Lab Culture

We aim to foster an environment of intellectual rigour, curiosity, collegiality, collaboration, mentoring, and good humor. We value all types of diversity including of thought, of background, and of experience.

We define the success of our lab not only by the science we do but also how we choose to do it. We value a spirit of intellectual rigourcollegialitycollaborationmentoring, and good humor. We celebrate each others victories (no matter how small).

We support the free and timely distribution of knowledge and data and will deposit all our work as a preprint in bioRxiv. We also support the dissemination of preprints through our RNApreprints website.

We provide free access to all our work by uploading our manuscripts to bioRxiv and by depositing our datasets and reagents in appropriate databases.

Lab members

Joana Vidigal – Stadtman tenure-track Investigator

I did my doctoral work at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin where I gained extensive expertise in mammalian development and mouse genetics. Later on, as a postdoctoral researcher in the Ventura lab at MSKCC, I became well versed in cancer biology and the use of mouse models of human cancer to understand tumor initiation and progression. During this time I leveraged my knowledge of mammalian biology and my expertise in mouse genetics to stringently define the physiological roles of noncoding RNAs in animal development, homeostasis and disease. With the goal of accelerating the functional dissection of genes in mammals I also developed a number of tools to perform large-scale loss-of-function genetic screens. My ultimate goal is to build upon this work to understand how deregulation of RNA pathways affects mammal physiology and impacts human disease in order to have actionable knowledge that can be used to design better strategies for screening, prevention, and treatment of human diseases. Check my Google Scholar.

Mahendra Prajapat – Postdoctoral researcher

I am a computational biologist and my research ideas are primarily motivated by the ability of living cells to “tune in” with the environment maximizing benefits and survival chances. Since the dynamics and performance of cellular processes are mainly dictated by the information processing at gene regulatory networks, I believe in the potential to manipulate and design similar synthetic networks offering a wide range of solution to technical challenges in pharmaceutical, energy production, and chemical industries. My doctoral studies at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India were mainly focused on understanding how genetic circuits differ in structure, because of semi-independent evolutionary processes that have optimized their ability to perform specific, complex tasks. Using a multidisciplinary approach that uses theoretical and empirical methods, I modeled and engineered synthetic circuits, with the aim of enhancing their functionalities. Later, as a postdoctoral researcher at the Indian Institute of Science, I used models of T-cell signaling pathways and—in a close collaboration with experimental co-workers—worked towards not only understanding the reasons of treatment failures, but also towards devising improvements to the current treatment. Finally, at Tampere University of Technology, Finland, I focused on the modeling of live single-cell gene expression dynamics from single-RNA time-lapse data. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Vidigal lab I will  apply my extensive expertise in network modeling to understand the role of miRNAs in gene regulation and how their disruption impacts tissue homeostasis and contributes to disease. Check my Google Scholar. Contact me at mahendra.prajapat[at]

Laura Sala – Postdoctoral researcher

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2012 from the University of Barcelona. I did my PhD in Biomedicine at the IMIM in Barcelona where I studied the molecular mechanisms that regulate the formation of a pro-metastatic tumor stroma in breast tumors. During my graduate studies I gained extensive expertise in cancer cell biology and in cancer mouse models. As a postdoc in the Vidigal lab my goal is to apply this knowledge to the field of noncoding RNAs to understand how they affect gene expression in vivo and ultimately impact human health. Check my Google Scholar. Contact me at laura.sala[at]

Alexendar Reinaldo Pérez – Postdoctoral researcher

I am a physician-scientist in the field of Anesthesiology. I did my undergraduate studies in Computational Biology, and my Ph.D in Bioinformatics with Drs. Andrea Ventura and Christina Leslie at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. My B.A., Ph.D, and M.D. are all from Cornell University. I am passionate about the intersection of software engineering and medicine and firmly believe non-coding RNAs are the dark matter of medicine. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Vidigal lab I will use my computational skills to develop tools for high-throughput functional CRISPR screens to the coding and non-coding genome, with the ultimate goal of one day being able to target the whole genome for clinical and therapeutic purposes. Check my Google Scholar. Contact me at Alexendar.Perez[at]

Srividya Chandrasekhar – Postbac researcher

I graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In pursuit of this degree, I gained significant knowledge of molecular and cell biology through rigorous coursework, complemented by independent research experiences at Gilead Sciences and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. My cumulative academic and research experiences have led me to develop an interest in the intersection between oncology and immunology. My goal is to pursue a PhD and ultimately a research career in either academia or industry focused on the development of therapeutic treatments for disease. I am excited to conduct biomedical research at the NIH and gain a solid research foundation in an environment where I can collaborate with both faculty and trainees and contribute to advancing the scientific community’s understanding of human health. Contact me at srividya.chandrasekhar[at]

Michael Chang – Postbac researcher

Michael_changI graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology in May 2019. As an undergrad, I did research on Parkinson’s disease and ALS through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and T.C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics. Through this research and my undergraduate coursework, I have developed a strong interest in exploring the molecular basis of human disease. I am incredibly enthusiastic for my coming year with the Vidigal and Batista labs, where I look forward to working alongside some of the leading minds in the field of RNA biology to tackle important questions for human health. Ultimately, I intend to pursue a medical degree, after which I plan to continue performing basic science research together with direct patient care. Contact me at michael.chang3[at]



Stephen Moore – Postbac researcher 2018

Now graduate student at University at Buffalo, PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS)