Vivek was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Leeper lab from 2015-2019. He completed his undergraduate studies in Bioinformatics from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, following which he joined the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston as a research technician. After gaining a couple years of experience he moved back to wintery Rochester to pursue his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester, New York. As a predoctoral candidate he defined the expression and transcriptional regulation of a rather understudied gene called Leiomodin1 and thereafter began investigating its function in cultured smooth muscle cells. He simultaneously also designed a targeting vector to inactivate the Leiomodin1 locus in mice. During his time at Stanford, Vivek worked on investigating the function of genes located on the 9p21 locus, and developed an independent research project further studying the role of LMOD1 in atherosclerosis, for which he was awarded a prestigious K99/R00 award. When away from lab, he plays racquetball and enjoys swimming. Vivek was appointed to a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2020.
Ying was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Vascular Surgery from 2017-2020. She grew up in China, and received her Ph.D from the University of British Columbia in Canada, where she studied the role of lipoprotein lipase in cardiomyopathy during diabetes. Ying then obtained a Postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Gordon Francis’ lab at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver to investigate the contribution of vascular smooth muscle cells for cell formation in atherosclerosis. Ying’s research focused on how vascular smooth muscle cells drive atherogenesis, and her time in the lab was marked by several discoveries about the role of SMC phenotype switching and clonal expansion in cardiovascular disease. In her free time, Ying enjoys drawing, hiking, and traveling. Ying was appointed to a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at the University of British Columbia in 2021.
A former All-American Division I athlete, Kevin joined our group while a medical student at Stanford University having previously studied the molecular basis of inflammation and phagocyte biology. During his time with us, Kevin developed an interest in ‘big data’, bioinformatics and genetic epidemiology and was awarded a highly competitive Gates-Cambridge Scholarship. Since receiving his MPhil at the University of Cambridge, Kevin has become an expert in Mendelian Randomization and other advanced ‘omics approaches. After pursuing his clinical residency training at the University of Pennsylvania, Kevin was awarded the prestigious Holman Fellowship based on a series of high impact publications in journals such as JCO, JACC, Diabetes,and Circ Research. Kevin was appointed to a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2020.
Alyssa spent two years as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Research fellow in the Leeper lab from 2017-2019. She grew up in the East Bay Area and completed her graduate medical education at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. She has a research background in small molecule drug discovery, with work in ocular therapeutics at UC San Francisco and in peripheral arterial disease as an NIH T35 trainee at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During her time with us, Alyssa pursued her interests in the genetics of cardiovascular disease and precision medicine. While focusing on developing translational therapies for diseases such as atherosclerosis and aneurysmal disease she pioneered a novel, macrophage-specific, pro-efferocytic nanoparticle which is currently being studied in translational models. Alyssa was incredibly productive during her time in the lab, publishing first author publications in Circulation, Nature Nanotechnology, ATVB, and many others. Outside of academics, Alyssa enjoys good coffee, running, and sports such as basketball and lacrosse. She is currently completing her integrated vascular surgery residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and looks forward to a career as an NIH-funded surgeon-scientist after completing her clinical training.
Ricky joined the Leeper lab after completing his MSTP at the University of Virginia in the lab of Gary Owens. During his PhD work, Ricky used cell-specific lineage tracing mice to study the impressive plasticity of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells in atherosclerosis, authoring or co-authoring manuscripts in a series of high impact journals including Nature Medicine, Nature Metabolism, JCI Insight, Nature Cardiovascular Medicine, and many others. While studying in the Leeper lab, he embarked on a new effort to determine how SMCs behave in a different chronic disease, with a focus on the microenvironment of developing tumors. Ricky is currently conducting his Internal Medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and will pursue advanced training in cardio-oncology before starting his own independent laboratory.
Kai was a postdoctoral research fellow in Vascular Medicine supported by the German Research Foundation. He received his medical degree with highest honor from Heidelberg University School of Medicine, Germany and is board certified in Internal Medicine (Germany). Following a cardiology fellowship at the Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany, he completed a postdoc in the Leeper lab where he studied novel theranostic approaches in atherosclerosis. His work culminated in a series of high impact publications, including first author papers in Nature Nanotechnology, the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Cardiovascular Medicine, and several more. Kai has now established his own independent laboratory at Heidelberg University where he is a practicing physician-scientist and faculty member.
Kathryn completed her PhD at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Her thesis focused on determining the mechanism behind the beneficial role of TGF-beta on enhancing intestinal epithelial barrier function and protection from EHEC O157:H7 infection. Kathryn went to medical school at the University of Toronto (Canada) where she continued to publish on a wide variety of topics, including neurosurgery, ethics in global surgery, and ischemia-reperfusion, having been awarded competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowships during this time. Kathryn subsequently completed a visiting fellowship at Stanford University, following which returned to Canada for chief year in Vascular Surgery at McMaster. While in the Leeper lab, Kathryn became fascinated with smooth muscle lineage tracing in atherosclerotic plaques and is interested in the immune phenomena that regulate this process. Outside the lab and operating room, Kathryn enjoys trekking in remote places, hiking with her dog and husband, and riding her bike. Kathryn was appointed to a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at the University of Toronto in 2019.
a. Pavlos joined the lab while a 5th-year resident for Vascular Surgery at the Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Hospital rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany. Before that, he studied Medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. He joined our team as a postdoctoral fellow investigating the role of CHI3L1/YKL-40 and plaque vulnerability in carotid atherosclerosis. For that he received a travel grant from the German Research Foundation.
He is half Greek (father), half Argentinean (mother) and in his free-time he spends his time with triathlon, kitesurfing, skiing or playing the piano. Pavlos is now a junior faculty member and surgeon-scientist at the Technical University of Munich.
Kelly joined our group after pursuing a PhD at the University of Kentucky with Lisa Cassis and Alan Daugherty, where she studied the role of angiotensin signaling in cardiometabolic tissue and its relation to insulin signaling, obesity and cardiovascular risk. During her time with us, she studied the role of cardiovascular risk loci on vascular disease and was awarded a Vascular Biology T32 grant while co-authoring studies in JCI, Circ Research and Vascular Medicine. After Stanford, she received a post-doctoral training position at the University of Denver, where she studied vascular aging, and is now pursuing a career in medical writing. Kelly is a fitness enthusiast and triathlete and has thrived as a long distance trail runner in the mountains of Colorado.
Henry “Hank” Cheng came to Stanford while a medical school
student at UCLA after having received a prestigious Sarnoff Fellowship
award.At Stanford, Henry studied the
9p21 cardiovascular risk locus and the molecular genetics surrounding the risk
allele.After returning to medical
school, Henry first obtained a highly competitive residency position at John’s
Hopkins University in Internal Medicine and currently is a cardiovascular
medicine research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.
Roxanne’s remarkable story began when she transferred to Stanford University from a community college in Florida, after having immigrating to the United States from Peru to pursue her dream of higher education. While an undergraduate at Stanford, she joined our cardiovascular research team to learn molecular genetics as part of her honors thesis project. In addition to receiving an AHA Predoctoral fellowship and a Barry Goldwater scholarship, Roxanne had a very productive time within our Division and co-authored a number of papers in journals such as PLoS Genetics, American Journal of Cardiology, JVS and Circulation CV Quality and Outcomes. Since graduating, Roxanne has become a U.S. Citizen and has continued to pursue her love of medical genetics, having worked at Complete Genomics and now at Omicia, where she focuses on next-gen sequencing technology.
After performing two research fellowship programs at the NIH, Scott came as a visiting scholar to our laboratory while a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In his time with us, Scott gained exposure to the basics of vascular biology research and worked with mouse models of aneurysm disease. Since returning to New York, Scott has graduated from medical school and is currently an Internal Medicine resident at the University of Michigan.
Jessie joined our laboratory while a high school senior to gain exposure to biomedical research. During her time with us, she worked with a team studying neo-angiogenesis and learned the fundamentals of RNA expression analysis and mouse models of vascular disease. Because of her contributions, she was named as a co-author on a publication in Circulation Research published in 2016. Jessie was subsequently admitted to Stanford University and pursued graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. She started medical school at the University of Michigan in August 2021. Jessie remains a world traveler and continues to study abroad, most recently in mainland China.
Noah grew up in Los Altos, California, where he attended Los Altos High School. At Los Altos High School, outside of academics, Noah wrestled at the varsity level as a freshman, played varsity baseball, photographed for the school newspaper, The Talon, and sang in the school’s choral group, the Main Street Singers. During the summer of 2014, Noah participated in the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research program (SIMR). He spent 8 weeks in Dr. Stephen Montgomery’s lab where he studied the role of exosomes in transmitting rescue signals to previously irradiated cells. Thereafter, Noah spent multiple summers working with our team, learning the fundamentals of atherosclerosis and cell-fate determination in vascular biology. Noah then completed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Genetics at Haverford College and he is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. In his free time, Noah enjoys singing and playing volleyball with his friends.
Dan was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Leeper lab from 2014-2016. He grew up in Syracuse, NY and completed his B.S. in Biology at the University of Albany, State University of New York. He then received his Ph.D. in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from Purdue University where he studied the role of the transcription factor, Mist1, in pancreatic homeostasis and cancer development in the lab of Dr. Stephen Konieczny. Dan then obtained a Postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. K Craig Kent at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to investigate the role of TGFβ/Smad3 signaling in vascular smooth muscle cell de-differentiation and cross-talk with the Wnt signaling pathway. His over-arching research interests are in the signaling pathways and transcriptional mechanisms that regulate disease processes. While a post-doc, Dan obtained a prestigious AHA post-doctoral research grant. In his free-time, Dan enjoys biking, running, and watching sports or movies. Following his training at Stanford, Dan obtained a position as a Principal Investigator at Arcus Biosciences.
Norna joined the lab as a fourth year medical student at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This fall she will join Leeper Lab to pursue research for her Degree Project in Medicine. Her main focus will be studying the role of CDKN2B in peripheral artery disease and vascular neo-angiogenesis. Previously she has been a member of the George Klein Laszlo Szekely Group, her studies mainly focusing on Cancer Associated Fibroblasts and their role in tumor suppression. Academically, Norna has an interest in applying a global and multicultural perspective on medicine and translational research. Last year she studied global health under Professor Hans Rosling with field studies conducted in Uganda. During this spring she did a surgical internship at Taizhu Enze Medical Center, Zhejiang in China. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, skiing, and diving.
Margaret joined our research team while an undergraduate at Stanford. She worked ontheGenetic Determinants of Peripheral Artery Disease (GenePAD) Study and co-authored several papers in journals including Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, American Journal of Cardiology, and Journal of Vascular Surgery. After graduating, she went on to attend medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and is currently an Internal Medicine resident at Columbia University.
Monika joined the lab as fourth year medical student from the Karolinska Institute conducting her degree thesis at the Leeper Lab.
She is very interested in global medicine, she has taken multiple international medical courses, including Medical Development in Europe and most recently a global surgery course in Mulago, Uganda. Monika has served as the student representative in Karolinska Institutet's Strategic Council for International Affairs as well as being the president of the Karolinska Institutet's student organization for international students.
She has a background in fashion design and in her free time she likes to knit and practice yoga.
Sophia joined the lab as undergraduate at Stanford where she majored in Biology. During her time with us, she became fascinated by the genetic implications of personalized health care as it intersects with cardiovascular disease. As a research assistant, she worked on a project that explored the relationship between angiogenesis and genes on the 9p21 locus, leading to a series of high profile co-authorships. In her free time, Sophia enjoys drawing, travelling and photography. Sophia is currently in medical school at the University of California, San Diego and was recently awarded a highly competitive Sarnoff Fellowship which she is conducting in the lab of Priscilla Hsue at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Jianqin Ye joined the group as lab manager in 2015. He holds an M.D. from Nanjing Medical University and received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the School of Medicine of Xian Jiaotong University in China, where he also completed his surgical residency. Thereafter, he completed postdoctoral training in the Rick Derynck lab at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he studied the role of TGF-β in developmental processes. Subsequent to this, he took part in the Human Genome Project as a Senior Scientist at Celera Genomics (Applied Bioystems), and received advanced training in the Jeff Bluestone laboratory at UCSF. Prior to joining the Leeper lab, he worked as a Senior Research Specialist in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF from 2004 to 2015, where he studied cardiac stem cell therapy by bone marrow stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells, embryonic cells and adult resident cardiac progenitor cells. Following nearly a decade in the lab, Jianqin joined a biotechnology company near his home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Anne was a visiting scholar from Germany who traveled to the US as a scholar of the German Heart Foundation and Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom. During her time at Stanford, she pursued novel nanoparticle based therapeutic approaches for the experimental part of her doctoral thesis in collaboration with Professor Lars Maegdefessel from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Prior to her time in the Leeper Lab, she had functioned as a research coordinator in the Department of Physiology at LMU, where she developed a skill curriculum and gained experience helping to design and to direct undergraduate research projects and advised student scholarship and grant applications. Anne enjoys working at the intersection of medicine, technology and research and developed a 3D AR app for anatomy teaching and a hypertension screening tool. In her free time, she enjoys beekeeping. Fun fact: while in the lab, she even found a wild bee swarm on Stanford University Campus. Anne has now returned to Germany to complete her medical training.
Mason Gonzalez joined our laboratory as an undergraduate at Stanford University studying Human Biology. He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and resides in Woodside, CA. His interests lie in neurobiology and the molecular mechanisms of neurological disorders, which he explored in tandem with vascular biology in the Leeper Lab. Additionally, he was a member of the varsity swimming and diving team and works as a student researcher for the Stanford Huntington's Disease Outreach Program (HOPES). Mason plans to enroll in medical school in 2023.
Zhongde received his Ph.D. from the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, China majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He received his postdoctoral training at Tsinghua University, China and The University of Chicago focusing on embryonic development and host-pathogen interaction. When working as a Research Associate Professor at Chinese Academy of Sciences, he identified CD146, a cell adhesion molecule, acting as a receptor for Wnt in regulating cell motility, cell polarity and convergent extension. Previously at Stanford University, he found that transcriptional up-regulation of miR-181a expression can restore naïve T cell response in the elderly and demonstrated the role of arachidonic acid-regulated calcium influx in overactivation of T cells in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis progress. Zhongde studied immune cell-related mechanisms of the pathogenesis of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation, searching novel targets for immunotherapy and performing consequentially translational research in the Leeper Lab and has now taken a role as a senior immunologist at IGM Therapeutics.
Hua joined the group as a postdoc in 2020. He received a B.S. degree in Biology from Wuhan University and a Ph.D. degree in Bioinformatics from Peking University. After graduated he worked as an assistant research fellow at Peking University People's Hospital. His research experiences include disease gene discovery for rare neurological diseases, clinical application of NGS, and comparative genomics and evolution inference in microbiology. While in the Leeper lab, he focused on the genetic and epigenetic profiles in the single-cell level under the progress of atherogenesis, serving as our lead bioinformatician. After publishing several studies looking at the intersection of cancer and cardiovascular disease, Hua accepted a role at a next-generation sequencing company studying the genetics of cancer and infectious diseases.
Will came to Stanford for his cardiovascular fellowship training after receiving his MD and PhD at the University of Alabama. Having a background in the molecular effects of hyperinsulinemia on diabetes and inflammation, Will was recruited to our Vascular K12 program and participated in advanced training in Vascular Medicine and translational trials focused on vascular regeneration and PAD genomics/metabolomics. After leaving Stanford, Will obtained a competitive fellowship at Yale University and now has an independent academic career as a leader in the field of Vascular Medicine at the Oschner Clinic.
After training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Peter was sent to Stanford by the Singaporean government to take advanced clinical and research training in Vascular Medicine.During his time with us, Peter became involved in the NIH-funded Genetic Determinants of Peripheral Artery Disease (GenePAD) Study at Stanford and published a number of articles investigating predictors of latent and undiagnosed PAD.Peter has now returned to the faculty of the National University of Singapore where he is an Associate Consultant and director of their Vascular Medicine efforts.
Dr. Rana completed the Stanford Vascular Medicine fellowship in 2019. Dr. Rana was born and brought up in India. He completed his medical school from the Armed Forces Medical college in India and moved to USA to pursue higher education. He finished his Internal medicine residency from Allegheny General hospital in Pittsburgh and his cardiology fellowship from Louisiana State University before joining the Stanford team for subspecialty training. For leisure, Dr. Rana enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with family and friends. Atif is now a junior faculty member at the Medical College of Wisconsin where he leads the schools Vascular Medicine efforts.
Dr. Kaufman completed her fellowship in the Stanford Vascular Medicine Fellowship in 2020. Prior to joining our team, she completed her undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at Stanford University and her MD at the University of Chicago. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago (Northshore) program. During her time with us, she developed an expertise in a wide range of vascular conditions and optimizing medical management for patients with peripheral artery disease. Amy is currently completing an advanced wound care fellowship at the University of Minnesota.
Tom Alsaigh, MD, completed his Vascular Medicine fellowship at Stanford prior to joining the Leeper lab for his post-doctoral research fellowship Prior to joining our group, Tom had completed a physician-scientist research track residency in internal medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. During his clinical time with us, Tom studied all disorders of the vasculature, including arterial disease, varicose veins and venous insufficiency, anticoagulation and wound care. He then became a Clinical Instructor, performing schlerotherapy, vein ablation procedures and vascular ultrasound interpretation, in addition to comprehensive non-invasive vascular disease management, venous interventions and advanced wound care. Dr. Alsaigh then participated in research focusing on genomics and translational medicine, with a focus on using the power of next generation sequencing to identify unique markers of vascular disease, where he published a series of papers in journals such as Circulation Research and the New England Journal of Medicine. Tom is now an Assistant Professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He is involved in medical student, resident and fellow education, and holds joint appointments in the Department of Medicine's Division of General Internal Medicine and the Department of Surgery's Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery.