Principal Investigators

Steven Altschuler, Professor
Lani Wu, Professor
The labs of Drs. Altschuler and Wu combine experimental biology and data science to tackle systems-level questions in biology, disease and pharmacology. Their research careers started in mathematics at the interface of analysis and geometry. Their work found diverse applications, including the Poincare Conjecture, robotics and computer graphics. They transitioned to engineering, where they co-led an advanced technology team at Microsoft that developed machine learning approaches for improving human-computer interactionsThey entered systems biology and pharmacology by way of Rosetta Inpharmatics and were pioneering members of the Harvard University Bauer Fellow program and the Green Center for Systems Biology at UTSW. In their spare time, Drs. Altschuler and Wu enjoy baking cookies and working out.

Lab Members


Capria Rinaldi, Graduate Student; NSF Fellow
Capria received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Arizona State University with a focus in Medicinal Chemistry, and she is now a graduate student in the PSPG program. She is interested in using systems biology approaches to study neurodegenerative disease. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, exploring new places, and trying different foods around the city.

Chris Waters, Graduate Student; NSF Fellow
Chris received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the UMass Amherst before helping to develop mouse models of AML at Harvard. As a TETRAD student, he is using high dimensional analysis to map changes in the proteostasis network of patients with neurodegenerative disease. Outside of the lab Chris enjoys cycling, rock climbing, and traveling.

Feng Bao; Postdoctoral Researcher
Feng received PhD in control science and engineering from Tsinghua University, China. During his doctoral years, he focused on developing machine learning methods and applying them to understand images, infer genetic causality to phenotypes and dissect cell heterogeneity in tissues. Now he is interested in developing computational approaches to understand the dynamic changes of cells under hypoxia and compound perturbations. Outside the work, he likes hiking, cooking and running.

Heinz Hammerlindl; Postdoctoral Researcher
Heinz received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine from The University of Queensland, Australia. His research focused on investigating phenotypic plasticity during the development of acquired drug resistance in cancer, with a specific focus on metabolic and epigenetic adaptions that allow cells to persist during and eventually overcome targeted therapy. At UCSF he studies the phenotypic consequences of acute and chronic hypoxia to learn more about the cell intrinsic response of hypoxia adaption. When he’s not in the lab, Heinz can often be found exercising or cheering for his long time favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers.
Ina Chen, Graduate Student; NSF Fellow
Ina received her AB in Chemical and Physical Biology from Harvard University with a secondary focus on Computer Science. She is interested in applying computational techniques to model complex multicellular systems and signaling. Outside of lab, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and board games.

Jake Bieber, Graduate Student
Jake received his B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. As a bioengineering graduate student, he is interested in applying tissue engineering principles to study the small intestine epithelium, specifically in cases of disease. Outside of research, Jake enjoys hiking, cooking and exploring SF.

Julia Lazzari-Dean, Postdoctoral Researcher
Julia received her Ph.D. in Chemistry (Chemical Biology) from UC Berkeley, where she was advised by Evan Miller. During her doctoral research, she developed and applied fluorescence-based platforms to quantify cellular membrane potential without an electrode. As a postdoc, she is using phenotypic screening strategies to better understand and develop therapies for neurodegenerative disease. Outside of the lab, Julia enjoys gardening, cooking, and playing board games.

Karl Kumbier, Postdoctoral Researcher
Karl received received his Ph.D. in statistics from UC Berkeley, where he was advised by Bin Yu. During his doctoral research, Karl developed techniques for extracting interpretable representations of machine learning algorithms to study embryogenesis in Drosophila. Now, Karl is interested in using computational techniques to investigate the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. In his free time, Karl enjoys making bread/pizza, skiing, and reading sci-fi novels.
Karl Kochanowski, Postdoctoral Researcher; EMBO and Swiss NSF Fellow
Karl received his PhD in Microbial Systems Biology from ETH Zurich. During his doctoral research in the lab of Uwe Sauer, he studied how the bacterium E. coli manages to coordinate the regulation of hundreds of metabolic reactions. In his PostDoc, he explores the interplay of metabolism and regulatory networks in cancer cells. When not busy science-ing, Karl writes metal guitar music, slays imaginary D&D orcs, and enjoys the awesome food San Francisco has to offer.

Leanna Morinishi, Graduate Student; NSF Fellow
After receiving her B.S. in Biological Engineering from MIT, Leanna worked on single-cell methods and microfluidics at the Broad Institute before becoming a graduate student in iPQB. She is interested in studying cancer cell heterogeneity and evolution under drug pressure. Outside of the lab she enjoys reading, learning ukulele, and playing video games.

Li (Lily) Li, Postdoctoral Researcher; HFSP Fellow
Lily received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the Peking University-National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing joint program. There she applied medicinal chemistry and chemical biology methods to explore human disease related mechanisms and develop new therapeutic approaches. Currently, she is applying system biology methods to study acute hypoxia. During her spare time, Lily enjoys visiting museums and walking along the seashore.

Louise Heinrich, Postdoctoral Researcher
Louise Evans received her PhD in cell biology from the Institute of Cancer Research, UK. Her thesis focused on using genetic interaction mapping to better understand cytokinesis signaling networks in Drosophila cells. At UCSF she is interested in developing experimental and computational approaches to improve phenotypic profiling for drug discovery. Outside the lab Louise loves travel and outdoors activities.

Maike Roth, Research Specialist/Lab manager
Maike received her Master degree in Systems Biology from ETH Zurich. Wishing a change of scenery and trying to find her passion in science, she applied for a Research position at UCSF. She is in charge of the organizational part in the wet lab and makes everything run smoothly. In addition to that, she is working on drug evolution in cancer and wants to figure out where and when drug-resistance in cancer emerges. In her free time she enjoys exploring San Francisco and the surrounding areas by bike or on foot.

Marion Langen, Postdoctoral Researcher
Marion received her Diploma in Informatics from FernUniverstaet Hagen, Germany. She worked as a software developer while studying. After getting her degree she decided to do a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from KU Leuven, in Leuven, Belgium. There, she combined computational modeling with fly genetics/work. She is interested in the development of the nervous system and biological pattern formation. Currently, Marion is studying the development of the Drosophila visual system. In her leisure time she enjoys figure drawing and hiking.

Sabrina Hamerlindl, Research Specialist/Lab manager
Sabrina received her Master of Science in Molecular Microbiology from the Graz University of Technology, were she developed genetically modified lactic acid bacteria at the intersection of academia and biotech industry. She then moved from Austria to Australia were she joined the University of Queensland as a research assistant and lab manager to study predictive biomarkers and treatment options for skin cancer. At UCSF, she joined the Altschuler & Wu lab as a lab/project manager to investigate molecular responses of acute and chronic hypoxia. In her free time, she enjoys playing pool billiard, relaxing in nature and visiting zoos, wildlife sanctuaries and cat cuddle cafes.

Susan Shen, Postdoctoral Researcher
Susan Shen received her BS in Biology and English from Caltech and her MD/PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. As a graduate student, she studied gene regulation in the central nervous system. She is now a resident physician in the UCSF Psychiatry program. She is interested in a systems-biology understanding of neurons and other brain cell types. In her free time, she enjoys eating dumplings, making dumplings, and walking in Golden Gate Park.

Xiaoxiao (Vany) Sun, Postdoctoral Researcher; V-Foundation Scholar
Xiaoxiao received her PhD in Cancer Pharmacology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she did mechanistic studies and development of selective anti-cancer therapies using natural and synthetic compounds. Currently, she is studying how microenviron-mental factors influence drug response and lead to drug resistance. Outside the lab, Xiaoxiao enjoys running and hiking around the city.

Weiyue Ji, Graduate Student
Weiyue received her B.Sc. in Biology from Peking University. She is interested in systems biology, and currently she is trying to use that approach to study the development of the Drosophila visual system. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading and photography.

Lab Photos

2016 Holiday Dinner

Lab Member Awards!

Over the years, our talented members have received many awards, including:

Lily Li: 2020 Postdoctoral Fellowship, International Human Frontier Science Program;
Laura Sanman: 2019 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring, honorary mention; NIH F32 award;
Jake Bieber: 2019 InSight AAPS Student symposium, best speaker;
Capria Rinaldi: 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program; 2019 Dean's Apple Award for Teaching;
Chris Waters: 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2018 Tetrad Top TA Award;
Karl Kochanowski: 2017 EMBO Postdoc Fellowship, 2019 Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship;
Jeremy Chang: 2016 NIH F32 award;
Satwik Rajaram: 2016 UCSF Tetrad program teaching commendation;
Chien-Hsiang (Charles) Hsu: 2016 UCSF Tetrad program teaching commendation;
Xiaoxiao Sun: 2015 SU2C-TVF Convergence Scholar Award; 2018 UCSF Catalyst Award;
Ina Chen: 2014 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program; 2016 UCSF QBC program TA award;
Curtis Thorne: 2014 NIH K99 award; 2016 Dept. of Pharmacology Gilman award;
Kevin Thurley: 2015 Research Fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft;
Leanna Morinishi: 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program;
Lit-Hsin Loo: 2009 UTSW Postdoc of the year, 2010 Dept. of Pharmacology Gilman award, 2016 Lush Prize;
Karolina Maciag: 2004 Harvard Hoops undergraduate thesis prize;

Lab Alumni