Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Julia TCW, Ph.D.
Julia TCW is a Principal Investigator at the TCW laboratory at Boston University (primary appointment at Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics). She received a Ph.D. and A.M. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard University with a Biophysics training background and research studies in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. She then perused her postdoctoral research in the Department of Neuroscience, Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease, Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York with a research focus of the development of iPSC models and study Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genetics. Outside of the lab, she enjoys various sports activities including skiing, snowboarding, speed skating during winter and basketball, swimming, golfing, hiking, and horseback riding for the rest of the season.

Lab/Project Manager

Tony Tuck
Going to school and growing up in Boston as a teenager, having the opportunity to travel the world twice, in tour buses, cars, trains, and planes. I was able to return to Boston and settle down long enough to work with one of the world’s giants that has been helping many families, hospitals, the military and so many different countries all over the world when needed the most. The American Red Cross is just one out of many great establishments I’ve been a part of, all have been great experiences. I also enjoy reading, playing sports, solving puzzles, going to the ski slopes, being outdoors and so much more.

Dry/Computational lab

Yun Shen 
Yun Shen works as a Scientific Programmer Analyst at Boston University (IS&T Research Computing Services group). She grew up in Southeast China and received her B.S. and M.S. from Tsinghua University. She also got an M.S. from Boston University. She has worked primarily as a researcher and software developer in the past. She shifted a bit to the bioinformatics field since her last job at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she mainly focused on supporting and developing software utilities and pipelines for a nationally renowned cancer research center. Yun had been exposed to various programming languages including R and Perl. She has also working experience with MySQL databases. Outside work, Yun is a dedicated wife and mother, and a Christian believer. She spent a decent amount of her time and energy participating and volunteering in various community activities. Yun loves reading and making friends with people.

Alexandre Pelletier, Ph.D.
Alexandre Pelletier grew up in France. After obtaining a Master’s degree in genetics, genomics, and system biology, he earned a Ph.D. in functional epigenomics and computational biology in Lille (France), where he studied age-related disease mechanisms using single-cell and epigenetics data. He will now take part in TCW lab as a dry lab postdoctoral researcher and focus on better understanding genetics and epigenetics susceptibilities of Alzheimer’s disease using single-cell genomics and integrative approaches. Outside of the lab, Alexandre loves sports, backpacking trips, hiking, and playing theater.

Vallari Narsingpurkar
Vallari Narsingpurkar grew up in India and is currently a Master’s Bioinformatics student at Boston University. She earned her Bachelor’s in Microbiology from Fergusson College and further completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioinformatics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. After graduation, she interned in the Drug Discovery industry, exploring the fields of RNA-targeted therapeutics and ligand-based drug design. She will now participate at the TCW lab as a Computational Research Assistant. At the TCW lab, she is most excited to learn and apply single-cell genomics approach to better understand Alzheimer’s Disease. Outside of the lab, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and cooking.

Muzhou Wu
Muzhou Wu grew up in Shanghai, China and is currently a M.S student in bioinformatics at BU. After graduating with undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and chemistry, he worked in the Mouro Pinto Lab at MGH to study genetics of tandem repeat disorders using CRISPR technologies, where he gradually became motivated to learn advanced bioinformatic skills. He is working in the TCW lab to explore the role of age-related genotypes in IPSC modelling of AD. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and watching shows.

Andrew Gjelsteen
Andrew Gjelsteen grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a computational biologist who earned his M.S. in Bioinformatics at Boston University in 2023. He graduated with a B.S. in Biomolecular Engineering from UC Santa Cruz in 2020. His research interests include Alzheimer’s Disease, population genomics, and stem cell-based regenerative medicine. Outside of the lab, he enjoys baseball sabermetric research, guitar, and hiking.

Deepti Murthy
Deepti Murthy grew up in the Boston area and is an undergraduate senior at Carnegie Mellon University. She is studying Neuroscience and Machine Learning, and she hopes to continue pursuing research post-graduation. Deepti joined the TCW lab to explore her interest in neurodegenerative diseases and to gain research experience combining both of her areas of study. In her free time, she enjoys painting, baking, swimming, and spending time with loved ones.

Emmanuel Mekasha
Emmanuel Mekasha grew up in the DC area and is a rising undergraduate junior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He studies Biology, Computer Science, and Bioinformatics and hopes to explore computational applications to biomedicine after he graduates. At the TCW lab, Emmanuel is excited to learn more about how bioinformatics can be applied to the study of Alzheimer’s Disease. Outside of the lab, Emmanuel loves playing basketball, learning languages, lifting weights, and cooking.

Wet/Bench lab

Thilina Thejinda Alawathugoda, Ph.D.
Thilina Thejinda Alawathugoda was born in Kandy. After completing most of his schooling in the Sultanate of Oman, he pursued his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Genetics, Chemistry, and Biotechnology, at Bangalore University in India. Following this, he returned to Sri Lanka to pursue his Master of Science in Experimental Biotechnology from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Thilina was then awarded a scholarship to carry out a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at UAE University, United Arab Emirates, where he successfully defended his thesis on “The effect of Maternal obesity on the regulation of gene expression and cell fate during embryonic cortical Neurogenesis” recently. He is excited to join the TCW lab at Boston University where he will delve into the molecular mechanisms that define Alzheimer’s disease onset and progression. In addition to his passion for research, Thilina also enjoys various other interests such as reading, watching movies, traveling, poetry, and music.

Juao-Guilherme Rosa
Juao-Guilherme Rosa grew up in the Boston area and later moved to the Twin Cities to attend Macalester College, receiving a B.A. in Neuroscience. After graduating, he joined the Marija Cvetanovic lab at the University of Minnesota, where he studied the role of glia in mouse models of the neurodegenerative disease SCA1. Now at Boston University, he is excited to explore the contribution of glia to the development and progression of AD. In addition to his passion for research, Juao-Guilherme loves cycling, board games, churrasco, and his two kittens.

Rufuto Rahman
Rufuto Rahman is originally from Japan, but he spent most of his life in Bangladesh. He received his B.S. in Cell-Molecular Biology from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he studied the role of transcription factors involved in the regulation of mammalian embryonic diapause. He joined the Cell-Molecular Biology PhD program at Boston University, where he is eager to study iPSC models to uncover key molecular and genetic mechanisms implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. In his spare time, Rufuto enjoys hiking, gaming, soccer, and playing the violin.

Lu Qian
Lu Qian was born and raised in China and is currently a PhD student in Pharmacology at BU. Prior to joining the TCW lab, she worked at Icahn School of Medicine as an associate researcher and studied Alzheimer’s disease by leveraging human iPSC-derived brain cell models. After that, she joined Roche in Shanghai for early drug discovery in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Lu is excited to continue her mechanistic research in neurodegeneration and explore more AD genetics. Outside of work, she enjoys snowboarding, kendo, and suspension/ thrillers.

Shaoning Peng
Shaoning (Delaney) grew up in NY, comes from Xinjiang, China, and is majoring in Neuroscience. Prior to joining the TCW Lab, she worked as a research assistant at Ling Lab, involved in research studying the neurophysiology of amblyopia. Shaoning is excited to explore the various approaches, perspectives, and motivations of Alzheimer’s studies at the TCW Lab. Shaoning loves photography, camping, and has recently developed an interest in music production.

Rong Huang
Rong Huang grew up in Inner Mongolia, China, and obtained her M.S. in Neurology. She is currently a visiting scholar in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics at Boston University. She is keen to learn about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) therapeutics using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and a genetic approach. This passion has led her to join the TCW laboratory for further study and research. In her personal life, she enjoys singing and watching movies, and she loves spending time with her two very adorable cats.

Former Trainees

Swastika Sharma: worked at Boston University in 2022-2024; currently Research Assistant at Brigham Women’s Hospital

Mihika Iyer: worked at Boston University in 2022-2023; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Baoqin Fei: worked at Boston University in 2023; currently Undergraduate Student at the University of Michigan

Coltrane Varela: worked at Boston University 2022-2023 and graduated B.A./M.A. in 2023.

Gilbert Hong: worked at Boston University in 2023; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Amena Nushrat: worked at Boston University in 2022; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Eman Sayani: worked at Boston University in 2022; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Sandeep Sreerama: worked at Boston University in 2022; currently M.D./Ph.D. Student at Boston University

Andrew Finebaum: worked at Boston University in 2022; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Elizabeth Rosen: worked at Boston University in 2022; currently Undergraduate Student at Boston University

Jessica Crowley: worked at Mount Sinai in 2018; currently M.D./Ph.D. Student at Mount Sinai

Alex Legaria: worked at Mount Sinai in 2017; currently Ph.D. Student in Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis

Alyssa Altheimer: worked at Mount Sinai in 2016; currently MD Student at Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Iya Prytkova: working at Mount Sinai from 2016-2023; Ph.D. currently in industry