The Brito Lab is committed to pursuing scientific goals that expand our understanding of the natural world and to improve human health. Ilana and the lab are here to provide support to carry out and publish high-quality research and to pursue and meet individuals' career goals. In doing so, we value open communication based on mutual respect, scientific integrity, and good mentorship. We celebrate diversity and strive to promote inclusion within the lab and our scientific communities.

Principal Investigator

Prof. Ilana Brito

Mong Family Sesquicentenial Faculty Scholar and Asst. Prof in BME

BA, Biology and Government (dual degree), Harvard University

PhD, Biology, MIT

Ilana started at Cornell in 2016. She specializes both in the experimental and computational sides of microbiome research. She has a long-standing interest in infectious disease and global health which percolate throughout her research. She was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, Pew Biomedical Scholar and a NIH New Innovator Award. She also loves trail running and running after her chickens. 

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Lab Manager and Research Support Specialist

Qiaojuan Shi

Research Support Specialist and Lab Manager

BS, Microbiology, Northwest University, China

PhD, Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, China


Qiaojuan did her post-doctoral research at UCDavis before coming to Cornell. Prior to the Brito lab, she worked on transposition and DNA replication and on the human microbiome. Here in the Brito Lab, Qiaojuan manages all aspects of the lab to ensure the lab runs smoothly, in addition to managing large-scale research projects. Outside the lab, Qiaojuan enjoys spending time with her family, playing badminton and volunteering at her kids' schools.

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Sandra Liliana Arias

Postdoctoral Associate

PhD, Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MS, Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sandra’s research focuses on understanding how the physicochemical properties of biological and abiotic interfaces regulate host-pathogen interactions. Her scientific goal is to contribute to a better understanding of how the features of the microenvironment impact microbial life and mark the onset of some disease states. Outside the lab, she enjoys hanging out with friends, cooking, and working out.

Juan Felipe Beltrán

Postdoctoral Associate

BS, Computer Science, New York University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

PhD, Computational Biology, Cornell University

Juan Felipe's focus is understanding host-microbe interactions at a molecular-level. He is using a suite of computational tools and developing algorithms that allow him to generate testable hypotheses. In his free time, he cooks savory dishes, designs interactive media projects, and hosts visiting friends from all over the world.

Ana Maria Porras

Cornell University Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow

BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

MS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

PhD. Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ana is interested in the differences between the microbiomes of populations in developed and developing nations, and understanding their effects on human health. When she's not doing that, she likes to dance, play volleyball, bake, crochet, and travel (especially to Colombia, where she's from). 

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Graduate Students