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Our collaborative and productive group benefits from the diverse backgrounds, professional experiences, and research focuses of each individual.



Principal Investigator

Dr. Pal has led this lab since 2006, when he first brought his tick-borne disease studies to the University of Maryland. Since then, he has secured numerous grants in support of his research, published in high-impact and peer-reviewed journals, and mentored dozens of students and junior scientists, among other professional accomplishments in the field of vector-borne diseases. Dr. Pal enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to music.




Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Yang received her Immunology Ph.D. degree from Fudan University in China. Since joining the Pal Lab in 2007, her research interest focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Dr. Yang seeks to reveal the mechanisms by which the pathogen survives in hosts and causes the disease.


Research Assistant Professor

Drawing on her background in biotechnology and reproductive biology, Dr. Kitsou entered our lab in 2018. She leads several projects aimed towards the development of therapeutic or preventive strategies. Her work includes a focus on transgenics in rodent models of Lyme disease. Dr. Kitsou likes to read (especially about philosophy), dance, and travel.


Research Assistant Professor

Dr. De joined our group in 2019. He is keenly interested in understanding the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and its relation to arthropod development and vectorial capacity. He loves watching and playing tennis and soccer.


Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Rana obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Delhi in India. He joined the Pal lab in September 2018 and is currently working as Assistant Research Scientist. His project involves discovering the mechanisms of cross-species signaling between the Ixodes scapularis tick and its mammal host. Dr. Rana also focuses on understanding the tick innate immune responses regulated by JAK/STAT pathway. He enjoys listening to music, traveling, and exploring new places.


Research Coordinator

After graduating from UMD with a Bachelor's degree in Biology, Kathryn worked with wildlife and led a conservation program. Now, she is fortunate to have worked with the Pal lab since 2019, where she handles administrative duties and oversees the day-to-day activities of the lab. Kathryn loves animals, is a fan of baseball and ice hockey, and enjoys traveling.


Faculty Specialist

Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. degree from Fudan University. He has more than 10 years of research experience in the field of infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis and malaria. He entered our group in January 2019. Dr. Zhang's current research interest focuses on tick immunity.


Research Assistant

After graduating from Southern Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Biology, Amber spent time as an assistant naturalist and veterinary technician. As of October 2020, she is the newest member of the Pal lab, where she will primarily assist with our rodent model studies. Amber enjoys all things wildlife, hiking, and soccer related.


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

Shelby is a graduate student in the Biological Sciences (BISI) Graduate program at the University of Maryland. Since joining the lab in 2017, she has worked to understand Borrelia burgdorferi pathogenesis and Lyme disease. Her research investigates essential proteins required during pathogenesis, with a special interest in applying our research for vaccine or therapeutic development. When you can't find her in lab, she enjoys attempting new recipes in the kitchen, spending time outdoors with friends and family, and curling up with a good book!


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

Sandhya joined the lab in 2017 as a PhD student in the Vet Med department. Her educational and professional background includes experience in the veterinary sciences. In addition to supporting our research involving rodent models, she also performs studies to better understand microbial virulence and protein-protein interactions.


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

Shraboni is a PhD student in Dr. Pal's lab. She completed her MS degree in India and joined the Pal Lab in 2017.  Her research interests include vector biology and vector-host-pathogen interactions. Currently she studies Ixodes scapularis genes and their roles in tick biology.  Along with research, Shraboni enjoys painting, gardening and long drives.


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

Before starting as a PhD student in Dr. Pal's lab, Kazi earned her MS and BS (Hons) in Microbiology at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. She entered the Pal Lab in 2019, where she is examining the Ixodes scapularis tick - the vector of Lyme disease - with a focus on the genetic regulation of tick blood meal digestion.


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

(Graduate Partnership Program with NIH)

Michael is a graduate student split between the Pal Lab (which he joined in 2019) and the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Graduate Partnership Program (under the mentorship of Dr. Anton Simeonov), working on elucidating and finding inhibitors for druggable targets in Borrelia burgdorferi and related spirochetes. Outside of this fascinating work, he enjoys publishing scientific communication in biotech and business of science, and mountaineering/ bouldering in his free time.


Graduate Student, Ph.D-track

Bibek joined the Pal lab as a PhD student in 2021. Previously, his academic and professional life focused on veterinary and animal sciences. Bibek now supports our mission by helping to investigate the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. In addition to research, he likes to travel and explore new places.


Undergraduate Technician

Savannah became a member of our team in 2019. She works with and cares for the animals in our lab and monitors their health. She also assists in various laboratory procedures. Her hobbies include stationary and spending time with her pet rabbit.

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©2020 by Pal Laboratory.

Pictures are courtesy of Edwin Remsberg, University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, and the laboratory of Dr. Utpal Pal.

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