UCSF/CCSF's Inclusive Mentoring Fellows

Meet our second cohort of Inclusive Mentoring Fellows! These 16 UCSF graduate students and postdocs completed over 12 hours of training on being supervisors, trainers, and advisors, and then interviewed and hired CCSF interns. From February to May 2021, they will receive coaching and work with their interns. The program will end with a poster session presentation by the interns.

We applaud their leadership during these challenging times and celebrate their efforts toward becoming inclusive mentors and managers!


Also read about the inaugural 2020 Cohort

Inclusive Mentoring Fellows: 2021 Cohort

Sudipta Ashe

Sudipta Ashe

Sudipta is a postdoctoral scholar and Hillblom Fellow in Matthias Hebrok’s lab at the Diabetes Center. Sudipta received his graduate training at NCBS-TIFR, India where he studied the mechanism of insulin secretion in Drosophila. Here at UCSF, his research focuses on using stem cells for understanding beta cell biology. He uses multiple approaches like generating functional beta cells from hESCs, CRISPR tools to modulate gene regulation, encapsulation devices along with high throughput sequencing to understand and finetune performance of in vitro generated beta cells with a long term goal for cellular therapy. He is excited to host Nidhi as a CCSF intern who will be working on developing beta cells with synthetic gene circuits to counter hypoxia. This will improve our understanding on controlling hypoxic damage to beta cells as well as fine tuning our approaches during transplantation.

 Camillia Azimi

Camillia Azimi

Camillia is a fourth year graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences program and works in Kole Roybal’s lab. The Roybal lab uses engineering to develop the next generation of immune therapeutics. Her projects focus on utilizing high throughput libraries to enhance the natural capabilities of immune cells in the context of cancer and autoimmunity. More specifically, Camillia’s intern Jelena Vukovic has been working on a project to reengineer primary human Tregs through the use of newly developed receptors to become drug delivery systems that are able to locally and stably suppress autoreactive immune responses. This project will improve our understanding of the important components of immune suppression within autoreactivity and will create translatable therapeutics for future applications within the clinic.

 Jamie Byrnes

 Jamie Byrnes

Jamie is a third year postdoctoral scholar in Jim Wells’ lab in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department. Jamie received his graduate training at UNC-Chapel Hill where he studied the biochemistry of blood coagulation. Here at UCSF Jamie uses proteomics and protein engineering to study T cell biology, particularly with respect to how T cells interact with the tumor microenvironment. The overarching goal of his work is to identify ways of enhancing T cell function in and around tumors. Along with Susanna Elledge, he is co-mentoring Miko Mallari on a project that aims to use bioconjugation techniques to design new formats of bispecific T cell engagers to target T cells to tumors.

En Cai

En Cai

En Cai is a postdoctoral researcher in Matthew Krummel's lab in the Department of Pathology at UCSF. Her research interest is to use advanced imaging techniques to understand the cellular and molecular mechanism of T cell signaling. Her current project focuses on understanding how T cells detect antigens through topological and molecular search. En's CCSF intern, Jeffrey Rong, worked on a project investigating how T cells distribute their receptors over membrane protrusions during antigen recognition.

Jiapei Chen

Jiapei Chen

Jiapei is a fourth-year Biomedical Sciences graduate student in Dr. Eric Huang’s laboratory. The Huang Lab studies glia-neuron and glia-glia interactions in the developing and aging brains. Jiapei is studying how the brain’s resident immune cells, microglia, can regulate the development of neurons and blood vessels in the prenatal brain. To this end, the lab has generated several mouse models, including the maternal immune activation (MIA) model, to study how an activated immune system can lead to abnormal brain development. Jiapei’s CCSF intern, Shaila Hedge, has been analyzing microglial and neuronal phenotypes in MIA mouse embryos. This project will help uncover further details on the role of microglia in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Patrick Dolan

Patrick Dolan

Patrick Dolan, PhD, is an NIH-NIAID K99 Transition-to-Independence Fellow in Raul Andino’s Laboratory at UCSF. His research focuses on the evolution of viral pathogens including enteroviruses (like poliovirus and Coxsackievirus) and flaviviruses (like dengue and Zika). He uses computational and experimental techniques to understand the biological and physical forces that shape the evolution of these viruses. Patrick is excited to host Zamira Nasonkin as a CCSF intern. Zamira is developing a pipeline to generate and screen libraries of mutant proteins to better characterize the effects of mutation on viral proteins and facilitate future drug and vaccine development.

Susanna Elledge

Susanna Elledge

Susanna is a 5th year graduate student in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology graduate program and works in Jim Wells’ lab. Her project focuses on expanding antibody therapeutic and diagnostics possibilities through bioconjugation methods. In particular, she has worked on site-specific conjugation methods utilizing the amino acid methionine as a reactive handle on proteins. Susanna and Jamie are co-mentoring Miko Mallari on a project using methionine and cysteine based bioconjugation methods to make finely tuned bispecific antibodies that activate T-cells to attack cancer cells.

Ben Guthrie

Ben Guthrie

Ben Guthrie (he/him) is a postdoctoral scholar with Peter Turnbaugh at UCSF who is interested in the interaction between ligands and proteins and how that interaction modulates physiological response in the context of the human microbiome. He is now studying the ways in which the microbiome affects the pharmacology of drugs on the biochemical level to unravel the varied patient outcomes that are observed. A passionate mentor and teacher, he has taught lab and lecture courses at the university level as well as designed curricula to reach populations of students who are underrepresented in the life sciences. Aliyah Peterson, Ben’s CCSF intern, is helping to biochemically characterize a diverse set of chemotherapeutic-degrading enzymes from different bacteria associated with the human microbiome.

Nicholas Hanne

Nicholas Hanne

Nicholas Hanne is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Ralph Marcucio's Laboratory. The Marcucio Laboratory has elucidated how biochemical signaling centers regulate healthy facial development. Nicholas will extend this line of research by determining physical contributions to facial morphogenesis. He is utilizing techniques to generate spatial maps of mechanical properties across the developing face at the molecular, cellular, and tissue level. Alteration of the biomechanical environment during development may contribute to craniofacial dysmorphologies such as cleft lip and palate. CCSF intern Charlie Allen is helping Nicholas with manual analysis and developing code that will automate this analysis.

Nerissa Hoglen

Nerissa Hoglen

Nerissa is a neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Devanand Manoli’s laboratory. The Manoli lab uses prairie voles, which form monogamous pair-bonds, as a model organism to investigate the neural basis of social behaviors. Nerissa studies the role of neural responses to vocal communication between prairie voles in the process of forming a pair-bond. CCSF intern Denis Galo has been working with Nerissa to identify brain regions that selectively respond to vocal stimuli using molecular markers of neural activity. This project involves validating techniques and materials in voles, learning histological methods, and quantification of marker-expressing cells in brain tissue.

Nikolaos Kyritsis

Nikolaos Kyritsis

Nikos is an Assistant Professional Researcher and a Principal Investigator at the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He got his Integrated Master's degree on Biological Applications and Technology in Greece and his PhD on molecular neurobiology from the International Max Planck Research School in Dresden, Germany. His research interests are the identification of molecular signatures after neurotrauma (traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries) both in the central nervous system and the periphery. These molecular signatures are being used as biomarkers but also as targets for therapeutic interventions. Nikos' CCSF Intern, Kenneth Fond, will work on a prospective clinical study called TRACK-SCI (Transforming Research And Clinical Knowledge for Spinal Cord Injury), on which Nikos is a Co-Investigator, and try to identify acute care clinical variables as well as blood gene expression profiles that predict whether a spinal cord injury patient will develop chronic neuropathic pain 6- and 12-months post injury.

Yanxin Liu

Yanxin Liu

Yanxin is an associate specialist in David Agard’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interest is to mechanistically understand how molecular chaperones mediate protein folding and maturation. To answer this question, he utilized an integrative approach that combines biochemistry, structural biology, and computational modeling. Previously he has served as a mentor for three CCSF interns, including Nicolas Delaeter who won the internship poster award in Fall 2019 (read their story here). Yanxin is hosting Annie Chu as an intern this semester to investigate how SARS-CoV-2 hijacks the human molecular chaperone system during virus infection.

Cecilia Noecker

Cecilia Noecker

Cecilia is a postdoctoral scholar and microbiome scientist in the Turnbaugh lab at UCSF. She uses a combination of experimental and computational tools to study the metabolism and ecology of human gut microbes, with a current focus on the species Eggerthella lenta, which has distinctive metabolic capabilities and is linked to human disease. CCSF intern Lu Guo is working with Cecilia to analyze the population structure of E. lenta genomes assembled from a global collection of microbiome datasets.

Manuel Soliño

Manuel Soliño

Manuel is a postdoctoral researcher in the Ou lab, part of the Ophthalmology department at UCSF. His research interests are the determinants of neurodegenerative diseases and potential therapeutic interventions. He completed his MD and PhD training in Buenos Aires University. There, he studied neurodegenerative diseases of the outer retina with a focus on therapeutic strategies. At UCSF, Manuel is trying to understand how synaptic disassembly occurs and how different types of neurons are affected in glaucoma in animal models and humans. His studies comprise biochemical, functional and morphological techniques. Manuel’s CCSF intern, Manuel Cardona, will work on the effects of a therapeutic agent on neuronal death in an animal model of glaucoma.

Li Wang

Li Wang

Li is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Arnold Kriegstein’s lab at UCSF. He is interested in understanding the complex and dynamic process of human brain development. Currently, he is studying the genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of neural differentiation and synapse development in the human cerebral cortex using single-cell genomic and proteomic approaches. Li’s intern, Brandon Ho, worked on investigating the role of an ASD-associated chromatin regulator in prenatal human neural progenitor proliferation and differentiation using primary tissue culture systems.

Wanpeng Wang

Wanpeng Wang

Wanpeng is a postdoctoral scholar in Tom Kornberg’s lab at UCSF. He is interested in filopodia mediated cell-cell signaling that guides organ development. Using the Drosophila trachea as a genetic system, Wanpeng combines genomics, proteomics and imaging techniques to investigate the cell surface proteins that guide trachea development. Wanpeng will work together with his CCSF intern, Yingshan Bi to generate CRISPR knock-in fluorescent or degron tags for trachea surface proteins to further elucidate how cells communicate through filopodia and develop new trachea.

Inclusive Mentoring Fellows: 2020 Cohort

This inaugural group of 14 UCSF graduate students and postdocs first completed over 16 hours of training on being supervisors, trainers, and advisors.

Next, they were coached through the hiring and supervising/training process for four months.

They began working with their interns in February 2020 and continued to do so through the shut-down of UCSF labs in March - May 2020.

We applaud their intrepid leadership and celebrate their efforts toward becoming inclusive mentors and managers!

Madeline Andrews

Madeline Andrews is a postdoctoral fellow in Arnold Kriegstein’s lab at UCSF. She is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms guiding human cerebral cortex development. For her studies on cell signaling mechanisms she utilizes neural organoids and primary tissue culture systems. The project her CCSF intern, Raul Morales Rivera, worked on this semester is focused on understanding how Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Signaling (LIF) regulates the developmental trajectory of a population of neural stem cells expanded in the human cortex, called outer radial glial cells.

 Allison Cohen

Allison is a sixth-year Tetrad graduate student in Dr. Anita Sil’s laboratory. The Sil Lab studies a group of fungi that can cause severe lung infections in humans. Allison is studying how one of these fungi, Histoplasma capsulatum, is able to invade and destroy host immune cells. The lab has been making genetic alterations in the immune cells to uncover points of vulnerability in these immune cells that can be readily exploited by the fungus. Allison's CCSF intern, Eric Tablante, has been working on a project using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to disrupt genes in the immune cell that may play a role in triggering a stress response upon infection with H. capsulatum. This project will improve the understanding of how this fungus can kill immune cells.

Read a profile of Allison and Eric's experience working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Jeff Glasgow

Jeff is a postdoc in Jim Wells' lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. The Wells lab studies how changes in cell surface proteins in disease can be targeted using engineered proteins. Jeff's current projects focus on antibody-based modulation of T cell activity to tune immune responses. Jeff’s CCSF intern, Miguel Padilla, is investigating the effects of small molecules on cytokine/receptor interactions.

 Jennifer Hayashi

A San Francisco native, Jennifer left the Bay Area to study microbiology at UC Davis and subsequently UMass Amherst. While away, she developed an appreciation for snow and the cold, as well as an increased interest in immunology and infectious disease. Returning to San Francisco, she aims to delineate the mechanisms of membrane alteration during viral infections. Outside of the lab, she enjoys eclectic cooking, hiking, and meeting all the dogs of the Bay Area. Jennifer’s CCSF intern, Amy Li, worked on building a Zika virus expression library and identifying potential targets of Zika virus in the Hippo signaling pathway. Jennifer had also previously mentored CCSF Bioscience Intern, João Paulo Moreira, who investigated the levels of interferon production in macrophages during Junin viral infection. 

Geil Merana

Geil is a 4th year Biomedical Sciences graduate student in Dr. Tiffany Scharschmidt’s lab, which studies how skin commensal microbes maintain good relationships with the host immune system. Geil is interested in how inflammation at distal sites (such as the gut) can alter host-microbe relationships, such as breakdown of immune tolerance, in the skin. Geil's CCSF intern, Yasmin Palacios, worked on a project focused on learning how to use an in vitro DC-T cell assay to dissect the mechanisms by which this can occur.

Heather Richbourg

Heather is an NIH-funded postdoctoral researcher studying the genetic and cell-based variations contributing to craniofacial and brain defects during early development. Heather's overarching research question is quantitatively understanding mechanisms and phenotypes present in diseased states, from the cellular mechanistic to an organismal level for a system-wide understanding of pathology. Heather's CCSF intern, Cole Chabon, worked on a project investigating the relationship between the NOSIP gene and PP2A protein levels in early embryonic development.

 Camille Simoneau

Camille received her BA in biochemistry from Barnard College in 2014 and then worked for two years researching the immune response to HIV at the Ragon Institute.  She then switched coasts to come to UCSF to begin her PhD studies with a focus in immunology and virology.  In the Ott Lab she works on the immune response and pathogenesis of HCV infection.  In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading in Golden Gate Park, and providing the lab with baked goods. Camille’s CCSF intern, Joshua Aldon, worked on investigating entry factors for Zika virus utilizing 3D liver organoid cultures.

 Michel Tassetto

The primary goal of Michel’s research is to understand how animals process viral genetic information and orchestrate their antiviral immune response at the cellular level and systemically. He is specialized in multiple high throughput sequencing techniques and has developed a new approach to decipher small RNA-based antiviral signaling. Michel’s CCSF intern, Amethyst Zhang, while initially working on restriction enzyme cloning to build CRISPR constructs, switched to learning about TAR cloning of SARS-CoV-2, using artificial yeast chromosomes during the pandemic.

T.K. Martin Tsui

T.K. is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Kliment A. Verba (Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Quantitative Biosciences Institute). The Verba Lab studies signaling protein complexes that are involved in various forms of human cancers using structural biology (specifically cryo-EM) and biochemistry. T.K.'s CCSF intern, Zita Gao, worked on a project focused on performing proof-of-principle experiments to repurpose a class of biomolecules for molecular biology and structural biology applications, via molecular cloning, molecular biology, and protein expression.

Peng Xu

Peng Xu received his Ph.D. in Cellular Biology from Hebei Normal University, China in 2013. He then worked as an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, working on the development of droplet microfluidic platforms for single cell genomics and pathogen diagnostics. In 2017, he joined Dr. Adam Abate's lab at the University of California, San Francisco as a postdoc continuing his research on developing droplet microfluidics for microbial genomics.

Fauna Yarza

Fauna is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences program carrying out thesis work in Dr. Seemay Chou’s laboratory. Fauna is interested in the basic biology of parasites that permits transmission of human pathogens. Fauna focuses on the immune system of the tick vector for Lyme disease to better understand how ticks tolerate the presence of human pathogens. Fauna's CCSF intern, Soomi Kim, contributed to this work by identifying novel tick antimicrobial peptides.

Inclusive Mentoring Fellow Affiliates

Meghna Gupta

Meghna is a postdoctoral scholar at the Stroud Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. The Stroud lab works on understanding membrane proteins using X-ray crystallography and Cryo-EM. Meghna is interested in studying the function and mechanism of ABC transporters with a specific focus on structural biology. Meghna is currently working on the interaction of a soluble protein with an ABC transporter to elucidate its function using Cryo-EM. Meghna's CCSF intern, Carina Ancheta, focused on the expression and purification of the soluble counterpart and sequence analysis for assessing the predicted binding site.

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