Current Environment:

Principal Investigator

Trista E. North, PhD Trista E. North, PhD
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Dr. Trista E. North is Co-Director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology Graduate Program and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Principal Investigator in the Stem Cell Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She received her BA in Biology and Psychology from Bowdoin College in 1996. She was awarded a PhD from Dartmouth College in 2002 for her graduate work with Dr. Nancy A. Speck which identified the essential and highly conserved role of Runx1 in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) development. In her postdoctoral research with Dr. Leonard I. Zon at Boston Children's, Dr. North pioneered a bio-active chemical screening approach in zebrafish to identify novel HSC modulators, leading to the first FDA approval for clinical investigational use of a zebrafish research-derived compound. Dr. North established her independent research group at HMS in 2008 to investigate the mechanisms controlling hematopoietic stem cell formation and function in the vertebrate embryo, with the goal of aiding the development and optimization of therapeutic strategies to alleviate blood disease. Dr. North is faculty of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Affiliated Faculty of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. She is an active member of the Zebrafish Disease Models Society (ZDMS), currently serving on the Executive Board as Treasurer, and formerly a member of the Board of Directors, and the founding Chair of the Hematology Research Interest Group. She also is a member of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scientific Committee on Stem Cells and Regeneration, and a former member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Experimental Hematology (ISEH) and founding editor of the Simply Blood blog. Dr. North’s ongoing research is focused on extrinsic regulatory factors influencing hematopoietic stem cell fate. In her free time, Dr. North enjoys traveling the world, gardening, singing and time with her friends and family.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Milica Bulajic, PhD Milica Bulajic, PhD

Milica earned her B.S. at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. She completed her Ph.D. in the Mazzoni lab at New York University, where she studied Hox regulation and binding during stem cell to motor neuron differentiation. Milica studies epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell development during her time as a Research Fellow in the North lab.


Mariam Hachimi, PhD Mariam Hachimi, PhD

Mariam Hachimi has a PhD degree in Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Mariam joined the North lab in October 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. She is interested in the role of anti-inflammatory signals on HSC emergence, as well as determining the mechanism of action of these stimuli in HSC maintenance. Mariam loves meeting new people every day, and discovering new food and traveling experiences everywhere.


Stelios Lefkopoulos, PhD Stelios Lefkopoulos, PhD

Stelios did his bachelor studies in biology at the University of Ioannina in Greece and received his PhD by the University of Freiburg in Germany, based on work conducted at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology & Epigenetics. Under the mentorship of Eirini Trompouki, his doctoral work described how inflammatory signaling is regulated by transposable element transcripts during endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition in order to modulate developmental hematopoiesis. Stelios moved to the North lab in June 2021 and is interested in studying hematopoietic stem cell generation in zebrafish from a metabolic angle and investigate how findings in the zebrafish system can be translated into the system of human iPSCs. Outside of the laboratory, Stelios enjoys writing, watching movies and spending time with friends.


Elenor Meader, PhD Elenor Meader, PhD

Ellie is a postdoctoral fellow studying the role of oxygen and glucose metabolism in hematopoietic development. She joined the North lab after completing her PhD project on the role of micro-RNAs in the differentiation of hematopoietic progenitors from human pluripotent cells at the Lako lab at Newcastle University. Ellie spends her free time rock-climbing, baking and hiking.


Wade Sugden, PhD

Wade Sugden, PhD

Originally from Idaho, Wade obtained a B.S. in Biology (with an emphasis in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology) from the University of Oregon in 2011. He first started working with zebrafish here, in the lab of Dr. Charles Kimmel studying craniofacial development. From there it was off to Germany for doctoral studies on cardiovascular development using the zebrafish model. Wade did his PhD training with Dr. Arndt Siekmann at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany from 2011-2017, focusing on how hemodynamic forces from blood flow shape blood vessels during development. As an Instructor in the North Lab, Wade is interested in understanding how mechanical cues are integrated into genetic control of hematopoietic stem cell formation from hemogenic endothelium. When not in the lab he enjoys running, hiking and traveling

Graduate Students

Rebecca Soto

Rebecca Soto

Rebecca is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School. Rebecca is originally from El Paso, TX, and earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at El Paso. Rebecca’s research is focused on epigenetic regulation governing hematopoietic stem cell specification and function. When not in the lab, Rebecca enjoys watching The Bachelor and drinking frozen strawberry margaritas.

Technicians and Undergraduates

Maria Gonzalez Di Tillio Maria Gonzalez Di Tillio
Undergraduate Student Intrn

María Gonzalez Di Tillio is an undergraduate at Harvard in her senior year studying Human Developmental Regenerative Biology and is being mentored by Dr. Wade Sugden. She has focused several projects on helping to specify the role and pathway of Yap transcription factor in early developmental hematopoiesis and has been supported by Harvard University PRISE and the Herschel Smith Fellowship. Maria likes zebrafish, exploring nature, learning, praying, and reading philosophy and theology (Aquinas, St Therese of Liseux, CS Lewis). Being a part of the lab family has been very transformative for her.


Zachary Leblanc Zachary Leblanc
Research Assistant

Zack joined the North lab in June 2020 after graduating from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Mathematics. Under the direction of Dr. William Jackman, his senior thesis described crosstalk between Yap and Wnt signaling pathways during early zebrafish tooth formation. His work in the North lab focuses on ROS-modulating proteins and their role in HSC specification and quiescence. In his free time Zack enjoys backpacking and playing hockey.


Mindy Leder Mindy Leder
Research Assistant

Mindy joined the North Lab after graduating from Bowdoin College in 2021 with a major in Biology and a minor in Visual Arts. While at Bowdoin, she investigated barnacle physiology and worked to characterize parrotfish hybridization through bioinformatics. As a research assistant, Mindy helps Ellie with her research and contributes to the maintenance of the zebrafish facility. In her free time, Mindy enjoys playing tennis, creating art, and exploring Boston.