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Ryoko Kadowaki-Saga Headshot

Principal Investigator

Dr. Gopal is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Scientist at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Gopal is also a Faculty Member of the Cancer Immunology Program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and HMS Initiative for RNA Medicine.

Dr. Gopal received his PhD in 2007 in the field of cancer immunology from the National Center for Cell Science at Pune University, India, followed by his postdoctoral training in autoimmunity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gopal joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 2015.

Dr. Gopal’s research investigates immune mechanisms underlying chronic inflammatory disorders and cancer, with a strong focus on RNA medicine. Dr. Gopal has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and book chapters in journals including The journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Immunology, Cell, Cell Reports, Nature Communications, Nature Neuroscience, and PNAS. Dr. Gopal is a recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a Junior Faculty Award from the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis (Race to Erase MS), and a Careers in Immunology Fellowship Award from the American Association of Immunologists (AAI).

Mai Fujiwara Headshot

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Mai received her PhD in 2017 in Biomedical Science with a concentration in Immunology from the University of Connecticut Health in Farmington, CT. Her research areas include immune regulation in central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity and cancer. For her doctoral dissertation, Mai worked on two major projects: 1) investigating the role of Cbl-b E3 ubiquitin ligase in T cell responses during CNS autoimmunity and cancer; and 2) elucidating the clinical relevance of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) tolerance in multiple sclerosis (MS). Driven by her fascination with microRNAs in immune regulation and their potential as new therapeutic targets for autoimmune diseases and cancer, Mai joined the Gopal Lab in 2017. Since then, Mai has been primarily studying the role of a clinically relevant microRNA, miR-92a, in modulating the balance between regulatory T cell (Treg) and pathogenic Th17 cell responses in MS and its mouse model, EAE. Given the increased susceptibility of women to MS, she is also investigating how microRNAs are involved in gender differences in MS. In 2019, Mai and Dr. Gopal jointly received a Careers in Immunology Fellowship Award from the American Association of Immunologists (AAI). Most recently, Mai received a poster presentation award from the 2019 annual Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine retreat. Mai was born and raised in Kumamoto, Japan. She is fluent in Japanese. Her favorite hobbies include reading, hiking, and cooking.

Lucien Garo Headshot

Senior Research Assistant/Lab Manager

Lucien received his Bachelor’s Degree in neuroscience from Vassar College, NY and joined the Gopal Lab to study the role of inflammation in the brain. Since joining our Center, he has worked on a wide range of diseases including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer, leveraging mouse models, patient samples, and cell culture systems. Most recently, he published a research article on the role of Smad7, a negative regulator of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), in PD-1 signaling and T regulatory cells during intestinal inflammation. His current work involves identifying microRNA mechanisms in tumor-promoting inflammation in colorectal cancer.


Research Trainee

Ryoko received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology from Tokai University, Japan, and her MS from Tohoku University, Japan, where she studied the role of unsaturated fatty acid in neurogenesis. Thereafter, she worked in the National Center of Neurology and Neuroscience (Tokyo), where she participated in multiple projects ranging from gut environment-induced T cells in multiple sclerosis to the development of in vitro culture systems to induce microglia-like cells from haematopoietic cells. Ryoko is interested in studying the role of miRNAs in autoimmune diseases and joined Dr. Gopal’s Lab at the end of 2019. She is currently learning experimental techniques involving miRNAs in mouse and human immunological assays, and working to expand her knowledge of immunology. Ryoko was born and raised Tokyo, Japan. She has loved exploring Boston and enjoys playing tennis.

Laboratory Alumni and Former Mentees

Radhika Raheja, Ph.D. Dr. Raheja was a postdoctoral fellow in the Gopal Lab from 2015 to 2018 where she studied microRNAs in multiple sclerosis and its animal models. She is currently a Scientist at bluebird bio.

Felipe von Glehn, M.D. Dr. von Glehn was a postdoctoral fellow co-mentored by Dr. Gopal from 2014 to 2017, with whom he worked on the role of dendritic cells in multiple sclerosis. He is currently Chair of the Neuroimmunology Section of the Brazilian Academy of Neurology, Adjunct Professor of Neurology in the  Dept of Internal Medicine at the University of Brasilica, and an Assistant Neurologist at Hospital Sirio Libanes, Brazil.

Vanessa Beynon, M.D. Dr. Beynon was a clinical fellow co-mentored by Dr. Gopal from 2015 to 2017, with whom she worked on T helper cells in autoimmunity. She currently works at Biogen as a Medical Director.

Amanda Lanser, Ph.D. Amanda was a graduate student co-mentored by Dr. Gopal from 2014 to 2016. She currently works at Oncology Resource Group as a Disease Area Manager.

Sowmya Kumaradevan, M.Tech. Sowmya was a former research trainee in the Gopal lab from 2014 to 2015. She currently works at Boston University Medical Center as a Research Assistant.

Supriya Sadhukan, M.Sc. Supriya was a former research trainee in the Gopal Lab from 2015 to 2016.  She currently works at Boston Children’s Hospital as a Research Assistant.

Reshma Abraham. Reshma was a former summer research trainee in the Gopal Lab in 2018. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Boston College.

Jessy Jindal. Jessy was a former summer research trainee in the Gopal Lab in 2019. She is currently pursuing her MD at Oxford University, UK.

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