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Erik Aznauryan

Dr. Erik Aznauryan

Mentor in the M&M program

Google Scholar Profile

Erik Aznauryan, P.h.D., has been involved in synthetic biology and genome engineering research for over 10 years and integrated various computational approaches to holistically characterize genetically modified organisms, human cells, and tissues. Erik completed his Bachelor’s degree at Newcastle University, working on elucidation of the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases. He then conducted Master’s studies at Columbia University, where he developed engineered microorganisms for advanced bio-manufacturing of valuable chemicals. After spending a year at CalTech discovering the functional capabilities of non-coding RNAs, Erik started his Ph.D. at ETH Zürich, where he eventually identified and validated human genomic regions capable of safe and stable expression of exogenous genes. At grad school, Erik also took part in Flagship Pioneering Fellowship — a competitive 3 month-long summer internship dedicated to early-stage venture creation. He is currently conducting post-doctoral research work at Wyss Institute at Harvard University focusing on novel gene delivery and targeted genomic integration tools. Additionally, he is involved in scientific diligence at a biotech venture capital firm Tashir Medica. Research conducted by Erik and his collaborators has resulted in several high-profile scientific publications, patent applications, and press releases.

Erik participated in numerous Armenian scientific initiatives, including the establishment of the Next Generation council within the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology as well as the organization of regular lectures and workshops at TUMO, YSU, YMSU, and other educational institutions. In his capacity as a mentor at ABI, Erik shares bioengineering knowledge with ABI students while acquiring expertise in the most advanced genomics methods.  

Erik’s research focuses on the development of gene therapies for skin diseases. His work involves both lab experimentation and genomic data analysis. Erik didn’t want to simply outsource these analyses to other groups but rather to acquire the relevant bioinformatics skills himself. That is where the collaboration between Erik and ABI sparked, and ABI research student Tatevik Jalatyan got engaged in Erik’s research. She performs the data analysis part of the project under Dr. Lilit Nersisyan’s supervision at ABI and transfers her skills to Erik.

Research Interests

  • Synthetic Biology
  • Genome engineering


Erik Aznauryan, Alexander Yermanos, Elvira Kinzina, Anna Devaux, Edo Kapetanovic, Denitsa Milanova, George M Church, Sai T Reddy Discovery and validation of human genomic safe harbor sites for gene and cell therapies Cell Reports Methods 2022 100154 doi:

Erik Aznauryan, Alexander Yermanos, Elvira Kinzina, Edo Kapetanovic, Denitsa Milanova, George M Church, Sai T Reddy Discovery and validation of novel human genomic safe harbor sites for gene and cell therapies. bioRxiv 2021. doi:

Chun-Kan Chen, Mario Blanco, Constanza Jackson, Erik Aznauryan, Noah Ollikainen, Christine Surka, Amy Chow, Andrea Cerase, Patrick McDonel, Mitchell Guttman. Xist recruits the X chromosome to the nuclear lamina to enable chromosome-wide silencing. Science (2016), 354 (6311), 468-472.

Sofia A Quinodoz, Noah Ollikainen, Barbara Tabak, Ali Palla, Jan Marten Schmidt, Elizabeth Detmar, Mason M Lai, Alexander A Shishkin, Prashant Bhat, Yodai Takei, Vickie Trinh, Erik Aznauryan, Pamela Russell, Christine Cheng, Marko Jovanovic, Amy Chow, Long Cai, Patrick McDonel, Manuel Garber, Mitchell Guttman Higher-order inter-chromosomal hubs shape 3D genome organization in the nucleus. Cell 2018,174(3), 744-757. e24.  doi: