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Meet Our Team


We are a passionate group of scientists and clinicians dedicated to curing human disease. Where mechanisms of disease are not known we try and understand disease processes in the hope of finding a cure. We try to find solutions for unmet medical needs through a multidisciplinary approach of scientists with a variety of backgrounds. We love trying new ideas and translating discoveries towards the clinic.


Peter Santa Maria, MD PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Santa Maria is a clinician scientist focusing on translational medicine for tympanic membrane wound healing and chronic suppurative otitis media. His lab’s novel research into tympanic membrane regeneration was licensed to Astellas Pharmaceuticals and is entering clinical trials.

Anping Xia, MD PhD

Sr. Research Scientist

Dr. Anping Xia is a Sr. Research Scientist specializing in inner ear research. She has been developing and investigating Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media mouse model.  She has also been working in topical drug delivery and ototoxicity testing in the lab.

Laurent Adonis Bekale, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Laurent Adonis Bekale is Biophysical Chemist specialized in Nanomedicine. He joined Dr. Santa Maria’s Lab in 2019. His research focuses on the synthesis of metal nanoclusters to treat biofilms in chronic suppurative otitis media.

Jing Chen, MPH DABT

Sr. Research Associate

Jing Chen is a research scientist specialized in Toxicology. After 12 years of research associate work at the UofL in KY USA, she joined Dr. Santa Maria’s Lab in 2017. Her research focuses on development of new therapy for oral mucositis.

Ritwija Bhattacharya, MS

Research Associate

Ritwija has submitted her Ph.D. degree in the Department of Environmental Science, University of Calcutta on cancer epigenetics. After that, she worked as a research assistant in a US-based biotech company on mammalian cell culture and cell-based assay before joining the Santa Maria Lab in 2022. 

Viktoria Schiel, MD PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Viktoria Schiel is a postdoctoral scholar and a German-trained medical doctor. She completed her residency in Otolaryngology in Munich. She joined Dr. Santa Maria’s lab in 2021. Her research focuses on the development of sensorineural hearing loss in chronic suppurative otitis media and the testing of new medication in the treatment of vestibular disorders.

Adam Kaufman, MD PhD

Neurotology Fellow

Dr. Adam Kaufman is a neurotology fellow.  He completed his otolaryngology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Santa Maria lab in 2020.  His research is focused on the role the immune system plays in the development of biofilms in CSOM.

Mario Gaspar

Administrative Associate II

Mario Gaspar is the Administrative Associate for Dr. Santa Maria and the Santa Maria Lab. Mario joined the Santa Maria Lab in January 2020 and provides general administrative support to all lab members.

Devesh Sharma, MD

Visiting Scholar

Dr. Sharma joins the lab having completed his MBBS (MD) from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. He is currently undertaking a Masters in Otolaryngology at the Government Medical College, Nagpur during his Residency training. He will be working towards characterizing persister cell populations in chronic suppurative otitis media and also developing a better diagnostic for clinicians.

Nazanin Mahinparvar, MD

Visiting Scholar

Dr. Nazanin Mahinparvar is medical doctor. She graduated from Isfahan Medical University in Iran. She joined the Santa Maria Lab in 2022. Her research focuses on the development of sensorineural hearing loss in chronic suppurative otitis media and also on developing better treatment of vestibular disorders.


Our Lab

We like to balance life in the lab as much as possible and have lots of fun together. BBqs in the summer, bowling, escape room activities are just a few of our group activities. We also catch up for a lunch once a month where we’re not allowed to talk about work!

Our Alumni

Anthony Thai, BS

Brian Bacacao, BS

Solange Massa, MD, PhD

Ayman Elsheikh, MD

Zhixin Cao, MD, PhD

Xiaohua Chen, MD, MS

Kelly Khomtchouk, MD

Hui Ting Goh

Layla Joseph

Anh Tran

Chinyere Nwachukwu

Estephanie Huerta

Ali Kouhi, MD
Tehran University of Medical Science

Eva Dieuzy
Pau University, France

Rishika Gundi
Duke University

Cristiana Filomena

Holly Fyffe
Arizona University

Christine Yang
Stanford University