Current Monje Lab Members
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD is a Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Her research program focuses at the intersection of neuroscience and brain cancer biology, with a particular focus on mechanisms and consequences of neuron-glial interactions in health, glial dysfunction in neurological disease and neuron-glial interactions in malignant glioma. Together with these basic studies, her research program has advanced preclinical studies of novel therapeutics for pediatric high-grade gliomas and cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment in order to translate new therapies to the clinic.
Anna Geraghty, PhD
Kathryn Taylor, PhD
After graduating from the University of Portsmouth with a BSc in Biomedical Science, Katy started her career in cancer research by investigating kinase inhibition in rhabdomyosarcomas. Katy obtained her PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research/University of London in 2016, where she studied translational genomics of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Her current research within the Monje Lab focuses on the interaction between pediatric gliomas and their microenvironment. In particular, she studies the neurodevelopmental mechanisms which are leveraged by glioma cells to advance their own progression.
Belgin Yalcin, PhD
Belgin received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2016, after completing an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Istanbul Technical University in 2011. In the Monje lab, her research focuses on understanding myelin plasticity of the brain. Specifically, she is investigating the basis of heterogeneity in the response of myelin-forming cells to neuronal activity.
Alexis graduated from Stanford in 2022 with a B.S. in Human Biology, where previous research focused on developing CRISPR-based tools for epigenetic gene regulation. Before joining the lab, she spent a year at Astellas Gene Therapies supporting multiple projects developing Adeno-Associate Virus (AAV) gene therapies to treat neuromuscular diseases. Within the Monje lab, her work focuses on studying the interaction between pediatric gliomas and their microenvironment. Outside of lab, she enjoys painting, powerlifting, and planning elaborate dinner parties for friends.
Sara’s experience includes over 20 years of assisting research labs here at Stanford and previously at UCDavis. In the Monje Lab, she is focused on tissue processing/imaging, cell culture, and lab organization. She brings expertise in isolating and culturing primary glia and neurons. She enjoys volunteering her time to charitable organizations, spending time with her family and sewing.
Lijun’s research experience includes 15 years of being a research associate at Indiana University Cancer Center. She has a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology. In the Monje Lab, Lijun focuses on quantitative microscopy, including electron microscopy (EM), as well as cell culture work. Since her move to the west coast, Lijun enjoys exploring the scenic wonders of the Bay Area during frequent road trips with her family.
With a spirit of inquiry, Pam found her way back to science after receiving a BA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley and graduate work in film studies at the University of Chicago. She has been a neuroscience research assistant at Stanford since 2010 working on a variety of in vivo projects. Currently she focuses on colony management, behavior, and translational research on pediatric brain tumors.
Tara Barron, PhD
After completing a BS in Neuroscience and Psychology from Trinity University, Tara received a PhD in Neuroscience from UT Health San Antonio in 2019. Her graduate dissertation examined electrophysiological interactions between neurons and oligodendrocytes. In the Monje lab, she is using patch clamp electrophysiology to study the functional expression of receptors and channels in glioma cells and the roles they play in neuron-glioma interactions leading to glioma growth.
Youkyeong Byun, PhD
Youkyeong (Gloria) received her PhD from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Her graduate study with Dr. Won-Suk Chung focused on understanding the roles of astrocytes in early life stress and psychiatric disorders. In Monje lab, she is focuses on elucidating how neural activity and/or hormones regulate glioma pathophysiology.
Albina Ibrayeva, MS, PhD
Albina recieved her MS and PhD from University of Southern California, Los Angeles USA. Her graduate work was focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the decline of hippocampal activity with age. In Monje lab she focuses on understanding how different immune challenges accelerate neurodegeneration and cognitive decline during physiological aging.
Lars Karlsson, MD, PhD
Yoon Seok Kim, PhD
Yoon received his Ph.D. in the Bioengineering Ph.D. program at Stanford. His graduate work with Drs. Karl Deisseroth and Brian Kobilka examined the structural and molecular mechanisms of light-gated ion channels. In the Monje lab, he is focused on elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying neuron-glioma interaction.
Minhui Su, PhD
Minhui studied Biochemistry in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She received her PhD from the Molecular Biology Program – International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Georg August University Göttingen, Germany. She is currently investigating voltage-sensitive mechanisms of glioma growth. Glioma progression is dependent on neuronal activity via growth factors and integration into neural circuits. Minhui wants to understand how membrane depolarization regulates glioma growth in the tumor microenvironment.
Vrunda Trivedi, PhD
Vrunda received her MS and PhD from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. Her graduate work with Dr. Duane Mitchell was focused on developing personalized mRNA vaccines and combinatorial immunotherapy approaches, including adoptive T-cell therapy, for the treatment of malignant brain tumors. In the Monje lab, she is working on optimizing the GD2 CAR T-cell therapy to improve the persistence and fitness of the T-cells for the treatment of DIPG.
Haojun Xu, PhD
Haojun (Lucy) obtained her Ph.D. from the Human Biology Program at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, in 2022, after completing a BS in Life and Environmental Sciences at the same university. Her Ph.D. study focused on a safeguard system in stem cell therapies. In the Monje lab, Lucy is interested in investigating how microglia mediates brain fog after infection in a region-specific manner.
Daniel Zamler, PhD
Daniel Bernard Zamler is the son of Sherwin and Monica Zamler. After completing his work at Wylie E. Groves in Beverly Hills Michigan in 2009, he entered the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received the degree of Bachelor of Science with a major in Neuroscience from University of Michigan in May, 2013. For the next three years, he worked as a research technician in the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Michigan in the Laboratories of Pedro Lowenstein and Maria Castro. In August of 2017 he entered The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in the Laboratories of Giulio Draetta and Jian Hu. In 2022 he received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology and Quantitative Sciences.
Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine
Lauren graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt in 2017 with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in Wildlife Biology. After graduating, she spent four years as a lab manager at Stanford where she studied skeletal stem cells in the context of aging and injury and established a novel therapeutic for osteoarthritis. Lauren is currently a Ph.D. student in the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program, with an interest in neural stem cell populations. In the Monje lab, she is studying the role of glial cells in response to injury, inflammation, and disease.
Karen graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Neurobiology and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy in 2019. Her previous research explored the effects of environmental stressors and microbial and dopaminergic modulation during development on social behavior at Duke University. Karen is currently an MSTP student in the Neurosciences program, with an interest in early life immune challenge and the effects of secondary insults. In the Monje lab, she is studying the effects of non-CNS infections during early life on long-term neurocognitive dysfunction.
Cancer Biology Program
Rebecca graduated from Binghamton University in 2019 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Her previous research explored the interactions between cancer and its surrounding immune microenvironment. Rebecca is currently a PhD student in Stanford’s Cancer Biology program, exploring similar questions in the context of pediatric high-grade glioma. Her work in the Monje Lab aims to elucidate the role of microglia in establishing the hyperexcitable neural networks which drive glioma.
Abigail graduated from the University of Michigan in 2021 with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a B.M. in Cello Performance. Her previous research focused on glial cell biology in neurological movement disorders and after peripheral nerve injury. Abigail is currently a PhD student in the Biology program, with an interest in studying the response of myelin-forming cells to neuronal activity. In the Monje Lab, she is focused on investigating myelin plasticity of neuromodulatory circuits.
Cancer Biology Program
Kiarash graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology. Before joining the Cancer Biology program at Stanford, he spent two years studying the neural basis of perception at UC Berkeley. As a Ph.D. student, Kiarash is interested in a systems neuroscience approach to understanding the interaction of tumor cells and their microenvironment in brain cancer. In the Monje lab, he is studying the neuron-glioma interactions at the circuit level to discern how patterns of activity within a neuron-glioma network influences the behavior of the cancer as a whole.
Linh is a current student at Stanford University from Seattle working towards a degree in biomechanical engineering. She is passionate about neuroscience and is interested in further developing CAR-T cell therapies and drugs for brain tumors. Outside of the lab, Linh likes to go walking with her dog, read, and enjoy the weather by picnicking on sunny days.