Amanda Tomalka received her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology in 2014, where she studied type III secretion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Amanda joined the Popkin lab in 2016 as a Postdoctoral Fellow and has been focusing her efforts on HIV cure strategies, specifically Natural Killer (NK) cell biology and viral reservoir elimination by NK cell antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC).
Daniela Moisi is the Lab Manager of Dr. Lederman’s laboratory of “Interesting Immunology”. She supervises all staff, collects and analyzes data from experiments, provides results to the principal investigator, and exports data to the central monitoring facility in timely fashion.
She previously served as Senior Research Assistant McGill AIDS Center, Jewish General Hospital, Laboratory of Dr. Wainberg working on sequencing and Phylogenetic analysis.
She holds a Bachelor of Science with specialty in Microbiology and Immunology from University of Montreal- Canada along with a master in Horticulture and Viticulture from University Nicolae Balcescu Bucharest, Romania.
Brian Ferrari is a research assistant in the Sieg lab working primarily on HIV reactivation assays. Brian is also the primary technician for the immune function core in charge of overseeing machines such as: Odyssey infrared imager, AutoMACS pro cell sorter, RoboSEP cell separator, Bio-Rad S3e cytometer and cell sorter, BD LSRFortessa, and ELISA VERSAmax plate reader. Brian has a degree in biotechnology out of Lakeland Community college and is currently continuing his education by pursuing a B.S. in Biology part time at Case Western Reserve University.
Dominic Dorazio works with both the clinical trials and basic research parts of the lab. He preforms blood specimen processing, maintains the blood repository, and ships specimens. You occasionally will find him in front of a flow cytometer. He preforms a lot of ELISAs and CFSE dye dilution assays. When not in the lab, Dom enjoys gardening, camping, or coaching/refereeing youth sporting events. He also raises bees and chickens.
Steven Juchnowski has been a member of the lab since 2012, where he serves as a research assistant for Dr. David Zidar. Steve is a 2012 graduate of the Biotechnology Program at Lakeland Community College. His laboratory responsibilities include maintaining a cardiovascular biorepository and running the lab’s MacsQuant flow cytometer. His research involves immune response in heart disease and how it relates to the response in HIV infection. Outside of the lab, Steve can be found rock climbing, sailing, or restoring vintage pinball machines.
Soumya Panigrahi MBBS, PhD.
Soumya Panigrahi MBBS, PhD., is a senior research associate in the Department of Infectious Disease at Case Western Reserve University. He joined the lab with a wide range of background research training, and experiences in clinical medicine, clinical & translational research, with specific research expertise in molecular biology, immunofluorescence and immuno-histochemical techniques and data analyses. His current research includes NIH-funded projects investigating the relationships and interactions among CD8 T cells, platelets, monocytes, endothelial cells, and soluble coagulation factors that may underlie the increased cardiovascular disease risk experienced by HIV infected patients. His other research from the recent past were, studying the pathological significances of innate immunity receptors (TLRs) activation in platelets. Earlier, he discovered that a very specific biologically active region of the chicken anemia virus derived protein apoptin (VP3) can allosterically bind to the SH3 domain of BCR-ABL oncoprotein, and induce rapid apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia cells – an effect that is potentially superior to that of current gold standard BCR-ABL inhibitor imatinib. Soumya, also completed a clinical fellowship program in human bone marrow transplantation in Israel, where in addition to the regular clinical responsibilities, his focus of research was on ‘allogeneic cell therapy against malignancy’, and pre-clinical research for the ‘development of novel treatment for graft-versus- host disease (GVHD).
Brian is a research assistant in Dr. Lederman’s lab. He specializes in flow cytometry and is responsible for designing, running, and analyzing flow cytometry panels for the ACTG ISL (AIDS Clinical Trials Group Immune Specialty Laboratory) and other pet projects. He is also a member of the ACTG Lab Tech Committee. Brian enjoys pinball, craft cocktails, and his dog, Baxter.
Hiral Patel started working for Michael Lederman in May of 2017 as a Research Assistant. For the past 17 years, prior to joining his research group, she worked with Dr. Charles Hoppel in the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University studying mitochondrial disease. She uses her expansive knowledge of enzyme assays to help the laboratory study mitochondrial activity in HIV-infected CD4+ cells. She also works on a project involving the generation of macrophages from monocytes to study productive and latent infection. Hiral is glad to have joined this research group in particular because it gives her the opportunity to learn immunology, a different branch of science than what she is used to.