Utz Lab Members

Click here for emeritus members.

Paul J. Utz, M.D

P. J. Utz joined the Stanford faculty in 1999 and was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 2013. P.J. was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains near Scranton, PA. In 1986, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Biology from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, with minors in English and Chemistry. While earning his M.D. degree in 1991 from Stanford University School of Medicine, he co-discovered the transcription factor Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (NFAT) with J.P. Shaw in Dr. Gerald Crabtree's laboratory. As noted on Dr. Crabtree's website, P.J. incorrectly named the transcription factor (it is not Nuclear, and it is not specific for Activated T Cells). P.J. completed his internal medicine residency, rheumatology fellowship, and post-doctoral training at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston prior to joining the Harvard Medical School Faculty in 1996. He left Dr. Paul Anderson's lab in 1999, and his lab at Stanford began experiments in the Spring of 2000.

P.J. has expertise in the study of autoantibodies and autoantigens, apoptosis signaling pathways, animal models of autoimmunity, proteomics and microfluidics. Members of his laboratory are developing several cutting-edge proteomics technologies for immunological applications, including multiplex autoantigen microarrays and EpiTOF. The Utz lab also studies vaccines for autoimmunity, influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and tuberculosis. Professor Utz is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of several biotechnology companies, and actively consults with many companies.

Dr. Utz serves as Associate Dean for Medical Student Research where he oversees the Berg Scholars Program, MD-only physician scientist programs, and other medical student research programs. He is director emeritus of the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program and Founder and Faculty Director of the SIMR Summer High School Research Program which celebrated its 20th anniversary in summer 2019. SIMR students work in biomedical research labs on Stanford campus for 8 weeks. To date, SIMR has trained almost 1,000 high school students. He is also Co-Founder of the Physician Scientist Support Foundation (www.thepssf.org) whose goal is to save the “Endangered Physician Scientist,” described in a New England Journal of Medicine article in July 2019.

When not in the lab, P.J. spends most of his free time as an empty-nester with his wife. He enjoys travel, golf, hiking, biking, laying on the beach, watching Warriors and Stanford women’s basketball, and performing ANY non-grant writing activities whatsoever.

Berg Scholars Program

Rizwan Ahmed

Rizwan Ahmed is a Senior Basic Life Research Scientist 

Shaurya Dhingra

Shaurya is a Life Science Research Professional in the Utz Lab. He grew up in India and earned his Bioengineering bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley. He developed an interest in immunology early during his career and has since been exploring various parts of the immune system.

Allan Feng

Allan grew up in Alabama but is currently studying biology as an undergraduate at Stanford. He joined the lab to gain more research experience and to explore budding interests in immunology as well as computational biology.

Katherine Konvinse, MD, PhD

Katherine grew up in rural New York State and earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at Cornell University. She then moved to Nashville, Tennessee and completed her MD and PhD training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She is now a resident physician in the Stanford Pediatric Residency Research Track Program. Her current research in the Utz lab focuses on characterizing the serum antibody responses in pediatric patients exposed to viral infections including COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). When not in lab or caring for patients, Katherine enjoys spending time outside in the beautiful Bay Area with her husband and young son.

Alex Kuo, Ph.D.

Alex grew up in Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Botany and Zoology from National Taiwan University. He later moved to California and earned his Ph.D. Degree in Biology from Stanford University, studying epigenetics and chromatin biology in Dr. Or Gozani's lab. Alex is now a senior research scientist in the Utz lab and the father of two dachshunds, a golden retriever and two young children.

Kelly McGill

Kell McGill is a PhD student in the Immunology program. She grew up in Pennsylvania and earned her bachelor's degree at the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University where she studied biochemistry and molecular biology and nutrition. She is interested in learning and applying both computational and traditional immunology methods to explore the interaction between sex and autoimmune diseases, specifically Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Tyler Presetwood

Tyler Prestwood is a resident in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Gayathri Swaminathan

Gayathri Swaminathan completed her doctoral degree in Microbiology and Immunology from Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia and post-doctoral training in UPenn and Stanford University. She has a long-standing interest in receptor traffic, proteostasis and immune mechanisms in inflammatory diseases including cancer, and neurodegeneration. In Sarin lab, she leads and manages translational ‘wet-lab’ projects on novel disease mechanisms in basal cell cancer and immune biomarkers in skin inflammation. Outside work, she enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking and exploring new places.

Emily Yang

Emily grew up near Sacramento, California and is a graduating senior at Stanford majoring in Biology. She joined the lab as a Life Science Research Professional to learn more about autoimmunity, infection, and techniques in immunology research.   

Xihui Yin

Xihui is an Life Science Research Professional who grew up in Singapore and earned her Bachelor's from UCLA. She is currently focusing on profiling autoantibodies in PANDAS and hopes to earn a PhD in immunology. In her free time, she enjoys watching cute cat videos, petting cats, cooking and exploring films.

Sharon Dicknow

Sharon is a seasoned Administrative Associate in the Division of Rheumatology. She helps PJ extricate himself from all of the many administrative fiascos he creates. She can be reached at (650) 723-7038, by Fax at (650) 723-7509, and by email at sdickow@stanford.edu.   


Jeff is our webmaster. He's a freelance programmer and web site developor with skills in C++, PHP, Perl, MySQL, HTML and other programming languages. When not updating this site, he teaches science and robotics in New York City. He coaches  robotics and chess. Besides playing chess in the park, he enjoys biking and reading fiction, biography and about science and nature.


Emily grew up near Sacramento, California and is a graduating senior at Stanford majoring in Biology. She joined the lab as a Life Science Research Professional to learn more about autoimmunity, infection, and techniques in immunology research.