Current Cohen Laboratory Members


Mariana Acuna Aravena, PhD - postdoctoral fellow

Mariana is from Chile. She studied Biochemistry and completed her PhD in Medical Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago in 2015. She has been involved in various research areas in Gastroenterology including genetic mutations that cause hereditary colorectal cancer, hepatic cholesterol metabolism, lithiasis and liver damage. She joined the Cohen lab in September of 2016 where she will be studying the role of Acot12 in hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism. 

Michele Alves Bezerra, PhD

Michele alves-bezerra, phd - postdoctoral fellow

Michele was born and raised in Brazil. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology (2009), a Masters degree in Biochemistry (2011), and PhD in Biochemistry (2015) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. During her PhD, she undertook a research scholar fellowship in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013-2014). She joined the Cohen Laboratory in 2015, studying the roles of PC-TP and Them2 in hepatic lipid metabolism. Ultimately, this research can improve the understanding of the origin and progression of fatty liver diseases, including NAFLD.


Norihiro is a Japanese hepatologist. He obtained his medical license in 2005. After residency training in internal medicine and gastroenterology, he completed his fellowship in hepatology at Toranomon Hospital in Tokyo (2012). During his PhD, he established hepatocyte-specific UBXD8 knockout mouse and received PhD in Medical Science (2016) from Nagoya University. He joined the Cohen Laboratory in January 2017. Currently, he is investigating the role of Them2 in skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle, and how it fits together with whole body and liver nutrient metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

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CJ Bare, BS- Research Technician

Prior to joining the Cohen laboratory, CJ earned a B.S. in Biomedical Physics from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. In the laboratory, CJ serves as metabolic core technician, running the laboratory's metabolic monitoring system as well as performing experiments utlizing infrared thermography, bomb calorimetry and lipid analyses.

Anal Desai, MA

Anal Desai, MA - Research Technician

Anal received his Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neurobiology from University of Connecticut in 2010 and his MA in Medical Sciences from Boston University School of Medicine in 2012. As a graduate student and a research assistant in Dr. Chinweike Ukomadu’s laboratory in Division of Gastroenterology at BWH, he studied the roles of UHRF1 and Fgl1 in liver regeneration and hepatocellular cancer. Currently he investigates the molecular mechanism of Them1 in WAT by studying conditional transgenic mice that overexpress Them1 in adipose tissue.

Corey Holman

Corey Holman, BS - Research Technician

Corey received her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a focus in Physiology and Biotechnology from Brown University in 2016. She was a summer student in the Cohen Lab in 2013, and worked with a Mammalian Two-Hybrid System to detect the protein interactions of PC-TP and Them2. At Brown, she investigated the polymer-mediated cellular delivery of molecular beacons for her Honors Thesis in the Darling Lab, as well as studied the physiological mechanisms of bat flight in the Swartz Lab. Now in the Cohen lab, Corey is a research technician, running the Promethion metabolic screening system as well as performing other experiments surrounding brown adipose tissue and energy metabolism.

Tibor Krisko, MD

Tibor Krisko, MD - Instructor in Medicine

Tibor Krisko is a native of Florida, with family roots in Hungary. He received a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Florida, and then matriculated to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. After obtaining his medical degree, he completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver, where he was also invited to serve as Chief Medical Resident. He joined the Cohen laboratory during a clinical and research fellowship in gastroenterology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has both clinical and research interests in hepatology, and in the Cohen laboratory he is investigating the role of PC-TP in liver and adipose tissue with regards to lipid and energy regulation.

Yingxia Li, MS

YingXia Li, MS - research technician

Yingxia is a graduate of the Beijing University of Technology in China. Her primary responsibility in the Cohen laboratory is maintaining all of the laboratory's extensive research mice colonies, as well as performing lipid and other bench analyses. 

Hayley Nicholls, PhD - Instructor in Medicine

Hayley completed her PhD at the BakerIDI in Melbourne, Australia, with Mark Febbraio in 2011, and undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in Jens Bruening’s Laboratory in Cologne, Germany, before her joining the Cohen Laboratory. She has a keen interest in understanding the cellular and molecular regulation of energy metabolism and particularly how these processes are perturbed in states of over-nutrition. Hayley is now enthusiastically examining the role of the gut microbiome, and how it interacts with the host, in the regulation of energy metabolism.

Michele Niepel, PhD

Michele Niepel, PhD - Laboratory Manager

Michele received her PhD in Biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2004.
She has worked with Dr. Cohen since 1996 as a research assistant (1996-1999) and graduate student (1999-2004).
Since 2004, Michele has served as the Cohen Lab Manager. Michele enjoys spending her weekends relaxing with her husband, Mario and children, Max and Emma.


Lauren wetts, BS - Laboratory Manager

Lauren obtained her Bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from the State University of New York College at Oneonta in 2003. After graduation, she began her scientific career as a Laboratory Research Technician at the Genome Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 2006, she made the move to Boston to pursue a Research Assistant II position with the Cohen Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. After her move back to NY, she joined The Rockefeller University in 2008 as the Laboratory Manager for the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism and the Laboratory Coordinator for the Fly Food Facility. She recently returned to the Cohen Laboratory, now located at Weill Cornell Medicine, as their new Laboratory Manager.