Professor and Principal Investigator
Originally from Santa Cruz, California, I received my BS in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1999, where I conducted undergraduate research in the laboratory of Y. K. Shin. I received a PhD in chemical biology from Harvard University in 2004 under the guidance of Professor David Liu, where I worked to develop DNA-templated synthesis as a strategy to build and evolve drug-like small molecules. In 2005 I returned to UC Berkeley for postdoctoral training with Professor Carolyn Bertozzi where I became interested in building tissues from cellular building blocks. I’m currently a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. My lab is honored to have our work acknowledged through the Kimmel Scholar Award, the NIH New Innovator Award, the Era of Hope Scholar Award from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator Program, and the Popular Science Brilliant 10. I also codirect the NSF Center for Cellular Construction.
I’m interested in building with cells, i.e., living matter. Harnessing living matter as a building materials will open up a number of new opportunities. In human health, it will reveal new strategies to block diseases like aging and cancer, provide replacement tissues and organs for regenerative medicine, and establish new models of human physiology for the testing of therapeutics. Beyond human health, one can imagine living materials impacting areas as diverse as agriculture, construction, and environmental engineering. However, truly harnessing living matter requires a detailed understanding of the principles of self-organization, as well as new tools for measuring the properties of single cells and their interactions. My lab focuses its efforts in these areas.
Tetrad Graduate Student
|California-born, -raised, and -schooled. I grew up in the Bay Area and then migrated south to spend 4 years getting my B.S. in Cell & Developmental Biology at UCSB. I got into research there by joining the Rothman Lab, where I worked on various C. elegans projects. From there I came right back to the Bay Area to start as a Tetrad student at UCSF, and I officially joined the Gartner Lab in 2018. When I’m not working, I’m usually hanging out with my dog Fynn, cooking, looking for new music, grabbing a (few) beer(s) with friends, or wasting time learning useless trivia on Reddit.
In my time so far in the Gartner Lab, I’ve worked on both developing methods for single-cell omics and also studying how cancer genes alter tissue structure.
I grew up on a farm in the corn belt west of Chicago and earned my undergraduate degree in biology at Northern Illinois University. After a short stint as a high school science teacher I returned to graduate school and received my PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I did post-graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and have been a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1994.
I am focused on normal human mammary epithelial cells and the intrinsic and extrinsic changes that lead to immortal and malignant transformation. This has included introducing defined genetic changes into normal HMEC to create new cell lines. In the Gartner Lab I will use DNA directed assembly to examine how different cell types and altered cell functions affect breast cancer related processes.
I grew up in the California desert, where the stark environment cultivated an appreciation of both art and science. While studying chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, I found that research allowed me to pursue science as a creative endeavor. From there, I followed my namesake to Austin, Texas, to pursue my PhD in the Keitz Lab, developing soft materials that are controlled by engineered microbes acting as live computers. These living polymer networks exhibit dynamic, system-wide properties resembling biofilms and tissues. Outside of the lab, you can find me skiing, playing tennis, at a concert, or exploring all that California has to offer.
Building on this foundation at the cell-material interface, but with an eye on translational applications, in the Gartner Lab I develop high-throughput technologies for improving our models of development, regeneration, and disease.
Research Technician and Lab Manager
|I grew up in Quebec, Canada but was always determined to get out of my Canadian bubble for undergrad. I attended Minerva University, which allowed me to study biology and computational sciences while travelling around the world. Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I lived in SF, London, Tucson, Berlin, Nice, Buenos Aires, Ho Chi Minh, and Melbourne. Along the way, I joined the Cress Lab at the University of Arizona and the Ferreira Lab at the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, Nice. Both experiences solidified my passion for studying aging and possible therapeutic interventions. When I’m not sitting in front of my computer, I’m probably reading, in the gym, sewing, or trying something new (currently that's surfing or climbing).
In the Gartner Lab, I’m hoping to gain a new perspective on aging at the cellular and tissue levels. I’m also excited to learn state of the art computational biology methods from the many experts on the team.
Bioengineering Graduate Student
|Growing up in the suburbs of Long Island, New York, I flew across the country to study materials science and engineering for my undergrad and then computer science for my master’s at Stanford University. I greatly enjoyed research opportunities working on printable batteries for low-cost scanning electron microscopes (aweSEM) in Professor Manu Prakash’s Lab and developing artificial intelligence (AI) tools to augment teaching ability in Professor Chris Piech’s Lab for CS Education. My industry experience has also been eye-opening, allowing me to discover polymer 3D-printing, aerospace technology, and computational materials modeling. In my free time I enjoy singing with the UCSF Vocal Chords a cappella group, hiking and camping in the Bay Area’s great outdoors, playing board games, and exploring the world with friends!
I’m very grateful to have found two homes by being co-advised in the labs of Professor Zev Gartner at UCSF and Professor Grace Gu (yes—crazy name coincidence!) at UC Berkeley. My research interests lie at the nexus of computational design and 3D-bioprinting to advance tissue engineering for regenerative medicine.
Biophysics Graduate Student
|Born in SF and raised in Oakland, I took a break from California to study physics and math at Washington University (in St Louis). In the Mukherji Lab at WashU I worked on organelle size control and learned that my imagination is provoked more by biology than the problems of traditional physics. This led me to UCSF's Biophysics program, so I returned to the Bay Area to continue developing my imagination of the physics of biology in the Gartner Lab. Outside of the lab you'll find me applying the same physics to pottery.
I am interested in a physical definition of the cell. I love cells because they are both complex living systems and simple building blocks. I'm using ideas from physics, in particular statistical mechanics, to characterize the cell's identity in terms of its parts and their interactions. My goals are to learn basic biology and make cell engineering simple.
Bioengineering Graduate Student
Raised in the burbs of Illinois, I’m a midwesterner at heart. For my undergrad, I got my B.A. in Neuroscience at Smith College. One of my first research experiences was at Smith in the Hall lab where I characterized the modulatory effects of novel anesthetics on neuronal receptors. However, throughout the years, my research interests have shifted from molecular neuroscience to genomics. In the fall of 2020, I moved to California as a student in the joint bioengineering graduate program at UC Berkeley-UCSF and later joined the Gartner lab. When I’m not in the lab you can find me hitting the gym, trying out new bars/breweries with friends, and looking for the next best kind of pizza (second to deep dish).
My work in the Gartner lab aims to utilize newfound spatial transcriptomic technologies like multiplexed error-robust fluorescence in situ hybridization (MERFISH) to tackle questions related to abnormal gene expression profiles found in the cells that make up normal and diseased mammary glands.
Raised in Southern California, I worked for a few years as an automotive mechanic before falling in love with engineering problems in biology. This fascination carried me to UCLA, where I completed an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering, working on mechatronics projects in Jacob Schmidt's lab, and mechanosensitive drug delivery in Ben Wu's lab. I continued on to a PhD with Ingmar Riedel-Kruse at Stanford/UofA, where I primarily worked on interactive biotechnology and synthetic multicellular patterning problems. Afterwards, I joined some friends to help build up Enable Medicine, a spatial-biology startup in the Bay Area, before returning to academia as a post-doc in the Gartner Lab.
I am interested in how living things get their shapes and patterns. To satisfy this curiosity, I am applying multi-disciplinary and multi-scale approaches to coax living matter into predictably organizing, and to understand the principles that facilitate these processes.
I was born and raised in Orange County. I earned my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at UCR where I developed a passion for research in the Murn lab studying RNA-binding proteins. Outside of lab, I love to explore a variety of interests including thrifting, plants, my ball python (her name is Boba), dancing, and exploring farmer’s markets and grocery stores.
How the microenvironment influences cell type plasticity in the mammary gland.
Tetrad Graduate Student
Born and raised in southern California, I stayed local and pursued my undergraduate studies at UCLA. While there, I majored in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics which really gave me a deep dive into human biology. Aside from classes, I was very involved in undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Gomperts where I studied stem cell homeostasis in the regenerating and aging airway. While at UCLA, I also discovered how much I liked to try new foods, visit local parks, and have a ‘city girl’ life.
Wanting to keep living the ‘city girl’ life, I decided to travel north to UCSF for my PhD studies. At UCSF I joined the lab of Dr. Gartner where I am studying the cellular structure of pancreatic islets using lab-generated protocols. I plan to translate acquired quantitative data about islet structure to better engineer human embryonic stem-cell derived pancreatic islets to treat patients with Type 1 diabetes.
Bioengineering Graduate Student
Bioengineering Graduate Student
|Half California- and half Arizona-raised, I continued my migration eastward by moving to Boston where I got my BS in chemical engineering at Northeastern University. I got my start in research in Thomas Webster’s Nanomedicine Lab and eventually moved on to Moderna’s Rare Diseases group through Northeastern’s full-time coop program. At Moderna, I became interested in how cells’ individual transcriptional states are differentially dictated by population-level parameters. It took me all of college to realize that the scientific interests reflected in my resume were that of a quantitative systems biologist instead of a chemical engineer. I eventually gave in to this crisis of identity and moved back to California in 2019 to enter the UC Berkeley and UCSF Joint PhD program in Bioengineering. I officially joined the Gartner Lab in 2020, where I currently focus on developing bioinformatic tools for single-cell omics datasets.
I am interested in understanding how immune cells process structural heterogeneity as information that dictates their individual transcriptional states. To uncover this regulatory network topology, I use computational modeling, MULTI-seq experiments, and active learning approaches.
Former lab members
|Scientist, Cook Medical
|Postdoc, Labarge Lab (City of Hope)
|Postdoc, Fletcher Lab (Berkeley)
|Completing MD/PhD medical training, UCSF
|ASME Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow
|ADAM Fellow, NIH
|Scientist, Fluent BioSciences
|Senior Scientist, GC Therapeutics
|Scientist, UPSIDE Foods
|Postdoc, Satpathy Lab (Stanford)
|Scientist, Gordian Biotechnology
|Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Mount Holyoke
|Office of Technology Commercialization, UT Austin
|Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, UPenn
|Chemistry Technology Development, 10x Genomics
|Senior Scientist, Genentech
|Assistant Dean, Santa Monica College
|Graduate Student, King Lab (Berkeley)
|Medical Student, UCSF