Our Team

Ferrari Lab

Mauro Ferrari, PhD 
Ernest Cockrell Jr. Presidential Distinguished Chair
President & CEO, Houston Methodist Research Institute 
Director, Institute for Academic Medicine 
Executive Vice President, Houston Methodist
Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York 
Email:mferrari@houstonmethodist.org

Elvin Blanco, PhD, Instructor

Maricela Ramirez, MS, Laboratory Manager
Maricela Ramirez received her Master’s Degree in Physiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, TX.  Maricela has accumulated over 15 years of experience in academic and pharmaceutical research and has been an adjunct faculty of Anatomy and Physiology at Lone Star College, Houston, TX. Maricela has extensive experience with in vivo mouse studies including physiological phenotyping, pharmacology and compound delivery, and survival surgeries.  She has worked at the Houston Methodist Research Institute since 2010 and joined the Department of Nanomedicine in 2015 where she currently serves as Research Laboratory Manager for Drs. Mauro Ferrari, Haifa Shen, and Elvin Blanco.

Carlotta Borsoi, MS, Graduate Research Fellow
Carlotta Borsoi received her Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and her Master's degree in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Trieste in Italy. She has been a research fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute since June 2013.

Alessandro Venuta, MS, Graduate Research Fellow
Alessandro Venuta received his Master’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Naples Federico II. In 2014, he began his PhD program in Pharmaceutical Science under Prof. Fabiana Quaglia at the Drug Delivery Laboratory in the Department of  Pharmacy at the same university. In April 2016, he joined the Department of Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute under the mentorship of Ferrari. His research is focused on the design and development of micro- and nanoscale drug delivery systems for enhanced drug distribution to solid tumors. His skills range from polymer chemistry to in vitro and in vivo studies of drug delivery systems.

Sara Nizzero, MS, Graduate Research Fellow
Sara Nizzero joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute in January 2015, as part of her PhD program in Applied Physics at Rice University. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics from the University of Padova in Italy, and her Master's in Applied Physics from Rice University. She has attended and presented at more then 10 international conferences in the fields of nanomedicine, optics, applied physics and material science, and has published in the field of plasmonic, material science, spectroscopy and nanomedicine. She has received 10 awards for scientific, entrepreneurial and outreach efforts. Her current research under the mentorship of Ferrari focuses on a combined computational and in vivo approach to transport oncophysics. Throughout her career she has served in different roles of leadership in academic organizations and is currently VP of outreach for Houston Methodist Academy Postdoctoral and Trainee Association or MAPTA. 

Clara Mattu, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Clara Mattu earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and completed her PhD in Industrial Bioengineering at Politecnico di Torino, Italy. She was a visiting scientist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. In 2012, she was awarded the Italian Working Capital National Innovation Grant to perform research on injectable hydrogels for drug delivery. In 2015, she received the prestigious Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship from the European commission. Her research interests span from biomedical polymer synthesis to cancer nanomedicine. Her current project focuses on hybrid drug delivery systems for intracranial treatment of brain tumors. Mattu has 21 publications, two book chapters, and one patent.