- Postdoctoral and Clinical Fellows
Postdoctoral and Clinical Fellows
Dr. Alameh received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Montreal, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Polytechnique Montreal. His thesis work focused on understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic parameters affecting chitosan-siRNA nanoparticle macromolecular properties and their effect on in vitro, and in vivo efficacy; a work that has led to better understanding of chitosan-nucleic acid design principles. Dr. Alameh joined the laboratory of Dr. Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2018, where he leads multiple vaccine projects as well as projects to better understand the interaction of lipid nanoparticles with the immune system. Dr. Alameh is also involved in the development of novel proprietary lipids, adjuvants and display strong interest in mRNA construct optimization.
Dr. Alameh is Co-Director of the Engineered mRNA Core.
Dr. Angela Desmond received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and her doctoral degrees in medicine and immunology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2015. Under the mentorship of Dr. Ellen Vitetta, her thesis work focused on vaccine development using peptoids, or peptide-like bioinspired polymers. Dr. Desmond then completed residency in pediatrics at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
She then undertook fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia starting in 2018. For her fellowship research project, she joined the laboratories of Drs. Harvey Friedman and Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania during the summer of 2019. She is currently investigating the mechanisms by which an mRNA-lipid nanoparticle vaccine candidate against herpes simplex virus (HSV) can protect neonates against HSV infection in a mouse model. Dr. Desmond seeks to integrate her clinical care and basic science research experience to develop vaccines that protect patients across the lifespan, starting with maternal vaccines that protect their vulnerable babies from severe infections early in life. She plans to leverage her fellowship training experience to transition to an independent clinician-investigator.
Dr. Ted Kreider received his B.A. in Biochemistry and M.S. in Chemistry in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania as a scholar in the Vagelos Program in the Molecular Life Sciences. He then matriculated into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he completed his thesis work in the Laboratory of Dr. Beatrice Hahn studying novel pathways of HIV-1 immune evasion from host B and T cell responses. After completing his medical training, he matched into the Internal Medicine residency as a member of the Physician Scientist Pathway (PSP) at Penn and ultimately fast-tracked into Infectious Disease fellowship training. He joined Dr. Drew Weissman’s lab in July of 2021 after completing his first year of fellowship.
Dr. Jilian Melamed earned her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University in 2013. She went on to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Delaware under Dr. Emily Day. Her thesis work focused on developing gold-based nanoparticles for siRNA delivery to glioblastoma and on Hedgehog signaling as a key mediator of glioblastoma resistance to chemotherapy. After graduating in 2018, she began working for Dr. Kathryn Whitehead at Carnegie Mellon University as an NIH F32 Postdoctoral Fellow, where she discovered her love of all things mRNA therapeutics. She joined Dr. Weissman's lab in January 2022 and works on projects involving targeted lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery.
Dr. Jaclynn Meshanni earned her B.S. in biology from University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2015. She was a laboratory technician for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense working to develop medical countermeasures against chemical warfare agents from 2013-2016. From 2016-2018, Dr. Meshanni worked as a technician at Weill Cornell Medicine under Dr. Sabine Ehrt to evaluate genes influencing the drug resistance of mycobacterium tuberculosis. Under the mentorship of Dr. Debra Laskin, Dr. Meshanni earned her doctoral degree from Rutgers University in 2023 where her work focused on the role of nuclear receptors in the development of chemical warfare induced pulmonary injury. She joined Dr. Weissman's lab in April 2023 as a postdoctoral fellow and is working under the supervision of Dr. Elena Atochina-Vasserman. Her research focus is on the targeted delivery of mRNA to the lungs.
Dr. Yi-Kan Pan received his B.S. in life science and M.S. in molecular and cellular biology from National Tsing Hua University in 2009 and 2011. Then, he went to National Taiwan University to study immunology and earned his Ph.D. in 2018. His Ph.D. thesis focused on internal and external immune modulation on dendritic cells and macrophages. After finishing his citizen service, in 2019, he joined Dr. Laura Su’s team at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral researcher to study what is the composition of baseline CD4+ T cell phenotype and repertoire and how does it affect effector and memory immune responses after vaccination. At there, he gained his interest about how to improve the efficacy and efficiency of vaccines. He joined Dr. Drew Weissman’s Lab in July 2023.
Theerapat Phoka obtained his B.S. in microbiology from Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand, in 2015 and his doctoral in medical microbiology from Chulalongkorn University in 2021. His thesis involved the identification of a novel vaccine candidate for leptospirosis and post-transcriptional gene regulation in Leptospira spp. Following graduation, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Supason Wanichwecharungruang's lab, where he worked on the development of dissolving microneedles for biologic delivery. He joined Weissman's lab in July 2023 as a visiting scholar and is working under the supervision of Dr. Mohamad Alameh. His research focuses on transdermal immunization of mRNA-LNP via dissolving microneedles.
Dr. Wu obtained her B.S. in chemistry from Jilin University in 2017 and completed her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Temple University in 2022. Following her doctoral achievement, she served as an adjunct research assistant professor at Temple. During her six years there, she investigated the biophysical and dynamical changes of lipid bilayers in bacteria and lipid delivery carriers under environmental perturbations. Her research, utilizing nonlinear spectroscopy and microscopy, non-invasively monitored molecular transport across lipid bilayers within colloid systems in real-time and elucidated phase separation and membrane phase asymmetry. In 2023, she joined the University of Pennsylvania as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Wu's current endeavors are focused on developing and refining characterization methodologies and techniques for nucleic acid-based lipid nanoparticles (LNP). Her primary aim is to unravel the complex interactions of chemo-physical parameters on the potency, stability, and safety of LNPs, with a goal to optimize mRNA-based vaccine designs further.
Dr. Ying Xu received her B.S. in chemistry at Qingdao University in 2016 and M.S. in Nanoscience and technology at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019. She joined the Ph.D. program at Case Western Reserve University under the supervision of Dr. Fu-Sen Liang and earned her Ph.D. in 2023. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on developing CRISPR-based chemically inducible platforms for the editing of chemical modifications (e.g., N6-methyladenosine and 5-methylcytosine) on RNA. After graduation, she joined the labs of Drs. Weissman and Alameh in August 2023. Dr. Xu works on nucleic acid editing using mRNA and lipid nanoparticles.