Marraffini Laboratory

The Rockefeller University

Luciano Marraffini

Principal Investigator

Luciano, a native of Argentina, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rosario in Argentina in 1998 and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2007, where he studied bacterial pathogenesis in the laboratory of Olaf Schneewind. He joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2010, and is a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, a Searle Scholar, and a recipient of an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Outside of the lab, Luciano likes to play and watch soccer, history and cinema.



Naama Aviram

Postdoctoral Fellow

Naama grew up in the vibrant city of Tel Aviv, right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. She received her PhD from the Weizmann Institute where she studied eukaryotic cell biology. Although organelles will always stay dear to her heart, Naama followed her passion and joined the Marraffini lab for her postdoctoral training, where she now focuses on bacteria and their sophisticated immunological memory. She claims she plays the bass but no one in the lab has heard her play yet. Her other hobbies include scuba-diving, exploring the New York culinary scene, and losing balance trying to do yoga.



Dalton Banh

MD/PhD Student

Dalton is a unit of mass. Dalton is also a Tri-I MD-PhD student with a healthy obsession with microbes and an unhealthy fascination with infectious diseases. His only contributions so far to science and medicine, respectively, have been a knack for (literally) sniffing out the subtle differences between bacterial cultures and discovering a cure for the hiccups—both dubious claims which experts in the field are still skeptical about. A native of the Mojave Desert, Dalton completed his undergraduate degree at USC and was subsequently an IRTA fellow at the NIH. His transformation from desert rat to city rat is almost complete, as he has fully embraced the culinary and cultural temptations of NYC. Finally, because Weill Cornell housing has a strict no-pets policy, he currently has an imaginary Golden Retriever named Spoofy.



Rahul Bhosle

Lab Manager

Rahul joined the lab as a Lab Manager in 2015. He has a MS in Biochemistry from Iowa State University and also a MS in Chemistry from University of Mumbai. Rahul is a beer enthusiast and his favorite style of beer is an IPA. He can, if you are willing, take you on a tour of all the good breweries and brew pubs in NYC. When he is not busy in the lab he likes to vacation with his family on a beach.



Amer Hossain

Graduate Fellow

Amer originates from Dhaka, Bangladesh, an excessively crowded and noisy yet thoroughly underrated major city. He moved to New York City for graduate school after relatively successful stints in Vassar College as an undergraduate and at Boston Children's Hospital as a research technician. While most find the noise, crowds and grime of New York City disconcerting, Amer finds these aspects comforting and reminding of home. When not hanging out with bacteria and bacteriophages, Amer's interests include soccer, eating, going to concerts and working out his back muscles in the Rockefeller gymnasium.



Claire Kenney

MD/PhD Student

Claire hails from the gem of the United States that is Cleveland, Ohio. At Johns Hopkins University, she studied molecular biology and anthropology. Her interests grew from the enzyme kinetics of nitric oxide synthesis in high school, to infectious diseases and host-pathogen interactions in the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller University/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program. She also competed internationally in Irish Dancing for over 20 years and served as a high school science teacher in the Peace Corps in Ghana. Claire has a deep love for music and dancing, balsamic vinegar, excessive exclamation points, and exploring different cultures (of both people and bacteria)!!!!



Pascal Maguin

Graduate Fellow

Pascal is a clement young man partial to sipping champagne, perhaps explained by the fact that he hails from the Champagne region in Northern France, where he was raised as a feral child (by wild truffle boars). After breaking with his violent past and completing his undergraduate degree at Hunter College of the City University of New York, he made the audacious decision to join the Marraffini laboratory for his PhD, the happiest day in lab since the lab’s inception. Other than delving into the mysteries and intricacies of prokaryotic immune systems, Pascal likes to spend his time with fine dining, hosting soirées in his lavish midtown apartment (overlooking two of the best-known skyscrapers in Manhattan), being handsome, being sassy, and dancing on tables. He will only reply in English on odd days.


Jon McGinn

Graduate Fellow

Jon, a native New Yorker, received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University in 2013. While he was there, he worked in Greg Hannon's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He joined the David Rockefeller Graduate Program in 2013, and has been a member of the Marraffini Lab since November 2013. In his free time, Jon enjoys food, wine, guitar, photography, and exploring NYC.



Alexander Meeske

Postdoctoral Fellow

In many ways, Alex is the zenith of humankind’s potential. During his PhD with David Rudner at Harvard Medical School he revolutionized the bacterial cell wall field by reconstituting the activity of a single protein. But it took joining the Marraffini lab to tear down the wall surrounding Alex's own ambition. He is so dedicated to bacteriology that he recently underwent a procedure to remove all the introns from his genome. He is a recipient of Merck and Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellowships, and all the trappings thereof. We certainly anticipate great things to come from Alex. Finally, as of April 2018, he is the proud owner of 5 fish and 3 shrimp.



Charlie Mo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Charlie was born in China, grew up in England and Germany, and came to the US in 2003. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he studied the bacterial SOS response and its role in acquired drug resistance. Outside of the lab, Charlie enjoys reading, learning new languages, playing tennis, and cheering on his favorite football team, Bayern Munich.



Philip Nussenzweig

MD/PhD Student

A native of New York City, Phil received his bachelor of science in Biology from the University of Chicago. Phil joined the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller University/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program in 2012 and after completing the first two years of his medical training at Weill Cornell Medical College he joined the Marraffini laboratory to pursue his PhD. His previous laboratory research includes his undergraduate research in the Schneewind laboratory (2010-2012) and a summer research project in the Nathan laboratory (2009). Outside the laboratory, Phil enjoys birdwatching, food, music, watching soccer games, and discovering the hidden delights of New York City.


Nora Pyenson

Graduate Fellow

Nora's scientific interests include microbial genetics and population dynamics, synthetic biology, and systems biology. Outside of the lab, she has achieved mediocrity in gardening, painting, and furniture repair. Currently, Nora's favorite microbe is Epulopiscium fishelsoni and favorite plant is Fenestraria rhopalophylla, also known as 'Baby toes.'


Jakob Rostøl

Graduate Fellow

Jakob Træland Rostøl is our very own (and first) ginger in the lab. However, some may argue that he is strawberry blonde. Jakob was raised on the frozen land of Arendal, Norway. After much success studying Biochemistry at Oxford University, he chose Rockefeller and New York City to pursue his love for science and his dream to take over the world using CRISPR. Apart from his incredible science knowledge, Jakob brings his remarkably avant-garde taste for fashion and his weird British humor to the lab; he was once voted the third funniest lab member (congrats Josh!). If you cannot find him in the lab covered in ethidium bromide, you will spot him in Brooklyn drinking local beers and listening to vaporwave. He is definitely one of the best assets of the Marraffini Lab, if not for his science, for his unintentional entertainment quality.


Andrew Varble

Postdoctoral Fellow

Andrew grew up in the suburbs of Rochester, NY with three younger sisters. He earned his PhD at Mount Sinai studying influenza and miRNAs and has a soft spot for viruses of all different types. When he isn't working out his adductor pollicis (the pipette muscle), he enjoys tinkering with his motorcycle (it needs a lot of attention), and touring the outdoors.





Lab Alumni

Asma Hatoum-Aslan (Postdoc, 2010-2014): Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama

David Bikard (Postdoc, 2011-2014): Assistant Professor at Institut Pasteur

Poulami Samai (Postdoc, 2012-2016): Purification Development Scientist III at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Josh Modell (Postdoc, 2013-2018): Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University

Wenyan Jiang (Graduate Fellow, 2010-2016): Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University

Gregory Goldberg (Graduate Fellow, 2011-2017): Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University

Robert Heler (Graduate Fellow, 2013-2018): Senior Scientific Researcher at Genentech

Inbal Maniv (Lab Manager, 2011-2014): PhD Student at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology