CZ Biohub Platform and Group Leaders

CZ Backup:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U |V | W | X | Y | Z | Visitors

Lillian Cohn, Ph.D.

Biohub Fellow, Infectious Disease and Cell Atlas Initiatives

Cohn received her Ph.D. from Rockefeller University. As a student in Michel Nussenzweig’s laboratory, she used single cell strategies to investigate latent viral infection in HIV-1 infected individuals. This research revealed important insights into the mechanisms of viral persistence and maintenance of the HIV-1 latent reservoir. As a Biohub Fellow, Cohn will continue these studies by using novel strategies to investigate latent viral infection. In particular, she is interested in understanding the contribution of tissue-resident cells to viral persistence, developing new isolation techniques to study rare latently infected cells, and elucidating how the virus and host cellular environment work together to maintain latency.

Spyros Darmanis, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Cell Atlas Initiative

Darmanis carried out his Ph.D. thesis research in Ulf Landegren's laboratory at Uppsala University, where he developed high-performance multiplexed protein assays and applied them to identify putative protein biomarkers that could serve as early diagnostic indicators of cancer and other diseases. As a postdoctoral fellow in Stephen Quake's laboratory at Stanford, he carried out single-cell protein and RNA analyses to characterize the diversity of cell types in adult and fetal human brain. At CZ Biohub, he is developing tools to study different molecular entities in single cells in high-throughput and cost-effective ways, with a particular interest in studying the heterogeneity of human tumors and their interactions with the tumor microenvironment.

Josh Elias, Ph.D.

Platform Leader, Mass Spectrometry

Elias received his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in Cell Biology with Stephen Gygi. During his thesis research, Elias developed the now ubiquitous "target-decoy" search strategy for controlling proteomic experimental error. This effort established his long-standing interest in improving proteomics workflows, bringing them in sync with the robust methods used in genomics and allied fields. As a faculty member at Stanford University, Elias focused on solving three extraordinary challenges in proteomics: identifying disease-relevant antigens presented on MHC complexes; characterizing the biologically relevant proteins that mediate host-microbiome interactions, and improving methods for searching the vast sequence space these experiments encompass. At CZ Biohub, Elias and his team are continuing to define the range of antigens that underlie health and disease and how these antigens relate to our microbiomes. The technologies they are developing are broadly applicable, including methods to quantify the dynamic regulation of protein post-translational modifications and to identify novel post-translational modifications that have so far been hidden in the "dark matter" of biology -- molecules invisible to genomic technologies and standard proteomic assays.

Rafael Gómez-Sjöberg, Ph.D.

Director of Bioengineering

Gómez-Sjöberg obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, where he developed a microfabricated sensor of bacterial metabolism for rapid detection of bacterial contamination in liquid samples. After carrying out postdoctoral work on microfluidics at Caltech and Stanford, he led a microfluidics lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At Quanticel Pharmaceuticals (later Celgene Quanticel Research), he designed and built instruments for isolating single cells from very small cell samples and managed a single cell analysis and sequencing platform. At CZ Biohub, Gómez-Sjöberg and his team are developing cutting-edge optical, electronic, and microfluidic instrumentation to support the work of the Cell Atlas Initiative, the Infectious Disease Initiative, and other research initiatives. A key goal is to proceed swiftly from concept or prototype to robust instruments that enable novel large-scale data acquisition.

Greg Huber, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Theory Group

Huber is a biophysicist with a background in statistical mechanics, dynamical systems and soft-matter physics. Prior to joining Biohub, he was Deputy Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP). He has researched and taught at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Arizona, University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, and UC Santa Barbara, and he has worked on a range of problems from river networks to the endoplasmic reticulum. At CZ Biohub, Huber is starting a world-class Theory Group, which seeks to deepen our knowledge and control of biological processes, structure and function through physical and mathematical theory. Research areas include: physical models of cellular organelles (architecture, formation & interactions); modeling of cytoskeletal and organelle networks in the cell; models of molecular ensembles; protein-protein interactions and localization; general stochastic models of dynamics and pattern formation in biological matter; statistical mechanics of cell states and populations; dynamics and selection of cell populations and lineages during development, tumor growth and evolution.

Daniel Itzhak, Ph.D.

Biohub Fellow, Cell Atlas Initiative

Itzhak obtained his Ph.D. in the multidisciplinary Wellcome Trust Program for mechanism-based drug discovery at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry with Dr Georg Borner, he developed a mass spectrometry-based approach to map protein translocation events at a subcellular level. At CZ Biohub, he will work closely with the Leonetti group to complement high-throughput genome engineering with cutting-edge mass spectrometry.

Jim Karkanias

Vice President, Data Science and Information Technology

Karkanias' background spans science (neuroscience), engineering (bioengineering, code development), technology (neural nets, machine learning, robotics) and business (founder of a software startup in the 90s and then head of clinical operations for the human health division at Merck). He held the role of Partner at Microsoft for the past decade, leading Program Management for Information Management and Machine Learning in the Cloud + Enterprise Division. At CZ Biohub, and in collaboration with partners at Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Karkanias aims to build a world-class Data Science team to help drive and support advances in bioinformatics, computational biology, image processing, and next generation analytics.

Amy Kistler, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Group Leader, Infectious Disease Initiative

Kistler received her Ph.D. degree in Christine Guthrie's lab at UCSF, where she focused on pre-mRNA splicing in yeast. She then pursued an MPH in Epidemiology at Berkeley to explore her broader interests in infectious disease and global health. As an Investigator in Virology at Novartis, Kistler led a viral pathogen discovery group and an Ebola virus antiviral drug development effort. At CZ Biohub, she is developing reagents and pipelines to enable rapid comparative analyses across viral families and orders to elucidate their basic biology, replication mechanisms, and potential drug targets. In parallel, Kistler will participate in pathogen detection and rapid response efforts.

Manuel Leonetti, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Cell Atlas Initiative

Leonetti received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University. A student in Rod MacKinnon’s lab, he used X-ray crystallography and electrophysiology to study how ion channels are regulated by calcium, voltage, and pH. As a postdoctoral fellow with Jonathan Weissman at UCSF, he developed high-throughput CRISPR methods to precisely insert fluorescent and affinity tags into human genes. At CZ Biohub, Leonetti and his team are developing tools that make it possible to observe proteins in unperturbed living cells and to easily isolate cellular components for biochemical analysis. Their main effort is to use CRISPR genome engineering technologies to insert GFP directly into human genes to study the corresponding proteins in their native cellular context.

Shalin Mehta - Leader of Advanced Optical MicroscopyShalin Mehta, Ph.D.

Platform Leader, Computational Microscopy

Shalin Mehta received his Ph.D. in optics at the National University of Singapore. His Ph.D. research led to elegant mathematical models and new experimental approaches for label-free imaging of cellular morphology. He then joined the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole as a Human Frontier Science Program Fellow, where he developed novel imaging and computational methods for characterizing molecular order below the diffraction limit. His research revealed the dynamic flow and orientation of molecular assemblies in live cells. At CZ Biohub, Mehta and his team are developing integrated imaging and computational technologies to measure physical properties of biological systems with increasing precision, resolution, and throughput. These computational microscopy technologies exploit diverse light-matter interactions and algorithms. In collaboration with CZ Biohub’s projects, platforms, and partners, these technologies enable data-driven discovery of biological mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities.

Norma Neff, Ph.D.

Director, Genomics

Neff obtained her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on the mechanism of termination of transcription by bacterial RNA polymerase. As a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT with David Botstein, she acquired expertise in yeast molecular genetics and subsequently demonstrated that homologous recombination could knockout genes and introduce new sequences. She then joined the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering where her lab isolated the first yeast protein to have two distinct enzymatic activities associated with the extein and intein created by a protein self-splicing event. At Stanford, she established a sequencing program for the Stem Cell Institute and played a central role in the development of novel whole genome sequencing techniques, single cell RNA-seq and genome sequencing, and the application of sequencing to liquid biopsy-based diagnostics. As Director of the Genomics Platform at CZ Biohub, Neff manages sequencing services, continues work on single molecule sequencing, and participates in the development of novel diagnostics.

John Pak, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Protein Sciences, Infectious Disease Initiative

Pak received his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where he focused on elucidating the three-dimensional structures of glycoproteins, including that of the SARS Spike antigen in complex with a neutralizing antibody fragment. As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Robert Stroud at UCSF, Pak’s work centered on the biochemical and structural characterization of bacterial and mammalian membrane proteins. At BioMarin Pharmaceutical, he led efforts to utilize experimental and computational structural biology to catalyze pre-clinical research across diverse drug modalities including biologics, small molecules, and AAV gene therapy. At the Biohub, Pak will be building a Protein Sciences group with robust biochemistry and structural biology expertise that will work closely with the Infectious Disease Initiative and the broader Biohub community to aid in the discovery and characterization of novel host cell, pathogen, and immune molecules.

Andreas Puschnik, Ph.D.

Biohub Fellow, Infectious Disease Initiative

Puschnik carried out his thesis research in Jan Carette’s lab at Stanford, where he devised haploid and CRISPR genetic screens to identify host factors that are critical for viral infection. He applied these techniques to dengue, Zika, and hepatitis C, which revealed novel antiviral targets. As a Biohub Fellow, Puschnik plans to continue using CRISPR and other powerful genetic screens to study both persistent and emerging viruses as well as cellular pathways important for their virulence.

Loïc Royer, Dr. rer. nat.

Group Leader, Cell Atlas Initiative

Royer first studied engineering in his native France and then obtained a master's degree in Artificial Intelligence, specializing in Cognitive Robotics, followed by a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. He then joined Gene Myers’ lab, first at HHMI's Janelia Farms and then at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, where he developed novel technology at the intersection of computer science and microscopy, including the first adaptive multi-view light-sheet microscope, which he developed in collaboration with Philipp Keller. As a group leader at CZ Biohub, Royer and his team are building ‘discovery machines’ that not only acquire image data, but also perform online processing, instant 3D visualization, adaptive imaging, and automated photo-manipulation. These integrated instruments bring together state of the art optics, robotics, machine learning, and image analysis with the aim of advancing beyond the automation of repetitive tasks and into the realm of actual automated scientific reasoning.

Cristina M. Tato, PH.D., M.P.H.

Director of Rapid Response, Infectious Disease Initiative

Tato received a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied transcription factor families and their downstream signaling pathways. As a post-doctoral fellow (NIH and Schering-Plough Biopharma) she continued using in vivo models of infection and autoimmune inflammation to gain insight into how these transcription factors mediate host resistance to infection, regulate the production of inflammatory cytokines, and affect the development of innate and adaptive immunity. At Stanford's Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, Tato focused on the tactical application of systems immunology methods for studying human health and disease and for evaluating vaccine efficacy. She joined the Infectious Disease Initiative’s Rapid Response Team at CZ Biohub to plan and implement activities to strengthen global emergency response efforts to epidemics.


Emma Lundberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Biohub sabbatical visitor, 2017-2019

At the interface between bioimaging and proteomics, Lundberg's research aims to define the spatiotemporal organization of the human proteome at a single cell and subcellular level, with the goal of understanding how variations and deviations in protein expression patterns can contribute to cellular function, cell type specificity and disease. In particular, she plans to understand how proteins localizing to multiple subcellular compartments or showing single cell variations contribute to increased cellular diversity.
She is also interested in citizen science through integration with massively multiplayer online games. Lundberg's work includes the creation of the Cell Atlas component of the Human Protein Atlas program.