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Neil T

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Harvard University


Genome editing, immunology, metabolism, molecular biology, cancer immunotherapy


I am a PhD candidate in Immunology. I study the intersection between immunology and metabolism focusing on the macrophage, a very important immune cell type that typically go awry during pathogenesis including inflammatory, metabolic diseases, and cancer. My research involves many advanced and high-throughput approaches including mass spectrometry and genome editing to understand the biology of macrophages, which could lead to potential therapies for many diseases. As a first gen college/graduate student, I am extremely passionate about mentoring, teaching, and refining career development for the later generations of scientists. I believe that good and thoughtful mentorship is the most important key for success. If not in the lab, you can find me wandering in some restaurant, beach, hike, or any hidden gem around Boston. I love to read and play video games, although I haven't had the time for that lately. I watch TV every night to unwind. My favorite TV show of all time is 30 Rock (I am a New Yorker after all). I love music, especially musical theaters (I grew up with so many Broadway shows). Fun fact: I used to be in a 2-man acoustic band in college.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Macrophage plasticity in human diseases

It is well-known that macrophages are essential for combating foreign microbes and pathogens by "eating" them (macro: big; phaegin: eater). This process is called phagocytosis and results in an inflammation. However, a lesser known but equally important function of macrophages is tissue repair, meaning these cells can promote wound healing and cell growth to help recover damaged tissues. Therefore, macrophages are extremely plastic and can easily switch their functions between "killing" and "healing" depending on the body's needs. This plasticity is also the cause of many diseases when the macrophages malfunction, ranging from low-grade chronic inflammation, to autoimmune disease and cancer. In this project, you can perform a literature review on the role of each macrophage mode (pro- vs. anti-inflammatory) in different diseases. You will learn how to 1) understand and critically evaluate scientific data, 2) write a scientific paper, and 3) come up with new ideas and suggestions to design future experiments in order to dissect the unanswered questions in the field.

Coding skills

Basic Python and MatLab

Teaching experience

I'd taught several stem courses as a tutor and TA since my sophomore year in college. In a more scientific and research setting, I've mentored 2 summer students during my time as a research postbac fellow at the NIH and 2 summer interns in my current lab. I'm also currently a mentor in the The Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure Program (HPREP) at Harvard Medical School.


Work experience

Northern Virginia Community College (2016 - 2017)
STEM Tutor
University of Maryland (2017 - 2018)
Teaching assistant (Bioanalytical Chemistry
National Institute of Health (2018 - 2020)
Postbac research fellow
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (2020 - 2022)
Lab manager


University of Maryland
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Biochemistry and Applied Physics
Harvard University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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