Alani Lab Members

Headshot of a smiling man with a white background

Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
459 Biotechnology Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-2703
Phone: (607) 254-4811
Fax: (607) 255-6249

Najla Al-Sweel

Email: naa44 [at]

Bui Thanh Duyen

Email: dtb54 [at]

Tim West

Email: tjw95 [at]

Cheng Chen

Graduate Student, G&D
Email: cc846 [at]

Maria Rogacheva

Email: mvr33 [at]

Nishant Thazath

Email: ktn5 [at]

Sarah Zanders

Graduate Student, G&D
Email: sen26 [at]

Aaron Plys

Graduate Student, BMCB
Email: ajp54 [at]

Megan Sonntag Brown

Graduate Student, BMCB
Email: mes329 [at]


Carolyn George

Graduate Student, BMCB
Email: cmg226 [at]


We believe in a culture of belonging, collaboration, innovation and mutual respect: a culture of excellence. The Alani lab welcomes all individuals regardless of visible and nonvisible differences, embracing diversity in race, age, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, disability status, religion, political preference, and other characteristics that make us all unique individuals with different viewpoints.

We recognize that Academia has not historically been an inclusive space and that we continue to be held back by bigotry, both institutionalized and interpersonal. Furthermore, as fallible humans, we may accidentally alienate those around us by statements which are hurtful to others. These often unconscious biases, which alienate valuable members of our community and run counter to our goal of creating a safe environment, should be respectfully pointed out and changed so as to maintain a safe, and enriching environment for all. This effort is one which each and every one of us must make; in order for us to thrive and progress as individuals, we must commit to a culture of viewpoint diversity and reciprocal understanding where we are challenged to confront our own biases in a constructive and respectful manner.

These values are manifested in our pledge to:

  • Recruit members from a variety of cultural backgrounds, especially groups that have suffered much from bigotry and discrimination.
  • Encourage members to speak up and respectfully challenge each other’s perspectives
  • Deconstruct harmful stereotypes
  • Support lab members to adopt mentoring and leadership roles
  • Promote collaboration between lab members

Each day in the lab, we will work towards achieving this goal: to learn, communicate, and work toward solutions we can all be proud of. Science is a collaborative medium, and cultivating divisions ultimately hurts us all. We believe that through these efforts, we can not only build and maintain a healthy lab environment for every member of the Alani lab, but we can also do our part to develop a healthier, more understanding society at large