Current Members

Mark A. Kay

Mark did an MD PhD at Case Western Reserve University and moved to Baylor College of Medicine in 1987 to pursue a residency and fellowship in Pediatrics, Medical Genetics and Inborn Errors of Metabolism. He started his work on Gene therapy during this period as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1993 he started his independent career at the University of Washington before moving to Stanford in 1998.  His work encompasses many different fields including gene transfer vectors, genome engineering and non-coding RNA biology. His work spans basic research thru clinical trials. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his partner, adult children, photography, music and playing tennis.

Katja Pekrun

Katja received her PhD from the University of Goettingen, Germany and first came to the US in 1997 to pursue a PostDoc. Katja spent several years in the Biotech industry prior to joining the Kay Lab in 2014. Besides being the de-facto lab manager she works on projects related to homologous integration using recombinant AAV vectors and explores rAAV based expression of human Factor IX in murine and non-human primate animal models. Previously, Katja worked on the generation and screening of AAV capsid shuffled libraries. When not in the lab she enjoys running, hiking, biking, and going on fun outings with her college-age sons whenever they are visiting.

Francesco Puzzo

Francesco is a post-doctoral researcher in the Kay lab interested gene therapy. He earned a PhD at Genethon (France) working on gene therapies approaches for Pompe disease. In the Kay lab, he is developing novel AAV vectors by chemical modification of the capsid.  He is also interested oin characterizing the mechanism behind the nuclease-free AAV-targeted integration. In his free time,  Francesco loves watching sports and playing soccer on campus, listening to music, and playing his guitar.

Yuqing Jing

Yuqing is from China and received her PhD from Peking University.  Her research is focused on studying the mechanisms of functional tsRNA (tRNA derived small RNA) in tumor generation and progression. She also enjoys reading, cooking and hiking.

Hagoon Jang

Hagoon received his PhD from Seoul National University in 2016 and started in the Kay lab in 2017. His research is focused on the functional role of primary transcripts of miR122 as an independent lncRNA in the liver using AAV-Crispr, AAV-Crispri and AAV-CrisprA for in vivo studies.

Feijie Zhang

Feijie is a Life Science Research professional. She assists various researchers in the lab with their projects, especially in performing rodent experiments and procedures.

Stephen Trisno

Stephen is from the Bay Area and completed his B.S. in Bioengineering in 2012 at the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to pursue a dual-degree program at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. There, he completed his PhD in Molecular and Developmental Biology in 2018, where he developed a method to generate human esophageal organoids from pluripotent stem cells to study early developmental process guiding esophageal versus respiratory development. He subsequently completed his MD in 2020 and is currently training at the Pediatric Residency Program at Stanford Health / Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and joined the Kay lab.

Eirini Vamva
Originally from Greece, Eirini moved to London where she was first introduced to the world of Gene therapy at GlaxoSmithKline. She later received her PhD from the University of Cambridge engineering lentiviral vectors for improved packaging. Before joining the Kay lab as a post-doc she pursued research between Scripps/UW focusing on improving lentiviral mediated transduction of primary cells. Her scientific interests lie in engineering vectors for gene therapy applications and unraveling mechanisms of their life cycle to improve their therapeutic potential.

Yuqian Jiang

Yuqian graduated from Zhejiang University in China with her B.E. degree in Bioengineering in 2016. She then started her PhD training in the Pennsylvania State University, working on human stem cell differentiation, genome editing and biosensing to treat diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and viral infections. In 2022, she completed her PhD and joined the Kay lab as a postdoctoral researcher. She is currently investigating the mechanisms of species-specific tropism of AAV vectors. Outside the lab, she loves spending time with her infant daughter.


Yiming Liu

Yiming completed his PhD at Penn State University in 2022. During his doctoral training, he developed multiple photoactivated metal-based miRNA mimic delivery systems for targeted cancer therapy. He is currently studying a lncRNA and its role in liver homeostasis and liver cancer. In his free time, he loves spending time with his daughter and playing Dota2.



Qianhui Du

Qianhui received her PhD at Tulane University under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Belancio. She worked on L1 retrotransposon during her time at Tulane. She started her postdoctoral research in Dr. Mark Kay’s lab in the Summer of  2023 focusing on mechanisms of AAV vector tropism and the interaction between the virus and host factors in targeted cells.