Current Lab Members

The Alvira lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that control postnatal growth of the lung, and how long term lung health is affected by injuries that occur in early childhood.  

 Cristina Maria Alvira, MD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Alvira completed her medical school training at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.  She came to Palo Alto to pursue residency training in pediatrics, and remained at Stanford to pursue subspecialty training in pediatric critical care medicine.    During her clinical fellowship, she began working in the laboratory of Dr. Marlene Rabinovitch, a world leader in pulmonary vascular biology.  It was during this time within Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab that Dr. Alvira recognized her passion for science in general and NFkB in particular, and continued to pursue extensive post-doctoral training in basic research after the completion of her clinical fellowship in 2005.   Dr. Alvira transitioned to her own research program in 2008, and was appointed Assitant Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2010.    


Min Liu, PhD

Life Science Research Associate

Dr. Min Liu joined the Alvira Laboratory at the Center for Excellence in Pulmonary Biology on January 2013. Her research focus is to explore the specific roles of the two NFκB activating kinases, IKKα and IKKβ on the migration and the cytoskeletal organization of pulmonary endothelial cells, with a particular interest in understanding how the NFκB pathway and Rho GTPases signaling networks regulate endothelial cell migration and angiogenesis. She also helps manage the lab and supervise students and postdocs. Out of the lab, she enjoys drawing, swimming and travelling.

Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. in Biology from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her postdoctoral research at Stanford University and School of Medicine and University of California, Davis focused on fungal vaccine development and microbial molecular Biology. Prior to join her doctoral program in US, she worked as an assistant professor and lecturer at Peking University Health Science Center in China.

Shailaja Rao

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr.  Rao completed her PhD in Molecular Medicine in December 2013 from The Medical University of Graz, Austria, under the mentorship of Professor Sasa Frank in the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  Her graduate project was centered upon the role of endothelial lipase and modified high density lipoproteins (HDL) on vascular reactivity. She joined the Alvira lab in the fall of 2014, and created a novel mouse model containing an inducible, endothelial-specific deletion of the NFkB activator, IKKb.  Based on her early work she was awarded a Stanford Child Health Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, and Platform Presentations at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meetings in 2016 and 2017.