Hometown: Newton, MA
I chose MCP for both the research and the culture. The research interests and scientific approach of the labs in this department are geared towards solving problems that span across the molecular, cellular and tissue levels for a deeper understanding of how life works. More Meanwhile, the small size and collaborative environment of MCP means we all know one another and I don’t feel like just another cog in the wheel. I’ve gained more insight into how I learn and work as an individual and how groups of researchers work together as teams as a result of being a part of the MCP research community. I feel like the mentors around me in MCP truly care about me and the other MCP students and are willing to work closely with me to help me succeed.
I am the MCP Home Program representative in the Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA), and a few of us MCP students just started as FAST mentors for high school students in San Jose. I went to UT Austin for my undergraduate degree and majored in Neuroscience. AT UT, I worked for 3 years in the Aldrich lab as a volunteer and then as a full-time research assistant for a 4thyear after graduation before coming to Stanford. Outside of science, I’m an avid concert/festival-goer & nature-lover. Once a competitive soccer-player, I now keep my hospital bill down by sticking to yoga, jogging and hiking. I also like to cook, paint with watercolors, road-trip and go camping.
I’m broadly interested in how cells receive and respond to extracellular signals, which is a prominent theme within MCP and how I came to choose this program. I study the Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling pathway from a biochemical perspective in the Weis lab. More As an undergraduate at Duke University, I studied chemistry and computational biology and researched olfactory receptors in Dr. Hiro Matsunami’s lab. Outside of science I play ultimate frisbee, go backpacking, and browse Petfinder.
Hometown: The Plains, VA
I chose MCP because the faculty all study topics that interested me, and upon meeting the people at my interview, I discovered a warm group of people who wanted to help me on my journey through graduate school. More The MCP environment is very supportive and the small size of the program allows for me to personally know all the students and faculty in the department. I discovered my love for cell biology during my undergrad at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I worked in the Voeltz lab for 2 years as an undergraduate, and stayed for 2 years to work as a technician. In my free time I like to take my dog LouLou to the dog park, catch up with my friends, and enjoy the great restaurants in the area. Less
Hometown: Lincoln Heights, CA
I chose MCP because of the one on one support from administrators and faculty. I’m interested in the structural mechanisms underlying HIV-1 viral replication. I graduated from UC Berkeley, as an undergraduate, and had no clue what I wanted to do. More I ended up working at a biotechnology start-up in the bay-area for two years before figuring out I wanted to apply to grad school. When I’m not doing science I like to tend to my indoor plants, FaceTime with family and catch up on my Netflix shows (currently obsessed with Avatar the Last Air Airbender). I am involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area and volunteer with Stanford FAST (Future Advancers of Science and Technology)
I attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn and graduated with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. In undergrad, I worked in a chemistry lab on a project to generate metal-silica, core-shell nanostructures. At Stanford, More I joined Lynette Cegelski’s lab, which uses biophysical techniques to study complex biological systems. My thesis focuses on the extracellular matrix of Escherichia coli biofilms, more specifically investigating the structure and function of phosphoethanolamine modified cellulose, the first discovered naturally chemically modified cellulose! My hobbies include watching movies and playing intramural basketball, softball, volleyball, and soccer.
From a young age I was enamored with science. Just after high school I operated nuclear reactors for the US Navy and was immersed in how these power generators translate theory into reality, albeit in a rather dull grey setting. More Once I left that job, I found myself asking what I truly was passionate about. I settled on one simple passion. I've always been fascinated by how life communicates. This sharpened in my undergrad research where I learned about growth factor pathways and how even bacteria can communicate with our own cells. Now I seek to understand how our cells process that information on a molecular level in Wnt signaling, to listen to outside signals though receptors and effect protein complexes inside. Outside of science I continue to look at life through my garden and enjoy discovering new things in a cozy setting. I am also an avid board and tabletop gamer, plus a few video games on the side.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, traveled to the University of Cambridge to attain my MPhil, and am now pursuing a joint PhD in MCP and a MS in the BMI as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Outside of research, I enjoy basketball, exercising, and tennis. More My interests in science have certainly changed over time but I am currently interested in understanding the basic, macromolecular principles that govern basic processes such as protein-protein or RNA-protein interactions. I believe that this can uncovered through a mixture of bioinformatics and informed biophysical measurements. I hope to engage and learn as much as I can while I am at Stanford, so please feel free to reach out whenever!
Rotating Fall Student
Hometown: San Mateo/Redwood City, CA
I grew up in the Bay Area and got my undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara. After soaking up a ton of (but not quite enough) sun, sand, and salt water, I returned to the bay and worked as a research associate/lab manager in the Manglik lab. More There, I constantly patched up our leaky cell culture CO2 system and used yeast display platforms to study antibody fitness and hedgehog signaling. Applying to grad school as a first-generation college student and immigrant, I knew I wanted to find a department that housed diverse science and people – I found that within MCP. Outside of science, you can find me mentoring young students, snowboarding, or indulging in my guilty pleasures of drinking crispy cold PBRs and eating very spicy tacos.
Rotating Fall Student
Rogel Hernandez, Lucero
I’ve always been fascinated with the structural diversity that exists among proteins and how protein networks become activated by extracellular signals to initiate cell-to-cell communication processes that ultimately induce behavioral responses at the organismal level. More I joined the department of MCP to develop a greater understanding of such mechanisms and strengthen my knowledge in genetics, neurobiology, and biochemistry. From MCP I have learned about a variety of techniques to interrogate cell signaling mechanisms and to apply some of these techniques to my current research. In the Goodman lab, I study the ability of the small nematode C. elegans to detect plant-derived compounds, with the goal of identifying their molecular targets and assess their potential therapeutic properties for mental health. Before starting graduate school, I worked as a tech at Quintara Biosciences, a DNA sequencing facility, and conducted a post-bac in the Zahler lab where I studied the mechanism of RNA splicing. As an undergrad and post-bac at UCSC, I had the opportunity to engage with members of the STEM Diversity Programs Office and to advocate for STEM diversity in higher education. As a graduate student, I continue to support STEM diversity in higher education by serving as a mentor to undergraduate and first-year graduate students through ADVANCE, Bay Area Graduate Pathways (GPS) to STEM, Stanford’s First-Gen Low Income (FLI) Program, and the Women in STEM Mentoring Program. Outside of lab life, I enjoy painting, bird watching, hiking, and cooking with my family.
Faculty: Chu, Kobilka
Program: Structural Biology
Program: Mechanical Engineering
Program: Structural Biology
Khalaj, Anna Jeanne
Program: Developmental Biology
Program: Developmental Biology
Hometown: Woodland, CA
My research path is filled with quite the variety of model systems and lab tasks. I’ve pollinated broccoli flowers by hand (for pay) at UC Davis, induced egg laying in sea urchin with KCl, and cultivated sea squirts collected off the harbor dock at UCSB. More Ultimately, for my Ph.D. I landed in the O’Brien lab after being captivated by beautiful live imaged movies of fly gut stem cells. I’m actually a Developmental Biology student and I chose the O’Brien lab because of its infectious positivity, super creative science, and unique approaches to understanding how stem cells maintain adult tissues over time. I think good science communication is important and founded Stanford Ask a Scientist within the Stanford Science Penpals Program. Outside of science I like to hike and backpack and play with my dog Olaf. I also like to garden and start random art projects like mosaics or painting my shoes.