Program Leadership

John Assad, Program DirectorJohn Assad, Program Director

John originally hails from Buffalo, NY, and has spent much time abroad with his family in Italy. Himself a graduate of PiN, he is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the program. John loves partnering with students on program development and is committed to ensuring that every student is receiving the individual support they need in order to thrive. He’s always available for a chat! His lab focuses on understanding how the mammalian brain bridges sensation and action, such as in decision making and movement initiation. He is also co-director for PiN’s first-year core course, the Discipline of Neuroscience, faculty instructor for the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology (HST) program, and director of the education arm of the Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering at HMS. Outside work, John can be found fishing, paddling, hiking, or biking with his family around New England, walking the family dog, or sojourning in their home away from home in Italy. More.


Portrait of Tari Tan, Director of Educational ProgrammingTari Tan, Associate Director, Director of Education

An educator and an Oregonian at heart, Tari graduated from PiN in 2016, completed an education-focused postdoctoral fellowship through the HMS Curriculum Fellows Program after graduation, and now continues her work with PiN as the Associate Director, Director of Education, and Lecturer in the Department of Neurobiology. Tari spearheaded the redesign of the PiN curriculum that launched in 2017-18 and is passionate about making both PiN and STEM education in general more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. In addition to her role as co-director for PiN’s first-year core course, the Discipline of Neuroscience, Tari has developed training resources for students around metacognition and other critical professional development skills. She is deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within PiN and the Department of Neurobiology and directs programs including the Morehouse & Harvard Partnership in Neuroscience Growth, the PiNBAC post-baccaleaureate program, and the laboratory curriculum for the Ed Furshpan and David Potter Native American High School Program. Tari also teaches undergraduate courses at Harvard College and Emmanuel College. Outside of work, you’re mostly likely to find Tari in the woods somewhere, where she’ll either be camping, hiking, orienteering, trail running, or birding. When she’s city-bound she enjoys running/biking along the Charles River, hanging out with her two cats, Maxell and LeChatelier, and playing nerdy board games like Wingspan. Tari invites you to connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Susan Jackson profile picSusan Jackson, Program Administrator

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Susan’s a Midwesterner at heart. She joined PiN in May 2020, after three years at HMS working in admissions, curriculum, and web content development, and prior to HMS in public relations, editing, and early childhood education. She completed a Master’s in English at King’s College, London, focused on music & literature (war literature in particular) in 2001, and lived in London for almost a decade before moving to Boston in 2009. Outside work, she devotes most of her time and energy to her two kids, rescue pups Colby & Shiloh, and various and sundry culinary endeavors and backyard projects. To recharge, she enjoys road biking, four-season hiking, yoga, running, white water & sea kayaking, choral singing, and dancing to live music! Susan provides a first point of contact for the program, strives to ensure PiN students receive all the programmatic support they need in order to thrive both personally and professionally, and is dedicated to fostering a culture of health & wellness and a welcoming, inclusive environment in PiN and across the broader Harvard graduate community.