How Body’s Cells Work Together in Response to Infection; Harvard/MIT Grad Student Constantine Tzouanas Investigates How Interactions Between Individual Cells Help Determine Whether Pathogens Will Defeat Their Hosts or Vice Versa

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Constantine Tzouanas

Constantine Tzouanas aims to deconstruct, understand, and engineer complex biological systems by studying their smallest units--individual cells. “The analogy I like to use is whenever you see a broken car, it’s very easy to describe that the windshield is broken, the bumper is crumpled,” says the fourth-year PhD candidate. “It’s much harder to get at the unifying cause and opportunities to intervene, such as worn-out brake pads that led to the crash.” Tzouanas is a Hertz Fellow and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program, pursuing a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics with a concentration in Biological Engineering. Under his advisor, Professor Alex Shalek, Tzouanas is leading projects that identify tissue interactions that arise when the body combats infectious diseases and responds to stress. In addition to uncovering leads to new treatments, Tzouanas wants to better understand how the body works as a unified system.

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