Current Lab Members


Nikola Ivica, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Fuguo Liu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Fuguo Liu graduated from the Ocean University of China with a PhD degree in Animal Medicine in June 2017. He was awarded a Newton International Fellowship by the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) in September 2017, which supported him to conduct a postdoc with Prof. Chris Secombes for 2 years at University Aberdeen. He then moved to Stanford University to study the genetic diversity of human leukocyte Ig-like receptors and NK cell functions. In the Chen lab, he will continue his interest in human NK cells, developing next generation of CAR-NK cell therapy for cancer, in particular developing technologies to enable the use of allogenic NK cells.


Doug Brown

MD/PhD Candidate, Biology

James Ham

PhD Candidate, Biology

James Ham graduated from Carnegie Melon Univeristy with a BS in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He is interested in NK cell dysfunction in tumor microenvironments and developing novel immune therapeutics.

Alexander Bevacqua

Graduate Student, Biological Engineering

Alexander Bevacqua graduated from McGill University with a B.Eng. in Bioengineering in 2021 after working in the labs of Professors Barthelat, Dorval Courchesne, and Xia. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at MIT. He is co-advised by Professor Jongyoon Han in the Department of Biological Engineering. He is developing continuous bioproduction of viral vectors using membrane-less perfusion culture and will use the viral vectors to develop novel CAR-NK cells for cancer immunotherapy.

Ronni da Silva, Ph.D.

SMART in Singapore
Postdoctoral Associate

Ronni is originally from Brazil, but has spent time in the US, the UK and Germany for his education. Ronni received his PhD from University of Nottingham (UK) in 2019. In Singapore, Ronni is a post-doc within the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), working on a joint project with Prof. Jianzhu Chen (MIT) and Kimberly Kline (NTU). Ronni is part of the SMART Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) integrated research group which is a unique translational research and entrepreneurship program that aims to solve the growing threat of resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Ronni is particularly interested in harnessing the power of the human immune system to tackle AMR and has been focusing of compounds that can enhance the bactericidal activity of macrophages.

Guangan Hu, Ph.D.

Visiting Scientist

Guangan Hu has been a postdoc and research scientist in the Chen lab at the Koch Institute MIT since 2009. Dr. Hu is an immunologist and computational biologist to apply systems biology approaches, disease models and clinic data to understand the immune system and immune-associated diseases for translational medicine, including target identification and biology of cancer, autoimmune, tissue fibrosis, tissue injury and repair as well as infectious diseases and vaccination. He obtained his PhD at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore under the supervision of Dr. Zbynek Bozdech. His PhD studies involved computational and functional genomics of human malaria. Prior to his PhD, Guangan awarded his bachelor’s in bioengineering and master’s in molecular cell and biochemistry at Hubei University in 2003.

Veronica Hsu

Lab Manager

Veronica Hsu recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2021 with a double major in Environmental Studies and Biology. She previously studied species interactions in aquatic ecosystems with Professor Moeller (UCSB), and investigated flower nectar microbiomes with Professor Fukami (Stanford) during summer 2018. Since joining the Chen Lab in fall 2021, she has been working on CAR-NK technology. Her New Year's resolution is to improve her cooking skills.

Hannah Donner

Undergraduate Researcher
Biological Engineering

Katherine Duan

Undergraduate Researcher

Katherine is a sophomore at MIT studying chemistry and biology. Since joining the lab in March 2021 she has been working on developing CAR-NK cells that target cancer-specific antigens. 

Yvonne Rong

Undergraduate Researcher
Chemical-Biological Engineering, Biology

Yvonne is a senior at MIT studying chemical-biological engineering and biology. She joined the Chen Lab in May 2020 and has since worked on several projects. Currently, she works on CAR-NK cells that target cancer-specific antigens. Outside of the lab, Yvonne enjoys film photography, traveling, petting dogs, and exploring cafés.