Christiaen Lab People
Who we are
In the Christiaen Lab, we aim to challenge, inspire and nurture scientific minds. We strive to identify broadly significant questions and ambitiously deploy a variety of state-of-the-art approaches to address them rigorously and fearlessly, using marine organisms, the tunicates, as primary research models.
Discover our team and our lab life:
I have long-standing and broad interests in Developmental and Cell Systems Biology using tunicates as models to study cardiopharyngeal development and evolution. I am looking to expand the scope of my research toward other developmental and regenerative systems in tunicates, mammalian stem cell models of cardiopharyngeal development, and environmentally-relevant problems in developmental systems biology.
Research Scientists, Post-doctoral Associates and Fellows
My research is to understand the origins of cell diversity in the heart and the regulatory mechanisms that contribute to the diversity. I embrace the single-cell RNAseq approach to profile the spatial-temporal dynamics of gene expression during the fate determination of cardiopharyngeal multipotent progenitors.
I study regulation of collective cell migration during embryonic morphogenesis. I employ confocal microscopy as well as molecular, biochemical, and genomic tools to understand how the TVC microenvironment contributes to their polarization, maintenance of cell state and directionality of migration.
I have recently discovered that Ciona can rapidly regenerate its heart after damage. I am interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of heart regeneration, particularly focusing on the lineage(s) that are producing the new cardiomyocytes and the signaling pathways involved. I am also interested in the evolutionary and developmental origins of heart regeneration.
I am a computational biologist from Sweden with a background in physics and an interest in dynamical systems and emergent behaviour such as the organisation and behaviour of biological systems. My work includes modeling the gene regulatory network governing cell specification and development of early heart progenitors. It requires “accurate” models to understand biological phenomena such as gene regulation of cell development at large scale and therefore my main research focus involves development of algorithms and techniques in machine and deep learning.
Research Engineers and Assistants
I have a strong interest in establishing a microscopy-based high content screening in Ciona robusta. I am focusing on targeting genes to capture and analyze the morphogenetics features that characterize the cardiopharyngeal cells. I’m developing a pipeline to carry out this high content image analysis to screen for phenotypes associated with CRISPR knockouts of target genes. With these results, we will be able to elaborate a biomolecular network model for cardiopharyngeal cell behavior in Ciona robusta.
I am a recent NYU graduate interested in studying genetic modification in Ciona. Currently, I am working on enhancing homology directed genome editing through CRISPR/Cas9. I am trying to establish a stable line of transgenic animals.
Lab retreat at MBL, Woods Hole, MA
The lab over the years
Molgula campaigns in Roscoff (France)
POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATES / FELLOWS
- Basile Gravez (May 2016 – December 2019). AFM fellowship awardee.
- Claudia Racioppi (September 2014 – October 2019). EMBO long-term fellowship recipient. Research scientist at Regeneron, since October 2019.
- Alberto Stolfi (April 2012 - July 2017). K99/R00 recipient. Tenure-track Faculty at Georgia Tech., since August 2017. Stolfi lab
- Florian Razy-Krajka (June 2010 - September 2016). Current: research scientist at Georgia Tech. Stolfi lab.
- Stephanie Gline (January 2012 - January 2016), NIH F32 recipient; current: computational scientist.
GRADUATE STUDENTS - PHD CANDIDATES
- Nicole Kaplan (Ph.D. Biology student, graduated 12/2017). Current: postdoctoral fellow, Christiaen lab (NYU)
- Theadora Tolkin (Ph.D. Biology student, graduated 05/2016). Current: postdoctoral fellow, Hubbard lab (NYULMC)
- Karen Lam (Ph.D. Biology student, co-advised with Richard Bonneau, graduated Dec. 2016).
GRADUATE STUDENTS - MS CANDIDATES
- Yusuff Abdu (M.S. Biology student, graduated 2011. Ph.D. from NYU Medical School, Sackler program, Nance lab. Current: Postdoctoral fellow, Shaham lab, Rockefeller U.)
- Alexandra Ketcham (M.S. Biology student, graduated 2011. Current: Ph.D. candidate Columbia University, Tavazoie lab)
- Yasmin Tayag (M.S. Biology student, graduated 2011)
- Justin Le Lorier(M.S. student, Univ. Paris VII, France, summer internship 2010)
- Marion Guéroult-Bellone (M.S. student, Univ. Montpellier, France, summer internship 2011)
- Marine Joly (Université Paris VII, Master student). Summer internship.
- Shashank Gandhi (M.S. Biology student, graduated 2015. Now Ph.D. candidate at Caltech)
- Aakarsha Pandey (M.S. Biology student, graduated 2016. Now PhD candidate at Cornell U)
- Ria Deshpande (M.S. Biology student, graduated May 2018. Now PhD candidate at UC Irvine)
- Renee Marie Bogdanovic (undergraduate student, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient, graduated May 2011)
- Eric Siu (undergraduate student, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient, graduated December 2011)
- Katherine Kaiser (NYU undergraduate student, graduated 2013)
- Kenneth K. Ng (NYU undergraduate student, graduated 2013)
- Jonathan Lee (NYU undergraduate student, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient, graduated 2013)
- Yoon Seon Lee (NYU undergraduate student, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient, graduated 2013)
- Dylan Iannitelli (NYU undergraduate student, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient, graduated 2014)
- Maneesha Thaker (Barnard College undergraduate student)
- Charles Surette (NYU undergraduate student)
- Sonali Narang (NYU undergraduate student)
- Anthony Filipovic (NYU undergraduate student)
- Tanim Jain (NYU undergraduate student Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund recipient)
- Saahil Brahmbhatt (NYU undergraduate student)
- Emily Huang (NYU undergraduate student)
- Davis Looney (NYU undergraduate student)
- James Ng (NYU undergraduate student). Current: Christiaen lab, junior research assistant
RESEARCH ENGINEERS AND ASSISTANTS
- Alexandra Ketcham
- Emily Salmon-Denikos
- Eric Siu
- Régis Lasbleiz
- Kristyn Millan