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Yohannes Tesfaigzi, PhD

Dr. Tesfaigzi is a member of the faculty in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Tesfaigzi graduated in Molecular Biology from the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, in Germany and completed his fellowship in cell and molecular biology at University of California, Davis.  Over the past two decades, the Tesfaigzi laboratory has contributed to the identification of genes and biochemical interactions of proteins that are responsible for maintaining a constant number of cells in airway epithelia.  Based on mechanistic studies, peptides and small molecules have been discovered that are highly effective in reducing mucus-producing cells in animal models of chronic bronchitis and asthmatic bronchitis.  Current efforts are to test these drugs in patients with these debilitating diseases.  Dr. Tesfaigzi is author of over 140 original research publications; has served on grant review panels for more than 10 different organizations, including several branches of the NIH.

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Director of Cigarette Smoke Exposure Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Airway Epithelia in COPD and Asthma

Effects of cigarettes smoke, wood smoke, viral and bacterial Infections, ozone on lung epithelia

MS, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany

PhD, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany

Postdoc, Department of Biochemistry, University of California Davis

National Institutes of Health

Pharmaceutical Companies

Yohannes Tesfaigzi, PhD
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine,
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

15 Francis Street
Boston, MA  02115
Phone: (617) 525 3480
E-Mail: ytesfaigzi@bwh.harvard.edu

Lab Members

Yohannes is from Ethiopia, completed the DVM degree from the University of Debre Zeit, MSc and PhD from the University of Berlin.

What drew you to this field?

My mother’s daily life has long been constrained by chronic asthma with frequent attacks and visit to the emergency room.  My curiosity to learn more about asthma and eventual passion to contribute to the field of pulmonary medicine drew me to this field.

What do you do outside of the lab?

Spend time with family and friends; enjoy running outside and exercising in the gym; reading memoire and fiction.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words:

Focused, driven, collaborative, and detail oriented

Joselyn is from Venezuela, completed MD degree in and specialized in Immunometabolism (Masters in Human Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Immunology)

What drew you to this field?

Lung diseases are a complex field, where immunology and physiology meet, in a field where molecular biology flourish. Describing the key mechanisms of disease for COPD is fundamental to shaping drug discovery enterprises.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

Avid Marvel Fan, avid reader (currently have 10 books pending to read), avid music and theater lover.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words

One blot at a time’

Dereje received his DVM degree from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Addis Ababa University in 2003. and completed his MSc and PhD from Kyungpook National University in Korea.

What drew you to this field?

Interest in the role of TP53 variants in modifying risk for COPD and disease exacerbations in response to air pollution in particular wood smoke.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

Reading, watching movies

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words:

Working diligently

Zerihun is from Ethiopia, received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; MSc in Immunology from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia and DVM from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

What drew you to this field?

Conducting research towards understanding the mechanisms of airway inflammation and mucus overproduction and discover new therapies for devastating diseases like lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is what drew me to this field.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

I spend my leisure time primarily with my family and occasionally in socializing activities with my friends.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in 5 words:

Very focused, fun, cooperative and demanding

Sam grew up in Woburn, Massachusetts, completed Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass Lowell) and Master of Science (MS) degree in Pharmacology and Drug Development from Tufts University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

What drew you to this field?

The medical and scientific-rich community in Boston and biomedical research to better understand COPD and other diseases of the lungs.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

Exercise, play video games, read, take walks around Boston and my neighborhood in Woburn, and, on occasion, cook.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words:

Professional, knowledgeable, hardworking, caring

I am from the Boston North Shore and I have completed my B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry from Salem State University in 2019. I have special interests in oceanology and completed a marine biology course abroad in Roatan, Honduras in 2017 where I did research on corallivores. In 2018, I also conducted Coral Reef conservation work in Eilat, Israel.

What drew you to this field?

I wanted to work in a field where I felt I was actively making a difference and helping others. I am excited and honored to work on the research in understanding COPD, with hopes that our findings will benefit the community.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

I am a huge animal lover so I really enjoy spending time with my dog, Honey, and teaching her new tricks. I also have my PADI license so I like to SCUBA dive whenever I can.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in 5 words

Teamwork, Meticulous, Discovery, Enthusiastic, Welcoming

Yichao is from China and completed his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and his first master’s degree in Fermentation Engineering from the Tianjin University of Science and Technology. Then he completed his second master’s degree in Cell and Tissue Engineering from Northeastern University (Boston).

What draw you to this field?

The creative ideas and the advanced research technologies applied in the COPD studies, and the opportunity to learn from the best scientists make me passionate about this field.

What do you do outside the lab activities?

Relax myself through meditation and reading. Also enjoy watching movies and playing badminton with my friends.

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words.

Great teamwork and awesome team members.

Alumni

Xiaoyun received her PhD degree in the area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Chinese Academic of Science.

What drew you to this field? 

Interest and Hobby

What do you do outside of lab activities? 

Read books and enjoy food

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words:

Epithelial cells, COPD

Saugata is from Bangladesh. I did my BPharm (Hons.) from University of Science & Technology Chittagong (Bangladesh). I did an MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Greenwich (United Kingdom). Then I did an MA in Biotechnology from West Virginia State University.

What drew you to this field?: 

I have always wanted to contribute to research efforts that can improve the health. I believe, this field will offer me such an opportunity.

What do you do outside of lab activities?

Surfing the internet, enjoying homemade food, etc.

Describe Tesfaigzi Lab in less than 5 words:

A truly intriguing place.

Quynh-Anh is from Vietnam, studied biology at University of Massachusetts, Boston

What drew you to this field?

Interested in biological processes, experiments with mice and lung diseases, micro-surgery on mice,

What do you do outside of lab activities?

everything else

Describe the Tesfaigzi lab in less than 5 words:

Productive, team work

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