Meet the Lab

Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Dori Woods, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
College of Science

Affiliated Faculty
Department of Bioengineering
College of Engineering


Phone: (617)373-2851


Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2007
B.S., University of Arizona, 2001


Dr. Taichi Akahori, Visiting Scientist

The purpose of my research is to generate an in vitro autologous reconstituted ovary and regulate oogenesis. Oogonial stem cells exist in the ovary, surrounded by supporting somatic cells. Collecting these cells autologously from patients' ovarian tissue is important for clinical application. This tissue engineering technique will help the development of infertility treatments. Furthermore, it provides a new experimental system for basic research of ovarian malignancy. A novel strategy for treatment of gynecologic cancer is highly desired. My background is in gynecological oncology in Japan.


Alisha (Truman) Bothun, PhD Candidate

I am currently developing a strategy for the in vitro-derivation of granulosa cells- the ovarian somatic support cells that are required for proper hormone regulation throughout a female's reproductive lifespan- from hESCs and iPSCs.  By studying ovarian organogenesis we are gaining new insights into how these cells specify in vivo and applying this knowledge into directed stem cell differentiation. 

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Hannah Sheehan, Graduate Student

My work focuses on the role mitochondria play in disease and aging in humans and mice. I am currently focusing on understanding the link between mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization and mitophagy in cancer cells. By studying this link, we plan to identify potential targets for treatment of cancer and other aging-related diseases.

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Jessica Martin, Graduate Student

I am interested in the characterization of mitochondria in mouse preimplantation embryos to better understand mitochondrial allocation. My focus is on understanding how mitochondrial allocation throughout development can lead to lineage specification within the preimplantation embryo and how it impacts female fertility, specifically in aging women.



Julie MacDonald (Tilly Lab), PhD Candidate

My research project is on the influence of the physical environment on cellular function and differentiation.  Utilizing emerging technologies in bioengineering and mechanobiology allows for new insights into the role played by extracellular matrix proteins, as both components of cell signaling pathways as well as transducers of mechanical strain to better understand the adult oogonial stem cell population, and how its dynamics may change with age.


Undergraduates and Visiting Students

We have a lively and constant stream of undergraduate students coming through the lab either as volunteers, work study students, independent studies, and NSF-sponsored REU participants.

Current Spring 2019 Undergraduate Lab Members:

  • Fausto Capelluto (Co-op)

  • Efosa Enoma (Volunteer)

  • Alexa DelBene (Volunteer)

  • Quiyi Wang (Volunteer)

  • Nick Solek (Volunteer)

  • Emma Robinson (Volunteer)

  • Rachael Sverdlove (Directed study)

The LAIR's newest undergraduate alumni, dominick pezzulo and irena kuzma

The LAIR's newest undergraduate alumni, dominick pezzulo and irena kuzma

  • Monika Izdebski (Co-op, Fall 2015)

  • Katharina Winkel (2015-2016 Master's student, Hannover, Germany exchange)

  • Conner Shaughnessy (Volunteer and directed study)

  • Leah Simmons (Co-op, Fall 2015)

  • Alyssa Kania (Directed study)

  • Shalin Shetty (Directed study)

  • Leannah Newman (Volunteer)

  • Brook Simonton (Capstone study)

Past Students and Graduating Seniors:

  • Carleigh Sussman (Directed study)

  • Niharika Kura (Volunteer and Directed study)

  • Joyce Jin (Volunteer)

  • Tanner Eggert (Directed Study)

  • Christina Yung (Volunteer and Research technician)

  • Menaka Sanghvi (Directed study)

  • Shandy Maccow (Volunteer)

  • Irena Kuzma (Volunteer and directed study)

  • Dominick Pezzulo (Volunteer)

  • Christina Weber (Co-op)

  • Katie Izzo (Volunteer)

Lab Alumni

  • Paulo Henrique de Almeida Campos-Junior, Ph.D.

  • Christine Faraci, M.S.

  • Anna Denicol, DVM, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor at University of California, Davis

  • Deanna Navaroli, Ph.D.

  • Kshama Chandrasekhar, Ph.D.