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Lab People

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Naama Kanarek Ph.D.

Naama completed her Ph.D. in Jerusalem, Israel in the Ben-Neriah Lab, and her postdoctoral training in the Whitehead Institute, MIT, in the Sabatini Lab.

Naama is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. and in the Pathology Department of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Naama’s passion for folate metabolism started in the Sabatini lab when she realized how little is known about folate homeostasis in cells, in organs and in organisms.

Naama is also a hiker and an enthusiastic, although mediocre, biker, and if it would have been up to her, she would have gone to a different place around the world every month.

naama.kanarek at


Boryana Petrova Ph.D.

Boryana completed her PhD in Heidelberg, Germany in the lab of Dr. Christian Haering, and her postdoctoral work at the Whitehead Institute in the lab of Prof. Terry Orr-Weaver and later on in the lab of Dr. Sebastian Lourido.

At the Whitehead Institute Boryana developed a passion for mass spectrometry, metabolomics and metabolism and has joined the lab of Dr. Naama Kanarek at the Pathology Department of Boston Children’s Hospital as a staff scientist.

She will be focusing on metabolomics in general and folate homeostasis and metabolism specifically.

In her spare time, Boryana trains Japanese sword and other martial arts or finds refuge from the noisy city while bird-watching.


boryana.petrova at

Staff Scientist / HMS instructor

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Adam Maynard

Adam completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During this time, he developed an interest in the biochemical processes involved in human disease, specifically cancer. Adam is now a PhD Candidate in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) program at Harvard Medical School in the Kanarek Lab. In his free time, Adam enjoys getting outdoors through biking, running, hiking, and camping. 


adam.maynard at

Ph.D. student

Landry Cancer Biology Consortium Fellow

Alan Wong

Alan is currently a student in the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD program at Harvard Medical School. He completed his undergraduate degree in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard College, where he studied axolotl limb regeneration in the lab of Jessica Whited. In studying the proliferative signals required for regeneration, he became interested in trying to understand how cancer cells adapt their metabolism to different nutrient environments. Outside of research, he enjoys cooking, going for long runs, and consuming all kinds of science fiction.


alan.wong at

M.D.-Ph.D. student

CIHR Awardee​

Peng Wang

Peng completed his PhD in Hong Kong, in the lab of Dr. David K. Banfield studying membrane trafficking, where he developed his passion for glycosylation, metabolism, and the well-being of humankind.
Peng is a postdoc in the Kanarek Lab funded by the Croucher Fellowship. Peng's focus is on how folate metabolism affects the function of T cells, with a specific interest from the glycosylation prospective.
In his spare time, Peng practices the skills of mindfulness - being aware and fully awake - via meditation and cooking everyday. One of his lifelong goals is to develop approaches to study how mindfulness practices change one’s metabolism both in the short and long terms. at

Postdoctoral Fellow

Croucher Fellow

Jeannette (Riley) Brook

Riley graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a Biochemistry major and a Spanish minor. She is currently a graduate student at Boston University, pursuing a Master’s in Medical Sciences. After taking a course in metabolic biochemistry as an undergraduate student, she became very interested in metabolism. She is excited about the field of metabolomics and the potential of understanding the metabolome, especially as it relates to pharmacology and drug development. In her free time, Riley loves to be outdoors, running, hiking, biking, and camping. She grew up in Colorado and she loves to ski.  

jeannette.brook at

Research Assitant

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Amy Yu

Amy is currently a PhD student in the Harvard Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) program. She completed her undergraduate degree in Human Biology at UC San Diego and subsequently worked at UC San Francisco as a research associate, where her experience in gut microbiome and liver fibrosis research developed her general interest in cell metabolism’s integral role in disease development. In her free time, she loves baking, running, and reading comics. 

amy.yu at

Ph.D. student

Nancy Pohl

Ph.D. student

Nancy completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Mount Holyoke College. As a research assistant in the lab of Keith Blackwell at the Joslin Diabetes Center, she became interested in the molecular mechanisms driving metabolic disease. She is currently a student in the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) PhD program at Harvard School of Public Health, doing her thesis work in the Kanarek Lab. Outside of research, Nancy enjoys catching up with family, reading fantasy novels, and all kinds of outdoor adventure near and far. at

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Catherine Merz

Visiting M.Sc. student

Catherine is a graduate student in Julius-Maximilians-University, Wuerzburg, Germany, majoring in biochemistry with a focus on life sciences. She is currently doing research for her master’s thesis in the Kanarek lab. Her interests in cancer research sparked when studying the effects of radiation therapy on the bone marrow in the lab of Harald Schulze for her bachelor thesis. She is especially intrigued in learning how cancer cells can adapt metabolically and how this can be used for targeted therapy. In her free time, she loves catching up with friends, drawing, and traveling. Growing up close to the alps, she enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, and skiing. 


catherine.merz at

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Annabel Müller

Visiting M.Sc. student

Annabel completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the Julius-Maximilians University in Wuerzburg, Germany. She performed her Bachelor thesis in the lab of Prof. Martin Eilers working on the oncoprotein MYC in neuroblastoma. Annabel is currently enrolled in the Biochemistry master program of her home university in Wuerzburg and has joined the Kanarek lab for her master thesis. She is not only interested in cancer research but her studies also sparked her interest in biochemical signaling pathways and metabolomics. In her free time, Annabel loves reading a good book, does Pilates or goes for a relaxing walk.


annabel.mueller at

Previous members

Andrew Culhane, RA. Currently at TUFTS for computational postbac courses

Efrat Ozeri, Visiting Scientist, fall 2022

Ilhan Ali, Visiting Scientist, summer 2022

Riya Patel. SPARC summer student 2022

Margaret Zimmer M.Sc. Student.  Currently data analyst for the Red Sox

Anna Warren. Summer Intern 2020 and summer 2021

Nuria Vital M.Sc.  Visiting scientist 2019-2020. Currently R&D @Smart Assays, Israel

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