Lab Members

Aleksandra Tata (Aleks) – Senior Research Associate

Aleks was born in a small town in Poland. She finished her high school education in her home town and joined Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland to pursue Master of Science in molecular biology (Department of Cell Biology). Then Aleks pursued her graduate work in the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Ulm, Germany followed by postdoctoral studies in Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School where she studied vascular network, signaling cascades in endothelial cells and blood brain barrier (BBB).

Yoshihiko Kobayashi (Yoshi) – Postdoctoral Associate

Yoshihiko grew up in a town located at the foot of a volcano – Unzen, which is abundant in nature. He was enthusiastic to learn/play Kyudo (Japanese archery) when he was a high school student, which allowed him to learn a fun way to concentrate on a point. He finished his bachelor, master and Ph.D. degrees at Okuda laboratory in Okayama University, located in Mid-west Japan. He learned the enjoyment of science through studying functions of epithelial cells in female reproductive tracts. After finishing his Ph.D., he moved to the US, joined the Tata lab where the studied organ is the lung. Click here for a full list of Yoshi’s publications.

Satoshi Konishi – Postdoctoral Associate

Satoshi was born and raised in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. He attended Kyoto University School of Medicine and went on to become trained as a respiratory physician in Kurashiki city. He decided to study regeneration because he wanted to help patients with complicated lung diseases and returned to Kyoto University where he obtained his Ph.D. degree studying induction of functional airway multi-ciliated cells from hiPSCs. He continued his multi-ciliary research working as a respiratory physician in Japan in the Tsukita lab at Osaka University. He is interested in the plasticity of lung stem cells and disease modeling. Click here for a full list of Satoshi’s publications.

Preetish Murthy – Postdoctoral Associate

Preetish was born in India. He finished his schooling in Bangalore and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He worked on understanding fluid flows in microchannels using Extended Transport Equations. With an interest in academic research he joined the graduate program at Cornell University. During his PhD, he realized his interest for life science research and worked on understanding epithelial tissues under homeostatic and pathologic conditions. Broadly, his current research interests lie in applying engineering tools and principles to answer biological questions.

Vishwaraj Sontake (Vishwa) – Postdoctoral Associate

Vishwa was born and raised in a small village in India. He received his Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from Kakatiya University. In 2008 he pursued a Masters in Biochemistry at Osmania University. He was awarded the CSIR research fellowship to pursue his doctoral degree, which focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of chronic tissue remodeling diseases in the lung and kidney.  In the Tata lab he studies the autonomous mechanisms of Alveolar Type2 stem cell self renewal and differentiation using CRISPR gene editing and NGS techniques.

Arvind Konkimalla – MD/PhD Candidate (Duke – MSTP)

Arvind was born in India, but moved to New Jersey when he was just 4 years old. He received his BA in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Rutgers University in 2014, where he worked in the lab of Nancy Woychik, studying a Mycobacterium tuberculosis stress response mechanism. He joined the MD/PhD program at Duke University following his undergrad. After medical school rotations, Arvind decided to pursue pulmonary medicine, thus meandering his way into the Tata lab. Broadly, his research interests lie in lung cancer and regeneration.

Preston Anderson – Graduate Student (Rotating)

Preston is from Lakeville Minnesota. In high school he became interested in stem cell biology and left early to attend the University of Minnesota where he joined John Englehardt’s lab. There he focused on the development and regeneration of submucosal glands. In 2018 he graduated with B.S in honors biochemistry and human physiology. He then joined Duke MD/PhD program and is currently enjoying rotations.  He is broadly interested in lung stem cell ontology, plasticity during injury and oncological states, single cell analysis, precision medicine, and gene therapy development.

Lauren Macadlo – Research Technician

Lauren is from Northwest Indiana and earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Purdue University while working in a yeast epigenetics lab. After graduating she worked in a plant genetics lab, then traveled Europe for 7 weeks; visiting 7 countries! She started a position as a QC Microbiologist, but missed research and moved to NC.  She is currently helping with a DARPA funded project.  She hopes to further her education by taking classes at Duke and becoming a research assistant.  In her spare time she enjoys reading and playing volleyball. Her favorite part about being at Duke is the architecture and Duke gardens.

Samuel Liu (Sam) – Undergraduate (Sophomore)

Samuel Liu is currently a sophomore from Houston, Texas majoring in biology. He became involved in the Tata Lab because of his interest in studying stem cell biology and factors that affect stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. After graduating, he hopes to continue pursuing a career in research by applying to MD-PhD programs to become a physician scientist. He enjoys nature and his favorite part about Duke are the gardens and nearby parks.

Erica Langan – Undergraduate (Sophomore)

Erica is a sophomore from Cincinnati majoring in Biology and minoring in Linguistics. She joined the Tata Lab because she was fascinated by the use of new technologies to mimic the functions of human tissue in the lab and to investigate a host of new research questions. She is also a Huang Fellow. After graduating, she hopes to apply to MD-PhD programs and pursue a career as a physician scientist. Outside of lab she plays violin in the Duke Symphony Orchestra and is Service Chair for the American Medical Women’s Association. In her free time she loves to write, cook, and explore the Duke Gardens.

Tata Lab Alumni

  • Hiro Katsura, Ph.D.
    Former Postdoc. Hiro is currently working at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems and Dynamics Research, Laboratory for Lung Development in Japan!
  • Avani Desai
    Former Undergrad. Avani is working this coming year as a Research Technician in the Sipkins Lab (Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy) at Duke before she plans on attending medical school.
  • Rebecca Lee
    Former Undergrad. Rebecca is attending Yale to study for her Ph.D. in their Biological and Biomedical Sciences graduate program.
  • Robin Yeh
    Former Undergrad. Robin is currently working on projects funded by the Benenson Award in the Arts she was awarded and will later be relocating for work as a consultant at Accenture.