Lab Member

Dr. Mari Shinohara

PI of the lab, also the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of Duke Immunology. Had two previous experiences in the industry. One is at a Brewing Lab in a major Japanese whiskey/beer company, and another is a Danish pharma/biotech. In the first job, the beer tasting was a part of her job description (and loved it), but switched her career to immunology research. Enjoys various crafts, Brazilian music enthusiast, and ZIN (Zumba Instructor).

Current Members:

Dr. Nupur Aggarwal – Post-doctoral Associate

Nupur received her M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India in 2011, where she investigated the role of SWH/Hippo signaling pathway in glioblastoma. She earned her PhD. in 2016 from Hannover Medical School (MHH), Germany where she investigated the impact of various form of Alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) and the genetic predisposition associated with this protein in human neutrophils and patients. She has authored four articles as a first author during her graduate studies. In the Shinohara lab, Nupur is working on projects to understand the role of Osteopontin (OPN) in various inflammatory disorders. In addition, she is working with different fungus like Cryptococcus- to understand its mechanism of action in immunocompromised patients; and anti TLR response of Mucor (Zygomyces) as well.  She has published a review article on “Understanding Mechanisms Underlying the Pathology of Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS) by Using Animal Models”.

Fun fact: Nupur’s passions expand beyond the lab and include hot yoga, painting and dancing. She loves to travel with her most recent adventures being to Puerto Rico.

Shengjie Xu – PhD Student

Shengjie joined the lab in 2014. She has since worked on multiple projects, including the innate inhibitory functions of mucor, Dectin-1 of neutrophil, osteopontin in fungal infections, macrophage training and tolerance and various tissure resident macrophages. Her thesis project focuses on the heterogenity in alveolar macrophage populations during fungal infection.

During her spare time, she enjoys going to movies with her husband, reading, sewing and painting.

Will Barclay – PhD Student

Will received his B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and French from Case Western Reserve University in 2014.  He began his Ph.D. thesis work in the Shinohara lab in 2015. His projects revolve around innate immune system interactions within the central nervous system. He has worked primarily on understanding novel modes of inflammasome signaling in the mouse model of neuroinflammation, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), in order to gain insight into the underpinnings of diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Secondarily, he has conducted work in collaboration with other lab members to investigate mechanisms of disease development in cryptococcal meningitis-driven Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS). He maintains interest in topics relevant to science and higher education policy, and has led several advocacy trips to Congress in Washington DC, including NAGPS Legislative Action Days, and the AAAS CASE workshop.

Will enjoys brewing beer and mead, experimenting with graphic design software, and has been known to play the highland bagpipe on occasion.

M. Elizabeth Deerhake – MD-PhD Student

Elizabeth is an MD/PhD student studying C-type lectin receptor signaling in neuroinflammation, specifically in the EAE model of Multiple Sclerosis. She completed her undergraduate training at Yale University and has previous research experience at the Jackson Laboratory, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Yale University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). She is a recipient of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F30). Her long-term goal as a physician-scientist is to understand the role of the innate immune system in neurologic disorders.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, birding, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Twitter: @MEDeerhake

Estefany Reyes – PhD Student

Estefany earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Williams College in 2012. While at Williams, she pursued research on noncoding RNA generation in the yeast model of the yeast, S. cerevisiae.  Before beginning her Ph.D. training in at Duke, Estefany worked at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope in southern California where she focused on understanding and defining the roles of noncoding RNAs in the regulation of gene expression in cancer and autoimmunity (miR-142 and miR-146a). Since joining the Shinohara lab in 2018, Estefany has been focusing on elucidating the role of central nervous system resident cells during cryptococcal meningitis. She maintains an active interest in infectious diseases, innate immunity, and neuroimmunology. She enjoys teaching, mentoring, and is an active advocate for increasing the diversity within the biological science.

During her free time, Estefany loves to travel with her two boys and husband. Independently, she loves to spend time with friends, hike, read, and learn new languages (currently fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian).

Emre Cardakli – Research Technician

Emre was Duke Undergraduate Class of 2020, majoring in neuroscience with minors in chemistry and biology. He completed his honor’s thesis by studying the role of C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) in CNS autoimmunity and the interplay between metabolism and CLR signaling. Now, he continues working at Shinohara Lab as a Research Tech. Emre has also spent time studying antibody/antigen interactions at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. After graduation, Emre hopes to pursue an MD/PhD and a career as a physician scientist with an interest in neuro-immune interactions.

Lab Babies


Maltepoo boy. Lots of energy in his small fluffy body. His job description is encouraging PI when she writes. Walking on foot is his signature move.


American short hair. Very food motivated. Loves canned fish and shrimp. Sleeps most of the time during the day. Likes to play on her mother Shengjie’s desk while she works on her computer. 


An American Bully who will do anything for food. He loves to sleep next to me (Stef) during zoom meetings. His favorite activities include, eating, sleeping, walking and playing with bubbles. Training in progress.


Black, sometimes white, small fellows. Arguably the most important contributors to all the lab projects. Thank you, little ones!

Past Members:

Current position: Assistant Professor, Comparative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois

Current position:
Assistant Professor, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Yushima Campus M & D Tower (東京医科歯科大学湯島キャンパスM&Dタワー)


Current position: Graduate Research Assistant at UMBC University of Maryland Baltimore County

Current position: Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Keio University, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Current Position: Department of Immunology and Immunopathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, Kita-Gun, Kagawa, Japan

Current position: Solution consultant at Thomson Reuters, Seoul, Korea

Post-doctoral associate

Vincenzo stayed in the lab from Fall 2018 to Spring 2020 as a lab technician. He is a member of the Duke University Class of 2020 and graduated with a BS Neuroscience and BA Global Health. He worked with multiple students in the lab to coordinate genotyping. Additionally, he was involved with other projects, such as understanding the role of autophagy and inflammasome activation in astrocyte cell lines. After graduation, he will pursue a MSc Global Health from Duke University with hopes of researching chronic neurological diseases in the health sciences field.

Nathan was an undergraduate student and member of the Class of 2020 majoring in neuroscience and history. In the Shinohara lab, he completed his honor’s thesis by studying the NLRP3 inflammasome and how modifications to components of the inflammasome affect assembly and downstream signaling. After graduating, he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.


Tomoko finished her Master’s Degree (Engineering) in Soka University, Japan in 2005. She worked as a Research Technician in Research Center for Glycoscience (Medical Glycoscience), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan from 2005 to 2015. She stayed in the Shinohara lab during 2017-2020 as a lab technician.

Dr. Toshiaki Nonaka was a visiting scholar from 2018-2020. He was trained i neurology.