Principal Investigator


Allison Lopatkin

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Biology, Barnard College
Data Science Institute, Columbia University
E3B, Columbia University

I am formally trained in Applied Mathematics from University of Rochester. I then went on to get a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, and completed my postdoctoral training at MIT/Broad Institute in the lab of Jim Collins. You can find my full CV here. When I'm not in the lab you can find me hiking anywhere outdoors, or playing with my dog Tiki (who refuses to hike).

Lab Members


Jackie Balestrieri

Research assistant

I am a first year student from Long Island planning to major in Biology. I am passionate about research and excited to further my interests in genetics with the Lopatkin Lab. My past research has involved plant stress response analysis and gene characterization, in situ sequencing, and investigation of tardigrade genomes. Additionally I enjoy spending time in rehearsal with Barnard's premier a cappella group Bacchantae, baking bread, and paddle boarding when the sun is shining!


Shahd ElNaggar

Research assistant

I am a student in the class of 2024 planning on majoring in Cellular & Molecular Biology. I am particularly interested in molecular genetics and mathematics and am looking forward to exploring computational biology in the lab. Outside of the lab, I am very passionate about music and love spending time by the sea scuba diving and kitesurfing!


Deniz Ertem

Research assistant

Deniz is a sophomore working at the Lopatkin lab. Her research interests include genetics and evolution; she is hoping to get a better understanding of specific topics she is interested in through working in the lab. Outside of lab she enjoys singing with the Barnard-Columbia choir and doing creative writing.


Maya Fabozzi

Research assistant

I am part of the Barnard class of 2024 and plan to major in Biology. I am very interested in how technology and modeling can help us predict biological outcomes, and I am excited to explore this more in the lab. Outside of the lab, I love idling in mountains and making music.


Danya Gewurz

Research assistant

I am a first year student on the premed track at Barnard College. I am from Boston, Massachusetts. I am extremely interested in medicine and specifically the human body and how each biological process works. I am eager to be a part of this lab and help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. In my free time, I enjoy playing classical music on a piano, hiking and baking bread.


Emily Lo

Research assistant

I am a first-year student from Massachusetts planning to major in computer science. My interests lie at the intersection of technology and medicine. I am excited to apply computing to better understand and analyze vast biological data. Outside the lab, you can find me crocheting or planning events with Columbia's Chinese Students Club.


Alana Palomino

Research assistant

I am a rising junior majoring in Cellular & Molecular Biology. In addition to being a member of the Lopatkin Lab, I am an executive board member of the Columbia Science Review and I play for the Columbia Field Hockey team. In the lab, I’m interested in working towards preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance as it becomes an ever-growing threat to global health, first by understanding what influences HGT.


Hannah Prensky

Research assistant

Hannah is a rising junior at Barnard majoring in Cell & Molecular Biology and Economics. She is passionate about biological research and has a particular interest in genomics, nucleic acid nanotechnology, and gene editing for therapeutic purposes. In addition to her love of lab research, Hannah enjoys engaging with the scientific community through her positions as a journalist with the Columbia Science Review and as a developmental editor with the Columbia Undergraduate Research Journal. When she’s not in the lab, you can find her in the mountains skiing with the Columbia Ski Team.


Jana Casals Puy

Research assistant

I am a second-year student at Barnard majoring in Computer Science with a Biology minor. I've always been interested in genetics and I can't wait to gain the computational and research experience necessary to learn more about how genes affect the world around us. I am excited to learn more about antibiotic resistance and how we can utilize computational programs to best study it and combat it.


Karolina Szenkiel

Research assistant

I'm a senior from New Jersey majoring in computational biology. I consider the evolution of antibiotic resistance to be one of the most prominent issues facing medicine, so I'm very eager to investigate this phenomenon in the lab. I'm also interested in the symbiosis between humans and microbes. In my free time, I enjoy baking, philosophy, and hiking with Barnard Outdoor Adventure Team.


Jessica Wang

Research assistant

I am a third-year at Barnard majoring in Physiological & Organismal Biology and Ancient Studies. I am interested in the phylogenetic relationships underlying bacterial evolution and I am really excited to combine this passion with my computational work in the lab. When I am not in the lab, you can find me on campus acting out silly sketches with Columbia University Sketch Show and playing for Columbia Women's Rugby Team.

Lab Alumni


Claire Johnson


Jenifer Moralez


Ujana Zajmi