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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

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. candidate

CIHR Awardee​

Peng Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Croucher Fellow

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

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. candidate

NSF GRFP 2023 Fellow

Landry Cancer Biology Consortium Honorary fellow

Nancy Pohl

Ph.D. candidate

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

Pauline Doettling

Visiting M.Sc. student

Pauline completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Ulm, Germany. She is a graduate student at the Julius-Maximilians-University, Wuerzburg, Germany, majoring in biochemistry with a concentration in life sciences. During her internship in the lab of Francesco Cosentino at Karolinska Institutet, she developed a strong interest in biochemical pathways and their role in disease and therapy, which she aims to further explore in her master thesis by conducting research on breast cancer cells in the Kanarek Lab. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, playing sports, and traveling, and she prefers to do all these activities outdoors. 


pauline.doettling at

Lea Hammer

Visiting M.Sc. student

Lea completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where she studied MHC class I cell surface expression in the lab of Robert Tampé for her Bachelor thesis. Currently, she is a graduate student in Biochemistry at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg, Germany. As part of her Master’s degree, she is specialising in molecular oncology and is interested in the interactions of the tumour microenvironment with the hosts immune system and how this can be exploited for new therapeutic approaches. Outside of research, she enjoys outdoor activities such as volleyball, track and field and dancing, but also likes listening to music and going for walks.


lea.hammer at

Maeve de Souza 

Visiting M.Sc. student

Maeve is currently enrolled in the master program in Biochemistry at the Julius-Maximilian-University in Würzburg and has joined the Kanarek lab for her master thesis. She completed her Bachelor in Biochemistry at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, where she investigated L1-insertions in human pluripotent stem cells. Throughout her academic journey, she has gained valuable experience in various laboratories and internships in Germany as well as in Mexico, which have shaped her skills and interests in cancer metabolism and identifying new targets for prevention and treatment. In her free time, she works on her inline skating skills and loves to explore new places. Whether it's a backpacking trip, a road trip or a weekend getaway.  


maeve.desouza at

Previous members

  • Adam Maynard, PhD, PhD student, BBS program, Harvard Medical School. Pursuing a postdoc,

  • Catherine Merz, Visiting Master student, Winter 2022-2023

  • Annabel Mueller, Visiting Master student, Winter 2022-2023

  • 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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