Our research program is guided by core principles that cultivate a passion for research, create an inclusive environment, emphasize career development and build a pipeline of future biomedical scientists. 


Gowthami Arepally, MD

Gow is a Professor of Medicine and Vice Chief of Research in the Division of Hematology. She received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University, finished her residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University Hospitals, and completed sub-specialty training in Hematology and Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gow’s clinical interests are in disorders of hemostasis and thrombosis, with a focus on immune-mediated thrombocytopenias⁠—heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), immune thrombocytopenia, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura⁠—as well as applications of therapeutic apheresis. Her long-standing research program involves translational studies of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

Fundamental contributions from her laboratory include the development of novel animal models for studying the HIT immune response, structural studies of the HIT antigenic complex, discovery of a new class of heparin-dependent antibodies to protamine/heparin complexes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, and identification of complement as a major contributor to the HIT immune response.

In addition to her clinical and research interests, Gow is deeply committed to the career advancement of trainees. She leads the Hematology T32 training program in Hematology & Transfusion Medicine, directs the Duke Strong Start Scholars program for junior faculty and serves as the Associate Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. 

Sanjay Khandelwal, PhD

Sanjay is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology in the Department of Medicine. He received a master’s degree in Microbiology at Maharshi Dayanand Sarawati University in Rajasthan, India, before pursuing graduate studies in Immunology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. After obtaining his doctorate degree, Sanjay joined the laboratory of Dr. Paul Roche in the Experimental Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Sanjay joined the Arepally Lab in 2013 to investigate the cellular basis of the HIT immune response. Sanjay’s seminal contributions to the lab include novel discoveries related to the role of complement, IgM and the classical pathway in the initiation of the HIT immune response, immunoassays to detect complement activation, and heterogeneity of donor responses to the PF4/heparin complex.

In addition to his current studies in HIT, Sanjay is establishing an independent laboratory program in IgM biology and regulation. In his free time, Sanjay enjoys spending time with this family and reading everything from academic research to his favorite books.

Simone Sartoretto, PhD

Simone  is a Senior Research Associate in the Arepally Lab. Simone grew up in Paraná, Brazil and  received her undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and Biochemistry. She completed her Master’s degree in Science and Vascular/Pharmacology before receiving her PhD in Science Vascular/Pharmacology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Simone joined the Arepally Lab in January 2021. She brings to the lab considerable expertise in signaling, murine studies, vascular and molecular biology.  Simone will undertake studies to characterize complement’s role in cellular responses to PF4/heparin antigenic complexes and facilitate studies in murine models.

Simone is looking forward to the safe arrival of her first child in June 2021.  In her free time, Simone enjoys going for hiking, riding a bike, reading a book, and watching a good movie.

Samuel Francis, MD

Sam is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine in the Department of Surgery. Sam joined the Arepally Lab in July 2017 under the auspices of the Duke ENABLE grant from the Duke Private Diagnostic Group. This grant allows clinicians to spend 25% of their time in basic and translational laboratories.  After two years on the ENABLE award, he generated enough data to receive the Research Training Grant from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. Through this grant, he is now able to devote 75% of his time to the Arepally lab.

Sam’s clinical interests are in the diagnosis and management of clotting disorders in the Emergency Room. His current laboratory projects include studies of clotting biomarkers, understanding the contribution of red cells and complement to thrombosis, and microscopic techniques for evaluating clot structure. In his free time, Sam enjoys board games with his family, learning to cook, and weightlifting.


Jing Zhang


Jing is a Research Technician in the Arepally Lab. Jing graduated from Liaoning University in Shenyang, China with a background in business and accounting. Since immigrating to the U.S., Jing has shifted her focus to the laboratory. As a research technician, Jing has mastered a variety of techniques ranging from immunoassays to histological studies.

Jing joined the Arepally Lab in 2017 to provide technical support for laboratory members. She teaches students and trainees common laboratory techniques and conducts all the daily maintenance activities to keep the lab running smoothly. In her free time, Jing enjoys traveling and cooking.


Ayiesha Barnes, MS


Ayiesha joined the Arepally Lab in May 2019 as a post-baccalaureate fellow. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Master of Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Ayiesha has had a life-long love of science and has participated in scientific research since her high school days at North Carolina School of Science and Math. Ayiesha will be using her experience in the laboratory to gain critical scientific skills as she prepares for a National Institutes of Health-funded supplement award and further studies in medicine. 

Ayiesha enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures. Ayiesha is a “foodie” with a love for trying new cuisines and restaurants. Ayiesha also enjoys working out and attending sporting events with her friends and her dog, Rondo.

Sooho Myoung


Sooho is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He first joined the lab in 2018, when he was attending the North Carolina School of Science and Math. 

He is currently working on confocal microscopic approaches to characterizing complement activation in HIT. In his free time, Sooho enjoys playing soccer and watching movies with his friends.




Former Lab Members (2010-2020)

Lab Members



Lab Position

Present Position

Benjamin Huan June 2019-April 2020 High school student,NCSSM High School Senior, NC School of Science & Math
Tulsi Patel June 2019-April 2020 High school student,NCSSM High School Senior, NC School of Science & Math
Preethi Konduri June 2018-August 2020 High school student, NCSSM UNC-Charlotte
Jennifer Chang 2017-Present Post-baccalaureate student Duke Medical Student (2018-2022)
Toyosi Onwuemene 2015-2017 NIH Investigator  Research Supplement Assistant Professor, Medicine
Dayna Grant 2016-2017 Research Technician II Duke Microbiology Lab
Robert Diep 2015-2018 Duke Internal Medicine Fellow, University of Washington
Alexandra Johnson (1)    Summer2016(2)         NIH Post-bacc fellow (2018-2019) (1)  Undergraduate research(2)  Post-baccalaureate on administrative supplement UCLA Medical School
Allyson Pishko 2012-2015 Resident, Duke Internal Medicine Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Eric Fountain 2014-2016 Resident, Duke Internal Medicine Fellow, MD Anderson
Giancarlo Valiente 2012-2013 Post-baccalaureate student MD/PhD student, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Grace Lee 2011- present Fellow/F32/ K08 Assistant Professor, Medicine Duke
Julie McCracken Summer 2007-2010 College Undergraduate Physician’s assistant, Johns Hopkins University
Shalini Chudasama 6/09-08/10 Fall 2010 High school student,NCSSM BS/Associate Consultant, Bain Capital, Atlanta, GA;
Manali Joglekar 2009-2016 Research Technician Not Available
Galyna Afonina 2009-2012 Research Staff Retired
Rui Qi 2004-2015 Research Technician Duke Neurology