Nina Beri

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Nina received a BS Biological Sciences and a BA in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Maryland. She then moved to the Midwest to pursue a PhD in  Molecular Genetics and Genomics at Washington University in St. Louis.  Her doctoral studies with Jacqueline Payton and Daisy Leung used ChIP-seq, biochemical and informatic approaches to characterize human respiratory syncytial virus non-structural protein NS1 nuclear roles in modulation of gene transcription.

        Gewurz lab

            Brenda Piedras Iturbide

            Technical Research Associate

            Brenda joined the Gewurz lab in 2021 after recently graduating from Trinity College with a double major in Biology and Public Policy & Law. Brenda pursued her undergraduate research in the Toscano lab at Trinity, where she focused on invertabrate ecology.

                Michael Lutchnekov

                Technical Research Associate

                Michael joined the Gewurz lab in 2021. Michael graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and Technology, concentrating in Ecosystem Health. During his undergraduate, Michael joined the Wang group in the Department of Biochemistry at University of Maryland, where he synthesized oligosaccharides for antibody-directed drug delivery. After the COVID pandemic began, he then joined a team that worked to expand the screening capabilities of a COVID-19 incidence monitoring study.

                    Yin Wang

                    Post-doctoral Fellow

                    Yin did her doctoral studies at Kansas State in Pathobiology with Dr. Jianfa Bai. Yin’s studies focused on developing novel assays for detection of emerging viruses, including African swine fever virus, Seneca valley virus 1 and foot-and-mouth disease virus. She characterized genetic diversity of emergine porcine circoviruses.  She also characterized genome diversity and field detection of the nidovirus porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Yin’s work lead to the development of novel diagnostic tests currently in use.

                        Laura Murray-Nerger

                        Post-doctoral Fellow

                        Laura joins us following her PhD studies at Princeton, where she studied human cytomegalovirus in the lab of Ileana Cristea. Laura used whole cell proteomic profiling to characterize roles of protein acetylation in host defense and HCMV replication and characterized roles of lamin B1 acetylation.  She also studied the temporal dynamics of complex formation during HCMV infection.

                            Yifei Liao

                            Post-doctoral Fellow

                            Yifei joins us after completing PhD studies with Sanjay Reddy and Blanca Lupiani at Texas A&M.  Yifei’s doctoral studies focused on the alpha-herpesvirus Marek’s Disease Virus, an important avian tumor virus.  Yifei studied roles of the US3 kinase, the MEQ oncoprotein and miRNAs.

                                Eshaani Mitra

                                Postdoctoral Fellow

                                Eshaani did her doctoral studies in virology with Dr. Haitao Guo at University of Indiana and subsequently at University of Pittsburgh studying Hepatitis B virus (HBV) host/pathogen interactions.  Eshaani found that HBV precore protein p22 inhibits alpha interferon signaling by blocking stat nuclear translocation.

                                    Stephanie Yiu

                                    Third Year HMS Virology Graduate Student (G3)

                                    Prior to matriculating in the Harvard Graduate Program in Virology, Stephanie did research in Alan Chiang’s laboratory on EBV lytic reactivation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Stephanie is pursuing proteomic analyses of EBV host-pathogen interactions and studying a novel innate immune pathway subverted by EBV in newly infected B-cells and cells undergoing lytic replication.

                                        Yuchen Zhang

                                        Graduate Student

                                        Yuchen is purusing her graduate studies, with a focus on how host histone chaperones regulate EBV latency in EBV-transformed B-cells. Check out her preprint on BioRxiv!

                                            Jin Hua Liang

                                            Graduate Student

                                            Jin Hua is pursuing graduate research in the Gewurz lab. Jin Hua’s research focuses on the regulation of nucleotide metabolism and NF-kB in EBV-transformed B-cells.

                                                Merrin Leong, PhD

                                                Post-doctoral Fellow

                                                Merrin Leong did his doctoral research at Hong Kong University in the laboratory of Maria Lung, where he studied Epstein-Barr virus infection roles in regulation of host histone modifications.  Merring identified that EBV infections induces histone bivalent switches in squameous epithelial cells, and found roles for these epigenetic modifiations in suppression of DNA damage repair genes in a methylation-independent manner.

                                                    Eric Burton, PhD

                                                    Post-doctoral Fellow

                                                    Eric Burton received his PhD from Stonybrook University.  Eric’s doctoral research with Sumita Bhaduri-McIntosh focused on host pathogen interactions that regulate the EBV lytic cycle.  Eric identified that EBV exploits several inflammasome sensors to activate the lytic cycle, in particular the NLRP3 inflammasome. He also identified host repressors important for the maintenance of EBV latency.

                                                        Rui Guo, PhD

                                                        Post-doctoral Fellow

                                                        Rui Guo received his PhD from Kansas State, where his thesis research with Ying Fan focused on procine reproductive and respiratory virus syndrome host/pathogen interactions. He discovered that PRSSV uses nanotubes for intracellular spread, that nanotubes also transfer mitochondria between nearby and infected cells, and that PRSSV RNA persists in germinal centers during persistent infection.

                                                          Benjamin Gewurz, MD, PhD

                                                          Principal Investigator

                                                          Email:, Twitter: @BenGewurz.  Associate Professor of Medicine.

                                                          Ben graduated from Stanford University with as B.S. in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, he used bacterial genetic screens and the first whole genome sequence of a living organism to study bacterial pathogenesis of Haemophilus influenzae with Drs. Stanley Falkow and Richard Moxon. He received a Stanford Firestone Medal for his thesis research.

                                                          Ben then received MD-PhD training at Harvard Medical School and MIT. His thesis studies with Hidde Ploegh and Don Wiley focused on human cytomegalovirus evasion of the MHC class I antigen presentation pathway. He solved the crystal structure of the US2/HLA-A2/Tax peptide complex at 2.2A resolution in collaboration with Rachelle Gaudet, the first atomic structure of a virus-encoded immune-evasin together with its host cell target. His thesis research was recognized by the Harvard Modell prize.

                                                          Ben trained in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and in infectious diseases at the Brigham & Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, Harvard Medical School. His post-doctoral studies with Elliott Kieff focused on Epstein-Barr virus oncoprotein LMP1-mediated canonical NF-kB pathway activation. He performed the first siRNA screen of the canonical LMP1/NF-kB pathway and identified LMP1 genome-wide canonical NF-kB targets.


                                                          Ben began his independent laboratory at the Brigham & Women’s in 2012. His research has been supported by the the NIH, a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in Medical Sciences, an American Cancer Society Research Scholarship, the Starr Cancer foundation, the Grunebaum Foundation, and the Harvard Catalyst.  He has been awarded the Jeffrey Modell Prize for Harvard Graduate Program in Immunology best thesis, the Thaler Award for Research in Immunocompromised Patients, the Finland Award for Excellence in Research, the Kass Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine, the International Herpesvirus Workshop Priscilla Schaffer Memorial Award and a Chair’s Research Award. He was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2020. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2021.

                                                          Ben enjoys teaching, and received a Derek Bok teaching award for undergraduate education in immunology. He is the Associate Chair of the Harvard Virology graduate program (, and teaches in several virology program courses. He is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a member of the Dana-Farber/ Harvard Cancer Center, and is on the advisory boards for the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD and Health Sciences and Technology programs. He is also a member of the Virology Editorial board. He is a Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He attends on the Brigham & Women’s and Dana Farber Immunocompromised Host infectious disease inpatient consult service.

                                                          Harvard Virology Program Group Photo

                                                          Gewurz and Zhao Lab 2020 Group photo — Virology goes on during the pandemic!