Our Team

Principal Investigator

Abdel-Rahim A. Hamad, M.V.Sc., Ph.D.

Dr. Abdel R Hamad, B.V.Sc, M.V.Sc, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Medicine. Dr. Hamad earned his B.V.Sc and M.V.Sc in veterinary medicine from the University of Khartoum and his Ph.D in immunology from the University of Colorado Health Science Center. He completed his postdoctoral training here at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and joined the Faculty in 2002.

Dr. Hamad’s research is focused on understanding pathophysiological roles of non-conventional immune lymphocytes in the regulation of autoimmunity, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1D), obesity and type 2 diabetes. He is also actively studying the role of non-conventional T cells in the regulation of immune responses to ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI).

Research Fellows

Rizwan Ahmed, Ph.D.

e-mail: rahmed14@jhu.edu

Dr. Rizwan Ahmed, Ph.D. earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biosciences from Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University in Kanpur, India and Master’s degree  in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Tezpur Central University in Assam, India. He earned his Ph.D. degree studying the identification of virulence and diagnostic markers using immuno-secretome approach and developing monoclonal antibodies as a diagnostic and/or therapeutic tool against pulmonary aspergillosis at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India. In Dr. Hamad’s lab, he is working on a project that has uncovered a previously unknown lymphocyte that combines key lineage features of B and T cells that is referred to as dual expressers (DE) or X cell. Currently, he is investigating the nature of this novel immune cell to understand their origin, developmental relationship to conventional lymphocytes, and their role in theimmune response in general and in autoimmunity, particularly Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).


Adebola Giwa, M.D.

e-mail: agiwa1@jhmi.edu

Dr. Adebola Giwa, M.D. is a Pediatric Endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He earned his Bachelor of Science with a Supplementary Major in Spanish at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He later completed his Pediatric Residency at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital before beginning work at Johns Hopkins as a Pediatric Endocrinologist.

Dr. Giwa’s is involved in both clinical and bench research. His bench research is focused on identifying unconventional lymphocytes and studying their role in the pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes to possibly target them for future immunotherapies. His clinical research involves multi-center clinical trials utilizing islet cell transplants to reestablished insulin production and other beta cell function in people with established Type 1 Diabetes.

Zahra Omidian, Ph.D.

e-mail: zomidia@jhu.edu

Zahra Omidian, D.V.M., Ph.D. earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine performing research in human and animal diseases at Chamran University in Khuzestan, Iran. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Tehran Department of Parasitology and Molecular Biology in Tehran, Iran in 2008. During this time, she developed an extensive skillset, focusing mostly on the development and usage of various methods for making vaccines and immunotherapies. In 2016, Dr. Omidian obtained a visiting scholar position at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Department of International Health, working with Professor Gilman on Chagas disease in American and Latin American populations. She joined Dr. Hamad’s lab as a basic immunologist as a postdoc fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Pathology in 2017, working on autoimmune diseases, especially Type 1 Diabetes.

Currently, she is focused on novel lymphocytes that co-express B and T cell antigen receptors and selectively expand in T1D subjects. Her long-time research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of the biology and mechanism of initiation, growth and therapeutic interventions of autoimmune disease particularly T1D and the identification of the novel players in the process.

Balamurugan Ramatchandirin, Ph.D.

e-mail: bramatc1@jhmi.edu

Balamurugan Ramatchandirin, Ph.D. obtained his B. Sc. in Biotechnology at Pondicherry University, and Sc in Medical Biochemistry from Madras University. He earned his Ph. D. degree at Bharathidasan University, India. During his Ph. D. thesis, he worked Sirtuin 4 and its role in Leydig cell dysfunction. Afterwards, he moved to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, USA as a postdoc and expended his research to study the Helicobacter pylori pathogen regulates gastric cancer cell function. Balamurugan joined as a Postdoc in Dr. Hamad’s lab and he is studying novel hybrid lymphocyte and its importance in autoimmune disease.

Mohanraj Sadasivam, Ph.D.

e-mail: smohanr1@jhu.edu

Dr. Mohanraj Sadasivam, Ph.D. is currently a post-doctoral research fellow with the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli, India where he studied cytokine-mediated Histone H3 modification in Leydig cells and its implication in the regulation of testicular steroidogenesis. His current research focuses on a neglected T cell subset (Double negative T cells) and its role in kidney injury. His studies include trying to understand their origin and physiological functions in the kidney, which thus far suggest a critical role in protecting the kidneys from Ischemia Reperfusion Injury (IRI).

Postgraduate Student

Kusuma Ananth

e-mail: kananth3@jhmi.edu

Kusuma Ananth is a PhD student in the Graduate Program of Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with a double major in Cellular Biology & Neuroscience and Spanish. In Dr. Nicholas Bello’s behavioral neuroscience research lab, she investigated the role of orexin on binge eating behavior. She was awarded the Honors College with Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Life Sciences-Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2018 and the Aresty Research Center: Honors College Research Fellowship Award in 2019. After completion of her honors thesis, she was honored as a Paul Robeson Scholar and was awarded the Henry Rutgers Research Scholarship. She is currently interested in researching autoimmunity, specifically how it develops, why it progresses, and potential treatments. In Dr. Hamad’s lab, Kusuma will continue her research training by investigating the role of X cells in autoimmunity.

Undergraduate Students

Neha Majety

Neha Majety is an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Computer Science. Her research is focused on understanding the role of potential biomarkers of Type 1 Diabetes.

Angela Yang

e-mail: ayang37@jhu.edu

Angela Yang is an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Public Health. She joined Dr. Hamad’s lab in 2019, and since then, she has been focused on studying the mechanisms of anti-islet antibodies and x-monoclonal antibodies, called x-mAb, which predominate in patients with Type 1 Diabetes. As a Type 1 diabetic herself, she is an avid supporter of Type 1 Diabetes communities and organizations, such as JDRF, and uses her musical background as a classical violinist to promote educational and general awareness. She strives to apply her accumulating research and personal experience to educate, treat, and encourage the best possible health to patients with autoimmune diseases as a future medical doctor.

Recent Alumni

  • Kagan Ege Karakus – Medical Student, 2019
  • Sarah Omer – Medical Student, 2019
  • Anil Jaiswal – Postdoc, 2017
  • Yang Shen – Postdoc, 2016
  • Lourdes Ramirez- Medical Student, Summer 2015
  • Alejandra Garcia – Summer student, 2015
  • Chelsee Sauni – Summer student, 2015