Stefani Spranger

Stefani Spranger

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor
Education: PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany, 2011

Stefani is from Munich, Germany and received her B.S./ M.S. in Biology from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. She continued her doctoral work there under Professor Dolores J. Schendel at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Munich, Institute for Molecular Immunology, receiving her Ph.D. in 2011. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago. She enjoys cooking, hiking and is a passionate skier.


Elen T

Malte Roerden

Postdoctoral Fellow
Education: MD/PhD, University of Tübingen, Germany, 2016

Malte is from Stuttgart, Germany and completed his MD/PhD at the University of Tübingen in 2016. For his doctoral work, he studied the role of the kinase mTOR in renal physiology in Ferruh Artunc’s lab. He then began his residency in hematology/oncology and joined the Walz lab at the Department of Immunology, Institute for Cell Biology, University of Tübingen where he focused on mass spectrometry-based immunopeptidome analyses to identify tumor-associated antigens in hematologic and solid malignancies. In the Spranger lab, he is interested in the impact of intratumor heterogeneity on anti-tumor immune responses. Outside the lab he enjoys mountain biking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.      

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Elen Torres Mejia

Postdoctoral Scholar
Education: PhD, Technical University of Munich, Germany, 2018

Elen is from Caracas, Venezuela and received her B.S. in Biology from the Simon Bolivar University in Caracas. She got her Master’s degree in cell biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. She continued her doctoral work in Sabrina Desbordes’s lab at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Munich, Institute of Developmental Genetics. During her doctoral work, Elen studied Schwann cell migration during the regeneration of the peripheral nervous system, receiving her Ph.D. in 2018. She then continued her research studying how the tumor extracellular microenvironment influences tumor progression in Frank Gertler’s lab at the Koch Institute at MIT. In the Spranger lab, she is interested in understanding the signaling pathways in cancer cells that lead to an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Elen enjoys dancing, playing Derbake, hiking, and traveling.       

Graduate Students

Vidit Bhandarkar

Vidit Bhandarkar

Graduate Student
Education: B.S., Biology, Duke University, 2019

Vidit grew up in Mumbai, India and received his B.S. in Biology from Duke University with minors in Psychology and Chemistry. During his undergrad, his work in the Gersbach Lab was focused on better understanding glucocorticoid receptor (GR) biology and improving the specificity of diverse CRISPR systems. For graduate school, Vidit wanted to shift gears and move into the more disease-centric fields of immunology and cancer biology. Outside of lab, he enjoys playing soccer, cooking, reading, and pretty much anything outdoors/sports related.

Molly Carney

Molly Carney

Graduate Student
Education: B.S., Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, UCLA, 2022

At UCLA she worked most recently in Dr. Kathrin Plath's lab studying the role of tryptophan metabolism on cell fate decisions. Prior to that, I worked in Dr. Leanne Jones's lab studying the effect of dietary nutrients on intestinal stem cell behavior. Outside of lab, I like to do gymnastics, go to Red Sox games, and spend time outdoors.

Fiona Chatterjee

Fiona Chatterjee

Graduate Student
Education: B.A., Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 2019

Fiona grew up in Santa Clara, California and earned her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Her first research experience was in Leslea Hlusko’s lab studying mammalian skeletal variation. Realizing that molecular biology was her true interest, she then joined Douglas Koshland’s lab, where she studied the molecular basis of sister chromatid cohesion. Fiona is currently a graduate student in the Biology Department at MIT. In the Spranger lab, she is interested in the different ways dendritic cells can impact immune responses against cancer. Fiona is an avid dancer and also enjoys baking, traveling, and playing piano.

Tobias Coombs

Graduate Student
Education:B.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2021

Tobias grew up in Pomfret, MD, and attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he recieved his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He began research in the chemical engineering lab of Dr. Erin Lavik, where he worked to develop hemostatic nanoparticles. During a summer internship experience in Dr. Tyler Jacks lab at MIT, he was first exposed to and became interested in cancer research. As a graduate student in MIT Biology, Tobias is broadly interested in immuno-metabolic interactions, particularly in the context of cancer. In his free time, Tobias enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and coding.

Teresa Dinter

Teresa Dinter

Graduate Student
Education: B.S., Biology, Tufts University, 2016

Teresa grew up in California and moved to Boston where she received her B.S. in Biology at Tufts University. She completed her undergraduate thesis in the lab of Dr. Sergei Mirkin, studying the mechanism of large-scale CAG-trinucleotide repeat expansions in yeast. After graduating, she worked as a research technician in Dr. Paul Yu’s lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, investigating bone morphogenetic protein signaling in pulmonary hypertension. Teresa then joined the MIT Biology Department as a graduate student. In the Spranger lab, Teresa is interested in understanding T cell fate decisions. Outside of lab, she enjoys hiking, baking, and reading.

Kim Nguyen

Richard Van

Graduate Student
Education: B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at UC Davis, 2019

Richard is from San Francisco, California and earned his B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at UC Davis. Throughout undergrad, he studied the transdifferentiation of pancreatic islet cells in the lab of Dr. Mark Huising. He then went on to work as a research technician in Dr. Frank McCormick’s lab at UCSF, where he investigated the molecular mechanisms of MAPK signaling in RIT1-mutant Noonan syndrome. As a graduate student in MIT Biology, Richard is broadly interested in cancer immunology and mechanistically understanding how to improve anti-tumor immune responses. In his free time, Richard enjoys playing tennis, snowboarding, cooking, and eating.

Kim Nguyen

Grace Wolczanski

Graduate Student
Education: B.S., Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, 2021

Grace grew up in Ithaca, NY, and attended Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her B.S. in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, she began research in Dr. Veronica Hinman’s lab where she eventually completed a senior thesis focused on development and optimization of CRISPR/Cas9 systems in starfish. After participating in a summer research internship in Dr. Goutham Narla’s lab at the University of Michigan studying PP2A activation in MYC-driven cancers, she became more interested in cancer research and decided to join MIT Biology’s graduate program. In the Spranger lab, Grace is generally interested in the roles of T cells in ovarian cancer immune responses. Outside of lab, she enjoys playing hockey and tennis, exploring, and reading.

Undergraduate Students / Technical Associates



Leon Yim

Technical Associate
Education: B.S., Chemistry and Biology, MIT, 2021

Leon was originally from California, but grew up in Taiwan, where he developed an interest in biological research. Previously, Leon had conducted research in synthetic biology, even competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) conference. Since then, he has developed an interest in studying how the human immune system is capable of combatting all kinds of diseases. Leon enjoys reading, running, biking, and photography.

Paul Thompson


Melissa Duquette

Research Technician


Judy A Teixeira

Administrative Assistant

Alumni (current position)

Graduate Students

Ellen Duong (Postdoc Genentech, Ira Mellman)

Kim Nguyen (Postdoc UT Southwest, Tagliabracci lab)

Maria Zagarulya (Postdoc The Crick, Swanton lab)


Brendan Horton (Scientist, Ankyra)

Tim Fessenden (Editor, Journal of Cell Biology)

UROPs/Summer Students

Christopher Copeland (Medical Student, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine)

Therese Cordero Dumit (PhD candidate, Yale University)

Lionel Dufour

Henry Dwaah (Medical student, Tufts University School of Medicine)

Linyue (Joy) Fan (PhD candidate, Columbia University)

Sruthi Kalavacherla

Gyuna Kim

Jocelyn Koelb (Undergraduate student, Northeastern University)

Kate Pearce (Technical Project Analyst, Dimagi)

Marwa Saad (PhD candidate, Rockefeller University)

Annmarie Wang (Medical student, Duke)

Jennifer Wen

Julian Zulueta