Lisa H. Tostanoski '12
Lisa Tostanoski is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – Harvard Medical School. Since graduating magna cum laude from Bucknell in 2012, Lisa has pursued academic research training, developing expertise in biomaterials, drug delivery, vaccine design and immunology. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles, including publications in top journals such as Nature, Cell, Science and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In addition to her own scientific training, she has maintained a strong commitment to mentoring and outreach efforts, providing opportunities to support the next generation of scientists and engineers.
During her time at Bucknell, Lisa studied biomedical engineering and discovered a passion for scientific research at the intersection of engineering and human health. She conducted undergraduate research with Professor Kathleen Bieryla, studying biomechanics and injury prevention. Lisa also interned in the orthobiologics laboratory at Union Memorial Hospital (Baltimore, Md.), where her projects spanned tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and orthopedics. These experiences, as well as the encouragement of her research mentors and many of her Bucknell professors (including Eric Kennedy, Joseph Tranquillo, James Baish, Dan Cavanagh and Donna Ebenstein) led Lisa to apply to graduate school.
Lisa went on to complete her Ph.D. in bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Under the guidance of her adviser, Professor Christopher Jewell, Lisa's dissertation research explored how tools from engineering, materials science and nanotechnology can be harnessed to design new approaches to study and treat autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. During her time at Maryland, Lisa received several awards in recognition of her work, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, a Lemelson-MIT Graduate Student "Cure It!" Prize and a University of Maryland Distinguished Dissertation Award.
For her postdoctoral training, Lisa sought to study the immunology of infectious diseases as well as gain experience in the clinical translation of novel immunotherapies and vaccines. These goals led her to join Professor Dan Barouch's laboratory. Lisa was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship to support her proposed work to develop new technologies to deliver vaccines for infectious diseases. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, however, Lisa's research evolved to focus on studying the pathogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the development of candidate vaccines. In particular, Lisa worked as part of the team effort that spanned the Barouch Laboratory, several collaborating academic groups and industry partners Johnson & Johnson to develop the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine.
Throughout her time in graduate school and now as a postdoctoral fellow, Lisa has remained dedicated to outreach and mentoring programs to enhance STEM exposure and education. Lisa has directly mentored trainees in the laboratory setting, has helped to develop workshops in which over 500 high school students have participated, and remained involved with the Lemelson-MIT Foundation programming to promote and encourage invention. Further, Lisa has remained connected to the Bucknell community in these efforts, including by returning to campus to give a seminar to the biomedical engineering (BME) department and, most recently, participating as a panelist for an event for high school students that was co-organized by a fellow Bucknell BME and varsity swimming and diving alum.