Principal Investigators

Steven Altschuler, Professor
Lani Wu, Professor
Over the past decade, Drs. Altschuler and Wu jointly developed a research program that combines experiment, data sciences and modeling to attack fundamental problems in cell biology and drug discovery. Drs. Altschuler and Wu took a nonlinear path to biology. 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 at Microsoft, where they co-led an invention team that developed machine learning approaches for improving human-computer interactions, including in the areas of computer vision, social networking and noisy speech recognition. They entered systems biology and pharmacology by way of the biotech startup Rosetta Inpharmatics and were pioneering members of the Harvard University Bauer Fellow program and the Green Center for Systems Biology at UTSW. In their laboratories at UCSF they tackle systems-level questions in biology, disease and pharmacology. In addition to their research, Drs. Altschuler and Wu co-direct the CIAN image analysis course at MBL. In their spare time, Drs. Altschuler and Wu enjoy baking (then eating) cookies, sports and playing music.

Lab Members

Alice Shoenauer Sebag, Postdoctoral Researcher
Alice received her PhD in Bioinformatics from Mines ParisTech, where she developed robust and rigorous statistical learning approaches for analyzing high-content high-throughput screening data. She is interested in finding the appropriate balance between incorporation of prior knowledge and self-teaching for analyzing image-based screening data. Outside of work, Alice enjoys opera, cooking and reading.

Chien-Hsiang (Charles) Hsu, Graduate Student
Chien-Hsiang received his Master degree in bioinformatics from National Taiwan University. He is interested in applying statistics and machine learning techniques to analyze high-throughput data in biology. As a graduate student, he is trying to find a balance between being a pure analyst and an experimentalist. During his leisure time, he reads novels, plays guitar, or drives 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.

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 boardgames.

Jeremy Chang, Postdoctoral Researcher; NIH F32 Fellow
Jeremy has a B.A. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Systems Biology from Stanford. He did his doctoral research with Jim Ferrell on mitotic trigger waves in Xenopus cell-free extracts. Currently, Jeremy studies the systems biology of oncogene addiction. He is a member of both the Altschuler & Wu labs and the Krogan lab. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys weightlifting and cooking. 
Justin Jenkins, Graduate Student
Justin received his B.S. in Bioengineering from University of Washington, Seattle. He is interested in high throughput drug discovery from a systems biology perspective. In his free time, Justin enjoys city exploring, movies, and music.
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.

Laura Sanman, Postdoctoral Researcher
Laura received her PhD in Chemical and Systems Biology from Stanford, where she used chemical tools to understand macrophage behavior during inflammation and bacterial infection. At UCSF she is interested in using quantitative approaches to understand gut-bacteria interactions. In her free time, Laura enjoys hiking, traveling, and baking.

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.

Louise Evans, 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 Assistant/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.

Sarah Nicklas, Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher
Sarah performed her PhD at the Universities of Muenster, Germany and Luxembourg, during which she worked on mechanisms regulating cell fate specification in mouse neural and muscle stem cells. During her Postdoc at the University of Luxembourg, she is working on generating patient-derived in vitro models for Parkinson’s disease. At UCSF she is interested in learning high-content imaging analysis techniques and in establishing in vitro models for ALS. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, doing sports and going to concerts.

Sijia Zhang, Postdoctoral Researcher
Sijia received her PhD in Bioengineering from University of Pennsylvania, where she studied trauma-induced pain using integrated computational and experimental approaches. Currently, she is interested in using methods in system biology to study mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases and to identify drugs that revert disease-associated cellular phenotypes. Outside the lab, Sijia enjoys Yoga, Pilates, music and meeting new people.

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:

Chris Waters: 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program;
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;
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