Lab Members


Seema Dangwal, PhD (2018 - )

Seema received her PhD degree in vascular pharmacology from Duesseldorf, Germany in 2010 with the best doctoral thesis award. During her postdoctoral training in ‘bed to bench side translational research’ with focus on non-coding RNA epigenetics of cardiovascular disease progression and novel biomarkers screening in Prof. Thomas Thum’s lab in Germany, she received European Foundation (EFSD) grant and DHD fellowship to study platelet miRNA mediated vascular cell cross talk in diabetes. Later in 2014, she secured German Research foundation (DFG) independent PI grant to investigate epigenetic mechanisms of impaired tissue repair in diabetes, initiated a collaboration between German and USA labs and worked on epigenetic mechanisms in Prof. Aristidis Veves’ lab at BIDMC and Prof. Liao’s Lab at Brigham & Woman’s Hospital. In August 2018, she joined Stanford School of Medicine as a junior faculty. Her major research interests are non-coding RNAs, including miRNA and linear or circular lncRNAs, driven mechanisms underlying cellular cross talks and tissue tropism during progression of amyloidosis, various cardiac pathophysiologies and diabetes associated cardiovascular complications.

Kevin Alexander, MD (2016 - )

Kevin is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. During medical school, he received a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellowship and studied beta-adrenergic receptor signaling for 2 years in Dr. Howard Rockman’s lab at Duke University. He completed his internal medicine residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital. In 2019, he completed a 1-year fellowship in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology at Stanford. He joined Dr. Liao's lab in 2016. His primary clinical and research interests lie in cardiac amyloidosis, in particular unraveling the molecular determinants of transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy.

Alokkumar Jha, PhD (2019 - )

Alok is a genomics data scientist, focusing on precision and translational medicine primarily progression of the disease and drug discovery using machine learning and artificial intelligence. His PhD work from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, was primarily focused on understanding the tumor progression and mechanism of action in pancreatic, prostate, and gynecological cancers. He also contributed to understanding the mechanism in multiple myeloma, other plasma cell malignancies, and diabetic wound healing. His current work is focused on mechanistic modeling of AL amyloidosis and multiple myelomas using radiogenomics, single-cell, metabolomic data through deep learning and artificial intelligence.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Cheng-Yu Tsai, PhD (2018 - )

Cheng-Yu received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2015 at Chang Gung University in Taiwan. After his doctoral training, Cheng-Yu joined Dr. Kun Ping Lu's lab at Harvard Medical School. He worked to develop antibody therapies for phosphorylated Tau protein and studied their application in models of Alzheimer's disease. These research efforts introduced to him the interplay between the brain and other organ systems, including the heart. To pursue this critical research, Cheng-Yu joined Dr. Liao’s lab to study the interaction between the brain and heart in various diseases.

Chutima Rattanasopa, PhD (2020 - )

Chutima received her BSc degree in Physical Therapy at Khon Kean University, Thailand in 2008. In 2011, she started her PhD program in Physiology at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her PhD focused on the impact of sex-hormones on cardiac contractile responses to oxidative stress. After she finished her PhD, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Cardiovascular Metabolism and Diseases in Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore for 2 years. She discovered the role of novel gene SEMA3F in atherosclerosis reduction. Chutima joined Dr. Liao's lab in 2020. This allows her to combine her two major backgrounds (cardiac physiology and vascular biology) and further enhance her expertise to become a research investigator who will positively enrich the scientific fabric of international cardiovascular research. She worked as a lecturer and taught laboratory research fundamentals and physiology principles to medical, nursing, public health, and graduate students. She has been inspiring many students who wish to become good scientists and build international collaborative research network.

Patrick Michael Pilz, MD, PhD (2021 - )

Patrick graduated from the Medical University of Vienna (AUT) in 2018. He was accepted in the MDPhD excellence program and received his PhD degree in 2020. During his studies, Patrick was an assistant student at the Cardiac Surgery Department of the General Hospital of Vienna. Due to his interest on bench-to-bedside research, he joined Prof. Bruno Podesser at the Center for Biomedical Research where he completed his doctoral thesis and his PhD dissertation which were both awarded. His primary research interest lies in cardiac diseases (myocardial infarction, aortic stenosis, heart failure) and consecutive cardiac remodeling as well as the evaluation of new therapeutic approaches. Patrick is a leading PI of several animal studies (from mice to pigs and sheep) in Vienna. His medical background and former surgical training allow him to perform difficult animal models at high levels. Additionally, Patrick is a lecturer for Anatomy and biomedical PhD courses as well as he supervises doctoral theses of medical students. Awarded with a Max Kade Stipend, Patrick joined the Ronglih Liao Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in January 2021. His main research targets are the role of eicosanoids in heart failure and the effect of smoking on cardiac regeneration in newborns.

Life Science Research Professionals

Alessandro Evangelisti, BS (2016 - )

Alessandro is originally from Latina, Italy. He moved to the US to pursue undergraduate studies at Concordia College New York. In 2018, he completed the competitive Fellow (Honors) Program and received a BS in Biology. During his undergraduate studies, he was an important member of the varsity tennis team, which reached the National Championship sweet sixteen for two consecutive years. During the summer of 2016, he interned in Dr. Liao’s lab focusing on studies in human iPSC cardiomyocytes. Fascinated by scientific research, the following summer he returned to Dr. Liao’s lab and worked with Kevin Alexander on elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms underlying transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy. After graduating college in May 2018, Alessandro joined Dr. Liao’s lab full-time to further pursue his scientific interests and explore potential future careers in biomedical research.

Frank Lin, BS (2019 - )

Frank received his B.S. in Cell Biology at University of California, Davis in 2018. During this period, he developed a strong interest in genetics and worked in Dr. Judy Callis’ Lab to investigate the function of the fructokinase gene family in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In 2019, He moved to Stanford and joined Dr. Ronglih Liao’s Lab to focus on AL amyloidosis utilizing in vivo zebrafish and mouse models as well as in vitro human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs). Frank organized the Liao lab research presentation sessions for the 2020 Stanford CVI Undergraduate Summer Research Program and enjoyed mentoring participating undergraduate and high school students. He plans to pursue a Ph.D and seeks future careers in molecular biology. In his free time, Frank likes to try out new recipes and explore nature on his mountain bike.

Summer Students

Kavya Shah (2019 - )

Kavya is a Class of 2020 student at Homestead High School. She joined Dr. Liao’s lab as an intern in Summer 2019, and has been working under Isabel Morgado, PhD, in various projects involving zebrafish to create models of amyloid disease. In the future, Kavya would like to continue this research and bring awareness to this rare disease through her work. Besides science, Kavya is an avid dancer and delegate at a Model United Nations program. In her free time, Kavya enjoys reading, traveling, and experimenting with coffee and latte art.

Caydin Sablan (2019 - )

Caydin Sablan is currently a junior studying Biology and Philosophy with a pre-med track at the University of San Francisco. She joined Dr. Liao's lab as an intern through the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Summer Program. Caydin is continuing her internship at the lab alongside Katharina Schimmel, PhD, working on a project regarding how smoking impacts cardiac regeneration in neonates. In the lab, she utilizes skills such as echo and histological analysis. Besides working in the lab, Caydin enjoys sewing and repurposing clothes, listening to 60s and 70s music, walking up the slopes of San Francisco, and watching true crime documentaries.

Lab Alumni

Katharina Schimmel, PhD (2018 - 2020)

Katharina Schimmel received her MSc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria; where she focused on ageing-associated, and in particular, on neurodegenerative disorders. In 2013, she started her PhD program Molecular Medicine at the Biomedical Research School in Hannover and joined the lab of Thomas Thum to expand her expertise on heart diseases and non-coding RNAs. She discovered a lead compound with preventive and therapeutic applications for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Intrigued by cardiac amyloidosis, a disease affecting the heart and at the same time featuring parallels to Alzheimer's disease, Katharina joined Dr. Liao's lab in 2018. This allows her to combine her two major backgrounds (neurodegeneration and heart diseases) and further enhance this exciting field with her expertise on non-coding RNAs. Apart from her research, Katharina loves dancing, hiking, jogging, and exploring nature.

Isabel Morgado, PhD (2017 - 2020)

Isabel received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Algarve in Portugal, where she studied the structure-to-function evolution and amyloid formation by the protein transthyretin. Since then, her research interest has focused on protein misfolding and amyloid diseases. She was a DFG-fellow at the Max Planck Research Unit for Protein Folding studying Aβ amyloid formation and a Marie Curie fellow at the Center of Marine Sciences of Algarve and Boston University investigating transthyretin and apolipoprotein A-I amyloidosis. In 2017, Isabel joined Dr. Liao’s lab to uncover mechanisms of amyloid diseases, in particular transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, using in vivo zebrafish models.

Tim Prado (2018 - 2019)

Tim received his BS in Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2015 and soon started his career at Stanford as a research assistant and lab technician for the Department of Comparative Medicine. He assisted in the study of flaviviruses, specifically focused on identifying host genes and how they play a role in the pathogenesis of infectious agents. Tim has gained vast experience in both mouse model and microbiological research.  He joined Dr. Liao's Lab in 2018 and was the lab manager until July 2019.  

Dian-Jan Lee, DVM, PhD (2018-2019)