Megan Cooper, MD, PhD

Megan grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and completed her MD, PhD training at The Ohio State University. She is a Pediatric Rheumatologist and Immunologist and is the Director of the Clinical Immunology program and The Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic and Research Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Outside the lab she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and traveling to beach destinations (or at least dreaming about doing so!).

Erica Schmitt, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatric Rheumatology

Erica grew up in Wisconsin where she obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then completed her MD, PhD training at the Medical College of Wisconsin. During her graduate studies at MCW she studied the role of induced regulatory T cells in mucosal tolerance. She then entered the Physician Scientist Training Program at Washington University where she completed her pediatric residency training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and then entered the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program. Erica is interested in studying immune deficiency and immune dysregulation. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and outdoor activities.

Subrat Thanapati, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Subrat received his undergraduate degree from School of Life Sciences, Sambalpur University, Odisha, India. Then, he moved to Pune to pursue his PhD training in National Institute of Virology-University of Pune, India. During his graduate study, he investigated the phenotypes and functions of NK cell in the chikungunya patients with different clinical presentations. Also, studied the involvement of cytokine signaling inhibitors in chikungunya virus infection. Currently, he is interested in studying the impact of intrinsic cellular metabolism on NK cell antiviral function in vivo. In his free time, he enjoys playing outdoor games, sightseeing, and listens music.

Jahnavi Aluri, Ph.D.

Visiting Researcher

Jahnavi is a Post-Doctoral fellow. She did her PhD in Pediatric Immunology from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)- National Institute of ImmunoHaematology (NIIH), Mumbai. Her work involved clinical, immunological and molecular characterization of Severe combined immunodeficiency patients in India. As a part of her study, she also studied the T cell receptor excision circle copy numbers in SCID and other combined immunodeficiencies. Currently, she is interested in studying patients with Primary immunodeficiency disorders. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, watching movies and spending time with family.

Molly P. Keppel, M.S.

Research Technician

After receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, Molly spent time in California and England before returning to St.Louis in 2008. She resides in South City with her husband and two children. In their spare time, they are rehabbing their old house.

Nermina Saucier, M.S.

Research Technician

Nermina joined the Cooper lab in the summer of 2010 as a research technician. She received her B.A. and M.S. in Biology from Saint Louis University. Outside of lab, she enjoys rock climbing, camping, hiking and spending time with her husband Jon and daughter Lydia.

Kelsey Toth

PhD Student, Immunology Program

Kelsey is a PhD student. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University and worked as a research assistant for several years before entering the Immunology program. Her current focus in the lab is the role of STAT3 mutations in autoimmunity and inflammatory bowel disease. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, camping, and pointing out cute dogs while walking in Tower Grove Park.

Maria Cimpean

PhD Student, Immunology Program

Maria is a PhD student in the Immunology program. A Romanian native, she graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in NH and spent several years working as a research assistant in Boston. In the lab, she studies NK cell metabolism, while outside of it, she enjoys learning and improving her command of various foreign languages and hosting dinners/brunches for her classmates and friends.

Annelise Mah-Som, B.S.

MD, PhD Student

Annelise is an MD/PhD student in the Immunology program. She was born and bred in California and graduated from Stanford University. In the lab, she studies the metabolic pathways that fuel NK cell activation and memory. Her extracurriculars include the medtech student-run incubator Sling Health and the Med School Musical.

Michelle Ritter, RN, BSN

Research Nurse Coordinator

Michelle has been a pediatric nurse for over 25 years and has experience in general medicine, hematology/oncology and emergency room nursing. Michelle is a research nurse coordinator working on projects in the Cooper Lab focused on investigation of genetic defects in primary immunodeficiencies. She obtained her Bachelors in Nursing from Webster University.

Tiandao Li, PhD


Tiandao received his PhD at University of Southern Mississippi. Currently his research involves in data analysis and interpretation of large-scale high-throughput data to transform experimental data and provide insight into genetic defeats in primary immunodeficiencies. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and walking.

M. Tyler Harmon

Undergraduate assistant

Tyler is an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. He is majoring in biology and anthropology with a pre-medical focus. In his free time, he enjoys training for triathlons and volunteering at Barnes Jewish Hospital.

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