Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Frank Slack, Ph.D

Shields Warren-Mallinckrodt Professor of Medical Research

Dr. Frank Slack is the Shields Warren Mallinckrodt Professor, Department of Pathology, and Director of the Institute for RNA Medicine, BIDMC. He received his BSc from the University of Cape Town in South Africa before completing his PhD in molecular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine. He began work on microRNAs as a postdoctoral fellow in Gary Ruvkun’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, where he co-discovered the second known microRNA, let-7.

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Post-doctoral Fellows

Latika Matai, Ph.D

Latika is from New Delhi, India where she pursued her doctoral research studying aging, dietary restriction and stress responses using C. elegans as the model organism. She moved to United States in 2017 and later joined the Slack lab in 2019. She is interested in investigating the role of juvenile microRNAs in promoting healthier aging. Besides, she loves to travel and explore new places and food. 

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Chun Li, Ph.D

She was born and grew up in northeastern China. She received her PhD degree from Nagoya University, Japan under the supervision of Dr. Kunihiro Matsumoto in 2012. She received a JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Research Fellowship for young scientists (DC2) from 2011 to 2013 and also received a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Overseas Researchers from 2013 to 2015. And she worked as a designated Assistant Professor at Nagoya University from 2015 to 2020. During the period she worked at Nagoya University, she studied axon regeneration in C.elegans. From October 2016, She worked with Dr. Slack as a visiting researcher and now she is working as a postdoctoral fellowship on studying new genes in the lin-28/let-7 pathway. She likes cooking and baking especially with her two young children. She also likes traveling with her family and friends.

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Maria Mavrikaki, Ph.D

Maria studied Neuroscience at the University of Crete (Greece, EU). She moved to the US to pursue a PostDoc position at Scripps FL (2012-2014). She then pursued a PostDoc and Instructorship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School (2014-2019) where she became interested in the neurobiology of opioid addiction. In the Slack lab, Maria is studying the role of miRNAs in opioid addiction. In her free time, she enjoys cooking international food, hiking, traveling and spending time with her loved ones. ​

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Urmila Jagtap, Ph.D

Urmila is born and brought up in India. She graduated with a 5-yr Integrated Master’s degree in Biotechnology from University of Pune. After her masters, she worked as a project fellow in National institute of Immunology for 2.5 years exploring C. elegans as a model to understand the gene-diet pair in regulation of longevity. In January 2014, Urmila started her PhD journey in Institute of Genomics and Integrated Biology and utilized zebrafish model to study liver damage and regeneration and also to discover small molecule modulators of Drug Induced Liver Injury. Urmila joined Slack lab in June 2020 and will be evaluating microRNAs as a therapeutic target for hepatocellular carcinoma. Outside the lab, she enjoys various activities like painting, watching movies and traveling. She is a very people person who loves meeting new people and listening to their life stories.


Jonathan Lee, Ph.D

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Cristina Stewart Bogsan, Ph.D (Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow)

Cristina is a Professor at Universidade de São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil. She joined the Slack lab in February 2021 to study microRNAs in fermentation.

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Alice Rodrigues, Ph.D (Visiting Scientist)

Alice is an associate professor at University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil and joined the lab in December 2021 to study the role of extracellular vesicle microRNAs in aging. During the free time she likes spending time outdoors specially with her daughter.

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Graduate Students

Soo Mi Lee (Harvard Virology Program)

Soo Mi was born in South Korea and grew up in Alaska, Japan, South Africa and California. After graduating from Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, she majored in Human Biology at University of California San Diego and graduated with a B.S. in Biology and Biotechnology from Tufts University. During her undergraduate studies, she was a research intern at the Salk Institute and Lee Gil Ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute, where she studied TGF-beta signaling in gastric cancer, and she completed her thesis work in Dr. Catherine Freudenreich’s lab at Tufts, studying chromosomal instability at human fragile site FRA16D. Before graduate school, she was a research associate in Dr. James Cunningham’s lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, investigating the mechanisms of Ebola virus entry to design small molecules that inhibit infection. Soo Mi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Virology Program at Harvard. Her thesis focuses on understanding the role of host noncoding RNAs in viral oncogenesis using both computational and experimental approaches. Outside the lab, she enjoys Rotemburo, golfing and Bonsai gardening.

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Tanvi Saxena (Harvard BBS Program)

Tanvi grew up in New Delhi, India and graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a B.Tech and M.Tech in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Having always been interested in the biological sciences and disease focused research, she worked as a research technician in the Housman Lab (MIT), Wang Lab (MIT, University of Florida) and the Hynes Lab (MIT) studying diseases like Huntingtons Disease, Myotonic Dystrophy and breast cancer before starting her PhD in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) at Harvard University in 2017. She joined the Slack lab in 2018. For her thesis, she is looking into the role of novel lncRNAs in non small cell lung cancer.

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Research Assistants

Madison Uyemura

Madison grew up in Texas and graduated from Boston University with a MS in Biotechnology and BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She joined the Slack lab in June 2021 as a Research Assistant.

Liam Day

Liam is from Connecticut and graduated from the University of Richmond with a BS in Chemistry. He spends his summers on Cape Cod and his free time outside of the lab playing ultimate frisbee. He joined the Slack lab in August 2022 as a Research Assistant.

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