Featured Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows

John Rinn, Ph.D., 2004–07

John was the Chang Lab's first postdoctoral fellow. John's research interest was in positional identity in skin which led to his discovery of long noncoding RNAs in the HOX loci that regulate chromatin states. He is currently a Professor at Harvard University and a Principle Investigator of the Rinn Laboratory.

David Wong, M.D., Ph.D., 2006–10

Dave studied the mechanisms that underlie cancer stem cells, genomic signatures that predict therapeutic response in human cancer, and the role of ncRNAs in the cell cycle. Currently, he is a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Stanford as well as the co-founder and CEO of DirectDerm. 

Raj Gupta, M.D., Ph.D., 2007–10

Raj studied the role of lincRNAs in modulating the epigenome during cancer development. He is currently working as a co-founder of DirectDerm and practices as a Dermatologist in the Bay Area. 


Miao-Chih Tsai, Ph.D., 2007–11

Miao came to the Chang Lab after Ph.D. at Cambridge University with Professor Julie Ahringer. Miao was a Susan Komen Fellow, and discovered the modular organization of lincRNAs for controlling chromatin state. Currently, she is a Scientific Editor at Cell.

Kevin Wang, M.D., Ph.D., 2008–12

Kevin came to the Chang Lab after completing his Dermatology residency at UCSF, and elucidated the molecular mechanisms underlying how long noncoding RNAs regulate active chromatin domains. He recently started his own research program as the Principal Investigator of the Wang Laboratory, and an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Stanford. 

Nicole Rapicavoli, Ph.D., 2009–13

Nicole received her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University with Professor Seth Blackshaw. In the Chang Lab, Nicole studied the dynamics of gene expression during aging. She discovered a family of lncRNAs that are regulated by inflammatory signaling pathways through NF-kB. Currently, Nicole is a Product Manager at 10X Genomics.


Zhengqing Ouyang, Ph.D., 2010–12

Zhengqing was a joint postdoctoral fellow in the Chang and Snyder labs. He developed SeqFold, a computational algorithm for accurate reconstruction of RNA structure based on high throughput sequencing data. Currently, Zhengqing is an Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Principal Investigator of the Ouyang Laboratory.

Robert Spitale, Ph.D., 2010–14

Robert received his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester in RNA crystallography. Robert developed new methods to probe RNA structures in vivo on a genomic scale and helped to define the secondary structure of several lncRNAs. Currently, he is a Professor at University of California, Irvine, and a Principal Investigator of the Spitale Lab.

Grace Zheng, Ph.D., 2010–14

Grace received her Ph.D. at MIT with Professors Phil Sharp and Chris Burge. Grace started the studies of transcriptional regulation of lncRNA genes in the lab. Grace received a Leukemia Lymphoma Society Fellowship. Currently, she is a Senior Director at Arensal Bio.

Pedro Batista, Ph.D., 2011–16

Pedro came to the lab after Ph.D. training with Professor Craig Mello at University of Massachusetts Medical School. In the Chang Lab, Pedro discovered the role of RNA N6-methyladenosine modification in stem cell differentiation and cancer. Pedro received the Damon Runyon Fellowship. Currently, he is a Stadtman Investigator at the National Cancer Institute. 

Paul Giresi, Ph.D., 2011–13

Paul received his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Jason Lieb. Paul developed a new technology to interrogate chromatin based on DNA transposition called ATAC-seq. He received the American Cancer Society Fellowship. He co-founded Epinomics, and is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Ravel Biotechnology. 


Adam Schmitt, M.D., 2012–15

Adam received his M.D. from University of Chicago and is a physician scientist specializing in Radiation Oncology. He discovered novel functions of long noncoding RNAs induced by DNA damage. He received fellowships from American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Board of Radiology. Currently, Adam is a Radiation Oncologist and a Principal Investigator at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

Lisa Zaba, M.D., Ph.D., 2012–13

Lisa received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Cornell and Rockefeller Universities respecitvely, and completed a Dermatology residency at Stanford. Lisa studied the epigenetic basis of skin diseases. She received the Dermatology Foundation Fellowship. Currently, Lisa is a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Stanford Medicine.

Qiangfeng Cliff Zhang, Ph.D., 2012–15

Cliff received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Science and Technology of China and a second Ph.D. in Biophysics from Columbia University. He co-developed the high throughput profiling techniques for RNA structures and interactions. He received the Dean Fellowship from Stanford. Currently, Cliff is a Professor and a Principal Investigator at the School of Life Sciences at the Tsinghua University.

Michelle Longmire, M.D., 2014–15

Michelle received her M.D. from University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed Dermatology residency at Stanford. Michelle's research focus was on the epigenetics of aging. Currently, Michelle is Co-founder and CEO of Medable.

Masahiro Onoguchi, Ph.D., 2014–15

Masahiro received his Ph.D. from University of Tokyo. His focus in the lab was the structure and function of noncoding RNAs. He has received the Uehara Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Currently, he is an Assitant Professor at Waseda University.

Nathan Sheffield, Ph.D., 2015–16

Nathan was a Human Frontier Science Program Fellow who developed computational methods to study the human epigenome. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia and a Principal Investigator of the Sheffield Lab.

Ulrike Litzenburger, Ph.D., 2014–18

Ulli obtained her PhD at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) and in the Chang Lab studied the epigenetic landscape of single cells with a focus on drugs (Kinase and HDAC inhibitors) and the long non-coding RNA HOTAIR. She is currently an Oncology Research Lead at NUVISAN Pharma.


Graduate Students

Adam Adler, 2005–08

Adam was Howard's first Ph.D. student. Adam studied mechanisms underlying gene expression changes in cancer and aging. He identified novel therapeutic targets for aggressive human breast cancers, and he discovered a global regulator of mammalian aging that, upon its blockade, can reverse several effects of aging. He moved on to become a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Gill Bejerano's lab at Stanford University studying computational biology. Currently, Adam is the Chief Scientific Office at GigaGen and Co-founder of GigaMune.


Jordon Wang, 2005–09

Jordon was another initial member of the lab. Jordon characterized HOTAIR, the first noncoding RNA that regulates chromatin state in trans, and study the stability of HOX gene expression programs in human fibroblasts. He also helped to discover and characterize UTX, the long sought after histone H3 lysine 27 demethylase. Currently, Jordon is a Vice President at LakePharma.

Tiara Kawahara, 2006–10

Tiara received her B.S. from Northwestern University and joined the lab as a Stanford Cancer Biology Ph.D. student. She discovered the connection between NF-kB, Sirt6, and aging in collaborated with the Chua Lab. Currently, she is an Executive Director at Amgen.

Tiffany Hung, 2007–12

Tiffany received her B.S. at Stanford and joined the Cancer Biology Ph.D. program. Tiffany discovered new families of lncRNAs transcribed from cell cycle promoters and in response to DNA damage. These lncRNAs have important roles in cell cycle regulation and damage signaling. Tiffany received the NSF and NSDEG Graduate Fellowships. Currently, she is a Medical Director at GRAIL.

Yue Wan, 2008–13

Yue received her B.S. from UCSD and joined the Stanford Cancer Biology Ph.D. program with support from the A*STAR program. Yue developed the first methods to measure RNA structure and folding energies genome-wide, and described the first "RNA structurome". Currently, she is a Senior Research Scientist at the Genome Institute of Singapore and Group Leader.

Jason Buenrostro, 2009–15

Jason was a joint Ph.D. student in Chang and Greenlead labs at Stanford. Jason invented ATAC-seq and single cell ATAC-seq, and he also developed a technology for massively parallel RNA mutagenesis and biochemistry (RNA-MaP). Currently, he is an Assitant Professor at Harvard University and an Associate Member of Broad Insitute. 

Ci Chu, 2009–14

Ci received his B.S. from Duke University and joined the Stanford Cancer Biology Ph.D. program with support from the A*STAR program. Chu invented ChIRP-seq, the method to map genomic occupancy sites of long noncoding RNAs, and pioneered RNA-centric tools to understand the RNA interactome. Currently, he is a Senior Director at insitro. 

Jeffrey Quinn, 2011–16

Jeffrey received his B.S. from MIT in Biological Engineering in 2006, and joined Stanford's doctoral program in the Department of Bioengineering in 2010. During his time in the Chang Lab, he developed biochemical and computational tools for studying lncRNA interactions, functions, and evolution, particularly focused on the roX lncRNAs in Drosophila dosage compensation. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist at Inscripta.