The Lab

Dr. Tomoko Kaneko-Tarui

Dr. Tomoko Kaneko-Tarui is a gynecologist from Japan and a Laboratory Director of the Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI), Tufts Medical Center.

After Tomoko earned her MD and PhD degrees in Yamagata University School of Medicine, Yamagata, Japan, she worked as a physician scientist specialized in infertility. She moved to the US in 2002 to pursue her research. She started her postdoctoral research at the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. At MGH, as a postdoctoral fellow then as an Instructor, Tomoko’s research has contributed to the discovery of  rare female germline or oogonial stem cells  in adult mouse ovaries, generation of transgenic mouse models to study leiomyoma and gynecological cancers, and technology development to isolate human/mouse myometrial stem cells from uterine muscle tissue.

Tomoko joined the MIRI in 2017, and she is completely dedicated to support all aspects of research in MIRI including technical consultation and development using molecular biology, cell culture, histology, genomics both in animal studies and human clinical studies.

In her leisure time, Tomoko loves cooking, swimming, walking with her dog Coco, and growing veggies in her own garden.

Taysir Mahmoud

Taysir Mahmoud is a clinical research coordinator at the Mother Infant Research Institute, and she is lead coordinator for the MAMMA study. Her background includes a degree in psychology and biology from Wellesley College. Before coming to Tufts she worked on rheumatoid arthritis research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for 7 years. When away from Tufts, she travels nationally and internationally for her work as a U.S. fencing referee.

In her spare time, she enjoys watching LOTS of TV and even more traveling in her never ending quest to see new places, eat delicious foods, and collect frequent flier miles.

Dr. Deepak Venkataraman

Deepak Venkataraman is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. He received his Master’s in biotechnology and PhD in cancer biology at Kalasalingam University, India. For his PhD, Deepak worked on determining the effect of bioactive compounds from probiotic bacteria and on the expression of angiogenic markers in colon cancer cell lines. He developed an interest in the placenta during his doctoral studies, when he worked as a visiting scholar at the Trophoblast Research Centre, Nottingham Trent University, UK. In his first Postdoc at Emory University in Atlanta, Deepak studied the mechanism of expression of sFLT1, an anti-angiogenic molecule upregulated during preeclampsia in primary stromal cells and villous explants. In the O’Tierney-Ginn lab at MIRI, Deepak will be researching the effect of placental miRNA on maternal insulin sensitivity.

A calm but sociable person, Deepak has several hobbies, including travelling, impromptu road trips, listening to music and reading (fiction and history).

Francesca Carasi-Schwartz

Francesca Carasi-Schwartz is a Research Assistant in the MIRI and assists in the O’Tierney-Ginn lab. She grew up in Montclair, NJ and attended the University of Vermont, receiving her masters in biology and bachelors with concentrations in Biology and Chinese. She speaks Italian fluently and Chinese conversationally, and has studied abroad in both countries. She loves all animals, but pandas are her favorite. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, reading, kayaking, skiing, and hiking.

Lema Abuoqab

Lema Abuoqab is entering her fourth year at Tufts University, where she will be completing her double major in Biology and Biotechnology and minor in Medical Anthropology on the premedical track. Working with Dr. Perrie O’Tierney-Ginn, Lema has been investigating variations in lipid profiles across gestation. She previously completed an independent research project on lipid profiles in first trimester placentas, and is currently working to expand this study in term placentas with RNA sequencing for her Senior Honors Thesis, “Mechanisms underlying changes in placental lipid profiles across gestation”.

Emma Noyes

Emma Noyes just finished her third year clinical rotations at Tufts Medical School, and is taking a research year before completing her fourth year and applying to residency in OBGYN. She will work on Dr. O’Tierney-Ginn’s Produce Prescription project, and is also a student at the CTSI completing a certificate program in translational research. Emma is very excited to combine her interests of maternal health and nutrition this year, and has aspirations to ultimately work in both clinical medicine and health policy research.