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The Team

Innovation. Rigor. Impact.

The Martinelli Laboratory is focused on creating a diverse and inclusive environment for research. Our team includes experts and trainees who bring diverse perspectives, experiences, and skill sets to the table. We are proudly committed to equity and inclusivity in our daily lives and in our work.



Elena Martinelli

Dr. Martinelli holds a PhD in Clinical and Experimental Immunology and Vaccinology from the University of Genova and a MPH from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has studied HIV since the early 2000s working in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). After a short period in health policy including as science attaché’ at the US Embassy in Laos, her career focused primarily on the understanding of HIV and SIV infection and pathogenicity. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga Yoga and enjoys exploring the world with her children


Sr. Research Tech

Jinhee Kim

Jinhee Kim as a Senior Research Technologist, offers a blend of experience both at the wet lab bench and in bioinformatics. She earned her Master's degree in Bioinformatics from Georgia Tech in 2013. With her dedication to research, She joined the Martinelli Lab in 2022 and has since found joy in her lab work. Beyond her work, she has a passion for coffee, a love for exploring new destinations, and treasures the moments shared with her husband and two children.

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Research Tech

Jakob Harrison-Gleason

Jakob Harrison-Gleason graduated with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCSB in 2020. His previous research interests include centromere scaffolding processes and the usage of host-mimicking media to better predict antibiotic resistance in vitro. He is currently helping the Martinelli lab explore new insights into HIV and related therapeutics.


Postdoctoral Fellow

Romaila Abd-El-Raouf

Romaila is interested in unraveling the intertwined relationship between microbes and the human body. She holds a PhD in Microbiology from Cairo University, Egypt. Through her research journey, she explored the link between bacteria and cellular trans-differentiation and their impact on cancer metastasis. Recognizing the need to delve into the complexities of cell biology, she gained hands-on experience in high-throughput biological data analysis. She is eager to learn about advances in bioinformatics, immunology, and infectious diseases.


Research Assistant Professor

Lavanya Visvabharathy

Lavanya Visvabharathy, Ph.D is a Research Assistant Professor in the Martinelli lab. She has a diverse background in T cell immunology in both bacterial and viral infection models in mice and human subjects. Most recently, she has worked on unraveling autoimmune mechanisms behind long COVID and understanding how SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts T cell metabolism. In the Martinelli lab, Lavanya's focus is on identifying T cell metabolic changes after blockade of TGF-b signaling to reverse HIV latency in primary human cells. She is excited to add HIV research into her skill portfolio.

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Postdoctoral Fellow

Catarina Ananias Sáez

Catarina is a biochemist by training and has a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences awarded by the University of Chile. Her doctoral thesis was focused on studying the role of chemical modifications of RNA in the cytoplasmic fate of HIV-1 RNA and its impact on the pathogen-host interaction during infection in a human microglia model. Now, Catarina is focused on continuing studying and revealing the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the interaction of HIV-1 with different immune cells and tissues and learning new skills. In her free time, Catarina is a flamenco dancer, she enjoys art (in general) and sports.


Research Tech

Alec Ksiazek

Alec Ksiazek graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.Sc. in Human Physiology in 2020. His prior research looked at the role of ceramides in immune cells in the context of cardiometabolic disease. He also brings experience in drug discovery and pharmacokinetics from working at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston, MA. In his free time, he enjoys painting, sports, and hanging out with his twin brother. 


2022 – 2023     Muhammad Haque – Postdoc

2021 – 2022     Juan Avita – Tech 3

2018 – 2020     Mariasole Cigoli – Postdoc

2012 – 2020     Ines Frank – Sr. Research Tech

2017 – 2019     Giulia Calenda – Postdoc

2015 – 2017     Arrode-Bruses Geraldine – Postdoc

2013 – 2014     Rosaline Truong

2012 – 2015     Natalia Guerra-Perez – Postdoc

2011 – 2015     Diana Goode – Postdoc

Get in Touch with Us

If you are interested in learning more about us and our research or joining our team, click the button to get in touch!

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