Utz Lab 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 codiscovered 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 human and murine 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 planar-based autoantigen microarrays and microfluidic assays. The Utz lab also studies vaccines for autoimmunity, influenza, and tuberculosis. P.J. is actively involved with many educational programs within the University. He is Associate Dean for Medical Student Research, and he provides formal lectures to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering. He is director emeritus of the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program. He also teaches medical students, residents and fellows in the clinics and on the in-patient wards. Professor Utz is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of several Bay Area biotechnology companies, and actively consults with biotechnology companies.
When not in the lab P.J. serves as Associate Dean for Medical Student Research where he oversees the Berg Scholars Program and other medical student research programs. He is 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, and to date has trained almost 1,000 high school students. He is also Cofounder 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. serves as Associate Dean for Medical Student Research where he oversees the Berg Scholars Program and other medical student research programs. 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 basketball, and performing ANY non-grant writing activities whatsoever.
Sarah Chang is a Research Assistant in the Utz Lab who is from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor's in Human Biology at the University of California San Diego. She went on at UCSD to earn her Master's degree in Biology studying receptor targets in pancreatic cancer.
Peggy Chung, Ph.D.
Peggie was born and raised in Hong Kong. After moving to the Golden State in the late '90s, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from UC Davis. Prior to joining the Utz lab as a senior research scientist, she earned her Ph.D. Degree in Biology from Stanford University and completed her post-doctoral training in chromatin biology and immunology at Stanford. While not in lab, Peggie enjoys spending time with her three dogs and two young children.
Mai Dvorak grew up in the Bay Area and earned her bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she studied biology. She joined PJ's lab as a Life Science Research Professional with hopes to gain more research experience. She currently uses immunological techniques to understand the epigenetics of various immune diseases.
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.
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.
Rong Mao received her B.A. magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Prior to joining the Utz lab, she worked as a grants manager/strategist at UCSF and more recently a scientific writer and program manager at Stanford.
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).
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