Our lab is made up of a team of enthusiastic and highly skilled scientists who work collaboratively to understand the basic mechanisms of airway cell biology and gain new insights into the pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis, cystic fibrosis, other airway diseases, and now head and neck cancer.

Current Lab Members

Robert (Rob) Lee

Principle Investigator (2015-present)
Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology (primary) and Physiology (secondary)
Email: rjl [at]
[More info]

Maureen Victoria 
Lab Manager/Research Specialist (2015-present)
Research: Taste receptor expression in airway cells, development of novel tools for studying signaling of taste receptors and other airway GPCRs
Critical Role: Keeping the lab from descending into chaos
Notable hobby: Beekeeping

Zoey Miller 
Penn Pharmacology Graduate Student (2020-present)
Social Events Coordinator (2021-present)
Research: Role of T2R receptors in head and neck cancer cell physiology
Notable hobby: Running

Inès Kouakou
Postdoctoral Fellow (2022-present)

Joel Thompson
Research Specialist (2023-present)

Arielle Mueller 
Penn undergraduate researcher (2022-present) 

April Park
Penn undergraduate researcher (2023-present)

Robert D Wardlow, II
Penn ENT resident researcher (2022-present), research rotation starting in 2023

Kimberly Wei
Penn Med Summer Student (Summer 2023)
mentored with Ryan Carey

Jordan Williams
Penn PGG PhD student (Summer 2023-present)

Alex Simon
Postdoctoral Fellow (Summer 2023-present)

Lab Alumni

Aria Garrett
Penn PGG rotation student (summer 2023)
Currently: Penn PGG student with Vera Moiseenkova-Bell

Derek McMahon
Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2022)
Research: Sub-cellular localization of taste receptors and signaling to the nucleus, bitter agonist-induced apoptosis 
Notable hobbies: Teaching yoga, eating cookies

Jennifer (Jenn) Jolivert 
Penn Med Year Out Student (2021-2022)
NIDCD Diversity Fellow
Research: Role of T2R receptors in head and neck cancer cell physiology 
Notable hobby: Community health outreach
Currently: Incoming Birmingham and Women's Psych Residency Intern 2023 

Sahil Muthuswami
Brandeis undergraduate researcher 
Penn IEAL Research Summer Undergraduate Internship Program
Research: Effects of GLUT1 inhibition on HNSCC cells
Currently: Brandeis undergraduate

Ray Ma
Summer high school student (2021-2022)
Lower Merion Harriton High School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Research: Effects of T2R agonists on bacterial growth
Currently: Penn Freshman (matriculated Fall 2023)

Ryan M. Carey
Otorhinolaryngology Resident Researcher (2020-2023)
Research: Role of T2R genetics in head and neck cancer
Notable hobby: Swimming (former member of Penn Swimming & Diving Team)
Currently: Head and Neck Cancer Fellow at University of Miami -> Started as Penn faculty Aug 2023

Indiwari (Indi) Gopallawa
Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-2021)

Research: Akt signaling in airway cell physiology, barrier function, and inflammation
Currently: Senior Scientist, AstraZeneca

Li Eon Kuek 
Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-2021)
Research: Chemosensory functions of airway cilia, GPCRs and signaling in cilia
Currently: Director of Scientific and Medical Development, Citrin Foundation, Singapore

Rachel Horn
Summer Undergraduate Student from Drexel University (2019) 
Currently: Widener University School of Nursing -> Trauma/Neuro/ENT nurse at Jefferson

Veronika Yakovishina 
University of Pennsylvania Pharmacology Graduate Group
Rotation Student, Spring-Summer 2019
Currently: Research Specialist, Wistar

Jenna Freund
Research Specialist (Oct. 2016-June 2018)
Research topics: Activation of taste receptors by quorum-sensing molecules, GPCRs in airway cells
Notable quote: "Pennies aren't Mentos."
Notable hobby: Making furniture out of mannequins
Currently: PhD student in neuroscience at Einstein (Tishman Scholarship Recipient)

Benjamin (Ben) Hariri
Year-out post bac student (2015-2016)
Research: Effects of natural products on airway pathogens, antibacterial effects of flavonoids, awesomeness of wogonin
Notable quote: "Well, they do say that wheat is the devil's food."

Notable hobby: Eating multiple lunches.
Currently: ENT resident at NYU

Andrew Hart
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Immunology Graduate Group Rotation Student (Spring 2017)
Research: Regulation of T2Rs and TLRs in Airway Cells

Notable extracurricular activity: Kung Fu
Currently: Penn IGG student with Terry Laufer (graduating Dec 2023)

Maddie Johnson
Part-time undergraduate Student (Summer 2016)
Currently: Associate Clinical Specialist at Medtronic
Research: Airway cell cancer proliferation and metabolism
Notable extracurricular activity: Pitt Women's Lacrosse

Supriya Saxena
Part-time lab member (independent study project 2017)
University of Pennsylvania Biotechnology Masters Student
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Research: Tagging T2R constructs for visualization

Currently: Data Analyst at IQVIA

Paige Johnson
Part-time lab member (Summer 2017)
Research: Immunoprecipitation of T2R receptors
Notable extracurricular activity: Notre Dame Women's Lacrosse
Currently: Physical therapy (DPT) school -> physical therapist