CCB PhD student - joint with Kevan Shokat

Graduated 2019

Current Status: Job at National Academy of Sciences

I received a B.S. in Biochemistry from American University. While at American, I spent some time synthesizing and testing small molecule antibiotics. I then worked at the NIH for two years in the lab of Dr. Kenneth Jacobson. There, I had the opportunity to learn a variety of biochemical assays, as I worked with GPCRs and small molecule inhibitors. Upon arriving at UCSF I joined the Shokat lab, and quickly formed a close collaboration with the Mukherjee lab, where I now spend about half of my time. In my free time, I enjoy reading and walking around the city. Email:


Natalie Whitis

1st year Tetrad Rotation Student (Spring 2018)

Current Status: Graduate student in Oren Rosenberg's lab

I recently graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Biophysics. During my undergraduate research, I studied the type I CRISPR immune system in E. coli K12. I also spent a summer studying which factors in honey bee development affect overall health and pathogen resistance. My CRISPR research showed me the complex interplay that exists between hosts and their pathogens, while my honey bee research taught me how quickly that interplay can become unbalanced in favor of the pathogen. I'm excited for my spring rotation in the Mukherjee lab, where I'll be studying how Legionella recruits and manipulates host proteins upon infection. In my free time, I enjoy knitting, bar trivia, cooking with friends, and exploring the great city of San Francisco! Email:


Veronica Escalante

1st Year Tetrad Rotation Student (Summer 2016)

Current Status: Graduate student in Peter Turnbaugh's lab

Hello, I’m Vero. I grew up in Mexico for the majority of my life and completed my undergrad at the University of Texas at El Paso with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry. There, I worked in a biochemistry lab focused on studying the cholesterol degradation pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A summer research opportunity here at UCSF brought me to the bay area and got me excited over joining such a great community as a Ph.D. student. Although my interests lean towards studying host-pathogen interactions and the mechanisms by which pathogens lead to infection, I am excited to also explore new topics here at UCSF. I look forward to all the great things I will learn from the Mukherjee lab this summer as a Tetrad rotation student. Aside from the lab, I enjoy hanging out with friends, the art of cooking, good food, a nice cup of coffee and traveling. Email:

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1st year BMS Rotation Student (Winter 2019)

I grew up in a rural village in Indonesia where I spent most of my childhood swimming in the river, fishing and playing around in the rice fields. I came to the US for college studying Biology at MIT, during which I worked on collaborative project between the labs of Harvey Lodish and Hidde Ploegh on engineering red blood cells as vehicles to deliver therapeutics. We genetically and enzymatically engineer red blood cells to deliver self-antigen to macrophages as means of inducing tolerance, to neutralize toxin and virus, and to target circulating tumor cells. I came up with an idea of using red blood cells as systemic inhibitors for PCSK9, a key LDL regulator, that can lower cholesterol levels via transfusion and bone marrow transplant therapy. Despite my research background, for my PhD thesis I want to study the genetic and molecular basis of the host-pathogen interaction, and I learned that Legionella is a powerful tool to study how intracellular pathogen can intricately manipulate the cell biology of the host. Beside research, I enjoy scuba diving, skiing, taking pictures, and cooking--ask me how to get the invite for my annual birthday feast featuring my favorite Indonesian cuisines! Email:

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Lili Kim

1st Year Tetrad Rotation Student (Fall 2018)

I grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with a B.S. in Biochemistry. My undergrad project revolved around cell wall assembly in Mycobacteria, and I developed an interest in microbiology and all the cool things bacteria can do. I enjoy discovering the sights the Bay Area has to offer, finding new music, and the stereotypical Wisconsinite things: beer and dairy products. Email:


Ramiro Patino

1st Year BMS Rotation Student (Winter 2016)

Current Status: Graduate student in Joanne Engel's lab

Hola! I am Ramiro. I was raised in northeast Mexico and graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) with a BS in Biology and a minor in Biochemistry. From field collections, molecular and ecological analyses, at UTRGV, I studied the vectors (kissing bugs) of Chagas disease, a neglected parasitic disease. Additionally, during my summer program at UCLA, I studied the cytokine response elicited by neutrophils in response to the parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. I recently joined the Biomedical Sciences Program (BMS) at UCSF, where I am looking to do research about microbial pathogenesis, from studying key molecules involved in pathogenesis to assessing how the host machinery is affected by these molecules. I am excited for these upcoming years at UCSF which has an incredible scientific community! Outside the lab, I really like to attend to art exhibits, plays, music shows, and ballet recitals. Also, I enjoy exploring nature and the city (mainly restaurants!). Email:


Tanya Kumar

Summer Research Training Program Student (Summer 2018)

Current Status: Undergraduate

I grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where my interest for microbiology was sparked by the vast nature that surrounded me. I have been fostering this curiosity and, as a result, am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at UC Berkeley. I am interested in studying infectious diseases and host-pathogen interactions. At Cal, I study trans domain co-infections and priority effects in the Plodia moth. I have also grown increasingly curious about molecular and cellular host-pathogen interactions and am excited to pursue this interest this summer! I will be working to image Legionella infection in host cells to elucidate one of the pathways by which it regulates the ER stress response. Outside of lab, I do Bollywood fusion dance, karate, and shamelessly stop to pet dogs. I’m excited to be spending a fun summer across the bay!


Haley Gause

Junior Lab Specialist (August 2017 - July 2018)

Current Status: UCSF Tetrad graduate student

I am a recent graduate of CSULB with a degree in microbiology. After having a great time in the Mukherjee Lab during the summer of 2016 as an SRTP student, I am looking forward to being back in the lab developing my research skill set before starting a Ph.D. program in cell biology. My interest in human pathogens began while studying Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite known for manipulating the behavior of its hosts. This year I will be learning more about host-pathogen interactions in the lab by studying how Legionella manipulates host-cell vesicle trafficking upon infection. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, biking, and exploring this wonderful city I now call home. Email:

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Philipp Schlaermann

Post-Doctoral Fellow (2016-2017)

Current Status: Bio-tech job in Germany

I am a freshly assigned native German Postdoctoral Scholar who can’t wait to investigate Legionella’s impact on the unfolded protein response pathway. Back in Germany, I received my B.S. in Biology from the University of Muenster and my M.S. in Molecular Medicine from the Charité University Medicine, Berlin. I performed my PhD research in the lab of Prof. Thomas F. Meyer at the Max-Planck-Institute of Infection Biology, Berlin and graduated with a Dr. rer. nat. in Molecular Biology at the Humboldt University, Berlin. I have a strong background in infection biology having worked with different kinds of viruses and extracellular bacteria and seeking now to add intracellular bacs like Legionella to that list. Outside of the lab, I enjoy exploring the vibrant Bay Area and attend all kinds of sporting events from the A’s to the Dubs. After work, I relax by having some cold California brewed craft beers.


Rebecca Levin (aka Becca)

CCB PhD student - joint with Kevan Shokat

Graduated 2016

Current Status: Bio tech job at Boston Consulting Group

I am interested in closing the gap between kinases and known sites of phosphorylation by utilizing chemical biology techniques and mass spectrometry to directly identify substrates of specific kinases. I am also interested in studying the global reprogramming of the kinases in cancer to identify new drug targets.