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]
Research: calcium, cAMP. and nitric oxide in airway cells,
epithelial fluid secretion and ion transport

[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

Derek McMahon
Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-present)
David Robert Jones Postdoctoral Fellow (2021-present)
Research: Sub-cellular localization of taste receptors and signaling to the nucleus, bitter agonist-induced apoptosis
Notable hobbies: Teaching yoga, eating cookies

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

Jennifer (Jenn) Jolivert (photo coming soon)
Penn Med Year Out Student
Research: Role of T2R receptors in head and neck cancer cell physiology 

Ryan M. Carey
Otorhinolaryngology Resident Physician (2020-present)
Research: Role of T2R genetics in head and neck cancer
Notable hobby: Swimming 
(former member of Penn Swimming & Diving Team)

Ray Ma (photo coming soon)
Summer high school student (2021-2022)
Lower Merion Harriton High School
Research: Effects of T2R agonists on bacterial growth

Lab Alumni

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

CFF postdoctoral fellow (2019-2021)
Research: Akt signaling in airway cell physiology, barrier function, and inflammation

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

Veronika Yakovishina 
University of Pennsylvania Pharmacology Graduate Group
Rotation Student, Spring-Summer 2019
Currently: Penn PGG PhD student

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)
ORCID: 000-0001-8264-8318

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 grad student

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.

Some of our friendly colleagues & collaborators:

Penn Rhinology Research Lab

Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

Monell Chemical Senses Center