Gilad Lab | MSU


Assaf Gilad, PhD – 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. 

Alex Bricco – PhD Candidate

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 – PhD Candidate

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 – PhD Candidate

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 – PhD Candidate

Everett is a graduate student in the biomedical engineering PhD program in the Gilad Lab. 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.

Joelle Eaves – Graduate Student

Joelle joined the Gilad Lab in 2022 as an incoming doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. She focuses on developing a high-throughput, directed evolution workflow for the characterization and activity tuning of the electromagnetic perceptive gene (EPG) protein. Joelle graduated from MSU in 2021 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Chemistry

Jory Schossau, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow

Jory is a postdoctoral researcher with a broad focus on understanding the cultivation of features that make up intelligent and robust life-like behavior at all levels of complex systems. His current interests with the Gilad lab include leveraging biological inspiration and machine automation for faster discovery of protein sequences for specific functional responses.

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. 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 of 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.

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.

Adriana Wittke – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Adriana is a new undergraduate research assistant of the Gilad Lab

Rita Martin – Laboratory Administrator

Rita Martin is a Research Administrator in the Gilad Lab. She identifies potential sources of funding, assists with preparing grant applications and annual research performance progress reports for funded projects, provides editorial assistance for research manuscripts and abstracts, and coordinates technology transfer agreements for collaborative research activities. Rita also assists with managing administrative functions for the Gilad Lab.
Rita earned a master’s degree in Zoology with specialization in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, and graduated with a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University

Alumni (please contact us with your current whereabouts!)

Eric Petersen – Postdoctoral fellow (Assistant Professor at Central Michigan University)

Lauren Linenfelser – Laboratory Technologist

Echo Prafke-Marson – Laboratory Technologist

Ryan Ashbaugh – Graduate student

Sunayana Mitra – Postdoctoral fellow (Researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital)

Tom Ruvio – Undergraduate research assistant (Data Analyst at Lockheed Martin Corporation)

Nicole Desmet – Laboratory technologist (Gradaute Student at Dartmouth Univeristy)

Lonsani Kabba – Undergraduate research assistant

Shengqiang Xu – Postdoctoral fellow

XiaoXian Zhang – Laboratory technologist

Gabriel Santana – Undergraduate research assistant

Mara Scribner – Laboratory technologist (Med Student)

Olivia Han – Laboratory technologist (Med Student)