Björn F.C. Kafsack, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator)

Björn joined Weill Cornell Medical College in 2015 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He received his doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan investigating how proteins secreted by the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii allow it enter and exit host cells. 
As a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, Björn explored the molecular underpinnings of how malaria parasites initiate the development of its sexual stages, a process critical for their transmission to the mosquito. He was a student in the Biology of Parasitism course in 2004.

Curriculum Vitae

Weill Cornell Microbiology & Immunology Website

Photo Credit: Howard Tu, 2015

Photo Credit: Howard Tu, 2015

Riward Campelo, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Riward hails from Caracas, Venezuela where he completed his Ph.D. at the Central University of Venezuela in 2015. His graduate research under Dr. José Luis Ramirez focussed on biochemical characterization of kinetoplasmid telomerases. Riward has been the recipient of a number of awards including selection in the Novartis Next Generation Scientist Program. When he's not in the lab, Riward is enjoys old-school video games and is a big sneakerhead.


Chantal Harris (Graduate Student)

Chantal graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science. Her undergraduate research as a McNair Scholar focused on the cross-presentation between dendritic cells and auto-reactive CD8+ T cells in the context of Type I Diabetes. She is currently a student in the IMP program at Weill Cornell. When she is not in lab, Chantal takes every opportunity she can to travel or binge watch her favorite shows.

Christopher Nötzel (Graduate Student)

Before joining Weill Cornell's BCMB program, Chrischi worked on trafficking of peroxisomal proteins for his Masters degree in Molecular Medicine at the University of Göttingen. When he's not in the lab, Chrischi plays guitar and likes to explore the world both above and below water. Chrischi was a BoP student in 2019.

Leen Vanheer, MD (Visiting Fellow)

Leen just finished her medical training at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, which included training stints in St. Lucia, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Philippines. She successfully competed for a fellowship from the Belgian-American Education Foundation to support her research on novel transmission blocking strategies.



Kit Kennedy (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Kit came to us from the malaria research hotbed of Melbourne, Australia where he first did honors research with Brian Cooke at Monash University followed by a Ph.D. with Stuart Ralph at the University of Melbourne. In his thesis research Kit elegantly elucidated the molecular and cellular defects that underlie the delayed death of malaria parasites upon loss of their apicoplast. He was also a BoP student in 2017. When he’s not in the lab kit likes to play bike polo or watch movies.

Past Members:

2019 Idri Abdullah (ACCESS Summer Student, currently college student at University of Maryland)
2018-2019 Gabriela Funez-dePagnier (Technician)
2015-2018 Xinran Tong (Technician, currently Ph.D. student at Weill Cornell Medicine)
2018 Gabrielle Paniccia (ACCESS Summer Student, currently Ph.D. student at Rockefeller University)
2017/2018 Nusrat Tabassum (Bronx High School of Science Summer student, currently in college at […])
2017 Victor Vazquez Marrero (ACCESS Summer Student, currently Ph.D. student at University of Pennsylvania)
2017 Scott Segura (ACCESS Summer Student, currently Ph.D. student at University of Texas, Medical Branch)
2016: Randy Coupet (Visiting Medical Student, currently completing residency in France)