• Ella John

    • Research Coordinator

    Ella is a research coordinator for the Thaker team, working on clinical trial studies centering around the efficacy of medication in patients with genetic influences towards obesity. She received her B.S. in biomedical sciences from King’s College London and M.S. in Biology from New York University. She completed a thesis investigating the mechanical properties enabling bacterial endospores to withstand changes in osmotic pressure and survive in extreme conditions.

    photo of Ella John
  • Alex Guo

    • Research Technician 

    Alex graduated with a degree in animal science from Cornell University in 2020, where he completed a thesis on the role of MGARP in steroidogenesis and cholesterol trafficking. At Thaker Lab, he works as a research technician investigating the molecular genetics of early childhood obesity.

    photo of Alex Guo
  • Sunaina Nigam

    • Graduate Student from Institute of Human Nutrition

    Sunaina is currently studying for her M.S. at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University. She recieved her B.A. in international relations at Boston University while also working as an emergency medical technician and performing research about mother and baby dyads affected by substance abuse. At Thaker Lab, Sunaina works as a research coordinator for studies focusing on the efficacy of medications for genetic and hypothalamic obesity. She is also completing a thesis on child eating behavior questionnaires. 

    photo of Sunaina Nigam
  • AnnMarie Sykes

    • Graduate student from Institute of Human Nutrition

    AnnMarie received her B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Marymount Manhattan College, where she worked as a student clinician for patients with aphasia. Currently, she is a master’s student studying human nutrition at Columbia University. At Thaker lab, she coordinates the study MAGNET, which examines the health outcomes of infants born to mothers with gestational diabetes. She also works as a research intern in the Pediatric Emergency Department at New York Presbyterian, where she enrolls patients for various studies.

    photo of AnnMarie Sykes
  • Cindy Hernandez

    • Research Assistant

    Cindy is a physician from Colombia where she received her M.D. from Universidad de La Sabana. Her interests include clinical research, childhood obesity, and healthy lifestyle. Currently, she is a research coordinator at Thaker Lab working on clinical trials related to early childhood obesity. Additionally, she is working on glucose response in oral glucose tolerance tests as a biomarker for metabolic and pancreatic health.

  • Maya Jean-Hilaire

    • Undergraduate Student from Columbia University

    Maya-Jean is currently a third-year student at Columbia University, studying biology. She joined the Thaker Lab as a research intern through the Ernest E. Just Biomedical Scholars program at CUIMC in June 2022. At the Thaker lab, she has worked on the GECO gene variant study, exploring the genetic causes of childhood obesity, and the maternal bariatric surgery study, investigating the effects of pre-pregnancy MBS on offspring.

    photo of Maya Jean Hilaire
  • Anna Torrey

    • Medical Student, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

    Anna is a current medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her molecular and cellular biology and visual arts undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University in 2021. While studying there and during her gap year before medical school, she worked at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Hospital researching X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare neurodegenerative condition. At the Thaker Lab, Anna is researching various treatment options for patients with obesity caused by melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene mutations.

    photo of Anna Torrey
  • Harry Liang

    • Medical Student, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

    Harry is a medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He graduated from Duke in 2021 with a biology major, a Spanish minor, and a certificate in documentary studies. Between undergrad and medical school, Harry worked as a research associate with the Cancer Dependency Map team at The Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. With the Thaker Lab, Harry is studying a biallelic compound heterozygous mutation in the MC4R gene, which is commonly mutated in pediatric patients with severe early-onset obesity.

    photo of Harry Liang

Former Members

Learn more about the former members of the Thaker Lab here.