Gilad Lab | MSU


Assaf Gilad – Principal Investigator

Dr. Gilad is the Chief of the Division of Synthetic Biology and Regenerative Medicine in the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at MSU. He was recruited from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gilad is a biologist by training and a professor of biomedical engineering and radiology. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Gilad was a faculty member in the radiology department at Johns Hopkins University. He received his undergraduate degree from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and his graduate degree and Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Gabriela Saldana – Laboratory Technician/Manager

Gabriela is the Laboratory Technician/Manager of the Gilad Lab, providing assistance with cell culture and molecular techniques. Her work involves the study of aquatic animals (primarily fish), and she carries out animal protocols including experimental treatments, survival techniques, and behavioral studies. As the Laboratory Manager, she oversees the lab’s purchasing, organization, and cleanliness. 

Eric Petersen – Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Petersen is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Gilad lab. He is developing genetically encoded tools for optically recording neuronal activity in the brain. To do this, Eric utilizes a variety of protein engineering approaches including rational design, mutagenesis and library screening. 

Alex Bricco – Graduate Student

Alex is a graduate student in the Gilad lab. His work focuses specifically on designing computational tools, which themselves are used to design proteins for experiments in molecular imaging. He received his BS in biosystems engineering from Michigan State University in 2016. He worked in the Baek lab studying fMRI and cerebral angiography before joining the Gilad lab in 2017.

Connor Grady – Graduate Student

Connor started as a graduate student in the Gilad Lab in 2018. His main interests are gene and protein engineering. One of his projects focuses on Magnetobiomanipulation and Magnetogenetics, in which he is trying to create a biological hinge that can be remote activated by electromagnetic fields. Connor received his BS in Genomics and Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University in 2017.

Harvey Lee – Graduate Student

Harvey started as a graduate student in the Gilad Lab in 2018. His main interests are Protein Engineering and Molecular Imaging. His work focuses on engineering protein-based theranostics for biomedical applications. Harvey received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Biomedical Engineering from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, 2017.

Everett Baxter – Graduate Student

Everett is currently a first year graduate student in the biomedical engineering PhD program in the Gilad Lab. He is focused on studying B cell proliferation for alleviating type 1 diabetes. His current work is to genetically engineer a hepatic OATP plasmid for the uptake of contrast agents and anti-diabetic drugs that will be used to monitor B cell proliferation. Everett received his bachelor of science in molecular cellular integrative biology from Beloit College in 2019.  

Alejandro Castellanos – Graduate Student

Alejandro is a new graduate student of the Gilad Lab.

Echo Prafke-Marson – Laboratory Technologist

Echo is a laboratory technologist that specializes in work with primary neurons for electrophysiology experiments. She manages transgenic rat colonies, breeding, and genotyping, as well as carrying out animal protocols that include experimental treatments, surgical techniques, post-operative care, and behavioral studies.

Brianna Ricker – Laboratory Technologist

Brianna is a laboratory technologist in the Gilad lab. Her primary role is to continue structural and functional characterization of the Electromagnetic Perceptive Gene (EPG) protein. She also assists with laboratory cleanliness and organization. 

Adam Fillion – Laboratory Technologist

Adam started as a Laboratory Technologist in the Gilad Lab in 2021. He has had previous research experience in the Proshlyakov lab during his undergraduate program at Michigan State University, where he developed a novel method for the immobilization of mitochondria in a microfluidic respirometer using maganetic nanoparticles. Adam graduated in the spring of 2021 with a BS in both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chemistry. He currently works on research involved in the development bioluminescent sensors for reporting neuronal activity.

Allie Lapan – Laboratory Technologist

Allie is a Laboratory Technologist working in the Gilad Lab. Her primary role is to continue development of a bioluminescent sensors for reporting neuronal activity. Allie received her BS in neuroscience from Michigan State University in 2021.

Lauren Linenfelser – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lauren is an undergraduate research assistant working in both the Gilad and Kanada Labs. Her work focuses on utilizing extracellular vesicles that transfer biomolecules between cells to ultimately serve as a drug delivery method targeting triple-negative breast cancer cells.

Katie Krell – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katie is an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University. She provides assistance with protein purification and analysis techniques.

Rita Martin – Laboratory Administrator

Rita is the Gilad Lab’s administrator. She takes care of the lab’s accounts and identifies potential sources of funding.


Ryan Ashbaugh – Graduate student

Sunayana Mitra – Postdoctoral fellow

Tom Ruvio – Undergraduate research assistant

Nicole Desmet – Laboratory technologist

Lonsani Kabba – Undergraduate research assistant

Shengqiang Xu – Postdoctoral fellow

XiaoXian Zhang – Laboratory technologist

Gabriel Santana – Undergraduate research assistant

Mara Scribner – Laboratory technologist

Olivia Han – Laboratory technologist