Current Environment:

Principal Investigator

Trista E. North, PhD

Trista E. North, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
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Dr. Trista E. North is Principle Investigator in the the Stem Cell Program and Department of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Co-Director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology Graduate Program. She also serves as a Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

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

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

 

Headshot for Morgan Walcheck, a postdoc woman with blond hair laughs with her face to the sun.

Morgan Walcheck, PhD

Morgan earned her B.S. in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her Ph.D. in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology in the Ronnekleiv-Kelly lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in the development of inflammation and cancer. Morgan joined the North lab as a post-doctoral fellow in February 2022 and is interested in the mechanisms of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory stimuli influencing HSC development.

 

Graduate Students

Stephan George Stephan George

Stephan is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School. Stephan is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and earned his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Georgia. Stephan's research is focused on understanding how external signaling cues regulate HSPC specification and development, using both predictive methods and validation studies to investigate. When not in the lab, Stephan enjoys playing tennis, piano, and gaming with friends.

 

A woman, Brittney Love, smiles at the camera for her headshot. She wears a red dress and has her long brown hair down.

Brittney Love

Brittney is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School. Brittney is originally from Albuquerque, NM, and earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico. Brittney’s research is focused on epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell induction and expansion. Brittney enjoys reading, baking, and doing yoga when not in lab.

 

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.

 

Elizabeth Molnar, a lab technician for the North Lab, stands outside and smiles at the camera for her headshot.

Elizabeth "Libby" Molnar
Research Assistant

Libby joined the North Lab after completing a season of field ecology with the National Ecological Observatory Network. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2019 with a B.S. in Marine Biology. As a research assistant for the North Lab, Libby aids with the husbandry and organization with the zebrafish model. Libby enjoys to spend her free time outdoors hiking with her dog.