Akiko Shimamura, MD, PhD Dr. Shimamura directs the Bone Marrow Failure and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Program of the Dana Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Her research focuses on translational studies spanning clinical through basic science investigations to understand the genetic and molecular basis of bone marrow failure, MDS, and leukemia predisposition with the goal of developing more effective and less toxic treatments. Dr. Shimamura had previously directed the Bone Marrow Failure Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital and then at Seattle Children’s Hospital before returning to Boston Children’s Hospital in the fall of 2015.
Dr. Shimamura has mentored numerous students and post-doctoral fellows who have moved on to careers in academics, medicine, or the biotechnology industry.
Elissa Furutani, MD Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Elissa grew up in Concord, MA before obtaining her BA in the History of Science at Princeton University. She received her MD from Dartmouth Medical School where she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Society. She worked in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Childs (NHLBI) as part of the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars program during medical school, then completed her Pediatrics residency through the Boston Combined Residency Program. She is currently a clinical fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber and Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Elissa is obtaining further training in clinical trial design with the goal of running clinical and translational trials for bone marrow failure disorders.
Melisa Ruiz-Gutierrez, MD, PhD Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Melisa received her BA degree in Biochemistry and Russian Language/Literature from Smith College. She obtained her MD and PhD degrees in the MSTP program at Mount Sinai. Following her pediatrics residency and hematology oncology fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Melisa traveled with the Shimamura Lab to its new location at Boston Children’s Hospital. In collaboration with Dr. Eirini Papapetrou (Mount Sinai) Melisa has developed iPSC models of Shwachman Diamond syndrome to study bone marrow failure and clonal evolution.
Alyssa Kennedy, MD, PhD Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Alyssa received her BS degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Haverford College. She then worked at the NHGRI in Francis Collin's lab on a project on multiple endocrine neoplasia before pursuing her MD and PhD at Drexel University College of Medicine and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Her decision to pursue pediatric oncology research was inspired by time spent in Dr. Jim Downing’s laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her pediatrics residency was in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston University and Harvard Medical School. She is currently completing a hematology/oncology fellowship the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders center.
Her interests in the Shimamura lab are to better understand the causative mutations and molecular features of Pediatric Myelodysplastic Syndrome and predisposition to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia using iPSC as a model system.
Kaitlyn (Kiki) Ballotti Research Technician
Kiki received a BS in Biology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina where she conducted research in Immunology. She subsequently pursued a research internship in the Engert Lab at Harvard University before joining the Shimamura Laboratory in December 2014. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dog and cheering on all of Boston sports teams.
Gwen Muscato Research Technician Gwen received her BS in Biology from Bates College, where she completed a senior thesis in a Molecular/Developmental lab. She joined the Shimamura Lab in June 2018, shortly after graduating. In her free time, Gwen enjoys skiing, running, traveling, and cooking.
Chad E. Harris BS, MS Lab Manager
Chad received his BS then MS in Biology/Genetics and Molecular Biology respectively from Ball State University. He then started working in the Lab of David A. Williams MD, where he continues to manage. He is currently the chair of the Laboratory Safety Group (LSG) of the hospital, and is a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee as well as the Gene and cell therapy scientific review committee. He is coming to the Shimamura lab to fill a management/technical training role.
Clinical Research Team:
Maggie Malsch Research Nurse Project Manager Maggie Malsch is currently the nurse project manager for the Bone Marrow Failure program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her initial work with Dr. Shimamura was in the lab where she worked on Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. Maggie then went back to school to get her nursing degree from Simmons College and her Masters in Clinical Trials from Drexel University. She worked as a bone marrow transplant nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital and eventually moved into the role of research nurse. When Dr. Shimamura returned to Boston Children’s, Maggie jumped at the chance to work with her again. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Cheng Clinical Research Coordinator
Leah Cheng works on several of Dr. Shimamura’s bone marrow failure studies as a clinical research coordinator. She joined the team in June 2017 after working on other clinical research projects at Boston Children’s Hospital. Leah received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and her MA from Harvard University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and playing board games.
Jacob Cotton Clinical Research Coordinator
Jacob is a clinical coordinator working on multiple studies run by Dr. Shimamura. He received his BS in Biology from University of Massachusetts Amherst. He joined Dr. Shimamura’s study team in August 2017 after working for two years in Dr. Kinney’s research lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. Having grown up in Needham, MA, he never really left Massachusetts except to teach English for two years in Spain. Nowadays, Jacob enjoys playing kickball and doing crosswords in his free time.
Jordan Larson Clinical Research Coordinator
Jordan is a clinical research assistant who works exclusively with Dr. Shimamura on her many clinical research projects. He joined the team in September 2017, shortly after graduating from Northeastern University, where he received his BS in Health Science with minors in Business and Biology. While in college, he worked with Dr. Scheer as part of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Medical Chronobiology Program. In his free time, Jordan works as an EMT and enjoys volunteering with groups like the Special Olympics. Jordan aspires to attend medical school and become a physician.
Out and about as a team:
Past Trainees and Current Position:
John Svenson, PhD Faculty Associate, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Arizona State University
Rebecca Leary, PhD Lab Head in Next Generation Diagnostics at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA
Karyn Austin, MD PhD Pediatric Resident at Boston Children’s Hospital
Karthik Ganapathi, MD PhD Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology Columbia University
Trisha Wong, MD Assistant Professor, Oregon Health Science University
Tomoka Nakamura, MSPH World Health Organization (WHO)
Michael Zhang Fellow in Radiation Oncology, UCSF
Sioban Keel, MD Assistant Professor in Hematology, University of Washington
Nicholas Burwick, MD Acting Instructor in Hematology, University of Washington
Phoenix Ho, MD Associate Medical Director, Clinical Development Seattle Genetics