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Hadia Ahsan, Research Professional

B.S., University of California, San Diego

Hadia is recent graduate of the University of California-San Diego, where she earned a degree in human biology. She first became interested in research while working as an intern at Molecular Assemblies, Inc. in San Diego, where she studied the potential of using naturally-occurring DNA polymerases to produce sequence-specific synthetic DNA on an industrial scale. After developing an interest in cell biology, she decided to explore the field of stem cell research, hoping to gain a better understanding of cell signaling during development. She is now immersed in developmental neurobiology, and though she is new to the field, she excited to contribute to the lab’s efforts to understand early brain development and model it in vitro. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, family and cats, traveling, and reading about world history.

Tim Chai, M.D./Ph.D. Student (Joint with Irv Weissman's lab)

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Tim began his never-ending MD/PhD candidacy in 2016. He did not seriously consider a career in research until joining Owen Witte’s lab at UCLA in 2012. There, he realized that he was not good at memorization and needed another way to make a living. Jointly mentored by Irv Weissman and Kyle Loh, he is interested in T cell dysfunction within the tumor microenvironment and T cell maturation for the eventual development of cancer therapies. Outside of the lab, Tim enjoys pestering Warriors “fans.” Tim is supported by the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program.

Carolyn Dundes, Ph.D. Student

B.A., Wesleyan University

Carolyn is a Ph.D. Student in Stanford’s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program, and they are wholeheartedly captivated by developmental neurobiology. They completed their undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, where they worked in the lab of Dr. Laura Grabel to derive inhibitory interneurons from human embryonic stem cells. At Stanford, Carolyn seeks to understand how we can more accurately model early human brain development in vitro. Throughout their Ph.D. studies, Carolyn aspires to be the #1 stem cell parent. When they are not in lab, you can find them gleefully walking dogs around Palo Alto. Carolyn is supported by the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Stanford Graduate Fellowship and Stanford DARE Fellowship, and has been recognized by the Stanford VPGE Academic Achievement Award.

Laura Dunkin-Hubby, Administrative Associate (Joint with Phil Beachy's lab and Lay Teng Ang's lab)

M.A., San Jose State University; B.A., Sarah Lawrence College

Laura Dunkin-Hubby is a visual artist and art historian from the San Francisco Bay Area. Although not a scientist by trade, her interest in research stems from her background in art history, which she has been studying since high school. She most recently worked on interdisciplinary programs at the intersection of art and science at the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics (CEHG) and the overlap between the two subjects still fascinates her. When she's not working in the lab, she is traveling the world, making art, baking, drinking tea, doing really bad Eddie Izzard impressions.

Jonas Fowler, Ph.D. Student

B.A., University of Chicago

Jonas is interested in understanding the role of stem cells in the development and maintenance of tissues at different stages of life, from early embryonic development to adulthood. Understanding how these processes vary could ultimately allow for researchers to better harness the potential of stem cells for treating disease through regenerative efforts. However, stem cell treatments inherently face the problem of immune tolerance, which is another area of interest for Jonas and why he specialized in Immunology when obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago. Outside of the lab, Jonas enjoys being outdoors either swimming, hiking, climbing or snowboarding. Jonas is supported by the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and the Stanford Bio-X Honorary Ph.D. Fellowship, and was also selected for the National Science Foundation's Ph.D. fellowship.

Rayyan Jokhai, M.D. Student

B.A., Johns Hopkins University

Rayyan is from Queens, New York and is pursuing an M.D. in the Stanford School of Medicine. He is interested in developmental neurobiology and understanding the maturation process of neural cells, beginning at the embryonic stem cell stage. He hopes to apply this knowledge clinically and ultimately use regenerative medicine to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Rayyan completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University, where he worked in the lab of Dr. Thomas Lectka to develop novel fluorination methods for biologically-relevant compounds. At Stanford, Rayyan hopes to better understand how we can selectively drive neural differentiation and improve patient care. Outside of the lab, Rayyan enjoys watching basketball, going bowling, (mini)golfing, and playing ping pong. Rayyan is supported by the Stanford Medical Scholars Research Program, and has been recognized by the Stanford Chi-Li Pao Foundation-AOA Student Research Fellowship.

Kyle Loh, Faculty

Ph.D., Stanford University; B.A., Rutgers University (CV)

Kyle enjoys learning about developmental biology and using this knowledge to exert control over stem cells. He was a beneficiary of public schools (County College of Morris and Rutgers University) and conducted research at the Genome Institute of Singapore (with Bing Lim) and Stanford University (for his Ph.D., with Irv Weissman), with fellowships from the Hertz Foundation, U.S. National Science Foundation and Davidson Institute for Talent Development. He then continued as a Siebel Investigator and later, as an Assistant Professor and The Anthony DiGenova Endowed Faculty Scholar, at Stanford. Kyle is a Packard Fellow, Pew Scholar, Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator and Baxter Foundation Faculty Scholar, and has been recognized by the NIH Director's Early Independence Award, Forbes 30 Under 30, Harold Weintraub Graduate Award, Hertz Foundation Thesis Prize and the A*STAR Investigatorship. In his spare time, Kyle goes road biking and writes and reads science fiction.


Massimo Nichane, Instructor

Ph.D., Free University of Brussels; B.S., University of Mons-Hainaut

In his childhood, Massimo was fascinated by the origin of primitive lifeforms and their subsequent evolution into complex organisms. Upon obtaining his Bachelor's Degree (Hons) in science from University of Mons-Hainaut in Belgium, he pursued a Ph.D. in developmental biology in Free University of Brussels where he deciphered regulatory networks involved in neural crest formation. After 15 months of traveling around the world, Massimo began his postdoctoral fellowship at the Genome Institute of Singapore with a specific emphasis on lung stem cells and regeneration. He is interested to understand how cell competence changes during development, tissue regeneration and evolution. Beside spending numerous sleepless nights in the lab, Massimo enjoys reading about history, exploring new lands, cuisine and meeting new people.

Yimiao Qu, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. & M.S., Peking University; B.A., Shandong University

Yimiao obtained her Ph.D. from Peking University where she discovered a molecular mechanism whereby a cell evaluates and keeps a memory of its environment to make a better decision for when to subsequently proliferate. From then on, she has been fascinated by the molecular mechanisms underlying how a cell’s environmental history could reprogram its behavior. A cell’s environmental history also shapes its identity during development. She is now beginning to study whether and how the history of environmental signals can direct the trajectory of the cell differentiation over time during mammalian development. Yimiao believes her research will unveil the molecular mechanisms underlying the landscape of cell differentiation trajectories during early mammalian development. Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching movies (Marvel movies are the best) and travelling around. Yimiao has also developed a new hobby of observing wild animals since she moved to the Bay Area.

Mitheera V, Research Professional

B.S., National University of Singapore

Mitheera majored in Life Sciences (with a Biomedical Sciences specialization) at the National University of Singapore. Originally trained as a cancer researcher, her thesis project elucidated the regulatory functions of non-coding RNAs in the Hippo-YAP/TAZ signaling pathway in lung cancers under the mentorship of Dr. Ramanuj Dasgupta at the Genome Institute of Singapore and Co-Principal Investigator Marius Sudol in the Mechanobiology Institute. Although stem cell research is a new field for her, Mitheera believes that cancer is inherently a developmental disorder. By gaining perspectives on the developmental trajectories of lung progenitors in Stanford, Mitheera aims to better understand lung pathophysiology and explore the suitability of regenerative medicine as a treatment option. Outside of the lab, Mitheera enjoys taking long walks and volunteering within the community.

Alicia Wong, Research Professional

B.S., University of California, Los Angeles

Alicia received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of California – Los Angeles. Since her undergrad, she has been trained as a molecular biologist with a focus on cancer biology. In her previous lab, she worked on creating genetically defined models of bladder cancer that better recapitulated human disease. She really enjoys learning about new research fields and different experimental techniques and is excited to pursue a new interest in stem cell biology and virology. During her spare time, she enjoys beer tasting and attempting to garden.

Xiaochen Xiong, Research Professional

B.S., Tsinghua University

Xiaochen got his Bachelor's Degree in Science from Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is hooked by the great potential of stem cell. He works on intestinal stem cell during his undergraduate research. Now he is pursuing a better understanding of how embryonic stem cell differentiates both in vitro and in vivo. Outside of the lab, he enjoys exploring new places.

Sherry Zheng, Ph.D. Student

B.S. & B.A., University of California San Diego

Sherry is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Developmental Biology at Stanford. She is fascinated by the mechanisms that coordinate pattern formation and maintenance during early organismal development. Her undergraduate research (conducted in the labs of Andrew Chisholm at UC San Diego and Dan Starr at UC Davis) centered on the patterning of structural components in the C. elegans extracellular matrix. At Stanford, she aims to understand how vascular-derived signals influence the development of various organ systems. Outside of the lab, Sherry enjoys visiting the ocean, eating sandwiches, and watching F1 auto racing. Sherry is supported by the Stanford Graduate Fellowship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.