Meet the passionate people behind our innovative research

Faculty Members

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Rosemary Akhurst, PhD studies the role of signaling molecules and genetic modifiers in vasculogenesis, the formation of the vascular network during development.

Tamara Alliston, PhD studies the mechanobiologic mechanisms supporting skeletal health and driving arthritis, osteoporosis, and bone fragility.

Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, PhD studies the origin, migration and functional contribution of neural stem cells born in the adult brain. He has initiated studies exploring progenitor cell transplants for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Mark Anderson, MD, PhD is the Director of the Diabetes Center. He studies immune tolerance and the role of the thymus in type 1 diabetes and autoimmune disease.

Serine Avagyan, MD, PhD studies blood stem cell clonality and clonal hematopoiesis.


Allan Balmain, PhD focuses on the role of stem cells in skin and lung cancer. His goal is to identify the critical tumor-originating cells and the mechanisms by which they become transformed, which will aid in both stem cell therapy and cancer therapy.

Scott Baraban, PhD studies pediatric malformation-associated epilepsies in genetic mouse models to explore how seizures develop. He also researches the potential of embryonic progenitor cells to inhibit epilepsy following transplantation.

Michael Beattie, PhD does basic and translational research aimed at enhancing the treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Mitchel Berger, MD studies the correlative biology and outcome of patients with both low-grade and high-grade gliomas.

Sigurd Berven, MD is an orthopedic spine surgeon who researches the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells in an animal model of disc degeneration.

Daniel Bikle, MD, PhD studies the hormonal regulation of calcium metabolism in the formation, differentiation and repair of bone and skin tissue, as well as in skin cancer development.

Brian Black PhD defines and dissects gene regulatory networks that regulate cardiovascular development and regeneration.

Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD studies gene regulation of pluripotent stem cells, early development, and cancer.

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD conducts basic and clinical research on the causes of and cures for diabetes.

Andrew Brack, PhD focuses on the cellular communication between muscle stem cells and their environment in order to identify strategies that improve skeletal muscle regeneration and ameliorate sarcopenia.

Jacqueline Bresnahan, PhD does basic and translational research aimed at enhancing the treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Benoit Bruneau, PhD is the Director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. He studies the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of cardiogenesis.

Jeff Bush, PhD studies signaling during normal craniofacial development and in cases of craniofacial birth defects with the goal of developing preventive therapies.

Atul Butte, MD, PhD is the Director of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute and Chief Data Scientist for the UC Health System. His lab uses translational bioinformatics to make sense of big data in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and healthcare systems. 


Marcelle Cedars, MD is the Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and the UCSF Reproductive Health Clinic. She studies ovarian aging, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and assisted reproductive methods in clinical and basic studies.

Alice Chan, MD, PhD studies pathways of immune development and regulation in the context of pediatric immune regulatory disorders.

Benjamin Cheyette, MD, PhD studies protein signaling pathways during neural development with an eye to their role in psychiatric disorders.

Pao-Tien Chuang, MD, PhD studies Hedgehog signaling in mammalian embryogenesis and postnatal physiology.

Claire Clelland, MD, PhD, MPhil aims to develop novel therapies for dementia and related neurodegenerative diseases. Her lab works to create new CRISPR gene editing approaches in human iPSC-derived cell types relevant to disease. They also work to build cell model systems that more faithfully replicate human disease.

Kelsey Collins, PhD, uses induced pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering, mouse models, human tissues, and state-of-the-art multi-omic spatial approaches to define mechanisms and create therapies that have implications for aging, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Bruce Conklin, MD is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. His research focuses on genes involved in abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure with the goal of developing better, more personalized heart drugs. 

Marco Conti, MD focuses on signal transduction required for germ cell development.

Joseph Costello, PhD studies the onset of tumorigenesis with an emphasis on discovering the mechanisms by which genes accumulate changes that may activate or inactivate tumor genes.

Mort Cowan, MD studies the definitive treatment of children with primary immune deficiencies using hematopoietic stem cells while also running a first-in-human trial of lentiviral mediated gene insertion into autologous stem cells to correct the immune deficiency in Artemis-deficient Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (ART-SCID).

Kyle Cromer, PhD focuses on using genome editing to engineer erythropoiesis for clinical applications.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Crouch, MD, PhD is a neonatologist, neuroscientist, and vascular biologist who studies neurovascular development. The lab employs single cell omics, flow cytometry, and organoid models to study human brain blood vessel cells during development.

Jason Cyster, PhD studies lymphocyte trafficking and homeostasis.


Graeme Davis, PhD studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and plasticity.

Jayanta Debnath, MD is working to understand the role and regulation of autophagy in epithelial homeostasis and cancer pathogenesis.

Pamela Den Besten, DDS studies the development of ameloblasts, the cells that deposit enamel on developing teeth, and explores the development of stem cells derived from tooth pulp in the reconstruction of teeth.

Tobias Deuse, MD is developing immune editing strategies to shield stem cells and cell products from immune recognition and rejection. He develops immune-oncology therapeutics and regeneratice cell therapies based on this concept.

Christopher Dvorak, MD studies approaches to optimizing the safety and efficacy of hematopoietic stem cell transplants, via personalized and targeted elimination of host HSCs and immunity, as well as graft engineering.


Robert Edwards, MD, PhD studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitter release and how they contribute to synaptic physiology, behavior and disease, particularly Parkinson’s.


Marlys Fassett, MD, PhD is a dermatologist and physician-scientist studying the neuroimmune circuits that couple itch and rash. 

Faranak Fattahi, PhD uses human pluripotent stem cells to study the peripheral nervous system in health and disease with the goal of developing novel therapies through drug discovery and regenerative medicine. 

Donna Ferriero, MD is the Director of the Neonatal Brain Disorders Center and studies the pathobiology of hypoxic-ischemic injury in the developing nervous system.

Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD is the Director of the Taube/Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. He studies how inherited gene mutations lead to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in ALS, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s and Parkinson's disease.

Susan Fisher, PhD studies the mechanisms by which human placental cells invade the uterus during pregnancy. She also studies the early steps of differentiation and the maintenance of human embryonic stem cells.


Zev Gartner, PhD is working to organize the body’s building blocks into defined structures spanning the subcellular to tissue length scales.

Michael German, MD studies the cascade of gene activation underlying the development of beta cells from less differentiated cells during embryogenesis or from stem cells in the adult pancreas, and how these genes function in the mature beta cell.

Ruby Ghadially, MD is a dermatologist with research interests in skin stem cells and their use for in vivo expansion of keratinocytes for autologous burn and wound therapy.

Kathy Giacomini, PhD focuses on membrane transporters, which are of great pharmacological importance as they play a major role in drug disposition and response.

Stephen Gitelman, MD is the Director of the UCSF Pediatric Diabetes Program and has active clinical research interests in diabetes, particularly in the prevention of type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Linda Giudice, MD, PhD is the Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences. She researches human uterine receptivity in pregnancy and embryo development, and she has initiated studies on human somatic cell nuclear transfer and the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into placental cells.

Andrei Goga, MD, PhD uses mouse models to study basic cell cycle regulation in normal and tumor cells in order to facilitate the development of cell cycle inhibitors as potential therapeutics.

Douglas Gould, PhD studies the extracellular matrix – fundamental non-cellular components of all tissues. Specifically, he studies collagens that are critical components of specialized ECM structures called basement membranes. His lab is working to understand 1) fundamental collagen biosynthesis, 2) how mutations in basement membrane collagens cause a multisystem disorder that includes perinatal stroke and age-related cognitive impairment and dementia, and 3) potential therapeutic interventions including cell-based therapies and gene editing.

Su Guo, PhD uses molecular genetic approaches in zebrafish to identify novel genes involved in fate determination of dopaminergic neurons.


Joanna Halkias, MD studies the cellular and molecular interactions that shape human early life immunity.

Corey Harwell, PhD studies cellular and molecular programs that regulate neural cell fate and circuit assembly in the developing brain.

Akiko Hata, PhD studies mechanisms of growth factor signaling in the control of cell growth and differentiation of vascular cells. 

Matthias Hebrok, PhD studies how undifferentiated epithelial cells develop into functional endocrine cells, specifically insulin-producing beta cells. 

Michelle Hermiston, MD, PhD focuses on elucidating the impact of immune dysregulation on hematologic disease and translating these findings into clinical use.

Raphael Hirsch, MD studies immune tolerance and inflammatory mediators in autoimmunity.

Edward Hsiao, MD, PhD studies hormonal and genetic regulation of human skeletal diseases.

Eric Huang, MD, PhD studies the transcriptional control of neural development.

Guo Huang, PhD studies the cellular and molecular basis of heart regeneration from both evolutionary and developmental perspectives.

Erica Hutchins, PhD studies how post-transcriptional regulation controls developmental pluripotency and cell fate decisions in vivo, using vertebrate neural crest as a model.


Yuh Nung Jan, PhD identifies genes involved in maintaining adult neural stem cells in mice with the intent of defining their precise functions. With this knowledge, he hopes to develop therapies for neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Leanne Jones, PhD identifies conserved mechanisms that are used to regulate stem cell behavior and characterizes how such mechanisms are altered by aging and changes in metabolism.


Hubert Kim, MD studies the modulation of secondary injury cascades and the application of stem cells to treat traumatic injuries, particularly in tissues that have poor intrinsic healing.

Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu, PhD studies the role of the protein SATB, which functions as a chromatin organizer, during cell development and cancer metastasis.

Sarah Knox, PhD studies the role of neuronal-epithelial interactions during organogenesis and regeneration.

Scott Kogan, MD studies leukemia stem cells in mouse models and is interested in devising better therapies that target these cells.

Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD studies how embryonic neural stem cells and progenitor cells produce neurons with the goal of developing treatments for brain disorders, such as autism and Parkinson’s disease.

Matthew Krummel, PhD uses in situ imaging of proximal molecular events in the thymus to determine how signaling proceeds in the context of tissues and organs.


Diana Laird, PhD studies the development and regulation of primordial germ cells, stem cells in the embryo that give rise to eggs or sperm.

Deepak Lamba, PhD studies genetic and age-associated retina degeneration using stem cells to model the diseases in a dish, as well as researching the potential for retinal repair.

Lewis Lanier, PhD analyzes the regulation of T cell and natural killer cell immune responses by activating and inhibitory receptors.

Andrew Leavitt, MD studies megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet formation, and the development of hematopoietic stem cells using both mouse and human embryonic stem cells.

Jae-Woo Lee, MD studies the potential therapeutic role of both adult and embryonic stem cells in acute lung injury and sepsis. He is particularly interested in the role of microvesicles released by stem cells as one underlying mechanism.

Randall Lee, MD, PhD is an adult electrophysiologist interested in tissue engineering approaches to target stem cell therapies in the heart, including the use of antibodies and biopolymers.

Jingjing Li, PhD researches large-scale analysis of disease genomes by integrating multi-omics data, evolutionary insights, electronic health records, as well as digitized clinical traits from imaging and wearable sensor readouts.

Daniel Lim, MD, PhD studies the role of chromatin remodeling factors in the regulation of neural stem cell fate. By defining the genetic programs and molecular mechanisms of neurogenesis, he hopes to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and injury.

Bernard Lo, MD is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and Director of the Program in Medical Ethics Emeritus at UCSF. He studies the establishment of guidelines for human research using genetic testing and stem cells.

Jeffrey Lotz, PhD studies the use of stem cells, growth factors and synthetic matrices for tissue engineered regeneration and healing of vertebral discs. His focus is on defining the biomechanical and inflammatory factors that cause back pain and on cell culture and animal models of disc degeneration.

Clifford Lowell, MD, PhD studies the role of Src family kinases and the Syk tyrosine kinase in signal transduction pathways within hematopoietic cells.

Tom Lue, MD studies adipose tissue derived stem cells and progenitor cells.


Tippi MacKenzie, MD is focused on developing safe and effective stem cell transplantation and other therapies for fetuses with congenital anomalies. In utero stem cell transplantation could treat diseases in which stem cells are missing or mutated, such as immunodeficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, or muscular dystrophy.

Jacquelyn Maher, MD studies basic mechanisms of hepatotoxicity with a focus on clinically relevant diseases, such as drug-induced liver injury and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Sharmila Majumdar, PhD is working on developing imaging techniques to track stem cells in vivo.

Geoffrey Manley, MD, PhD works with the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center to promote collaborative basic, translational and clinical studies on injuries to the brain and spinal cord.

Ralph Marcucio, PhD studies the molecular and cellular events that underlie skeletal development and regeneration.

Wallace Marshall, PhD studies the mechanistic origins of cell geometry. He is interested in how cells solve engineering problems, such as the regulation of organelle size and the self-organization of intracellular patterns.

Michael Matthay, MD is interested in stem cell treatment for acute lung injury – a major cause of acute respiratory failure characterized by pulmonary edema, inflammation, arterial hypoxemia and the need for mechanical ventilation.

Frank McCormick, PhD studies differences in normal and cancer cells that could be exploited for therapeutic intervention.

Martin McMahon, PhD investigates the ability of telomerase to immortalize human cells without promoting the loss of differentiated characteristics. This approach is used in the long-term culture of human islets and pancreatic ductal epithelial cells.

Michael McManus, PhD studies biological processes relating to RNA interference pathways in mouse models. This includes the study of small regulatory RNAs of biological significance that help control development in mammals.

Michael McMaster, PhD research interests center on placental development, diseases of pregnancy and embryonic stem cell model systems for understanding the consequences of gestational exposures to environmental chemicals.

Synthia Mellon, PhD studies neural development and steroidogenesis.

Theodore Miclau, MD studies cellular molecular mechanisms of fracture repair, particularly related to the roles of inflammation, angiogenesis and mechanical influences on healing. He has developed models of mandibular and tibial fracture repair.

Takashi Mikawa, PhD studies the development of the cardiac conduction system during early embryogenesis and the signals that distinguish conduction cells from working myocytes using the chick system.

Anna Molofsky MD, PhD studies the role of glial cells, particularly astrocytes, in neural circuit development and in psychiatric diseases.

Daniel Mordes, MD, PhD investigates the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS and dementia, using stem cell-based models and single-cell analyses of brain areas.

John Murnane, PhD studies the relationship between DNA repair and telomere loss, and the role of telomere loss in the extensive chromosome instability in cancer cells. 


Amar Nijagal, MD investigates how the immune system affects the development of fetal tissues. His research focuses on liver and bile duct development and how immune cells and their hematopoietic progenitors contribute to the pathogenesis of pediatric liver disease.

Robert Nissenson, PhD studies the role of signaling pathways in the development of bone depositing osteoblasts.

Linda Noble, PhD studies oxidative stress and neurogenesis.

Tomasz Nowakowski, PhD studies the principles of tissue development, the timing of cell generation, intercellular interactions, and developmental lineage relationships to uncover underlying neurodevelopmental events, tissue organization and cellular demographics.

Todd Nystul, PhD studies epithelial stem cells and their associated niche in the Drosophila ovary.


Michael C. Oldham, PhD studies the organization of the transcriptome in the developing and adult human brain, and how this organization differs among primate species and brains affected by disease.


Georgia Panagiotakos, PhD studies how electrical activity and calcium signaling regulate the differentiation of neural progenitor cells into specific neuronal subtypes in the context of both normal brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Barbara Panning, PhD studies how RNA containing complexes modulate chromatin structure and gene expression.

Mercedes Paredes, MD, PhD studies the source and diversity of postnatally migrating inhibitory neurons in the human frontal lobe.

Shibani Pati, MD, PhD studies the role of endothelial dysfunction and vascular compromise in the pathogenesis of human disease. Her specific areas of investigation involve the use of stem cells and novel resuscitative modalities that can mitigate endothelial dysfunction in traumatic injury.

Tien Peng, MD studies how fibroblasts integrate extracellular cues to modify the stem cell niche.

Anders Persson, PhD studies the development and biology of brain tumors.

Xianhua Piao, MD, PhD studies the role of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in brain development and disorders.

Samuel Pleasure, MD, PhD studies the development of the brain, in particular the mechanisms regulating cell proliferation, migration and axon guidance during prenatal development.

Alex Pollen, PhD studies the genomic basis for evolutionary specializations of the human brain with a focus on cortical development.

Jason Pomerantz, MD studies mesenchymal tissue regeneration.

Jennifer Puck, MD studies how lymphocytes differentiate from hematopoietic stem cells; she conducts basic research on the genetics of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and uses lentivirus based gene therapy to conduct clinical trials treating patients with X-linked SCID and Artemis deficient SCID.


Aleksandar Rajkovic, PhD is the Chief Genomics Officer of UCSF Health. His research interests lie in basic and translational reproductive genomics, studying reproductive tract pathologies in the context of developmental biology.

Jeremy Reiter, MD, PhD focuses on identifying novel intercellular signals that direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells along defined lineages.

Paolo Rinaudo, MD is a clinical reproductive endocrinologist who studies the culture of mammalian embryos and the potential long-term health consequences due to culture.

Jeroen Roose, PhD studies Ras signaling and its impact on lineage decisions in stem cells and progenitor cells.

Steven Rosen, PhD studies the molecular mechanisms by which lymphocytes home into inflamed islets.

Shuvo Roy, PhD is a bioengineer focusing on device development to enhance cell therapies for organ replacement, including kidney and pancreas.

David H. Rowitch, MD, PhD is interested in brain tumor stem cells and disorders of white matter.

John Rubenstein, MD, PhD explores the origin of inhibitory interneurons in the brain and their possible utility in cell-based therapy for brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

James Rubenstein, MD, PhD is working to define the molecular features of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the central nervous system using microarray technology.


Carolyn Sangokoya MD, PhD is a physician-scientist, RNA biologist, and liver pathologist studying RNA and metabolic networks driving cell fate, function, and plasticity. Her lab builds and uses molecular tools to evaluate, re-engineer, and re-wire cell fates for targeted plasticity and regenerative medicine.

David Schaffer, PhD is the Director of Bakar BioEnginuity Hub and QB3 — California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. He applies molecular and cellular engineering approaches to investigate biomedical problems focused on the engineering of stem cell and gene therapeutics.

Richard Schneider, PhD studies the development of neural crest, a mesenchymal cell population, and its role in patterning of the craniofacial organization.

Bjoern Schwer, MD, PhD is investigating molecular processes that affect genomic stability in developing and mature neural lineage cells, and the role of these processes in development, aging and cancers of the brain.

Licia Selleri, MD, PhD studies the genetic and regulatory control of cranial and appendicular morphogenesis in embryonic development, evolution and disease using different model and non-model organisms.

Neil Shah, MD, PhD is an expert in developing molecularly targeted therapies for chronic myeloid leukemia and other hematologic malignancies.

Kevin Shannon, MD studies signaling mechanisms that regulate the growth and differentiation of normal and leukemic stem cells. He is particularly interested in the genetic and biochemical basis of inherited leukemia predispositions and the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell and progenitor cell growth by Ras signaling.

Yin Shen, PhD utilizes genomics tools to investigate the genetic and epigenetic contributions to gene regulation in development and diseases.

Dean Sheppard, MD, PhD studies the role of integrins and signaling mechanisms in cell and tissue interactions in the lung, specifically in lung injury and fibrosis.

Brian Shy, MD, PhD directs GMP manufacturing efforts for cell and gene therapies at UCSF. His lab employs genome and epigenome engineering tools to enhance the safety and potency of cellular therapies, improve manufacturing methods, and develop new treatments for cancer, inherited immune disorders, and infectious disease.

Julie Sneddon, PhD studies pancreatic development and type I diabetes, employing the tools of stem cell biology, developmental biology, genomics and tissue engineering.

Matthew Springer, PhD studies cell and gene therapies for ischemic diseases to aid in tissue revascularization, preservation and potentially regeneration. He also researches vascular endothelial function and its response to diet and cigarette smoke exposure.

David Sretavan, MD, PhD studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation of retinal ganglion cell axon projections, the major axon pathways conveying visual information from the eyes to the central nervous system.

Deepak Srivastava, MD, PhD is the President of the Gladstone Institutes. He studies the causes of heart disease with a goal of using knowledge of the cardiac developmental pathways to devise novel therapeutics for human cardiac disorders.

Hua Su, MD studies gene and cell based therapies for cerebral vascular diseases, including stroke.


Qizhi Tang, PhD is working on developing regulatory T cell therapies to induce immune tolerance so that foreign tissue can be transplanted without the need for life-long immunosuppression.

Thea Tlsty, PhD studies the identity and role of cancer stem cells in the development and progression of breast cancer. She also has a research program on the characterization of genomic instability in cancer initiation and progression.


Erik Ullian, PhD studies the cell extrinsic and intrinsic mechanisms that regulate synapse number and function, particularly the role of glial cells in regulating neuronal synapse formation and function.


Ron Vale, PhD studies how cells move organelles, proteins, chromosomes and mRNAs within their cytoplasm.

Saul Villeda, PhD studies how molecular immune-related changes in old blood impair stem cell function and cognitive processes in the brain during aging, and conversely how young blood can reverse these impairments.


Dan Wagner, PhD studies the molecular mechanisms of tissue patterning and error correction in vertebrate embryos using high-throughput single-cell profiling, in vivo imaging, and functional genomics.

Mark Walters, MD develops and expands curative therapies for hemoglobin disorders and non-malignant hematopoietic disorders. He pursues genomic editing of the sickle mutation in hematopoietic stem cells using the CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoprotein system.

Bruce Wang, MD studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate liver development, homeostasis and regeneration.

Rong Wang, PhD studies cell signaling in mammalian angiogenesis and arterial venous differentiation in embryos, ischemia, stroke and cancer.

Valerie Weaver, PhD focuses on several areas of human embryonic stem cell development and architecture.

William Weiss, MD, PhD is interested in developing and characterizing mouse models that faithfully recapitulate the biology and genetics of human tumors of the nervous system.

Holger Willenbring, MD explores the way liver cells differentiate and regenerate with the goal of correcting liver diseases using cells derived from stem cells or by reprogramming hematopoietic cells.


Keith Yamamoto, PhD is interested in mechanisms by which gene transcription is regulated in different cell types and physiological or pathological settings. He studies the activity of the intracellular receptors, including receptors for glucocorticoids, androgens and thyroid hormone in signal transduction and transcriptional control.

Yerem Yeghiazarians, MD is an adult interventional cardiologist studying the transplantation of embryonic and adult stem cells into rodent and pig hearts after injury. He is also involved in clinical trials using interventional catheter approaches.