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Lab Members

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Alok Joglekar, PhD

PI, Assistant Professor

Alok completed his M.Sc. in Biotechnology from the Institute for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, University of Pune in 2008. He then moved to sunny California for his Ph.D. at University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked on gene therapy using hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in Dr. Donald B. Kohn's lab. After completing his Ph.D. in 2013, he moved across town to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for a postdoc in Dr. David Baltimore's lab. At Caltech, he developed SABRs, which served as a foundation for the lab. After a cross-country drive, the Joglekar Lab at the University of Pittsburgh was officially born in August 2019.

Alok's scientific interests include combining wet-lab and dry-lab systems approaches to understand T cell responses in various disease contexts and developing new synthetic immunology tools to engineer immune responses. Alok loves leading the lab because he can let his scientific ideas run free, can discuss science all day long, and enjoys mentoring trainees.

In his spare time, Alok enjoys reading books, taking long walks with his wife and dog, hiking, and listening to music. He always wears mismatched socks, because matching socks is a total waste of time.

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Sanya Arshad, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher,

joined April 2022


Sanya completed her PhD in 2018 from King George's Medical University, Lucknow, India. She moved to Boston and worked as a Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. David Ting at Massachusetts General Hospital. Later, she moved to Pittsburgh as a Postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Stephen Chan's lab at the Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh.

Sanya's scientific interests include understanding genetic diseases using molecular biology approaches. Currently, she is working on the Antigen discovery of kidney-infiltrating T cells from Lupus Nephritis Mouse model. She enjoys wet-lab experiments and is always interested to learn new techniques and approaches to problem-solving.


When not in the lab, she spends time with her family and her cats. She enjoys cooking, hiking, and going on road trips.

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David Gao

MSTP Student,

joined October 2022


David completed his B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2021. For over three years, he developed alarmin cytokines as novel cancer immunotherapies in the lab of Binfeng Lu, PhD. Through his involvement in the Center for Systems Immunology, he then joined Dr. Joglekar's lab to expand on his studies of T cell repertoires and antigen specificity. He is an incoming MSTP student.  

David's scientific interests are in examining the molecular programming of T cell responses that regulate the physiology of tissues and engineering genetic circuits for therapy through combining wet and dry lab systems approaches. In the lab, David is developing spatial transcriptomics of antigen-specific repertories (STAR)-SABRs to characterize how the antigenic landscape in diabetes shapes T cell responses. He is also working on antigen discovery in lupus for T and B cells. David loves his work because of the high level of creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork, and how he catalyzes the translation of new discoveries to improve the treatment of patients. 


In his spare time, David is an avid basketball player, follows teams and players around the world, and examines strategies employed by different teams. He also enjoys exploring global cuisines by trying out the fantastic restaurants in Pittsburgh and cooking. He has lived in San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.

Luba Kublo

Research Technician,

joined November 2021


Luba completed her BS and MD from Chernivtsi (West Ukraine) Medical University. She then moved to Kiev (capital city of Ukraine) to go into residency and cardiology specialization. She was a cardiologist at Kiev district hospital for 12 years and served as a member of Chernobyl disaster committee. She joined the University of Pittsburgh in April 2002 as a Lab Technician and has worked on different projects in oncology at the Hillman Cancer Institute.

Luba is interested in the science of engineering antigen-presenting T cells expressing signaling and SABR in Lupus disease. She is excited to learn new methods and tools in the field of immunology and work together with a big team.


When she has fetterless time on her hand, she likes to swim, to read about everything, to cook and spend time with her granddaughter Lyana. She always is a subject of jokes from her son and daughter-in low because of her English: Where did you get a meet? Like always, Giant Eagle (meat)

Eduardo Zarate Martinez

Research Assistant,

joined March 2022


Eduardo is a rising junior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry.

Eduardo's scientific interests are in microbiology and immunology. He enjoys learning about the intricacies of science, distinctively with T cells and their role in autoimmune diseases. In the lab, Eduardo loves the wet-lab aspect where he can work on his skillset and develop as a scientist. He loves the collaborative atmosphere that allows him to explore academia.


In his spare time, Eduardo likes to relax and hang out with his roommates. He is an active member of the Pitt Snowboard club and helps coach a soccer team. He was also runner-up for best dressed in high school.

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Venkata Krishna Kanth Makani, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate,

joined August 2022


Krishna did his M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics from the School of Life Sciences, Manipal University in 2015. For his Ph.D., Krishna moved to Dr. Manika Pal Bhadra’s lab at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad, where his work was focused on the role of BORIS/CTCFL in TGFβ signaling and ROS regulation in neuroblastoma. After completing his Ph.D. in 2022, Krishna joined Dr. Alok Joglekar’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh.

Krishna’s scientific interests are centered on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development and progression, with a focus on developing novel therapeutics. At the Joglekar lab, Krishna is working on the identification and validation of neoantigens in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) based on SABR screens. Krishna is also interested in utilizing the SABR platform for engineering immune cells to elicit an antigen-specific response.


Outside the lab, Krishna loves to play football, read books, listen to music and quote movie lines. "Do or do not. There is no try."

Rashi Ranjan

Research Assistant,

joined August 2020

Rashi is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Computational Biology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

Rashi's scientific interests include computationally analyzing TCR sequencing to further learn about immune responses. In the lab, Rashi performs SABR clonings and using different Python-based algorithms to analyze datasets produced in the lab. Rashi loves working in the Joglekar Lab because she can use experimental data gathered in the wet lab and analyze it using computational methods, while also having wonderful mentors to learn from and to ask questions.

When in California, Rashi is most often found at the beach or exploring a new park or forest with her family, friends, or puppy. Rashi also loves hosting Bob Ross painting parties. 

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Salome Martinez

Undergraduate Research Assistant,

joined June 2021

Salome is currently in her senior year of high school at Franklin Regional High School where she will graduate in the spring of 2022.

Salome's scientific interests focus on medical concepts such as immunology and oncology. In the lab, she does research on the interactions between CD8s, melanoma, and pathogens. She loves what she does because it gives her a chance to pursue scientific learning in a non-classroom setting and it gives her a chance to do hands-on wet-lab work in order to recover answers.

In her spare time, Salome likes to listen to true crime and current events podcasts, listen to music, and paint. She only speaks Spanish at home despite every member being fluent in English — a rule set by her parents to retain the ability.

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Nishtha Trivedi

Research Technician,

joined October 2022

Nishtha completed her B.Sc. in Forensic Science in 2019, and she completed her Master's in Forensic Biotechnology in 2021 from National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar.

Nishtha's scientific interests include wet-lab experiments performed that demonstrate the T cell reactivity towards any target. In the lab, she mostly works on Type I Diabetes. She adores her work as the more she works, the more she is learning and understanding the amazing world of Immunology!

Nishtha is fond of reading, music, and dancing. She writes poetry to meditate.

Paul Zdinak

PhD Student,

joined March 2021

Paul completed his Bachelor's in Biology at George Washington University in 2018, where his research interests began in the lab of Dr. Douglas Nixon. From GW, he moved to Ohio University where he completed his M.Sc. in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology. As a member of Dr. Nathan Weyand's lab, he investigated gonococcal evasion of the human complement system. After graduating OU in 2020, Paul began his PhD in Immunology that same year at the University of Pittsburgh where he completed a rotation in the Joglekar lab and subsequently joined as the lab's first graduate student.

Paul's scientific interests focus on the role T cells play in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. Paul seeks to characterize the auto-reactive T cell landscape using non-obese diabetic mice as model of type 1 diabetes and deciphering their antigen specificity using the SABR platform along with their related phenotypes. He loves being a member of the Joglekar lab because he is able to fulfill his dream of working as a T cell biologist surrounded by a great group of fellow researchers.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys both kicking back and relaxing with his wife and dog — plus finding the best spots in town to eat. He has also driven from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles three times, two more times than he had always dreamed of doing.

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Lab Alumni

Jessie Torrey, Research Technician | Jessie joined the lab in December 2021 and left in September 2022. Currently, she is pursuing a fellowship at the DoD.

Louise Hicks, Undergraduate Research Assistant | Louise joined the lab in September 2019 and left in April 2022. Currently, she is applying to medical school.

Kobie Rankin, Research Technician | Kobie joined the lab in November 2019 and left in October 2021. Currently, he is a Research Associate at Novasenta, Inc.

Sanjay Rathod, Research Scientist | Sanjay joined the lab in December 2020 and left in October 2021. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist at Novasenta, Inc.

Kelsey Ford, Research Technician | Kelsey joined the lab in October 2019 and left in October 2020. Currently, she works as Research Associate III at Nerio Therapeutics.
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