Shopsin Lab Team
The Shopsin Lab comprises an interdisciplinary team of researchers who apply their diverse expertise to the problem of understanding host and pathogen interactions.
Natalia Argüelles, BA
Natalia received a BA in evolutionary biology of the human species from Columbia University, where she studied primate behavioral biology with Marina Cords. In 2021, she was part of the seasonal Cayo Biobanking Research Unit at the Caribbean Primate Research Center in Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico, conducting primate necropsies for genetic research. As a research technician in the Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Program and the Shopsin Lab, her main role is securing, isolating, and processing Staphylococcus aureus microbial samples for genomic isolation. In her spare time, she likes taking care of her six freshwater fish named DaBaby, Tequila Sunrise, Vancomycin, Bad, Bunny, and Guest.
Juan Gago, MD, MPH
Dr. Gago received an MD from University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. After completing his degree he was awarded a Fulbright-administered fellowship for young professionals to study in the United States, where he completed his MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics at CUNY School of Public Health. He then worked at the National Cancer Institute of Argentina for two years, focusing on HPV infection prevention and cervical cancer. He is now pursuing his PhD in epidemiology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, researching the use of electronic health records for epidemiological studies of infectious diseases.
Theodora K. Karagounis, MD
Dr. Karagounis received an AB in chemistry from Princeton University and an MD and MS from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. During medical school, she spent a year as an HHMI Medical Fellow in Michel Nussenzweig’s lab studying viral dynamics of HIV-1 in response to a broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody. She completed her dermatology residency at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in 2022 and then joined the faculty as an instructor. During residency, she pursued research through the Sulzberger Fellowship and joined the Shopsin Lab. In the Shopsin Lab she studies the role of S. aureus gastrointestinal colonization in atopic dermatitis. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring New York City and the surrounding area by road bike.
Miranda B. Pawline, MSc
Miranda received a BS in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry from Florida Gulf Coast University, where she studied the effects of Aloe Emodin, DAS, and Emetine-induced apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells in Diana Schultz’s lab. She completed her MSc in the labs of Martin Blaser and Sergei Koralov at NYU Langone, where she completed her thesis on gene expression profiling following early-life antibiotic treatment in a murine house dust mite model. As a research associate in the Shopsin Lab, she is studying the role of the CA-MRSA colonization of the gastrointestinal tract and assisting in infectious disease hospital surveillance. When she is not in New York City, you can find her scuba diving with sharks off the coast of Florida or fishing with family!
Alejandro Pironti, PhD
Dr. Pironti received a BSc in computational biology from Saarland University, where he explored drug delivery systems in Dirk Neumann’s lab. He completed his MSc and PhD in Thomas Lengauer’s lab at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and at Saarland University. Alejandro developed machine learning models for disease gene prioritization during his MSc. For his PhD, he changed his focus and constructed data-driven models for selecting combination antiretroviral therapy and studied the genetic mechanisms of HIV drug resistance. Alejandro joined NYU Langone in 2021 after completing a postdoc in bacterial genomics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He leads the Microbial Genomics Core Lab, an integral component of the recently created Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Program at NYU Langone. Alejandro collaborates with dozens of researchers at NYU Langone to acquire knowledge by processing the vast data quantities produced by modern laboratory techniques. As a collaborator of the Shopsin Lab, he carries out diverse computational analyses to interpret data generated by lab members.
Magdalena Podkowik, DVM, PhD
Dr. Podkowik received a Doctorate of Veterinary Surgery from the University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland in 2009. She completed her PhD in Jacek Bania’s lab at the same university in 2013. Her PhD work was focused on pathogenic potential of coagulase-negative staphylococci and their contribution to the evolution of virulence of Staphylococcus aureus. Magdalena completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratories of Richard Novick (NYU Langone) and José Penadés (University of Glasgow), investigating S. aureus pathogenicity island biology, and gained extensive experience in cell culture techniques in the lab of Dr. Tung-Tien Sun (NYU Langone). As a Senior Research Scientist in the Shopsin Lab, she is studying the role of the agr quorum-sensing system in S. aureus as a model for understanding adaption of S. aureus to the hospital environment.
Gregory Putzel, PhD
Dr. Putzel received BS degrees in mathematics and physics from Carnegie Mellon University. He obtained a PhD in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle, studying the biophysics of lipid bilayer membranes. After postdoctoral work at Northwestern University (biophysical modeling of transcriptional regulation) and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (genetic and brain imaging of motor control disorders), he worked for several years as a staff bioinformatician for the Jill Roberts IBD Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine. He joined NYU Langone in 2021 as a senior bioinformatics programmer in the lab of Alejandro Pironti, where he develops bioinformatics pipelines to analyze bacterial genomics data.
Nora Samhadaneh, MSc
Nora received a BS in biological sciences with a specialization in genetics from Western University. She completed her master’s of bioinformatics at the University of Guelph, and collaborated with DNAstack to identify problematic sites in SARS-CoV-2 sequencing data for her capstone project. Before joining NYU Langone in 2022, Nora worked on developing variant analysis pipelines for the TIGeR project at the University of Calgary and the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Nora is currently a bioinformatics programmer in the lab of Alejandro Pironti (Microbial Genomics Core Lab), where she develops bioinformatics pipelines to analyze bacterial genomics data. Nora also has a minor in economics and loves to hike.
Julia Shenderovich, BA
Julia received a BA in biological sciences with a minor in psychology from Brooklyn College, where she studied Opsanus tau and Porichthys notatus in Paul Forlano’s research lab. She completed the Michael Garil Memorial Summer Internship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute during her time at Brooklyn College. After completing her undergraduate, Julia moved on to work as a research manager at an expert network, specializing in life sciences and healthcare. In 2022, she joined NYU Langone as a research coordinator in the Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Program.
Anusha Srivastava, BA
Anusha received BAs in medicine, health, and society and molecular and cellular biology from Vanderbilt University, where she studied the role of Helicobacter pylori as a causative agent of gastric cancer in the Cover Laboratory. As a research technician for the Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Program, she is responsible for securing, isolating, and processing microbial samples, with a focus on commensal and pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus, for genetic analysis. In her spare time, Anusha enjoys reading, running, and making charcuterie boards.
Rebecca Tierce, DVM
Dr. Tierce received a BA in music and a BS in equine science at Colorado State University where she managed rodent colonies undergoing long-term exposure to space irradiation in Michael Weil’s laboratory. She then received her DVM from Colorado State University, during which she studied the clinical utility of stereotactic body radiation therapy for the treatment of canine soft tissue sarcoma at the Flint Animal Cancer Center. Rebecca began her specialty training in laboratory animal medicine in 2019 as a veterinary postdoctoral fellow in the NYU-Regeneron Veterinary Postdoctoral Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine. During her research rotation in the Shopsin Lab she has been working closely with Rob Ulrich to investigate mechanisms of pro-phage mediated virulence in community-acquired MRSA.
Dr. Ulrich is a physician-scientist in the Department of Medicine. He received a BS in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University and an MD from NYU School of Medicine. After medical school, he completed an internal medicine residency and joined the clinical faculty at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. In 2017, he returned to New York to pursue infectious diseases training at NYU Langone, and he joined the Shopsin and Torres labs during fellowship. In 2020, he joined the NYU Grossman School of Medicine faculty as an instructor. In the Shopsin and Torres labs, he is studying the effects of bacteriophage on S. aureus virulence in an effort to understand genetic modifications that can lead to epidemics. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his two kids, watching and playing basketball, and playing the drums.
Chunyi Zhou, PhD
Dr. Zhou received a Bachelor of Medicine in clinical medicine from Xinxiang Medical University. She completed her PhD in Paul Fey’s lab at University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her PhD work focused on studying metabolic adaptations of Staphylococcus aureus under acid stress and investigating the roles of acid resistance mechanisms in staphylococcal pathogenesis. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Shopsin Lab, she is using mouse models to study the mechanisms of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus intestinal colonization.