Serena is a neurologist by training. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has since trained and worked on both US coasts. She graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and then pursued residency training at the University of Washington in Internal Medicine and at Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital in Neurology. After completing her fellowship at UCSF she remained on the faculty and was fortunate to work with her mentor Dr. Richard Price, as well as many generous research participants, to start studies on the early effects of HIV in the central nervous system. In 2010 she moved to Yale, where she developed new studies focusing on persistent effects of HIV in the nervous systems of individuals on antiretroviral treatment. She currently leads studies of the nervous system in acute HIV infection through the SEARCH research program based in Bangkok, Thailand. She greatly enjoys collaborating with numerous investigators around the world and mentoring fellows and students at Yale. When not working, Serena has fun with her husband and three kids, walking, traveling, and playing card games at restaurants. Her full Yale profile can be viewed here.
Current Lab Members
Jennifer Chiarella, BS
Jen is from the Connecticut River Valley and has specialized in HIV and HCV translational research for the past 24 years. She studied Medical Technology, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Quinnipiac University before moving to Yale. Prior to joining the Spudich Lab in 2015, she worked for 17 years with Dr. Michael Kozal of the Infectious Diseases Department, studying HIV drug resistance and investigating the use of various methodologies, including ultra-deep sequencing, in detecting low-abundance resistant viral variants. A full list of her publications can be found here. Jen is the Program Manager for Dr. Spudich's studies at Yale and Data Manager for SEARCH 10. She enjoys cooking, exercising, music festivals, and spending time with family and friends.
Michelle Chintanaphol, BS
Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale, where she completed her thesis on vascular endothelial cell and neural stem cell interaction in the subventricular zone niche. She previously worked with the SEARCH 010 acute HIV cohort in Bangkok, Thailand, focusing on the safety of optional procedures offered to research participants. In the fall of 2017, Michelle joined the Spudich Lab to continue research with the SEARCH studies and assist with the HAND Plus study. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, swimming, and trying new foods.
Shelli Farhadian, MD, PhD
Shelli completed her clinical training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and is currently an NIH T32 postdoctoral research fellow. She works with the HAND+ cohort to characterize immune activation in CSF. Shelli was born in New Jersey to parents who immigrated to the US from Iran. She completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics at MIT, and received her MD-PhD through the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program at Weill Cornell and the Rockefeller University, in New York City. In her free time, she provides forensic medical evaluations through the Yale Center for Asylum Medicine.
Ryan Handoko, BS
Ryan Handoko is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. A native of southern California, he first ventured to the East Coast for a degree in Applied Math-Biology at Brown University. He then moved on to investigate systems and computational immunology at the Laboratory of Systems Biology, NIAID, NIH. Staying in Washington, DC, he worked in infectious disease research policy with Gryphon Scientific. With an interest in immunology and infectious diseases, Ryan entered medical school in 2016 and joined the Spudich Lab to investigate predictors and clinical parameters associated with poor immunological response in treated acute HIV infection. Ryan enjoys exploring national parks, singing with the Yale Citations, and all-you-can-eat sushi.
Rachela Calvi, BA
A Connecticut native, Rachela Calvi joined the Spudich Lab in the summer of 2017 as a student-intern. Following her graduation with honors in May 2018 from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor degree in Cognitive Science and a minor in Psychological Sciences, Rachela will join the Spudich Lab full-time as a Clinical Research Assistant. In addition to her core coursework, Rachela also studied cross-cultural Psychology in Italy, acted a mentor to UCONN students through a formal mentoring program and was inducted into the Psi Chi National Honor Society. In her free time, Rachela enjoys horseback riding, skiing, traveling and experiencing all that the great New Haven restaurants have to offer.
Tess O'Meara, BA
Tess is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine interested in understanding the impact of inflammation on health and disease. She joined the Spudich Lab to explore novel mechanisms of immune activation in the central nervous system driven by exosome particles in HIV infection. Originally from Dallas, TX, she attended college at Princeton University and spent a year after college at the University of California, San Francisco, studying immune activity in breast cancer. In her free time, she enjoys ballet classes, picnics in dog parks, and Thai takeout.
Aveline Xiang Li, BA
Aveline Xiang Li is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. Growing up between China, Canada, and the United States, Aveline eventually made her way to Bowdoin College, where she majored in Biochemistry and conducted cell biology research on the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. She began medical school in 2014 and joined the Spudich Lab the subsequent summer, investigating the response of immune cells in the central nervous system during primary HIV infection. In her spare time, Aveline enjoys knitting and crocheting, exploring coffee shops, and reading new sci-fi/fantasy series.
Payal Patel, MD
Payal is a pediatric neurologist by training who grew up in Houston, Texas, and moved to the East Coast for residency at UPenn. She started her fellowship at Yale in 2016, where she works, under the guidance of Dr. Spudich, with many generous research participants and collaborators. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of HIV and other inflammatory conditions on the developing brain. She is fortunate to be a part of ongoing pediatric HIV cohort studies (PREDICT and RESILIENCE) in Thailand and Cambodia as well as perinatal HIV projects at Yale. She enjoys the opportunity to learn from investigators around the world and mentor residents and students at Yale. When not working, Payal likes to spend time with her family, travel, and read interesting books.
Sahil is a rising senior at the University of Connecticut studying Molecular Biology and Global Health with aspirations of attending medical school. As a Connecticut native with a strong passion for public health and health equity, he is excited to join the Spudich Lab this summer as a clinical research intern for the HAND Plus study. Sahil has worked as a clinical research assistant at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and looks forward to integrating his previous experience to assist with research at the Spudich Lab. In addition to his interests in biology and health, Sahil enjoys studying languages and cultures and will be traveling to Spain during the winter of 2018 to film a documentary on the various implications of language in the context of the Catalan independence movement. In his spare time he enjoys DJ-ing at WHUS Radio, hiking, traveling, and dancing.
Past Lab Members
Tobias Kirchwey, BA
Tobias currently studies medicine at Brown. He graduated from Yale with a degree in English, and later worked at the New York Review of Books before completing a postbaccalaureate program at Bryn Mawr College. As a postgraduate researcher in the Spudich Lab he helped to coordinate the HAND Study, investigating HIV associated neurocognitive disorders.
Andrew Silverman, BS
Andrew is a medical student at Yale and is interested in neurology and infectious disease. Under the mentorship of Dr. Spudich, Andrew traveled to Bangkok to help with ongoing research projects at SEARCH. In particular, he is interested in neurologic signs and symptoms of men and women chronically infected with HIV.
Zaina Zayyad, BS
Zaina Zayyad is currently an MSTP (MD/PhD) student at the University of Chicago, studying computational neuroscience with John Maunsell and Jason MacLean. Before joining the MSTP, Zaina worked as a postgraduate researcher studying the neuropathogenesis of HIV in the Spudich lab. Zaina was previously a Mellon Mays/Bouchet Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Blumenfeld lab. Zaina completed her Bachelors of Science degree at Yale University.
Daniel Zeheb, BA
Under the tutelage of Dr. Spudich, Daniel had the pleasure of conducting neuropsychological testing with participants in the HAND study in the summer of 2016. Born in Arizona and raised in Massachusetts, Daniel graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut in 2017 with a BA in Cognitive Science. He will begin studying at the UConn School of Law in the fall of 2018. Daniel enjoys hiking and rock climbing, and would love to learn to dance.