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Current Lab Members


Katya Heldwein, PhD

Principal Investigator

Katya received her PhD from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR where she studied ligand recognition by bacterial transcription regulators using x-ray crystallography in the laboratory of Richard Brennan. She then did her postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Stephen Harrison where she initially worked on clathrin adaptor complexes and later delved into herpesvirus cell entry. She opened her own laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Fall of 2006.

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Nathalie Lavoie

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program


Nathalie received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston College and a Masters in Spatial Analysis for Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is using quantitative fluorescence and cryo-electron microscopy to study how the nuclear egress coat (NEC) assembles in contact with the capsid. 

Gonzo Gonzalez Del Pino, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow


Gonzo received his PhD and Master's degrees in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 2020, where he studied the structure and regulation of BRAF and MEK1, two kinases central to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. He graduated from the University of Miami with Bachelor's degrees in French and Biochemistry. His current work focuses on developing a pipeline using a synthetic nanobody library to select chaperones for X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy of the HSV-1 fusogen, gB, in its prefusion and intermediate conformations.

Bing Dai

PhD Student, CMDB Program


Bing received a Bachelors in Medicinal Chemistry from China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China and a Masters Pharmacology and Drug Development from Tufts. His project focuses on identifying host proteins that facilitate HSV nuclear egress and determining the mechanisms by which they do so.

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Maria Krasilnikov
PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

Maria received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California Berkeley. Her current project focuses on characterizing the structure of the HCMV fusogen, gB, and its interactions with new and existing neutralizing antibodies through electron microscopy and the development of HCMV-specific functional assays.

Ariana Calderon-Zavala

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program


Ariana received her Bachelors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. She completed her post-baccalaureate in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology at Tufts University GSBS in Boston, MA.  Her project  focuses on the role of the nuclear egress complex in HSV-1 and related gamma-herpesviruses.

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Leah (Chanyoung) Lee

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

Leah (Chanyoung) earned her bachelors in Food Science and her masters in Food Microbiology from Seoul National University. She is working on Team Entry with a focus on HCMV gB. 


Lucas Polack

Research Technician


Lucas received his BS in Cell and Cellular and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University. His is helping characterize a novel assay to research HSV-1 nuclear egress and is studying host factors involved in nuclear egress. 


Emma Young

Masters Student

Emma received her Bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology and will receive a Masters in Bioinformatics from Northeastern University. Her current project focuses on characterizing the structure of the HSV-1 fusogens, gH/gL and gD, and their interactions with antibodies through X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy.


Brian Cieslewicz

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

Brian received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. His project focuses on characterizing pre- and post-fusion conformations of the viral fusogen gB across various human herpesviruses.

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Hunter Russell

PhD Student, GMCB

Hunter received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Currently, his project focuses on the entry of Alphaherpesviruses, namely HSV-1 and HSV-2. The main goal of the project is characterizing the structure and interactions of the gD-gHgL complex, using a Mab to help stabilize the complex.

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Adrian Sperl

PhD Student, GMCB 

Adrian received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering/Biochemistry from Northeastern University. His research focuses on host factors involved in nuclear egress


Bea Galvez

Visiting Student

Bea is a visiting research student from Spain who is doing her bachelors thesis project in the US! She studies Biotechnology at Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid. In the Heldwein Lab she is studying and characterizing new neutralizing antibodies against HCMV gB with the help of Maria Krasilnikov. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends and playing board games as well as going for a run and swimming.

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