Meet Our Members

Headshot of Debjani Mandal

Debjani Mandal, PhD

Dr. Mandal/Debjani received her Undergraduate, Master’s degree and Ph. D. in Bio Science and was a faculty member at IICB, Calcutta (CSIR Institute) in India. During her tenure ship she mentored graduate and postgraduate students and her research focused on metabolites and ion translocation across the cell and organelles membrane at different model systems. She continued her work on membrane transporter during postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and identified critical residues that could alter the substrate specificity of the transporter.  Before joining at NINDS she worked as a senior research associate at USUHS, Bethesda, and later became a staff scientist in the Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and her interest laid on structure function studies of human multidrug resistance protein for the rational design of mechanism-based inhibitors and therapeutics.

Presently, she is exploring therapeutic targets of  Cushing and VHL disease at biochemical and molecular aspects, focusing on transcriptomic data of patient sample, and metabolic reprograming.

Other than research she has a tight schedule with her pets, gardening, cooking, and music.

David Asuzu

David Asuzu, MD, PhD

Neurosurgery Resident, and Post-Doc

David Asuzu is an NIH neurosurgery resident in the lab. He started his undergraduate training at the University of Nigeria and transferred to Iowa State University where he completed a Mechanical Engineering degree with honors. He went on to complete his PhD in Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic under Tamas Ordog, former director of the Mayo Epigenetics Core. He worked briefly as a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle before enrolling in medical school. He completed his MD at Yale University, and also received an MPH for Harvard University. His clinical interests lie in treating patients with tumors of the brain and spine, and his research efforts aim to uncover novel molecular and epigenetic mechanisms of tumorigenesis. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, and also enjoys cooking, baking, biking and running outdoors.


Maxwell Laws

Maxwell Laws, MD

Neurosurgery Resident, and Post-Doc

Maxwell Laws is a fourth-year neurosurgery resident with the NIH/UVA program. He is a clinical/post-doctoral fellow in the Chittiboina lab. He earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State University where he worked in the laboratory of Juri G. Gelovani, MD/PhD, developing and validating the use of radioligands for epigenetic profiling of glioblastoma. He received his M.D. with Distinction at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Dr. Laws’ research at the NIH is focused on studying the epigenetic and immunologic basis for neurologic disease. His current areas of investigation include neurofibromatosis type II, Von-Hippel-Lindau syndrome, and ependymoma.

Shyama Bhatt

Shyama Bhatt, BA

Shyama is a second year post-bac fellow in the Chittiboina Lab. She graduated with her BS from Wayne State University as a part of the Wayne State University Med Direct BS/MD program. During undergrad, she studied the neurodegenerative disorder, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease. Her work currently focuses on the involvement of the proteasome and the unfolded protein response in pituitary adenomas. In her free time, you will probably find her in the kitchen, gym or exploring the city.


Jasleen Gandhi, MS


Jasleen Gandhi, MS

Jasleen is a Bioinformatics Data Scientist in the Chittiboina lab. She holds a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, specializing in Bioinformatics, from West Virginia University, where she conducted research on multiple myeloma transcriptome signatures. Currently, her project goals are to generate a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the epigenetic and transcriptomic landscape, which can lead to new discoveries and insights into vestibular schwannoma (VS) mechanisms.

Dustin Mullaney


Dustin Mullaney, BS

Dustin is a post-bac fellow in the Chittiboina lab, specializing in computational analysis of ‘omics data. He received his B.S. in Biomedical Science with a minor in chemistry from Northern Arizona University, where he also worked as an undergraduate researcher designing a novel HPV vaccine platform. His work in the Chittiboina lab focuses on unravelling the epigenetic perturbations that contribute to tumorigenesis in pituitary adenomas. Next, Dustin will continue his academic career by pursuing a Ph.D. in genomics.

Anna Wcislak

Anna Wcislac, BA


Anna is a first-year post-bac fellow in the Chittiboina Lab. She recently graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and a minor in Global Health. During her undergraduate years, Anna studied the effects of light on behavior through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. She is currently working to create patient-specific pituitary organoids from differentiated iPSCs as a method for treating hypopituitarism. She plans to spend a few gap years at the NIH before attending medical school and potentially pursuing a PhD. In her spare time, Anna enjoys training for races and is looking forward to running her first full marathon in the coming months.

Ihika Rampalli

Ihika Rampalli, BS

MRSP Scholar

Ihika is currently a participant in the Medical Research Scholars Program at the NIH and an MS3 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Dallas with a BS in Healthcare Studies and a minor in Spanish. Prior to her work in the Chittiboina lab, she studied the clinical assessment of Alzheimer’s Disease with Dr. Roy Lin and glioma development in knock-out mice with Dr. Ali Jalali.


Daniela Tortoza, BS


Daniela is a first-year post-bac fellow in the Chittiboina Lab. Originally from Venezuela, she graduated with her BS from the George Washington University in Washington DC. During her undergrad, she studied the neurobiological effects of stressful and adverse experiences in the synaptic regulation of neurons in the VTA. In the lab, her work currently focuses on the metabolic reprogramming of pituitary adenoma cells in Cushing’s Disease. Daniela is hoping to pursue a medical degree after her time at the NIH. In her free time, she likes to go on nature walks and the gym.

Sajeev Kohli

Sajeev Kohli, BS


Sajeev is a post-bac fellow in the Chittiboina lab. Originally from Waterloo, Canada, he earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy from Harvard College in 2023. While there, he worked on developing translational applications of base editing and prime editing systems for treating chronic genetic conditions in the lab of Dr. David Liu. His current work focuses on applying genome engineering to understand the mechanisms governing pituitary cell differentiation and development in 2-D iPSC culture and 3-D organoid models. In his spare time, Sajeev enjoys playing piano, watching Bollywood movies with his grandma, and exploring new foods. 



Lab Alumni

Elyse Moore

Elyse Moore, BA

Now, a MD/PhD candidate at MUSC.

Originally from North Carolina, she earned her B.S. in Clinical Neuroscience from Virginia Tech in 2021 where she worked as an undergraduate researcher studying mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative disease. As a fellow in the lab, she was interested in mechanisms of pituitary cell type differentiation from hiPSC pluripotent cells. Elyse is currently applying for MD and MD/PhD programs with hopes of continuing her translational research as she pursues her medical degree.

Martin Arhin


Martin Arhin, BS

Headshot of Emma Celano

Emma Celano, MD
Neurosurgery Research Fellow:
PGY6 Resident, Georgetown Neurosurgery

Emma is a current 7th year neurosurgery resident at Georgetown and plans to specialize in Skull Base Surgery. She is currently researching the natural history of neurofibromatosis type 2.

Headshot of Alejandro Burgarini

Alejandro Bugarini, MD
Neurosurgery Research Fellow
​PGY6 Resident, Geisinger Neurosurgery

Headshot of Stefan Stoica

Stefan Stoica, BS

Now, a medical student at USUHS.

Headshot of Anish Kosanam

Anish Kosanam, BA

Now, a medical student at Case Western.