li, PhD

  • postdoctoral fellow in Kim Lab, 2015-18
  • studied the role of modifier genes in cystic fibrosis patients using differentiation of iPS cells and CRISPR
  • received the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Fellowship Award, 2015-17

Lisa is a principal scientist at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

 

Bryan Marsh, BS

  • research assistant in Kim Lab, 2015-16
  • studied role of G9a in lung adenocarcinoma progression and metastasis

Bryan is a doctoral student at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Department.

 

Nicole Feaster, BS

  • administrative associate of Kim Lab, 2019-20
 

Sharon Louie, PhD

  • Sharon received her B.S. in molecular toxicology in 2012 and PhD in metabolic biology in 2017 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied breast cancer metabolism using chemical biology and mass spectrometry-based platforms. She joined the lab in July 2017 and studied the metabolic regulation of lung stem cells and lung tumor-propagating cells.

Sharon is a scientist at CohBar Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif.

 

Patri Pessina

  • staff scientist in the Kim Lab, 2018-20
  • lab manager in Kim Lab, 2016-18
  • studied lung stem cell function in tissue repair and aging

Patri currently works at Baylor University as a staff scientist.

 

Manav Gupta

  • graduate student in the Kim Lab, 2015-20

Manav currently works at Ideaya Biosciences as a research scientist.

Interns

Black and white headshot of Paul Schurmann, a dark-haired man who smiles at the camera.

Paul Schürmann

Paul is currently working on his master’s degree at Utrecht University where he is studying drug innovation. He joined the lab in August 2022 and is interested in unraveling vulnerabilities of genotype-specific lung cancer organoids. He previously received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and completed an internship with Dr. Hans Clevers’ lab where he studied human endometrial organoids to discover genetic errors by using a CRISPR-Cas9. He has also completed biochemistry internships with Artios Pharma where he screened novel inhibitors of specific DNA repair enzymes which can lead to selective cell death in tumors. In his free time, Paul likes to do different kinds of sports and to hang out with friends.