Director of the Antibody Platform, Institute for Protein Innovation
Rob Meijers is a structural biologist with a focus on cell surface receptors involved in neuronal development and immune recognition. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam in protein X-ray crystallography studying enzyme mechanisms at atomic resolution. He did postdoctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute with Jia-huai Wang and Ellis Reinherz, working on structural aspects of immune recognition. As a group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, he established the Sample Preparation and Characterization facility for protein science, one of the largest biophysical core facilities in Europe. He developed a buffer kit to optimize the purification and storage of proteins, which is commercialized as RUBIC screens by Molecular Dimensions. He also developed a research program to study immune and neuronal receptors using mammalian expression to produce glycoproteins for structural and functional studies. He determined how the guidance cue netrin interacts with its canonical receptor deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC), and recently obtained the first peptide-free Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Class I structures which give fundamental insights into peptide binding and peptide exchange for this crucial class of adaptive immune molecules.
Currently, he is leading the Antibody Platform at IPI, to produce synthetic human IgG1 antibodies for cell surface receptors and their ligands. We are especially interested to generate antibodies for recombinantly produced fragments of cell surface receptors and their ligands, using the innovative yeast display human FAB library developed at IPI. We engage in collaborations with academic investigators that would like to use receptor engineering and synthetic antibody tools to answer fundamental questions in neurobiology and immunology.
Director of the Antibody Platform
Rob Meijers, Ph.D.
Rob Meijers, Ph.D., brings to IPI an expertise in deep protein production, having established a user facility for protein preparation and characterization at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Hamburg Outstation, where he was a group leader. He also studied neuronal receptors, revealing how the axon guidance protein netrin interacts with its receptors. At IPI, Rob is well-positioned to identify and design protein targets, as well as engage the neurobiology community to test IPI protein science tools.
Mina Abdollahi earned her first master’s degree in inorganic chemistry in Isfahan, Iran and her second in pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University in Boston. Before joining IPI’s antibody production team, Mina worked as a pharmacy supervisor at CVS. In her free time, she enjoys woodworking with her husband.
Zachary Anderson, originally from North St. Paul, Minnesota, received his bachelor’s in biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before starting at IPI as a research associate focused on cell display, he worked as a technician in Aveda’s cosmetic research center and Northeastern University’s clinical laboratory. Zach is a self-proclaimed Star Wars superfan who wouldn’t last long without pizza.
Murali Anuganti comes to IPI from his postdoc at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Before that, he received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, in 2018, studying the kinetics of enzymatic hydrolysis using a model cellulose film and surface plasmon resonance method. Originally from Telangana, India, Murali says that if he were a car, he would be a Ferrari.
Youssef Atef AbdelAlim
Youssef Atef AbdelAlim joins IPI’s antibody discovery team after completing his bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and biochemistry from Northeastern University in 2022. Before joining IPI, he interned with Ultivue, a biotech focused on imaging immune cells in cancer tissue. He later did clinical research and worked as a patient care associate with the cardiac surgery team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Youssef is originally from Cairo, Egypt and has a passion for soccer — especially the Premier League team, Arsenal.
Before joining IPI’s Antibody Production team, Nirakar Basnet worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, using cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography to study axon branch development. During his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, he demonstrated that the protein SSNA1 plays a key role in neuronal development and acts as a mechanism for microtubule branching. Basnet is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, and can be heard mumbling songs as he works in the lab.
Filmawit Belay earned her bachelor’s degree at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. She completed an internship at Boston University in the chemistry REU program, followed by an intership at Biogen in pharmaceutical operations and technology. She cannot live without injera, a type of Tigrigna flatbread.
Anita Ghosh studied and worked at Purdue University, Johns Hopkins University and Boston University. In her previous roles, she used structural, biochemical and biophysical methods to understand the roles proteins play in disease pathogenesis and drug resistance. Anita is from Kolkata, India and a movie that defined her childhood is Jaws.
Ngan Ho comes to IPI from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Her favorite things about IPI are the professional workplace and friendly colleagues. A fun fact: while people think she’s skinny, she actually loves to eat snacks constantly!
Nick Hollmer is from Clifton Park, New York, and recently graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He spent his undergraduate research experience studying transcriptional targets of drug resistance pathways in yeast. If Nick were a car, he would be a Bugatti and he loves that everyone at IPI is willing to help out if he ever has questions.
Olivia Jannine is a lab technician from central Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science and previously worked at Winchester Hospital as a diet technician. Olivia has a poster of the periodic table of elements in her room and makes the case that sushi is equally fundamental to life.
Deepash Kothiwal, originally from Kishangarh, India, joins IPI’s Antibody Discovery team from the Buratowski Lab at Harvard Medical School focused, where he was a postdoctoral fellow studying RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain phosphorylation. He completed his Ph.D. in the Laloraya Lab at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, India, where he investigated the impact of cohesin dysfunction in cell wall defects in budding yeast. Kothiwal is drawn to the academic heart of IPI — which keeps his inner researcher alive in a fast-paced collaborative work environment.
Haiying Li comes to IPI from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she worked as a research fellow. Previously, she was an assistant professor and director of the Multi-Omics Core Facility at ShanghaiTech University. Haiying is originally from China, completed her Ph.D. at the University of Southern Denmark and has lived in five countries in the past 10 years.
Before joining IPI, Amita Patel worked for Foundation Medicine Inc as a molecular technologist III, performing molecular testing to identify cancer care for targeted cancer treatment. She previously worked as a medical technologist and performed laboratory testing at Boston Children’s Hospital. Something fun to know about Amita: if she were a car, she’d be Toyota Rav 4 — strong, capable and ready for an adventure!
Principal Research Associate
Matt Salotto worked in antibody discovery at Adimab for five years, managing many antibody campaigns. He focused on platform optimization, testing nanodiscs and whole cell selection for G-protein-coupled receptor targets. Matt ran a poker club at Adimab and his hometown is York, Pennsylvania.
Siobhan Shea comes to IPI’s Protein Research team with a bachelor’s in neuroscience and behavior from Simmons University — just down the road from IPI. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Schepens Eye Research Institute and at Harvard Medical School, studying astrocyte reactivity and glaucomatous optic neuropathy, low-threshold mechanoreceptors and spiral ganglion neuron synapses. Siobhan is originally from Potomac, Maryland and spent much of her youth in show choir and musical theater.
Sophia Ulmer is from Denver, Colorado, and recently graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in chemical and biological engineering. While there, she was an undergraduate research assistant in Timothy Whitehead’s lab. One fun fact about Sophia is she drafted an entire fantasy novel while in middle and high school. She hopes to one day publish a work of creative writing.
Senior Software Engineer
As senior software engineer, Mahesh Vangala is IPI’s data science and bioinformatics expert. He brings more than 12 years of hands-on experience in academic, research and clinical settings working with genomic and clinical data. Vangala is originally from Tadipatri, a small town in southern India, and is a big fan of the movie “Good Will Hunting” — a Boston favorite.
Senior Research Associate
Chang Yang is from Taiyuan, China, and worked as a research associate at AB Biosciences, focusing on antibody-antigen interactions. Chang loves Disney princess movies and if there is one food she cannot live without, it is fruit.
Principal Scientist Team Leader
Before joining IPI, Haisun Zhu was a principal scientist at Novo Nordisk Research Center in China, where he developed antibodies and biologics to treat hemophilia and diabetes. One antibody he discovered is currently in clinical trials. A fun fact: Haisun once put together a 6,000-piece jigsaw puzzle in three months — it covered his entire living room floor.
Shaotong Zhu comes to IPI from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she worked as a postdoc, studying the structure and function of human neurotransmitter receptors. A fun fact about Shaotong: she reads her horoscope every week.