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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Team

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Louise Hicks

Research Assistant,

joined September 2019

   

Louise is a post-baccalaureate who graduated with a double major in Biology and Political Science from University of Pittsburgh in December 2021. She previously attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and graduated in the class of 2018.  

Louise is currently engaging in experimentation using LATG131 Mutant Jurkat Cells to investigate low affinity epitopes related to Type 1 Diabetes. Louise's current computational interests includes finding new ways to analyze and visualize the results of SABR screens utilizing the programming language R. Louise loves what she does because she is able to combine her passion for both benchwork and computation.  

 

Louise enjoys listening to music and practicing yoga. Louise is a member of an all-treble acapella group here at the University of Pittsburgh. 

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Rashi Ranjan

Research Assistant,

joined August 2020

Rashi graduated in 2020 from Leland High School in San Jose, California. For two years in high school, she worked as a researcher at City of Hope National Medical Center. Rashi is now a sophomore 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. 

Salome Martinez

High School Student,

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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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)

Jessie Torrey

Research Technician,

joined December 2021

Jessie completed her B.S. in Biology in 2020 at Rowan University in New Jersey, where her scientific journey began as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Dr. Nathan Ruhl and Dr. Courtney Richmond, studying environmental microbiology of fresh water systems.

 

Jessie is interested in the intersection of Immunology and Microbiology, and enjoys studying infectious diseases and autoimmunity. Currently she is researching Type 1 Diabetes and the role of T cell receptors and responses. Jessie enjoys having a career in science that keeps her on her toes and gives her the opportunity to constantly learn new things.

Jessie enjoys spending her free time hiking, playing pickle ball, or hanging out with her boyfriend and 2 cats. She is a big fan of all types of music, especially Dolly Parton and Greta Van Fleet. Most weekends you can find her either at a Penguins game or trying not to get hurt playing rugby.

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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.

Lab Alumni

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.

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.

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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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.