Our Team

Principal Investigator


Jonathan Schneck, M.D. Ph.D.

Jonathan Schneck (Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Oncology) received his M.D. Ph.D. in Immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After completing his degree, Dr. Schneck trained in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington DC. From there he went to the National Institute of Allergy and Immunology at the NIH in Bethesda and did his postdoctoral training at the Laboratory of Immunology. He joined the faculty at JHMI in 1990 as a junior faculty and is currently a Professor in Pathology, Medicine and Oncology. His lab is focused on T cell immunology in the Department of Pathology. When not in lab, Dr. Schneck is a family man with 5 children. Dr. Schneck enjoys skiing and photography.

Research Associates


Joan Glick Bieler, Ph.D.

Joanie received her Ph.D. in hematology from the City University of NY. Next, she did a post-doc in viral oncology investigating early onco-genes at Memorial Sloan Kettering. After a career detour which included teaching, child rearing and baking, Joanie joined the Schneck lab where she concentrated on mechanisms of TCR/MHC/peptide interaction and the dynamics of the immune response and helped develop the protocols used in enrichment and expansion by aAPC. After a short hiatus, Joanie has returned to apply some of the lab’s methodologies to clinical problems of transplant rejection and infection following immune-suppression. Joanie spends most of her time outside of lab either with family or baking. Sometimes the lab benefits from her baked goods production.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Bracha Erlanger Avigdor, Ph.D.

Bracha is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Schneck lab. She received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She grew up in Israel where she studies computer science and worked as an IT software developer. Later she moved to London where she acquired a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics at Birbeck, University of London. She came to Baltimore in 2010 where she first worked as a Bioinformatics analyst at the Wheelan Lab at Johns Hopkins for a couple of years before joining the Human Genetics doctoral program. Her research focuses on improving efficacy and reducing toxicity of the immunoswich nanoparticle platform and further elucidating its mechanisms.  When not in the Lab she enjoys amateur photography and spending time with her husband Shlomo and son Yosef Akiva and Stepdaughter Emma.

Graduate Students


Ami Bessell

Ami Bessell is a 6th year Immunology Ph.D. student. She received her B.S. in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics from University of Maryland, College Park (Go Terps!).  Along with working in lab, Ami likes to bake, is an avid yogi, and spends time with her husband Eduard and daughter Elizabeth.

John Hickey

John Hickey is a 5th year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins University, he graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in chemical engineering. His research focuses on engineering biomaterial properties for particles and hydrogels to control T cell activation. When not tinkering in lab, John loves to spend time and create adventures with his wife Jenna and his son James is excited about the arrival of their second son.

Ariel Isser

Ariel Isser is a second year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student. He has a B.S. in bioengineering from University of Maryland College Park. He is interested in developing new biomaterial and computational platforms for advancing cancer immunotherapy. Outside of lab, he enjoys coding, studying cantorial music with his dad, spending time with his fiancee and all his nephews, and making cringeworthy puns.

Research Coordinators


Amritanshu (Ashu) Joshi, M.P.H

Ashu Joshi is a clinical research coordinator with the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.  He received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Miami in 2014, and subsequently worked as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the Food and Drug Administration.  Following his fellowship, he received his MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus in Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Science and Policy, and graduated with Delta Omega Honors in 2017.  Studies that he currently manages focus on defining the risk factors and biological processes that contribute to chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD), as well as analyzing CMV-specific immunity in lung transplant recipients following post-transplant immunosuppression.  Outside of work, Ashu loves to play sports, share his passion for EDM music through DJing, and is an avid gamer.

Joby Matthew, DPT

With an ardent desire in clinical research, Joby Mathew proactively manages and directs various prospective and retrospective Lung & Heart transplant  & Cystic Fibrosis projects. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University, Joby worked for a pharmaceutical company in Delaware. Joby graduated from Towson University with a Master of Gerontology and a Doctor of  Physical Therapy. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, travelling and reading.

Undergraduate Students


Jae Wook Chung

Jae Wook Chung is an undergraduate research assistant majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He works with his mentor John Hickey to develop a T cell stimulating environment using hydrogels. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and playing squash.

Sebastian Salasthe

Sebastian Salathe is an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University double majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology and the History of Medicine, Science and Technology. In addition to conducting research, he is a member of the Johns Hopkins Men’s Varsity Soccer Team and enjoys tutoring at Digital Harbor High School and volunteering at the Maryland SPCA.

Kayla Gee

Kayla Gee is an undergraduate research assistant majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She works with her mentor John Hickey in T cell activation using hydrogels and particles. Outside of her studies and lab, she enjoys spending time in Hopkins Christian Fellowship, organizing Hoptoberfest, mentoring in Biomedical Engineering Society, and supporting a high school student through Thread.

Lab Alumni


Past Graduate Students

Yen-Ling Chiu, M.D. Ph.D. – Far Eastern Memorial Hospital

Tarek Fahmy, Ph.D. – Yale University

Alyssa Kosmides, Ph.D. – FDA

Jessica Lee, Ph.D. – Syneos Health Consulting

Yu “Matt” Li, Ph.D. – Beckman Coulter

Karlo Perica, M.D. Ph.D. – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Bo-Yi Sung, M.D. Ph.D. – National Defense University (Taiwan)

Tonya Webb, Ph.D. – University of Maryland School of Medicine

Past Post-Doctoral Students

Malarvizhi Durai, Ph.D. – Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Christian Shuetz, Ph.D. – Paul-Ehrlich-Institut 

Past Fellows

Joseph Sabatino Jr, M.D. Ph.D. – University of California, San Francisco

Juan Varela, M.D. Ph.D. – NexImmune

Past Research Associates

Kristy Chu – Miltenyi Biotec

Carl Haupt – The University of Queensland-Ochsner School of Medicine

Aaron Selya – Philadelphia Distillers

Past Assistant Professors

Mathias Oelke, Ph.D. – NexImmune

Past Undergraduate Students

Kevin Necochea – Johns Hopkins University

Leah Sibener – 3T Biosciences

Andy Tu – MIT

Fernando Vicente – Johns Hopkins University