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Cornell University

The Cosgrove Laboratory

Systems bioengineering analysis of signaling networks in stem cells and tissue regeneration

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Ben Cosgrove

Office: 159 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-7271
Email: bdc68@cornell.edu
Curriculum vitae: PDF

Dr. Cosgrove earned a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, a Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Lauffenburger and Dr. Linda Griffith, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine with Dr. Helen Blau. His research has been supported by a Whitaker Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Stanford Molecular Imaging Scholars Fellowship, multiple NIH Awards, and a Glenn Medical Research Foundation/American Federation for Aging Research Grant for Junior Faculty. Ben has been recognized by a Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Graduate Research Award (2008), a Rising Star Award from the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Special Interest Group of BMES (2015), and a Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Award (2017). His research group develops and implements systems biology and biomaterials engineering approaches to study how cell-cell communication and signal transduction networks regulate stem and progenitor cell function in skeletal muscle regeneration, and how these processes become dysfunctional in aging and muscular dystrophies.


Ph.D. Students

Charles Heinke

Office: 163 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: clh275@cornell.edu

Charles Heinke

Charles earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2016 at the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, he worked in Weihong Tan’s lab using DNA displacement cascades to mimic biological immune adaptation. Charles joined Cornell’s BME PhD program in 2017. Fascinated by the complex inner workings of cells and the molecular machines that allow them to function, Charles gravitated towards the Cosgrove lab. As a BME PhD student, Charles engineers culture environments designed to control the cell fate and proliferation of muscle stem cells. If successful, these systems could be used to generate autologous stem cells for next-generation regenerative medicine strategies.

Paula Petrella

Office: 163 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: pep66@cornell.edu

Paula Petrella grew up in New York and earned her BFA from New York University. After volunteering on three research expeditions in Africa in which she worked on cheetah conservation, invasive agricultural species, and the treatment of intestinal parasites, she obtained her Pre-Medical and Science Certificate from UCLA. Under the supervision of Dr. Vincent Pasque in Kathrin Plath’s lab at UCLA, Paula’s work focused on determining whether the histone chaperone HIRA and the TET family of proteins, which convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, are required for cellular reprogramming and the reactivation of the inactive X-chromosome. She is currently focused on deep profiling of triple-negative breast cancer cell lines as they evolve in response to chemotherapy, with the aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms of chemo-resistance in stem-like cancer cell subpopulations.

Emily Laurilliard

Office: 163 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: ejl254@cornell.edu

Emily Laurilliard

Emily earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2016 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During that time, she did research in Dr. James A. Cooper’s Lab developing a tissue-engineered ligament fascicle substitute. After graduating, Emily accepted a research position at Athghin Biotechnology. Here, she worked with Dr. Nathan Boles, utilizing human pluripotent stem cells to develop a high throughput screening platform to test chemical exposure effects on human brain development. During this time, Emily also worked with Dr. Sally Temple and Dr. Jeffrey Stern at the Retinal Stem Cell Consortium on preclinical studies to develop a retinal pigment epithelium stem cell therapy for Age-related Macular Degeneration. Excited to continue working with stem cells for tissue regeneration, Emily began her Ph.D. at Cornell in 2018 and joined the Cosgrove Lab. Her research is focused on further understanding the muscle stem cell microenvironment through in vitro co-culture models and in vivo imaging methods.

David McKellar

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: dwm269@cornell.edu

David McKellar grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Tech. While there, he spent time in Manu Platt’s lab working on dysregulation in proteolytic networks that arise in breast cancer. After graduating in 2016, He continued on to the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health where he spent two years as a postbaccalaureate fellow in Paul Liu’s lab. While in Bethesda, he worked on the genetics of familial leukemia, preleukemic disease modeling with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and improving methods for the hematopoietic directed differentiation of iPSCs. David began his PhD at Cornell University in the fall of 2018. He is a joint member of both the Cosgrove Lab and the De Vlaminck Lab (http://devlaminck.bme.cornell.edu/). David’s research aims are focused on developing new single-cell sequencing technologies for deconvoluting the gene regulatory networks that govern muscle regeneration. Elucidating these regulatory mechanisms has implications in identifying therapeutic targets for aging and injury.

Lauren Walter

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: ldw64@cornell.edu

Lauren earned her B.S. in Biology in 2016 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. As an undergraduate she worked in Dr. Shannon Straub’s lab on the Milkweed Genome Project to study the phylogenetics of flowering plants. After graduating, Lauren worked for Dr. Bradley Bernstein and Dr. Charles Epstein at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the Epigenomics Program. At the Broad she helped to develop a low cell input chromatin immunoprecipitation method called Multiplexing Indexing T7 Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (Mint-ChIP). She used this method to study the epigenetic differences between the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the brain using cerebral organoids. Lauren began her PhD in Genetics, Genomics, and Development at Cornell University in the fall of 2018. In the Cosgrove lab she is studying how aging affects muscle repair.

Jessica Orton

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: jlo72@cornell.edu

A Kansas City Missouri native, Jess earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in 2020. As an undergraduate, she worked in the lab of Dr. Jamie and Dr. Christa Hestekin developing an implantable device that utilizes membranes and electrochemical processes to extend the lifespan of a cardiac pacemaker. Jess began her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University in the fall of 2020 and joined the Cosgrove lab where her research is focused on investigating the specific molecular mechanisms of macrophage-myogenic cell communication that are altered in aging through a unique combination of bioinformatic analyses and in vitro and in vivo experimental systems.

Matalin Pirtz

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: mgp73@cornell.edu

Matalin earned her B.S. in Biological Engineering at Montana State University – Bozeman in 2021, with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. Along with her classes, she did research in Dr. Connie Chang’s Soft Matter and Microfluidics lab. In the lab, Matalin aimed to optimize the encapsulation of cells using microfluidics for organoid culturing, as well as study the migration of dendritic cells through hydrogels. This was part of a larger project taking place in the department to study how bacteria and the immune system interact in the gut, and its affects on surrounding cells. Matalin started her Ph.D at Cornell in the Fall of 2021 and is now co-advised by Dr. Ben Cosgrove and Dr. Alex Nikitin. Her project focuses on determining cell types prone to malignant transformation leading to serous endometrial cancer using mouse models, organoids, and RNA sequencing technologies.

Coulter Ralston

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: cqr3@cornell.edu

Coulter Ralston

Coulter is originally from the Boston area, and he received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering about an hour away from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. As an undergraduate, Coulter conducted research in Dr. Jeannine Coburn’s lab, where he worked with various biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. His senior design project focused on stacking silk scaffolds seeded with neuroblastoma cells in a fluidic device to achieve high throughput experimentation on these tumor models. Coulter began his Ph.D. at Cornell University in the fall of 2021 and is co-advised by Dr. Ben Cosgrove and Dr. Alex Nikitin. His research focuses on cancer prone epithelial cell states that contribute to the rapid progression of high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma. He uses mouse models, organoids, transcriptomics, and bioinformatics to help answer this question. Outside of the lab, you can often see Coulter running all over the Ithaca trails or cheering for his favorite Boston sports teams.


Laboratory Staff

Hannah Fong

Office: 161 Weill Hall
Phone: 607-255-4480
Email: ef264@cornell.edu

Hannah Fong completed her Hon.B.Sc. in immunology at the University of Toronto. She also holds an M.Phil. in immunology from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and an M.S. in immunology from Cornell University. She currently works with the laboratories of Dr. Ben Cosgrove and Dr. Jan Lammerding to manage their rodent colonies, and provide support for the various research projects in the labs.


Master’s Students


Undergradutes

Raina Kikani

Email: rbk66@cornell.edu

Raina Kikani is a Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholar studying Biomedical Engineering in the Class of 2023. She has been working with Emily Laurilliard to develop biomimetic co-culture systems to investigate how muscle stem cells and endothelial cells communicate. She is really fascinated by stem cell therapies and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in tissue engineering beginning in the Fall of 2023.

Dylan Tom

Email: dt425@cornell.edu


Dylan Tom is in the College of Arts and Sciences, class of 2025, majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. Previously, he attended Bronx High School of Science. He has been working with David McKellar on single cell RNA sequencing data analysis. Dylan enjoys exploring different intersections of computer science and scientific disciplines. He has been working in conjunction with Dr. Monkol Lek at Yale University to develop a novel web tool for visualizing pediatric skeletal muscle cell data.


Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sharon Soueid-Baumgarten, Ph.D. (2014 – 18) | Research Scientist, Department of Biochemistry, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

 

Ph.D. Students

Andrea De Micheli,  Ph.D. (2015 – 20) | Postdoctoral Fellow in Simone Schurle’s Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Umji Lee, Ph.D. (2019 – 21) | Postdoctoral Fellow in Juan Melero-Martin’s Lab at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Alexander M. Loiben, Ph.D. (2014 – 20) | Postdoctoral Fellow in Daniel Yang’s Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA

 

Master’s Students

Victor Aguilar M.S (2014 – 17) | University of Illinois at Chicago, Bioengineering Ph.D. program, Laboratories of Dr. Irena Levitan and Dr. Yun Fan

Francis Chen, BME M.Eng. (2014 – 16) | Chinese University Hong Kong, Life Sciences Ph.D. program, Laboratory of Wing Tak (Jack) Wong

Prashant Hariharan, BME M.Eng. (2015 – 16) |Wayne St University, Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program, Laboratory of Carolyn Harris

Kun Ho Kim, BME M.Eng. (2017 – 18) | Purdue University, Animal Sciences Ph.D. program, Laboratory of  Shihuan Kuang

Brenton Munson, BME M.Eng. (2014 – 15) | UCSD Bioengineering Ph.D. program, Laboratory of Trey Ideker

Gabrielle Ravelo, BME M.Eng. (2018) | Research Associate at Lyell Immunopharma in South San Francisco

Lauren Slowskei, BME M.Eng. (2019) | GenVivo, Process Development Associate

Chris Twombly, BME M.Eng. (2019 – 20) | Staff, Lenovo

Fan Wei, BME M.Eng. (2019 – 20) | Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Program, University of Southern California

 

Undergraduate Students

Ashritha Bheemidi, Biol. Eng. B.S. (2017 – 19) | M.Eng. student, Cornell Engineering Management

Nicholas Chan

Jason Chen

Jonathan Chin Cheong, Biol. Sciences B.S. (2017-20) | Ph.D Student, Colombia CMBS

Ally Dalaya, Biol. Sciences B.S. (2016-19) | Ph.D Student, Arizona Plant Pathology

Paula Frazcek, BME B.S. (2017 – 19) | Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate in Carlos Aguilar’s Lab at the University of Michigan

Joseph Kim, BME B.S. (2015 – 17) |  Cornell University, Computer Science M.Eng. program

Ruth Kopyto, Biol. Sciences B.S. (2016-19) | Weill Cornell Medicine, Pharmacology Ph.D. program

Grace Livermore, Biol. Eng. B.S. (2015 – 16) |

Isabella Mercado, Chemistry B.S. (2017 – 18) |

Muhammad Safwan Jalal, Biol. Sciences B.S. (2015 – 17) | SUNY Upstate Medical University

Hilarie Sit, Biol. Eng. B.S. (2015 – 17) |Cornell University, Materials Science & Engineering M.Eng. program