Kathrin is originally from Germany and earned her masters and doctorate degree in cell biology from Humboldt University in Berlin. Even though she got her Ph.D. degree from the Humboldt University, she did her graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Rapoport at Harvard Medical School and defined molecular mechanisms of protein translocation across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. She then joined the lab of Barbara Panning at UCSF for her postdoctoral studies, which got her excited about the X-inactivation problem. She uncovered that polycomb proteins and H3K27me3 accumulate on the inactive X chromosome in an Xist RNA-dependent manner. As result, H3K27me3 has become synonymous with X-inactivation and is the most widely used marker of the inactive X in and outside the field. This finding has supported the model that long-noncoding RNAs can, directly or indirectly, recruit chromatin-modifying complexes to their target sites. She then moved back to Boston to finish her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute at MIT. There, she was exposed to various new topics from mouse development, neurodevelopmental diseases, cancer biology, DNA methylation problems etc. In the Jaenisch lab, Kathrin identified Polycomb proteins as general regulators of developmental genes in mammalian cells and provided insight into the role of this repressive chromatin complex in the maintenance of pluripotency, by defining the genome-wide targets of the PRC2 Polycomb complex and its downstream mark H3K27me3 in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) though the then new ChIP-chip method. Kathrin joined the faculty at the University of California Los Angeles in 2006. She serves on the editorial board of Cell, Science, Cell Stem Cell and other journals, and has held various leadership positions in the International Society for Stem Cell Research. She has also been selected as a HHMI Faculty Scholar. Outside of the lab, Kathrin enjoys spending time with friends and family and being active, playing tennis and baseball, hiking, biking, and skiing. Despite living in the US for a long time she still is rooting for the German national soccer team at the world cup.
Robin is originally from Virginia. She completed her B.S. in Biology at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Afterwards she worked at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for 5 years at the Asthma and Allergy Center studying the common cold and VEGF as it relates to acute lung injury. She has been a member of the Plath lab since its beginning in 2006 working as the Lab Manager and assisting various projects. In her spare time, Robin likes to go to the beach and go hiking with her children.
Post Doctoral Fellows
Amanda Collier (Mandy)
Mandy is originally from The New Forest in the United Kingdom. She received her B.Sc. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of York. During her B.Sc. she spent a year working at Pfizer as an industrial trainee studying the role of SOX2 during the reprogramming of fibroblasts to neural stem cells. Mandy obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the lab of Dr. Peter Rugg-Gunn. Her Ph.D work focused on the epigenetic mechanisms and gene regulatory networks that govern the transition between primed and naïve states of human pluripotency. Mandy joined the Plath lab in 2019 to study the gene regulatory, epigenetic, and metabolic factors important for early human development. Her work utilizes blastoids, a stem cell-based model of human embryo development. Outside of the lab, Mandy enjoys hiking and camping trips to US National Parks, photography, watching sports (F1/baseball/rugby), cooking, and playing with her dog Alfie.
Mandy’s publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=_mk97DIAAAAJ&hl=en
Iris received her Ph.D. from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - working in the lab of Prof. Yael Mandel-Gutfreund. During this time, she spent two years as a visiting student in the lab of Prof. Remo Rohs at the University of Southern California. As Ph.D. student, she developed and employed computational approaches to study the molecular mechanisms dictating DNA-protein recognition, exploring protein interfaces, DNA binding sites, and their covariation. She joined the Plath lab in 2015 to study the regulation of gene expression and chromatin state and organization during early embryonic development and iPSC reprogramming and is exploring the role of the long non-coding RNA XIST in these processes. To this end she applies computational and machine learning approaches, analyzing diverse high-throughput data sets.
Iris’s publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=MzFD9oEAAAAJ
Elsie earned a B.Sc. in Genetics from the University of Otago in Aotearoa/NZ. She subsequently obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the University of Auckland, NZ, where she studied mechanotransduction and the 3D genome. Elsie joined the Plath lab in 2019, where she investigates X inactivation and the early stages of iPSC reprogramming. In her free time, Elsie enjoys playing with her cats and exploring the beaches, deserts, forests, and mountains of California (and beyond!).
Elsie’s publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CjdR02EAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
Justin received a B.S. and a Ph.D. from UCLA researching the properties of the genome that control DNA methylation. Justin joined the Plath lab to study the mechanism of reprogramming cell states, with an emphasis on understanding those states using and developing single cell technologies. Justin likes to write, hike, engage in varied multimedia pursuits, and makes people run up and down stairs at Drake stadium every Monday.
Alex is originally from Paradise, California. He received his BS in Cell Biology from University of California Davis. After undergrad, he got his MS in Biology at California State University of Chico studying epigenetic modifications to a microRNA regulating insulin secretion. He then completed his PhD in Mammalian Genetics at The Jackson Laboratory in partnership with Tufts University of Graduate Biomedical Sciences identifying how Chromosome X dosage modulates totipotent cell proportions and susceptibility to autosomal aneuploidies in mouse embryonic stem cells. Alex joined the Plath lab in 2022 and will be working on mechanisms and maintenance of Chromosome X dosage compensation. Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys quality time with his cats, playing board/video games, drawing and painting, exercising, and spending time in nature.
Alex's’s publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=75T-MmoAAAAJ&hl=en&authuser=1
Yu Sun (Sammy)
Sammy is originally from Weihai, a coastal city in Shandong Province, China. He obtained B.S. in Microbiology in Shandong University and did his Ph.D. training at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Shanghai. During grad school, Sammy studied a salt water unicellular green alga, Dunaliella salina, and dreamed about understanding the unique aspects of this organism may lead to a better source for Bio-hydrogen. Continuing his love of unicellular organisms, he came to UCLA and worked with Dan S. Ray (with whom nobel prize laureate Randy Schekman started his undergraduate works in the 70s) for 3 years to learn about mitochondrial DNA replication mechanisms in trypanosomatic parasites. In 2007, he started working with Lars Dreier and learned about cellular degradation/recycling mechanisms (Ubiquitination, Autophagy...) and investigating how these may be related to synaptic transmission (using C. elegans as model), aging and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2021, he joined the Plath lab and is now interested in exploring how mitochondrial autophagy controls and supports iPSC reprogramming, and studies how Xist expression is regulated. Outside of lab, Sammy enjoys spending time with his family (wife, kid, Sofia the cat), reading, playing soccer/tennis/frisbee, biking, skiing, and hiking.
Clara is from Los Angeles and a member of the Gene Regulation, Epigenomics and Transcriptomics Home Area of the Molecular Biology Institute graduate program. She earned both a B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles, and participated in the MBRS-RISE program. During her M.S., she studied the protein t-Darpp, which confers chemoresistance to HER2+ breast cancer. In the Plath lab Clara studies the formation of nuclear compartments by RNAs. In her free time, she enjoys watching reality TV, going to concerts, and spending time with friends and family.
Nivedita (Nivi) Damodaren is a graduate student in the Plath lab. She received her Bachelors in Biotechnology from the Anna University, Chennai, India. She is working on understanding the role of RNA-binding proteins in sequestering RNA onto chromatin and investigating their role in nuclear organization. Outside the lab, Nivi likes cooking, gardening, playing tennis and binge-watching Korean dramas.
Andrea Garcia Angulo
Andrea is an undergraduate student at UCLA who is majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. In the Plath lab Andrea is studying the role of protein complexes associated with XIST during X-inactivation in embryonic stem cells. She aspires to become a physician scientist. Outside of the lab, Andrea likes to try new foods, read, and watch reality TV.
Benjamin Feng (Ben)
Ben is an undergraduate student at UCLA who is majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology with minors in Biomedical Research and Bioinformatics. In the lab, Ben is studying human X chromosome re-activation and silencing in the context of naïve pluripotency, trophoblast development, and human blastoid models. Ben plans on continuing his education in graduate school to pursue a PhD while combining both wet lab and computational sciences. In his spare time, he enjoys board games, reading, and finding delicious food around the city.
Tiao is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Bioinformatics. Working with Tracy and Elsie, she employs computational tools for the analysis of RNA-seq data and explores gene expression at the single cell level with RNA Fluorescent in situ Hybridization. She aspires to build a career as a scientific researcher. Outside of lab, you will find her cooking, watching movies, admiring turtles at the UCLA Botanical Garden, and bonding with cute feline friends.
High School Volunteers
Lior Berrin is a high school volunteer from Milken Community School. Lior is learning the tools to study X-inactivation and iPSC reprogramming by assisting Sammy’s projects in the lab. At school, he is the leader of Moot Beit Din, a Jewish debate club, and is a member of Student Government. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano and board games.
Opie and Glen
William was a postdoctorl scholar in the lab. He is now a Scientist at Altos Labs in San Diego.
Boseon was a postdoctorl scholar in the lab. She is now a Scientist at Amgen.
Tracy was a postdoctorl scholar in the lab between 2021-2022.
Yolanda was a project scientist in the lab. She is now a Lecturer at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
Anya was an MD/PhD student performing her graduate work the lab until 2022. She is continuing her medical training at UCLA.
Franziska was a masters student in the lab working with Mandy until 2022. She has returned to Germany to complete her masters.
Molly was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Will. She is now attending graduate school at MIT.
Weixian was a graduate student in the lab until 2022. He is now a Scientist at Amgen.
Anthony was a graduate student in the lab until 2022. He is now a Scientist at Illumina.
Tsotne was a graduate student in the lab until 2022. He is now a Scientist at Calico Life Sciences
Sebastian was a masters student in the lab working with Mandy until 2021. He returned to Germany to complete his masters.
Amy was a postdoc in the lab until 2021. She is now a Senior Scientist at Amgen.
Shawn was a graduate student in the lab until 2021. He is now a research fellow at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore.
Jarrett was a graduate student in the lab until 2020. He is now working at Bioarkive in San Diego.
Jessie was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Yolanda. She is now attending graduate school at Yale.
Johnny was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Yolanda. He is now attending graduate school at UC Berkeley.
Shan was a Bioinformatics PhD in the Plath lab until June 2020. He is now Scientist II, Computational Biology at ArsenalBio.
Christy was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Yolanda. She is now attending graduate school at Stanford.
Tom was was a post doc in the Plath lab until October 2019. He is now a field Application Scientist at STEMCELL Technologies.
Costas was a post doc in the Plath lab until October 2019. He is now an Assistant Professor at UIC.
Kady was the administrative support to Dr. Plath
Kent was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Justin. He is now at Kite Pharma working as a Clinical Trial Management Associate.
Ivy was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Martina. He is now at Kite Pharma working as a Clinical Trial Management Associate.
Paula was a research volunteer in the lab. She is now attending graduate school at Cornell University
Yi- Yun Ho
Yi was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Yolanda. She is now attending graduate school at UC Berkeley.
Artne was an undergraduate student in the lab working with Yolanda.
Jordan was a high school student volunteer from Miklen Community School. He is now at Stanford University for his undergraduate studies.
Yihao was an undergraduate student in the Plath lab until June 2017. He is now attending graduate school at Rockefeller in New York.
Aracely was the administrative support to Dr. Plath
Martina was a post doc in our lab from 2015-2017 and is now an Adjunct Professor in the Chute lab here at UCLA
Xu was a volunteer in the Plath lab and is currently doing her residency at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Keziah was an undergraduate student in the Plath lab until August 2016.
Elena was a Master’s student in the Plath Lab and is now a Ph.D. student at UCLA in the MBI program.
Stefan was a Master’s student in the Plath Lab until May 2016. He is attending the University of Regensburg.
Victoria was an undergraduate student in the Plath Lab majoring in Biochemistry.
Giancarlo was a graduate student in the Plath Lab. He defended his PhD in 2015 and is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Genome Sciences Department, University of Washington, in the Noble Lab.
Bernadett was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Plath Lab until October 2015. She has accepted a Senior Research position at USC.
Vincent was a Postdoctoral Student in the Plath Lab until October 2015. He has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Leuven.
Jacques was a Master’s student in the Plath Lab until August 2015.
Walter was an undergraduate in the Plath Lab until June 2015. He is completing his PhD at UCSF.
Molly was an undergraduate in the Plath Lab until 2015. She is completing her PhD at Stanford University.
Mark was a postdoc in the Plath Lab from 2007-2012. He has moved on to become a Research Associate at Amgen.
Matthew was a graduate student in the lab. He defended his PhD in 2013 and has moved on for a postdoc at the University of California, San Diego, in the Murre Lab.
Anu was a masters student in the Plath lab from 2012-2013 and is now a Research Associate at the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center.
Shahrad was an undergraduate student working in the lab from 2009-2011. He is currently a medical student at Tufts Medical School in Boston.
Ritchie completed his graduate studies in 2014 and is currently a postdoc at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Clive Svendsen’s lab.
Edward was an undergraduate student (2007-2008) and later a technician (2010-2011) in the lab. He recently completed his medical training and is currently in a Radiology Resident at UC Irvine’s Medical School.
Celine joined the Plath lab in 2007 and has moved on to become an Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg in France.
Mike completed his graduate studies in the lab in 2010 and is now a Research Associate in Damien Chaussabel’s lab at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle.
Alissa completed her graduate studies in the lab in 2012 and is continuing her medical training as an MSTP student at UCLA.
Sanjeet was a PhD student in our lab and completed his PhD in 2014. He is now completing his residency in the Department of Surgery here at UCLA.
Ryan completed his graduate studies in 2012, then finished his medical training at UCLA as part of the MSTP training, and now is a Pathology Resident at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Nadia completed her graduate studies in 2013 and has moved on to work for DeciBio, a market research and strategy consulting firm in Los Angeles.
Jan is a medical student at UCLA and was working with Sanjeet Patel between 2012-2013.
Rupa was a postdoc in the Plath lab from 2006-2011. She has moved on to become an Assistant Professor at the University of Madison, Wisconsin.
Jason was a graduate student in the lab and left in 2011. He is now completing his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Lorenz Studer at the Memorial Sloan Cancer Center in NYC.
Sacha worked as a high school student (Marlborough High School, Los Angeles) in our lab between 2008-2010. She was supervised by Bernadett Papp.
Jess worked as a high school student (Milken Community High School, Los Angeles) in our lab between 2012-2014. He was supervised by Sanjeet Patel.
Elysse worked as undergraduate student in our lab (2011-2012), on a project with Alissa Minkovsky.