J.T. Neal, Ph.D.
J.T. received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 2011 where he studied intestinal host-microbe interactions and the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. He went on to complete postdoctoral training as a fellow of the American Cancer Society at Stanford University, where he developed new methods for the 3-D organoid culture of patient tumors for the study of tumor immunology. He joined the Broad Institute Cancer Program in 2017. He continues to pursue the development of novel cancer models, as well as single-cell imaging and transcriptomic approaches to understand the effects of genetic variation in cancer. J.T. is also an award-winning homebrewer, and a non-award winning runner.
Current Lab Members
Christian is a Minnesota transplant who attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2016. For his undergraduate thesis he studied the biophysical properties of self-assembling synthetic peptide nanofibers, in an effort to design photoconductive biomaterials. After graduation, Christian continued on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed a Master’s thesis in Bioengineering developing assays to characterize the calcium-binding properties of de novo proteins in an optogenetics lab. In February of 2018, Christian joined the Neal Lab at the Broad where he has been working primarily to translate CRISPR base editors into various cancer contexts, so they can be used for large-scale functional studies of rare cancer variants.
On his days off Christian enjoys cooking overcomplicated meals, cross-country road trips, and being moral support for those willing to run marathons.
Celeste was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. She attended California State University Stanislaus where she graduated with the highest honors, Summa Cum Laude, with a B.S. in Molecular and Microbial Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Her central undergraduate study looked at the effects of first hand cigarette smoke exposure on angiogenic gene expression in chorioallantoic membranes. She also interned at Genentech during the summers in her undergrad before obtaining a position as a research associate in the cancer program at the Broad Institute. Outside of lab, Celeste enjoys drawing, reading, dancing, and cooking spicy food.
Julia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.S. in neurobiology, having completed an honors thesis focused on risk factor associations with hypothesized subgroups of Alzheimer's disease. She joined the Broad Institute Cancer Program as a research associate in 2018. She intends to pursue admission into an MD-PhD program in the future. Outside of the lab, Julia loves long-distance running (admittedly slowly), reading, and exploring the great outdoors.
Yossef Baidi grew up in Staten Island, New York before moving to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University. There he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and conducted research in the Sfanos lab regarding the effect of the inflammatory microenvironment on TMPRSS2-ERG fusions in prostate cancer. Previously he spent a summer doing research in CDoT at the Broad Institute, where he worked on the validation of a novel PRMT5 interface for its application to MTAP-null cancers. He joined the Broad Institute Cancer Program as a research associate in 2019. In his free time, Yossef likes to play soccer and basketball, listen to modern rap and R&B music, and watch a Sci-Fi movie or TV show.
Sanam was born and raised in Hillsborough, North Carolina and has been a life long Tar Heel. She graduated in 2019 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BSPH in environmental health sciences. Her honors thesis, which was completed at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, focused on the role of RNA modification in stem cell homeostasis. Previously, she also spent a summer at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital working on stem cell delivered immunotherapy for glioblastoma. She joined the Broad Institute Cancer Program as a research associate in 2019. Outside of lab, Sanam likes to hike, spend time with family and friends, and learn new instruments.
My name is Varsha Prakash and I am from Portland, OR. I recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Molecular & Cell Biology and a minor in Global Poverty & Practice. I like to hike, read, and travel in my free time. In the future, I plan to pursue an MD and fulfill my childhood goal of becoming a doctor.
Emily attended Williams College, where she received a BA with highest honors in Biology for her senior thesis investigating sequence and context influences on nucleosome positioning in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Following graduation in 2016, she joined the Broad Institute Cancer Program as a research associate. She left the Broad in 2018 to enroll in the MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she is currently a student. When not experimenting in lab, Emily also enjoys experimenting in baking, to the skepticism but eventual delight of her labmates. She is also an avid runner.