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.


Dr. Fernanda Alvarado-Flores

Dr. Fernanda Alvarado is an Obstetrician from Guatemala and a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Fernanda is our “R” guru, and is studying how placental microRNAs affect maternal metabolic adaptations to pregnancy. She likes to paint and bike in her free time. She enjoys reading history, fantasy and mythology books. Her favourite movies are based on fantasy books or science fiction, or are independent foreign films, such as The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or the Europe Report.





Dr. Aisha Rasool

Dr. Aisha Rasool completed her PhD at the University of Southampton (UK) in the Institute of Developmental Sciences in 2019. Her love of placental research brought her to the MIRI where she is now a postdoctoral fellow studying placental lipid metabolism. Aisha is a huge science fiction fan whose favourite TV shows/movies include Buffy, Star Trek, X files, Gattaca and 12 Monkeys. Her favourite hobbies are travelling (she has visited 22 countries so far) and seeing animals in the wild, including accidentally swimming with sharks!

Follow her on Instagram @TheFabulousScientist




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.



Will Beyer

Will Beyer hails from Fort Wayne Indiana.  He got his Bachelor’s degree in 2014 from Purdue University.  He is a research assistant in the lab and has joined the placental microRNAs in maternal metabolic adaptations to pregnancy study.  Outside of work, he enjoys board games, Dungeons & Dragons, drag, gaming, and hiking.



Kurt Calibara

Kurt Calibara is a research assistant at the Mother Infant Research Institute and assists the O’ Tierney-Ginn lab. He is a recent Boston transplant from Miami, Florida, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Florida International University in 2017. He likes long walks on the beach at sunset, laughing, dogs and babies. When he’s not busy being a dating site cliché, Kurt loves to play Badminton, practice his calligraphy, and dabble in weight-training.



Jackie Katz

Jacqueline Katz is an undergraduate student at Tufts University, pursuing Community Health and English while also fulfilling pre-medical requirements. It is Jacqueline’s intense passion for and educational focus on maternal/fetal health that drew her to the MIRI. Jacqueline’s work broadly concerns the role of placental microRNAs on fetal adiposity. In her leisure time, Jacqueline loves hiking, skiing, playing the violin, and writing prose. She is also a huge Game of Thrones nerd and a sucker for sappy rom-coms!


Yash Aryaputra

Yash Aryaputra is an undergraduate pre-medical student attending The University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is majoring in biology, with a minor is psychology. In his free time, Yash likes to play basketball and soccer. He is a huge Celtics fan, and has been patiently waiting for their 18th title for over a decade now. When he’s not taking ankles on the basketball court, you can find him watching Brooklyn 99 or Stranger Things.


Anastasia Savelyeva




Anastasia Savelyeva is a masters candidate at Boston University School of Medicine, previously having completed her B.S. in Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Despite her deep love for her native Midwest and enthusiasm for all things cows, Anastasia is excited to be working at MIRI to expand on her growing passion for maternal health and exploring Boston. Her work will be looking at ethnic variations of placental microRNA expression on fetal adiposity. In her free time, Anastasia loves to craft, attend trivia, quote rom-coms and guess music scores.