The Brito Lab is committed to the pursuit of 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 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

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. 

Lab Manager and Research Support Specialist

Qiaojuan Shi

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.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Sandra Liliana Arias

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.

Jeffrey Cornuault

Jeffrey Cornuault

Postdoctoral Associate

PhD, Microbiology, Universite Paris-Saclay
MS, Microbiology, University Paris-Saclay
BS, Biology, University Paris-Saclay

Jeffrey is interested in the discovery of bacterial proteins involved in host-gut microbiota interactions. He aims to determine how these proteins act in host cells and how they participate in the onset of human disease. Outside the lab, he loves eating cheese, reading, playing video games and relaxing in the sun.

Doris Vandeputte

Doris Vandeputte

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven
MSc, Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
BSc, Bioengineerign Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Doris moved from Belgium to the states to join the lab. She is interested in the rates of horizontal gene transfer within the gut microbiome under various levels of positive selection. She wants to determine the relative importance of transfer type, selective pressure and host health. As a true Belgian, she loves dark chocolate in all forms as well as dining with family and friends. She loves to travel, experience different cultures and the immense beauty of nature.

Graduate Students

Diana Balint

Diana Balint

PhD student in Microbiology

BA, Microbiology, Cornell University

Diana's work revolves around studying the mobility of antibiotic resistance genes in the human microbiome. After working in the Brito Lab, she plans to continue her research on the microbiome through a PhD program. Outside of classes and research, she enjoys figure skating, reading, and playing with her cat.

Peter Diebold

Peter Diebold

PhD student in Microbiology

BA, University of Illinois

Peter is interested in developing new experimental tools to examine the mobile gene pool in complex microbial communities. He is also wants to develop tools for engineering the microbiome. In his free time, Peter likes to play guitar, hike extremely long distances and play with his cat.

Hector Loyola Irizarry

Hector Loyola Irizarry

PhD student in Microbiology & Immunology

BS, Industrial Microbiology, University of Puerto Rico

Hector is interested in understanding the gut host-microbe interactions that underlie disease and engineering the gut microbiome to improve host health. In his free time, Hector will usually be playing video games, watching movies, and exploring new places. He also enjoys cooking and playing soccer.

Josh Jones

Josh Jones

PhD student in Microbiology & Immunology

BS, Cellular and Molecular Biology, San Francisco State

Josh is interested in uncovering how commensal microbes affect cancer progression and the efficacy of cancer-fighting immunotherapeutics. In his free time, he enjoys riding bicycles and hiking through the hills of Ithaca and playing video games. Josh is also a recipient of a Sloan Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and is a 2021 CVG Scholar.

Felicia New

Felicia New

PhD student in Genetics, Genomics and Development

BS, Biology, University of Florida
MS, Medical Sciences, University of Florida

Felicia's focus is on the evolution of the gut microbiome using using large, one-of-a-kind metagenomic datasets to tease apart associations between functions and variation of the microbiome with host genetics, phylogeny, diet, and other factors. Outside of the command line, she likes spending time with her dog, baking, or being outside.

Sarah Post

Sarah Post

PhD student in Microbiology & Immunology

BS, Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh

Sarah works to identify proteins in the gut microbiota that interact with the host to shape host health. Outside of the lab, she's an avid swimmer/runner/biker, a general outdoor enthusiast, and loves budget-traveling to new cities. Sarah received the 2019 T32 Immunoengineering Training Fellowship!

Adarsh Singh

Adarsh Singh

PhD. Student in Biomedical Engineering

BTech + MTech dual degree, Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, India

Adarsh is trying to leverage innovations in synthetic biology and genetic engineering to better understand host-microbe relationships. In his free time, he enjoys working out, watching documentaries on international politics, listening to semi-classical Indian music, and cuddling with his cat. Also, he aims to visit a list of cities on his bucket list before he turns 30.

James Stangeland

James Stangeland

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering

B.S. Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University

James is interested in the protein-protein interactions between host and microbiome. He is also curious about the affects the microbiome has upon neurological health and development. Outside of the lab, he enjoys brewing interesting beers and sweet meads. He can also be found reading, painting and hiking.

Albert Vill

Albert Vill

PhD student in Genetics, Genomics and Development

BS, Gettysburg College

Albert's research involves developing methods to capture and track mobile genetic elements, specifically those associated with the human gut microbiome. He has a background in the genetics and ecology of bacteriophage, and he is particularly interested in how lysogenic phage may harbor and transfer antibiotic resistance genes and bacterial virulence factors. Outside of lab, Albert enjoys hiking, soccer, and mushroom foraging. Albert received the 2020 Distinguished Genomics Scholar Award!

Xieyue (Sharon) Xiao

Xieyue (Sharon) Xiao

PhD student in Biomedical Engineering

BS, Biotechnology, Shandong University, China
MEng, Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University

Sharon is investigating outer membrane vesicles within the microbiome. She just received her Masters of Engineering in biomedical engineering from Cornell! She loves reading, classical music and chilling out and is trying to push herself to love working out.

Hao Zhou

Hao Zhou

PhD student in Microbiology

BEng, Environmental Engineering, Nankai University (China)

Hao is interested in the relationship between trait evolution and horizontal gene transfer. His work combines engineering and a love of mathematics and microbiology. He is excited about biological mysteries behind big data and wishes to develop computational tools to better understand the microbiome. In his free time, he loves playing ping-pong, traveling, going to the movies, and running.

Undergraduate Students

Rahul Nath

Rahul Nath

Undergraduate Researcher

Rahul is planning on majoring in biomedical engineering and would like to pursue graduate studies in the future. He is currently working with Josh on understanding how bacteria in the microbiome affect host gene expression during colorectal cancer using imaging and computational techniques. In his free time, Rahul enjoys performing music, exploring walking trails, and reading.

Adi Prasad

Adi Prasad

Undergraduate Researcher

Adi is a freshman in Cornell's College of Engineering, planning to major in Biomedical Engineering and pursue a graduate degree in the future. He is currently working with Sarah to identify proteins in the gut microbiome that are implicated in human health. In his free time, Adi swims for Cornell's Club Swimming Team, and enjoys listening to music and being outdoors.

Matthew Rhee

Matthew Rhee

Undergraduate Researcher

Matt is majoring in Biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and would like to go medical school. He is currently working with Peter on tracking the sources of mobile genes in microbiomes and exploring different selection methods for commensal microbes. In his free time, Matt likes to watch movies, play frisbee, and play tennis.

Lab Alumni

(in reverse order of their departure)

Chengqi Xu, MEng
Chengqi Xu, MEng

Chengqi received her MEng and worked as a technician with us! She's now pursuing her PhD in BME!

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Nandika Nair
Nandika Nair

Nandika worked in the lab as a BME undergrad trying to understand the gut mucosa.

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Ana Maria Porras, PhD
Ana Maria Porras, PhD

Ana was a Cornell Presidential Fellow and now is starting her lab in the BME department at the University of Florida!

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Gabe Welsh
Gabe Welsh

Gabe is out studying for his MCAT. Good luck!

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Ketaki Londhe
Ketaki Londhe

Ketaki will be graduating from Cornell's BME program and then onto graduate school!

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Juan Beltran, PhD
Juan Beltran, PhD

Juan, my first PhD graduate, and a former postdoc, is now working for Quantum-Si, a protein tech start-up!

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Taylor Walker, MEng
Taylor Walker, MEng

Taylor was a BME MEng student in the lab focused on host-microbiome interactions.

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Abi Anima
Abi Anima

Abi was an undergrad in the lab who traveled to Guatemala to study the effect of iron on the microbiome!

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Alison Greenberg
Alison Greenberg

Alison was a student intern in the lab and is finishing up her degree in Statistics.

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Alyssa Kent, PhD
Alyssa Kent, PhD

Our former postdoc, Alyssa, is moving to Atlanta to work with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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Jeffrey Page
Jeffrey Page

Jeff was our summer intern. He's off to finish his final year at Ithaca College.

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Elias West
Elias West

Our REU student from Loyola Marymount University. He's finishing up his BA and applying to PhD programs.

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Rowan Callahan
Rowan Callahan

Our former lab tech, Rowan got his BA in BE and wants to work in data science. But first to China, to learn Chinese.

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Jinghan Zhang
Jinghan Zhang

Jinghan earned her BS in BME and is headed to Columbia Mailman School of Public Health for an MPH in Epidemiology.

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Cara Pardon, MS
Cara Pardon, MS

Cara got her MS in GGD, and is now working at the National institutes for Health as a staff scientist.

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Nausheen Fatima, MS
Nausheen Fatima, MS

She volunteered in the lab and is now getting her PhD at Binghamton University.

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Rachel Murphy
Rachel Murphy

Rachel, our former technician, left to get her DVM from Cornell.

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