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Saeb-Parsy Lab

Department of Surgery

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The Saeb-Parsy Group are:

  • Kourosh Saeb-Parsy - Group Leader
  • Krishnaa Mahbubani - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Sandra Petrus-Reurer - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Gustavo Alviter Raymundo - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Maggie Huang - PhD Student
  • Winnie Lei - PhD Student
  • Isaac Toleman- PhD Student
  • Zeeshan Afzal- PhD Student
  • Greta Baltusyte- PhD Student
  • Cristina Piñel-Neparidze- PhD Student
  • Xiaonan Xiang- Visiting PhD Student
  • Daniel Trajkovski- Research Facillity Coordinator
  • Alex Fulton - Clinical Research Associate
  • Thomas Tan- Research Assistant


  • Mazin Hamed - PhD Student
  • Jack Martin - PhD Student
  • Tim Beach - PhD Student
  • Nikola Dolezalova - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Alba Matas Céspedes - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Michelle Curran - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • Olivia Tysoe - PhD Student
  • Nikitas Georgakopoulos - Research Assistant; PhD Student
  • Abbie Curd - Research Assistant & MPhil Student
  • Natasha Ivory - Research Assistant & MPhil Student
  • Evans Asowata - Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • John Gamble - Research Assistant
  • Anja Gruszczyk - PhD Student
  • Bethany Bareham - Research Assistant; PhD Student
  • Masha Ivleva- Study Coordinator
  • Rawan Aldubaian - MPhill Student


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Kourosh Saeb-Parsy

Kourosh was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to the UK with his family in 1989. He matriculated at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge to study medicine in 1993 and graduated from the MB PhD programme 2001. He undertook his surgical training in Cambridge, eventually joining the University of Cambridge Department of Surgery in 2007 as a Clinical Lecturer. He was appointed as University Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Transplant Surgeon in 2012. He was appointed as Reader in Transplantation in 2018. He has been a Fellow and Director of Studies in Clinical Medicine at Fitzwilliam College since 2003. He lives in Cambridge with his wife Kathryn and his daughters Nadia and Kiana aged 7 and 6. He enjoys collecting and restoring antiquarian books, cars, playing the guitar, running, cycling and swimming. 








Krishnaa Mahbubani

Krishnaa was born and brought up in Hong Kong before moving to Sheffield, where she gained a Masters in Chemical Engineering and spent some time in industry. She completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge University, and after a period there as a Post Doctoral scientist, moved to the Department of Surgery as a research associate with the Cambridge Biorespository for Translational Medicine. She is currently the Senior Study Manager for the Biorepository. She is also applying her engineering expertise to develop methods to extract tissue resident lymphocytes and to understand cryopreservation, with a focus on understanding the effects of nucleation on cell viability. Outside of the lab, Krishnaa can either be found in the gym picking things up and putting them down again, giving in to the demands of her elderly cat or at an airport waiting for the next plane somewhere.








Sandra Petrus-Reurer

Sandra is originally from Menorca, Spain. She initially moved to Barcelona where she carried out her undergraduate studies in Biotechnology and then to Utrecht University in the Netherlands where she obtained her Master’s degree in Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology. With main interest in stem cell-based therapies for regenerative medicine, she carried out her doctoral studies at Karolinska Institute in Sweden focused on the use of human embryonic stem cells for retinal repair in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Sandra is a postdoctoral researcher at the Saeb-Parsy group where she studies immunogenicity of stem-cell derived cells in humanized mice models aiming to both understand the nature of rejection and learn how to best modulate function, engraftment, tissue repair and long-term survival of these cellular transplants. Outside of the lab, she enjoys meeting people and exploring new cultures, and also practice any sports that come with a racket - especially tennis, as well as playing the guitar, the ukulele or singing in pop choirs.







Maggie Huang 

Maggie was born in Cardiff and grew up in Hong Kong, returning to the UK to read medicine at the University of Cambridge in 2008. She started her cardiothoracic surgical training at Royal Papworth Hospital in 2016 and was awarded an Academic Clinical Fellowship two years later. She is now a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellow in the Department of Surgery, jointly supervised by Professor Mike Murphy and Mr Stephen Large, focusing on ischaemia reperfusion injury in heart transplantation. Outside of the lab, she is working on visiting every UNESCO World Heritage Site, obsessing over maintaining her streak in Duolingo, and will eventually crack a cryptic crossword.















Winnie Lei

Winnie was born in Macau and grew up in Suffolk before moving to London for her bachelor's at UCL and master's at Imperial College London. She is now studying a PhD in Computational Biology at the Department of Surgery, jointly supervised by Dr. Namshik Han from the Milner Therapeutic Institute. She is developing a platform for multi-omics data analysis in understanding the different pathophysiological conditions and diseases, including ischaemia reperfusion injury. Outside of work, Winnie enjoys drawing, assembling puzzles, choral singing, Ballet, and watching videos of Shiba Inus.





Isaac Toleman

Isaac is a second year PhD student, joint-supervised by Kourosh Saeb-Parsy, Sarah Welsh and Grant Stewart and funded by Cancer Research UK. He was born in Bristol but grew up on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. He is a T cell fanatic, having studied Biochemistry in the University of Bristol to prime an industrial internship with Immunocore, where he worked to develop soluble T cell receptor immunotherapies. His PhD is focused on developing autologous immunotherapeutic models for kidney cancer. This malignancy has promising responses to immunotherapy, but therapy development is hampered by it’s unique metabolism and insufficient culture methods to support preclinical work. Outside of the PhD he can be found running, gyming, swimming or, ideally, skiing down a mountainside.



Xiaonan Xiang

Xiaonan is a visiting PhD student from Prof. Xiao Xu’s group in Zhejiang University, joinlty supervised by Prof. Kourosh Saeb-Parsy. He was born and grew up in Hangzhou before moving to Shanghai, where he gained a medicine bachelor’s degree in 2019. He spent his next 3 years as a medical PhD student in Zhejiang University and started his visiting in Cambridge since December 2022. His interest is the mechanism how myeloid cells assist tumor immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance. Recently, he focuses on the use of patient-derived organoids and humanized mouse models in tumor immunology research. During his spare time, Xiaonan loves travelling, cooking and visiting his friends and family.


Thomas Tan

Thomas is a Research Assistant for the Collaborative Biorepository for Translational Medicine. He also provides support for various ongoing research projects within the group. He joined the Department of Surgery in late 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis. Holder of a BSc in Human Physiology (Leeds, UK), he got to expand on that interest by furthering his MSc at Linköping University (Sweden) where he specialised in cardiovascular disease research. Before joining the group, Thomas worked in different settings, from sales-oriented services, to working as a medical information specialist. Currently, he is personally aiming at setting up a viable population of prostate organoids for future research projects aimed at studying prostate cancer. Outside of work, he enjoys cooking, building LEGOs, creative writing, and traveling the world. Otherwise, he can also be found sitting and reading historical topics.




Tim Beach

Tim is medical student at the University of Cambridge. He finished his PhD focused on ischaemia-reperfusion injury, jointly supervised by Dr Mike Murphy at the Mitochondrial Biology Unit. He is now continuing with his clinical medical training. Outside the lab, Tim is a keen sailor. He would one day like to own his own yacht and sail to the most remote areas of the world.






Jack Martin 

Jack is a surgical trainee who is currently trying to navigate his way around mitochondrial biology. He is jointly supervised by  Mike Murphy from the Mitochondrial Biology Unit. When he's not in the lab he enjoys skiing and sailing, and recently competed in the Fastnet race.











Mazin Hamed

Mazin is a proud Gemini and believes that age is just a number! His lovely wife Nadia gave birth to his little angel Joori, also a Gemini, so he feels somewhat  sorry for Nadia, as it is hard to cope with two Gemini's! Mazin recently finished his PhD, which was focused on ameliorating ischaemia reperfusion injury in a model of kidney transplantation and was co-supervised also by Mike Nicholson and Mike Murphy from the Mitochondrial Biology Unit. He is currently completing his surgical training.











Nikola Dolezalova

Nikola came to Cambridge from Czech Republic. To be more "cool", she decided to freeze haematopoietic stem cells and pancreatic islets for transplantation as her PhD project, co-supervised by Prof Nigel Slater from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She is now a post-doctoral research associate in the lab, working on a project focused on neuromodulation in collaboration with Galvani. Outside of the lab, she still experiments, but this time in the kitchen... and it makes her happy to eat all the food afterwards. Tasting foreign cuisines is just one of many reasons why she also loves to set off on travels, working slowly towards the goal of seeing the whole world one day. 













Anja Gruszczyk

Anja is a German student with polish roots, who gained her Masters in Mitochondrial Biology and decided to include her knowledge into more translational and clinical research. Her PhD project is focused on ischaemia-reperfusion injury and mtDNA release. She is jointly supervised by Dr Mike Murphy at the Mitochondrial Biology Unit. In her spare time Anja enjoys visiting friends all over the world, when she is not organising student events in the Mitochondrial Biology Unit. She also is a huge football fan and runs her college's women's football society.



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 Bethany Bareham 

Beth joined the Department of Surgery as a Research Assistant for the Cambridge Biorepository for Translational Medicine. Her work is focused on the acqusition and processing of human tissues for research, with a specific focus on use of human tissues for development of regenerative cellular theapies. Beth is also doing a PhD focused on the immune response to tumours and the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Beth completed a Master’s in Neuroscience in Neurodegeneration at King’s College London, having previously completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of East Anglia. Before working for the Department of Surgery, Miss Bareham worked for a year in Pharmacy setting gaining valuable healthcare experience.










John Gamble

John is a Research Assistant in the Department of Surgery, working for the Cambridge Biorepository for Translational Medicine on the Human Cell Atlas. John was born and grew up in south-west Scotland.  He studied Biochemistry at Glasgow University before moving to Cambridge in 1984, 

where he studied for a PhD in Pathology.  He subsequently held a number
of posts in the UK and Sweden, in subject areas as diverse as immunology
and neurobiology.  A growing interest in bioinformatics led him to leave
the laboratory bench and spend some years at the Sanger Institute, where
he worked as a database curator and genome annotator. His current post enables him to combine his bioinformatics interests with a return to bench work. John lives in the countryside just outside Cambridge with his wife Juliet and daughter Elizabeth. He hopes to someday make good on his promise to take them to northern Sweden to view the Northern Lights.







Abbie Curd 

Abbie is a Research Assistant for the Cambridge Biorepository for Translational Medicine and provides support for the Human Cell Atlas project. She joined the Department of Surgery following the completion of a BSc in Biochemistry at UCL where she developed a specific interest in cancer and translational research. Before moving to Cambridge, Abbie worked in a care setting and enjoyed the opportunities to witness surgical procedures in theatre. Outside of work Abbie likes to cook, hike across the UK and read as many non-fiction books as possible!













Natasha Ivory 

Natasha is a Research Assistant at the Cambridge Biorepository for Translational Medicine in the Department of Surgery. Her work involves donor tissue recovery and processing in order to support the Human Cell Atlas project. Natasha completed her BSc Biochemistry at the University of Surrey and has previously worked at the Surrey Clinical Research Centre and Thermo Fisher Scientific. She enjoys kayaking, trampolining, and ballroom dance. One day she’ll convert a long wheelbase van into a mobile home and travel the world with it.







Evans Asowata 

Evans was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to London in 2013, where he studied for a masters in Neuroscience and a PhD in Physiology, both at UCL. Evans is currently a postdoctoral scientist in the department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, in collaboration with AstraZeneca. His research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the progression of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease (CKD), and using both in vitro and in vivo techniques to identify therapeutic targets to mitigate CKD progression. During his spare time, he enjoys watching football, especially the English Premier League.










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Alba Matas Céspedes 

Alba is a post-doctoral scientist working in the Department of Surgery in collaboration with MedImmune, joinlty supervised by Richard Stebbings. She is focused in the development and application of humanized mouse and patient derived tumor models to evaluate the efficacy and safety of novel MedImmune cancer immunotherapies. She was born and grew up in Barcelona, and before moving to Cambridge, she completed her PhD in Biomedicine at IDIBAPS, in Barcelona. During her degree and her PhD she had the great opportunity to partake in different exciting short-term research stays, both in Bologna and in New York City, which encouraged her to continue seeking for new adventures now in Cambridge. During her spare time, Alba loves travelling around the world, cooking, dancing and visiting her friends and family.







Michelle Curran

Michelle was born in Ireland and moved to the UK in 2014 for her PhD in Immunology at the University of Birmingham. Now, Michelle is a post-doctoral scientist in the Department of Surgery in collaboration with AstraZeneca, jointly supervised by Catherine Betts. She is investigating the efficacy and application of T-Regulatory cells in humanized mice to ameliorate adverse effects such as dermatitis and colitis found during clinical oncology trials. This work aims to develop models and therapeutic strategies that can be used pre-clinically to assess the safety and efficacy of potential oncology treatments. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys Olympic weightlifting, exploring new countries and the outdoors, petting any dog (forever missing her pride and joy, Rusty, in Ireland) and is a big foodie.








Olivia Tysoe

Olivia is studying for a PhD on the immunogenicity of cholangiocyte cellular therapies, jointly supervised by Professor Ludovic Vallier. She grew up in Kent, with a large family and many pets. In her spare time she enjoys studying ancient history, reading science fiction and baking cakes.














Nikitas Georgakopoulos

Nikitas (on the right!) was born in a small city on the coast of southern Greece. Seeking adventures and thrills, he went on to live in Athens, NYC, and London. However, nothing excited him as much as the hip, bustling roads of Cambridge, so here he is! He spends most of his time going around Cambridge's pubs, travelling, training Muay Thai (ie. getting beaten up) and watching Netflix. During his spare time, he is doing a PhD on pancreatic organoids jointly supervised by Meritxell Huch. Nikitas also helps 'others reach their scientific dreams' by working as a research assistant with the Cambridge Biorepository for Translational Medicine.











Rawan Aldubaian

Rawan is a Saudi clinical laboratory scientist in stem cell transplantation, CAR-T therapy, and cord blood bank lab at KFSH&RC in Riyadh. She moved to Cambridge to do her master’s degree in Regenerative Therapies at the Department of Surgery. Her project focused on developing bioengineered tissues for organ reconstruction using 3D organoids and decellularized scaffolds. During her spare time, Rawan enjoys taking long walks and doing Pilates. She spends the weekends exploring Cambridgeshire with friends or in her natural habitat, mixing and combining scents at perfume stores.