Lab Members

Bio Profile

David Hafler, MD

William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology and Professor of Immunobiology

Chair, Department of Neurology

Neurologist-in-Chief, Yale New Haven Hospital

Research Interests

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Autoimmunity; Genetics; HIV; Immune System; Multiple Sclerosis; Neurology

Dr. Hafler is the William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor and Chairman Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine and is the Neurologist-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He graduated magna cum laude in 1974 from Emory University with combined B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biochemistry, and the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1978. He then completed his internship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins followed by a neurology residency at Cornell Medical Center-New York...

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Margarita Dominguez-Villar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Research Interests

Autoimmune Diseases

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Khadir Raddassi, MS, PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Neurology

Research Interests

Biological Therapy; Clinical Protocols; Diseases; Immune System Diseases

Initial formation: cellular immunology and signal transduction.

Current interest: assay development, assay automation, autoimmune disease therapy mechanisms

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Yonghao Cao, PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Neurology

Research Interests

Autoimmune Diseases; CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes; Multiple Sclerosis; Myasthenia Gravis; Neurology; Th17 Cells; T-Lymphocytes

Dr. Cao is an Associate Research Scientist at the Departments of Neurology and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine. He received his PhD from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2010. His previous research was focused on the mechanistic study of T cell development and differentiation. Dr. Cao joined the Hafler lab in 2011 as a Postdoctoral Associate to study the role of self-reactive T cells in human autoimmune diseases. Using cutting-edge...

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Amanda Lynn Hernandez, PhD

MD Candidate 2016; Post-Doctoral Fellow

Amanda Hernandez is a student in the MD/PhD program at Yale University. She graduated with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University in 2008. She completed her PhD in David Hafler's laboratory in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program where she researched the role of environmental factors mediating the T-cell arm of autoimmunity. She is currently researching immune regulation in the anti-tumor response with particularly attention to glioblastoma multiforme.

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Alexandra Kitz, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kitz is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine. She received her PhD from the Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany in 2013. In her PhD thesis work, Dr. Kitz generated and characterized T cell receptor transgenic Lewis rats in EAE, an animal model for early immune responses of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Kitz joined the Hafler lab in 2014 to study Treg plasticity and the impact of polymorphisms in transcription factor binding sites on T cell...

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Liliana Lucca, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate in Neurology

Liliana Lucca is a post-doc in the Department of Neurology. Her research is dedicated to understanding how co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory receptors determine the opposite functional traits of T cells in autoimmunity and anti-tumoral immunity, with a focus on the central nervous system. She obtained a PhD in Immunology from the University of Toulouse, studying the implications of T cell polyspecificity in the animal model of Multiple Sclerosis, and a Master of Science in Molecular and...

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Siobhan Ni Choileain, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Ni Choileain has a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to study the role of Th1 Tregs in disease susceptibility and progression. She previously obtained a Multiple Sclerosis Society (UK) student fellowship to study the role of the T cell costimulatory molecule, CD46, in MS and in 2013 received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh. In 2007, Dr. Ni Choileain completed her Master of Science in Biomedical science from the National University of Ireland,...

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Tomokazu Sumida

Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurology

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Saige Pompura, BS

Graduate Student

Saige graduated in 2014 from the University of California Riverside with a B.S. in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology; she is currently a graduate student in the Immunobiology department. Her research focuses on how genetic variation impacts T lymphocyte biology with regards to autoimmunity. 

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Ann Caroline Danielsen, BSc

Postgraduate Research Associate

Ann Caroline Danielsen is a Postgraduate Research Associate at the Department of Neurology and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine. She joined the Hafler lab in September 2105 and is currently working with Dr. Margarita Dominguez-Villar on the study of intracellular microbial pattern-recognition pathways via Toll-Like Receptors in innate immune cells. Ann Caroline graduated in July 2015 with a BSc in Biomedical Science from King’s College London.

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Katie Harmer, BS

Postgraduate Research Associate

Katie Harmer is a Postgraduate Research Associate working with postdoctoral fellow Dr. William Housley. She graduated from Yale College in 2015 with a BS in Physics magna cum laude. Her interests lie in neurology and medicine. She plans to begin medical school in the fall of 2016

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Joyce Pan, BA

Postgraduate Research Associate

Joyce Pan is a Postgraduate Research Associate at the Department of Neurology and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a BA in Neuroscience and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. As Dartmouth's Junior and Senior Research Scholar, she was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to study identification of candidate CSF biomarkers for multiple sclerosis in a mouse model of chronic progressive MS, and presented her work in the Karen E....

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Gabrielle Ragazzo, BA

Postgraduate Research Associate

Gabrielle Ragazzo is a Postgraduate Research Associate. She graduated with a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University in 2015. She is researching the genetic basis of autoimmune disease under the guidance of postdoctoral fellow Dr. William Housley.

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Donald M. Rodriguez, BS

Postgraduate Research Associate

Donald is currently a Postgraduate Research Associate examining the role of high salt as an environmental factor underlying autoimmunity. He received a Bachelor of Science from Yale College in 2015, where he majored in both Psychology and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. While at Yale, he was awarded the Mellon Mays Bouchet Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support his biochemistry thesis research in the Hafler Lab. The Bouchet Fellowship is designed to “increase the number of minority...

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Mia Schulam, BA

Primary Research Coordinator

Ms. Schulam received her BA in psychology from NYU in 2014 with minors in nutrition and anthropology. Upon graduation she was presented with the Founder's Day Award for academic excellence. Her previous experience included working in the Social Neuroscience and Psychopathology lab at Harvard where she researched cognitive remediation techniques for those living with schizophrenia. 

At the Hafler Lab, Ms. Schulam serves as the Primary Research Coordinator and spends the majority of her time in...

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