Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Mark Nicolls, MD.

Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine

Endowed Chair, The Stanford Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine

Stanford University School of Medicine

Read More About Dr. Nicolls >>



Peter Kao, MD., PhD.

Associate Professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine

Dr. Kao, received his MD and PhD degrees from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  He established rodent models of inflammatory pulmonary hypertension and demonstrated that the endothelial lineage contributes to the neointimal vascular occlusion. Additionally, Dr. Kao discovered and cloned novel gene regulators NF45/ILF2 and NF90/ILF3 that modulate chromatin conformation, RNA transcription, RNA splicing and translation. These host cell factors are hijacked during viral infections to support viral replication and gene expression. Dr. Kao is exploring novel antiviral strategies based on his unique insights into the biology of ILF2 and ILF3.

View CAP Profile >>



Project Leaders

Xinguo Jiang, MD., PhD.

Principal Investigator at VA Palo Alto

Dr. Jiang received PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on elucidating the roles of hypoxia-inducible factors in vascular physiology and pathophysiology.

View Dr. Jiang's publications >>


Amy Tian, PhD.

Project Leader

Dr. Tian received her PhD degree in biochemistry from University of Illinois at Chicago and was trained in the world-renowned eicosanoid signaling and lipid signaling lab with Dr. Wonhwa Cho. She has extensive experience in cell signaling, vascular biology and inflammation. She designs and administers studies in the area of pulmonary hypertension, lymphedema and lung transplantation activities in the Nicolls group.


Research Assistants

Dongeon Kim, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Kim received his B.S. from Ulsan University in 2013 and he received his MS-PhD in Biomedical Science & Engineering Interdisciplinary Program from Korea Advance Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) in 2018. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Convergent Research of Emerging Virus Infection (CEVI) from Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) in 2019. Currently, he is studying how lymph node and vascular lymphatic endothelial cell regulate immune cell


Emilie Claire Schneider

Research Assistant

Emilie Claire graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2021. She will be working towards a Professional Science Masters Degree in Biotechnology at San Jose State University while working for the Nicolls Lab. Her hobbies include baking, swimming, and taking care of her house plants!


Lan Zhao, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Zhao received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from City University of Hong Kong in 2019. Her previous works were about cancer subtyping. Basically, she used both machine learning and mathematical approaches to separate cancer patients into different subtypes which correspond well with their molecular features and clinical outcomes. She is now focusing on multi-omics analysis on pulmonary hypertension and lymphedema.


Christine Cunningham, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Cunningham received her BS in Biology from Stanford University and her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her graduate research focused on investigating sex differences in pulmonary hypertension— a complex pulmonary vascular disease with a marked sex bias. In the Nicolls Lab, she is studying sex-specific immune dysregulation in pulmonary hypertension and vascular disease. She is enjoys hiking and cooking and is passionate about science, medicine, and increasing female representation and diversity in STEM.



Tim Wu, M.S.

Research Assistant

Timothy graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Biology with Honors and M.S. in Biomedical Informatics in 2018. He is currently a medical student at the Stanford School of Medicine. As an undergraduate, he began research in the division of pulmonary medicine under Dr. Peter Kao studying immediate early gene regulation by DNA- and RNA-binding proteins NF45 and NF90. He is now mentored by both Dr. Kao and Dr. Nicolls to study vascular inflammation and immune dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension.


Ryan Vihn

Research Assistant

Ryan graduated from University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behaviors in 2019. At UC Davis, Ryan studied the effect of lipotoxic injury on hippocampus microvasculature. At the Nicolls Lab, Ryan is currently studying how S1PR1 signaling modulates immune regulation in lymphedema as well as the role of lymphatics in chronic lung transplantation rejection. His hobbies include weightlifting and nutrition, building computers, and cooking.


Alexander S. McQuiston, PhD.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. McQuiston received his B.A. in Biology with Honors from Kenyon College in 2016. He received his PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 2021 and trained in Dr. Carl Atkinson laboratory studying autoimmunity in lung transplantation. Currently, he is studying pulmonary hypertension, lymphedema and lung transplantation in the Nicolls laboratory.



Gongyong Peng, PhD & MD

Current: Clinical Professor in Guangzhou Medical University, China

Shravani Pasupneti, MD

Current: Instructor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Joe Hsu, MD

Current: Assistant Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Petra Dahms, B.S.

Current: PhD in Biomedical Sciences Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Allen Tu, B.S.

Current: UC Davis

Rasa Tamosiuniene, MD, PhD.

Olga Manouvakhova, BA

Current: UAB School of Medicine

Yon Sung, MD

Current: Clinical Assistant Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Yu-chun Lin, PhD

Current: Assistant Professor, Taiwan University

Paul Mesange, PhD

Current: Scientist, Charles River Laboratories

Eric Shuffle, MS

Current: UQ-Ochsner Medical School

Ashok Babu, MD

Current: Cardiothoracic Sugeon, St. Thomas Heart Institute, Nashville, TN

Torrey Guan, BS

Current: Saint Louis University, School of Medicine

Shirley Jiang, MD

Current: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (Internal Medicine)

Mohammad Afzal Khan, PhD

Current: Senior Scientist, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Hai Li, PhD

Current: Scientist, Bolt Biotherapeutics

Tomohiro Murakawa, MD

Current: Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery, University of Tokyo