Lab Members

Our lab is a busy, dynamic place where people at all career stages work on independent research. Each of us brings something unique to the table – and whether we’re deep into our work in the lab or enjoying a break on the Charles, we always pull together.

Principal Investigator

Photo of Jessica Whited

Jessica Whited studies limb regeneration in axolotl salamanders. Her lab develops tools to manipulate gene expression during limb regeneration, and explores signaling events following wound healing that initiate the regenerative process.


Photo of Duygu Payzin

Duygu Payzin is a post-doctoral fellow in the Whited Lab at the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. She earned her B.S. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bilkent University, and holds an M.S. degree in Molecular Biology from Koc University, and received her Ph.D from Harvard University in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Photo of Benjamin Tajer

Ben received his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania studying BMP signaling during dorsal-ventral patterning in the zebrafish embryo.  He joined the Whited lab as a post doc in 2021.  During his postdoc, he aims to identify the key genes required for blastema cell specification during axolotl limb regeneration.  He is currently developing a live blastema cell reporter, which will allow him to isolate and profile blastema cells during the very first stages of blastema specification.  He is also working towards a multiplex CRISPR screen to identify the key genes required for entry into the blastema cell state.

Photo of Sangwon Min

Sangwon earned his B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Oral Biology from the University at Buffalo. He investigated the role of transcription factor p63 in salivary gland stem/progenitor cell fate decision, lineage commitment, proliferation, and differentiation in Rose-Anne Romano Lab. Sangwon joined the lab on June of 2021 and is interested in understanding biological network and pathways associated with limb regeneration.

Photo of Aaron Savage

Aaron received his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield, UK, where he studied vascular development in zebrafish, focussing on how calcium signaling regulates angiogenesis. Aaron joined the Whited lab in 2022 to study vascular remodeling during limb regeneration in axolotls. Aaron is broadly interested in both how blood and blood vessels evolved and how understanding postembryonic vascular remodelling can be used for therapeutic benefit.

Graduate Students

Photo of Noah Lopez

Noah is a graduate student in the BBS program at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.S degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA.

Photo of Paul Gilbert

Paul is a French student from Polytech Nice-Sophia, where he studied Biological Engineering. After studying human cell pluripotency at Exeter University, he has come to the Whited Lab at Harvard to study regeneration in the axolotl salamander. After Harvard, he plans to do a PhD in the field of regenerative medicine.


Photo of Steven Blair

Steven came to the Whited lab as a bioinformatics fellow while still a student at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell.  He earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences, with a concentration in Bioinformatics before officially taking the role as the lab’s Bioinformaticist.  Steven is passionate about axolotl transcriptomics and uses his computer science background to solve problems using bioinformatic tools in the challenging axolotl model.  In his spare time he enjoys teaching ABE, mentoring STEM at the boys and girls club, and all kinds of fabrication like additive fabrication, tinkering, carpentry, and diesel engines.

Photo of Hani Singer

As the lab manager, Hani is responsible for the coordination between the researchers, administration, and lab operations to facilitate the various projects of the Whited Lab. His focus is on increasing the efficiency of the lab and creating an enjoyable work environment.

Photo of Kelly Dooling

Kelly is a Research Assistant whose main role is to manage the Whited Lab axolotl facility. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies from New York University and a MS in Marine Biology from Northeastern University, where she studied shark behavior. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, and scuba diving (when weather allows).

Undergraduate Students

Photo of Shifa Hossain

Shifa Hossain is a class of 2023 Harvard College undergraduate student. She was born and raised in LA and has had a passion in research since high school.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching informational videos during her spare time, such as Ted-Ed and Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.

Photo of Maddy Kidd

Maddy is a class of 2024 undergraduate student at Harvard College, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology. She grew up in Virginia and now calls Kirkland House home. She is on the board of the Harvard Science Review and mentors local elementary school students with Science Club for Girls, both in efforts to make STEM fields more accessible and diverse. In the future, she plans on attending medical school and has an interest in oncology. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, Maddy loves reading, baking, and spending time with her or Kirkland’s house dogs.

Photo of Anika Allen

Anika is a class of 2024 undergraduate student at Harvard College studying Neuroscience with a secondary in African American Studies. She is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and currently lives in Adams House. In her free time, Anika enjoys playing and watching soccer, reading, and doing anything outdoors. After graduation, she hopes to pursue an MD and eventually becoming a neurosurgeon.

Photo of Alexandra Wagner

Alexandra Wagner is a class of 2024 undergraduate at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. She is from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Adams House. Outside of research, Alexandra is the Co-Director for Strong Women, Strong Girls, a female mentorship organization, and the Co-Philanthropy Chair for Adams House. She additionally enjoys reading, painting, running, and spending time with friends and family. After graduation, Alexandra plans to attend medical school, where she wants to specialize in surgery.

Photo of Ryan Kim

Ryan is a class of 2025 undergraduate student at Harvard College, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, and Global Health and Health Policy. He is from New York, and he became especially interested in biology while working at the Central Park Zoo. Outside of the lab, Ryan provides legal assistance to individuals who have been denied health coverage by their insurance. In his free time, he enjoys making digital art, playing tennis, and playing piano.


Photo of Nicholas Leigh

​Nick Leigh earned his B.S. in Biology from Lafayette College, and obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Roswell Park Cancer Institute/SUNY Buffalo. His research interest is the impact of the immune system on the initiation and progress of limb regeneration.

Photo of Konstantinos “Kostas” Sousounis

Kostas joined the Whited Lab in the 2016 to lead a collaborative project with Mike Levin’s group at the Allen Discovery Center, Tufts University. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Dayton in the lab of Dr. Panagiotis Tsonis, and held a postdoctoral research position in the lab of Dr. Joanna Jankowsky at Baylor.

Photo of Burcu Erdogan

Burcu earned her B.S degree in Genetics and Bioengineering from Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey and received her PhD from the lab of Laura Anne Lowery at Boston College and studied how microtubule dynamics are regulated in the neuronal growth cone during axon growth and guidance in developing Xenopus laevis nervous system. Burcu’s research interest is peripheral nerve regeneration in axolotls. 

Photo of Sarah Wilson

Sarah is a Research Assistant who graduated from Trinity College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Her previous research experience has focused primarily on plants. Outside of the lab, Sarah enjoys watching documentaries and Jeopardy, running, reading, and cooking.

Photo of Victor Cat

Victor is a French student at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He was born and raised in Annecy, a small town in the French Alps. He enjoys rock climbing, hitchhiking, volunteering and picking delicious mushrooms in the forests of the Alps. He would like to pursue a career in regenerative and developmental biology research. He plans to use his internships to travel the world.

Photo of ​Will Ye

Will is the lead animal husbandry technician for the Whited Lab. He is a graduate of Tufts University and a wizard at power tools. Will had extensive previous experience with aquatic animals while at the New England Aquarium. His hometown is New York City.

Photo of ​Fallon Durant

​Fallon Durant earned her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Biomedical Physics from Northeastern University, and obtained her Ph.D. in Biology from Tufts University in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Levin. Fallon’s research interests center on understanding how ‘regenerative’ animals are able to prevent scarring. She believes that unveiling how axolotls innately antagonize fibrosis will lead to the discovery of new therapeutics that could help millions of people.

Photo of Garrett Dunlap

Garrett Dunlap is a graduate student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Ph.D. program at Harvard University. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Case Western Reserve University, where his minor was Political Science.

Photo of Madison Hurley

Madison is a University of Maine graduate with a B.S. in Marine Science. She has a wide range of knowledge about aquatic species. Her primary role in the lab is assisting with axolotl husbandry.

April was a postdoc in our lab, and went on to work as a scientist at Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, MA.

Photo of Rachel Oshiro

Rachel is an undergraduate at Harvard University in the class of 2019 studying Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Photo of Alan Wong

Alan is a Class of 2019 undergraduate at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, with a secondary in Linguistics.

Photo of José Martinez Fernandez

​José Martinez Fernandez is an undergraduate at Harvard University studying Human Development and Regenerative Biology.

Photo of ​Anna Henricks

Anna Henricks is an undergraduate at Harvard College, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.

Photo of ​Jihee Han

Jihee Han is an undergraduate student at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, with a secondary in Germanic and Scandinavian studies.

Kath Courtemanche is an undergraduate student at Harvard College.

Photo of Emily Travers

Emily is a class of 2021 undergraduate at Harvard University, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.

Photo of ​Annabella Espinoza

Annabella is a class of 2021 undergraduate at Harvard University, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.

Join our lab

Interested in working with us? Send us your CV and a letter describing your research interests. We currently have openings for Postdoctoral Fellows, Graduate Students, and Research Assistants & Technicians.

Harvard is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, protected veteran status, disability, genetic information, military service, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or other protected status.
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