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Lab Members

Team: Our Team

Amanda Poholek, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Amanda Poholek is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology in the Department of Pediatrics and in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM). She is a Scholar in the Richard King Mellon Institute for Pediatric Research, director of the Health Sciences Sequencing Core at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Associate Vice Chair of Basic Research in Dept of Pediatrics, and the Assistant Director of the Microbiology and Immunology Diversity Scholars (MIDS) Program. She is also the co-host of the podcast "That's Pediatrics" featuring interviews with experts at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Poholek grew up in Massachusetts and  recieved her PhD in cell biology at Yale University under the mentorship of Dr. Joe Craft. Dr. Poholek  performed her postdoctoral studies at the NIH/NIAMS under the mentorship of Dr. John O'Shea. Dr. Poholek started her lab at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. 

Hobbies: Spending time with family and hiking

First concert you attended: Spin Doctors

Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: Board games with family.
Horror movie that scared you the most: The Grudge
Favorite Comfort Food: Ice Cream

Kun He, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Kun grew up in China and recieved his PhD in Biomedical Engineer from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He joined the Poholek lab in 2018 as a post-doc.
His project is focused on:

1. Understanding how inhaled allergens promote tissue specific function of Blimp-1 in promoting Th2 cells in the lung whereas constraining effector response in other location after antigen priming using TCR transgenic mouse tool, spatial transcriptomics and CRISPR based strategy.
2. Exploring function of Blimp-1 in Th2-driven recall responses in the lung upon re-exposure to allergen.

Outside the lab, Kun spends his time hiking, working on his fitness, working movies and cooking. 

First concert you attended: Ode to Joy

Horror move that scared you the most: The Insidious series by James Wan

Favorite comfort food: Fries with ketchup, thin & crispy pizza and hotpot


Aaron Yang

4th Year PMI Graduate Student

Aaron grew up in Andover MA and recieved his B.S. in Biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy at Brandeis University. He worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the lab of Eric T. Wong, at the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and at Gritstone Bio prior to becoming a PMI graduate student at Pitt. 

His project is focused on understanding 3D chromatin alterations in exhausted T cells from the tumor and applying bioinformatic and systems immunology approaches to understand these changes and how they relate to T cell dysfunction. 

First concert you attended: Yellowcard 10 year anniversary of Ocean Avenue tour

Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: Sleeping in as late as possible

Horror movie that scared you the most: And Then There Were None

Comfort food: A big steaming bowl of Phở

Noelle Hutchison

Undergraduate Researcher

Noelle is from Charleroi in south-western Pennsylvania. She joined the Poholek lab in June of 2021 but spent a summer doing research with us in 2019. She is a sophomore bursuing her Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in data science and analytics at Chatham University. She is working on a project that explores the function of Blimp-1 in group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s).

Hobbies: Writing poetry/prose fiction/music, hiking, camping, baking, studying and debating philosophy and theology

First concert you attended: Korn and Staind

Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: A rainy hike

Horror movie that scared you the most: Event Horizon

Favorite comfort food: Haluski with kielbasa


Jiaqi "Jack" Lu

Research Technician

Jack is from a small town called Shanghai with only a population of 26 million people. He obtained his BS in biology with a minor in Physics from Illinois College. He joined the Poholek lab in October of 2021 and is currently getting settled in the lab learning as much as he can. He loves to travel, hike and being free to mother nature. He loves being out in the woods during a rainy and stormy day. His favorite comfort food is hotpot.

Yibo Zheng

Visiting Tsinghua Scholar

Yibo is a visiting scholar from Tsinghua University. He is from Shanghai and joined the lab in spring of 2022. He is an undergraduate student in the 4th year of his M.D. program in an 8 year curriculum.  His project is on understanding Blimp-1 expression and function in type 2 innnate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). In his free times, he enjoys watching anime, learning Japanese (to watch anime) and in learning how to cook!
First concert: Mendelssohn
Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: Watching movies in bed with all the lights off. 
Horror movie that scared you the most: Final Destination 3
Comfort Food: Ramen

Image from iOS (2)_edited.jpg
Image by Sarah Dorweiler

Harshita Beeravolu

2nd Year PMI Student

Harshita was raised in California and lived in Boston, MA for five years before moving to Pittsburgh. While in Boston, she completed an MS in Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and worked in industry for 3 years.
Currently, she's working on uncovering the role of prdm1-associated enhancer regions on Blimp-1 expression in T cells.
Hobbies: binge listening to mystery-thriller audiobooks and podcasts, cooking/baking, and shopping at Trader Joe’s
Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: clean my home and watch K-dramas while drinking hot tea
Horror movie that scared me the most: The Signs (my parents took me to watch it in theaters when I was 6 and it was terrifying)
Favorite comfort food: OG favorite - Cheesy bread sticks, more recent fave: Tteokbokki w/ ramen and fried eggs


Hand Lab

The Hand lab hopes to identify the factors derived from host genetics, the environment (diet, infection etc.) and the microbiota that shape host colonization.
Delgoffe Lab

The Delgoffe lab studies the intersection of metabolism and immunity in cancer.

Ray Lab

The Ray lab studies protective mechanisms in the lung that prevent acute lung injury specifically during bacterial pneumonia, and immunoregulatory mechanisms in the neonatal lung that defend against infections

Das Lab

The Das lab focuses on the development and use of novel systems approaches to analyze high-dimensional immunological datasets, and elucidate molecular mechanisms of immunological disorders.

Team: Text
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