Lab Staff


Naomi Berhane portraitOriginally from Los Angeles, California, Naomi Berhane is a first-year undergraduate student at Harvard College. Before Harvard, she graduated from Flintridge Preparatory School and spent summers doing medical and medical engineering research at the University of Southern California (USC) and Caltech, respectively. At USC, she researched degenerative disc disease and at Caltech, she contributed to several projects, including: 3-D printing various components for the undergraduate summer researchers and working with an intraocular pressure sensor. At Harvard, she plans to major in biomedical engineering in the mechanical subtrack. In the Remenschneider Lab, she is working on an individual project that aims to 3-D print surgical instruments. The goal is to create alternative surgical instruments made from 3-D printed material that can be easily produced and used in low resource areas.

Nicole Black portraitNicole Black is a PhD candidate in the Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, with a minor in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology through the Harvard Division of Medical Sciences. Originally from Detroit, Nicole graduated from Boston University with a degree in biomedical engineering and a minor in mechanical engineering, concentrated in nanotechnology. During her undergrad, Nicole spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Sydney and participated in research programs at Vanderbilt University and Columbia University. Following graduation, she worked as an intern for PixarBio, a start-up based in Somerville, Massachusetts, developing novel materials and methods for drug release. Her primary research interests include the relationship between structure and function in tissues at the micron-scale and utilizing 3-D printing of novel biodegradable elastomeric inks to mimic the collagen fiber architectures found in native soft tissues. Specially, she is investigating how to recapitulate the acoustic and mechanical properties of the human tympanic membrane following grafting. She is currently funded through the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship and an NIH Speech and Hearing Sciences training grant.

Melissa Melissa Castillo-Bustamante, MD, is a medicine doctor from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín-Colombia. She performed her otolaryngology training at Hospital Británico of Buenos Aires-Argentina and Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina. After her graduation, she worked on the vestibular section of Hospital de Clínicas Jose de San Martin, associated to the School of Medicine of Buenos Aires University and Fundación Favaloro. She is an active member of the Latin American Study Group on Neurotology and the Ibero-American Foundation of Neurotology. Dr. Castillo-Bustamante has received an award from the Medellin Mayor Office for her research and the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana award to Researcher Students. Her main research interests include histopathologic changes on the middle and inner ear linked to systemic diseases, conductive presbycusis, and middle disorders related to bombings.

Jeffrey Tao Cheng portraitJeffrey Tao Cheng, PhD, is an investigator at Eaton Peabody Laboratories at Mass. Eye and Ear and is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2007 with his PhD in bioengineering. His research focuses on the physiology and mechanics of the ear with more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. His group applies multiple modern laser-optical technologies, most notably laser Doppler vibrometry, digital holographic interferometry, and optical coherence tomography, to study middle-ear structure and function relationships in normal and pathological ears, and damage of the ear by high intensity sounds. Dr. Cheng is very enthusiastic about bringing basic research into clinical applications. His current work is funded by the NIH to develop and test a high-speed holography based diagnostic tool for ear disorders. He is collaborating with Dr. Aaron Remenschneider and Dr. Jennifer Lewis of the Harvard Wyss Institute on the development of 3-D printed biomimetic eardrum grafts.

Dhrumi Gandhi portraitDhrumi V. Gandhi, MS, is a biomedical engineer by profession. She obtained her Master’s degree in bioengineering from University of Texas and a bachelor’s in biomedical and instrumentation engineering from India. She has previously been involved in research focused on stem cell culturing, 3-D printing scaffolds, and implanting them in-vivo. She has previous experience in developing nanoparticles to facilitate drug delivery mechanisms and has worked on various projects over a period of two years in this area. She is currently working in the Remenschneider Lab, assisting in the development, implantation, and hearing evolvement of synthetic materials to facilitate middle ear research. Her other research pursuits include the histological study of the temporal bone and the tympanic membrane.

Iman Ghanad portraitIman Ghanad is a fourth-year medical student at Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany. He joined the Remenschneider Lab in 2016 to work on his doctoral thesis. He has spent time in the InnerEarLab of the Max Planck Institute and of University of Goettingen, looking at the role of different proteins in the synaptic active zone. Currently, he is working on clinical and experimental research. His ongoing research projects involve mechanical and histological analysis of 3-D printed and biosynthetic grafts in animal studies and using measurement data from Auditory Brainstem Response, laser Doppler vibrometry and digital opto-electronic holography. His clinical research interests include otologic outcomes and injuries of patients following Boston Marathon Bombing attacks and histopathological analysis of perforated tympanic membranes.

Marta PawluczukMarta Pawluczuk is an undergraduate at Harvard University studying biomedical engineering with a minor in global health and health policy. Originally from New York City (NYC), she graduated from Stuyvesant High School, where she took several classes on medical genetics. She was a semifinalist in the USA Biology Olympiad. She has taken several classes at Columbia University on stem cell biology and therapeutics. She has done various biology-related research. As part of the Urban Barcode Project, she conducted research on the effects of Hurricane Sandy on NYC’s biodiversity through DNA barcoding, finding some interesting results on invasive species that may have been brought to NYC by Hurricane Sandy. She also worked at NYU Langone Medical Center, shadowing a head and neck surgeon twice a week and conducting research on thyroid cancer through the analysis of data on more than 2,000 patients. She has studied perineural invasion in thyroid cancer and has worked to understand what factors have statistically significant associations with it and what causes it to worsen prognosis.

Danielle Trakimas portraitDanielle R. Trakimas, MSE, is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Prior to medical school, Danielle attended the University of Michigan, where she earned both her bachelor's and master’s degree in chemical engineering. During this time, she was involved in breast cancer research and helped develop a multi-scale mathematical model of cell chemotaxis in the tumor micro-environment. While in medical school, she was awarded the NIDDK Medical Student Fellowship, which funded a research project focused on the role of the endocannabinoid system in bariatric surgery outcomes. Currently, Danielle is building a database of pediatric and adult cochlear implant patients to determine factors affecting post-implantation outcomes. She is also applying otopathology techniques to delineate features of tympanic membranes with chronic perforations caused by various pathologies.

Stephanie Wu portraitA junior Harvard College, Stephanie Wu studies sociology and is on the pre-medical track. This summer, she is working as an intern in the Remenschneider Lab, focusing on two projects using REDCap. The first project is to build a clinical research database of patients within the UMASS system who have undergone surgery for hearing loss, focusing on patients who have severe to profound hearing loss and have implantable hearing devices. The second project is to help build a database of pediatric patients who have hearing loss to better understand why some patients thrive with hearing aids and others do not.

Jennifer Zhu portraitJennifer Zhu is a first-year undergraduate at Harvard University who is concentrating in biomedical engineering on a pre-medical track. In the past, she has assisted with research at UC San Diego consisting of literature review and database generation in the field of computational neuroscience. This summer, she will be conducting research in the Remenschneider Lab involving histological processing and immunostaining of chinchilla and human temporal membrane (TM) grafts, while creating a device to hold human TMs in a conical shape during fixation.