Lab Members

Andrew R. Gross, MS

Research Associate II Email: andrew.gross@cshs.org

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Andrew R. Gross, MS, received his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He then studied the microbiology of the ocean crust at the University of Southern California (USC) in the laboratory of Katrina Edwards, PhD. Gross received his master's degree in Biology from USC in 2014.

Anjoscha Kaus, PhD

Project Scientist Email: anjoscha.kaus@cshs.org

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Anjoscha Kaus, PhD, earned her doctorate in neurobiochmemistry from Witten-Herdecke University, Witten (Germany), where she investigated the impact of neuroinflammation on stem cell proliferation and potential tumor formation. Her advanced training at Yale University focused on neocortical neurogenesis, how neural stem and progenitor cells in the brain strike a balance between self-renewal and differentiation, and the implications of imbalances for developmental defects of the central nervous system. In the Sareen Laboratory, Kaus will utilize induced pluripotent stem cell technology to develop molecular disease signatures for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy, two incurable neurodegenerative diseases that lead to motor neuron death and ultimately respiratory failure and death within three to five years.

Uthra Rajamani, PhD

Postdoctoral Scientist Email: uthra.rajamani@cshs.org

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Uthra Rajamani, PhD, obtained her doctorate in physiology from Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch (Cape Town) South Africa. There she specialized in studying the cardiovascular implications of diabetes and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology. After receiving advanced training in cardiovascular physiology from West Virginia University, she expanded her research to immunology and inflammation of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome at University of California, Davis. In the Sareen Laboratory, Rajamani focuses on the molecular basis of metabolic signals to the brain and their dysregulation with obesity, diabetes and other metabolic derangements. She employs human induced pluripotent stem cell-based, disease-in-dish models to understand the impact of disease on interactions between brain and gut.

Alexis Kerl

Research Associate I Email: alexis.kerl@cshs.org

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Alexis Kerl received her bachelor of science in biochemistry from Mount Saint Mary's University where she studied polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the realm of both chemistry and biology. Utilizing Soxhlet extraction techniques, she monitored the rate of deposition of PAHs through the bio-monitoring of Cyprus Pine trees. She then advanced her investigation to study cellular toxicity levels of PAHs. In the Sareen Laboratory, Alexis is focusing her efforts on processing blood samples from ALS patients for iPSC generation, reprogramming to iPSCs and optimizing protocols for neuronal and muscle differentiation from in defined media. She is also assisting with gene-editing in iPSCs with CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

Prasanthi Durvasula

Prasanthi Durvasula, MS

PhD Graduate Student Email: prasanthi.durvasula@cshs.org

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Prasanthi Durvasula received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then moved on to the City of Hope Medical Center where she investigated the proliferation and maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells in the laboratory of John Rossi, PhD. Utilizing lentiviral transduction, she studied the effects of inducible activation of the KLF4 gene on maintaining a population of stem cells with the potential to treat blood disorders. Her work culminated in a master's degree from California State University, Los Angeles. In the Sareen Laboratory, Durvasula focuses on proteins important for mitochondrial DNA integrity, which when manipulated, have the potential to create iPSC models of aging. These models facilitate better understanding of adult onset disorders such as ALS.

Michael Edison Ramos

Michael Edison Ramos

Research Associate I Email: michaeledison.ramos@cshs.org

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Michael Ramos studied biology California State University, San Bernardino. He specializes in cell culture and 3-D printing.

Christina Grabar

Christina Grabar

Intern Email: christina.grabar@cshs.org

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Christina Grabar is currently studying psychobiology with a minor in gerontology at UCLA. She will graduate in 2019 and plans to pursue a medical degree following her undergraduate education. Grabar assists Uthra Rajamani, PhD, in her analysis of the metabolic signals and dysregulation in diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases.

Parthkumar Patel, MS

Intern Email: parthkumar.patel@cshs.org

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Parthkumar Patel is a year-long CIRM Bridges intern. He has a master's degree in biotechnology from California State University, Channel Islands and focuses on advanced gene editing tools such as CRISPER/Cas9.

Vivian Chiu

Former Lab Member

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Vivian Chiu assisted with a wide variety of cell culturing and molecular bench work tasks as a lab assistant for the Sareen Lab.

Caitlin Clapacs

Former Lab Member

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As an intern in the Sareen Laboratory, Caitlin Clapacs quantified the expression of key genes in hypothalamic neurons using qPCR.

Jeremiah Fountain

Former Lab Member

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Jeremiah Fountain studied the mitochondrial dysfunction in iPSC-derived motor neurons generated from patients suffering from ALS in the Sareen Laboratory.

Rebecca Hernandez

Former Lab Member

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Rebecca Hernandez examined the responsiveness of iPSC-derived hypothalamic neurons to hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals in the Sareen Lab.

Raahil Kajani

Former Lab Member

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Raahil Kajani cultured and studied a variety of cells, including maintaining iPSC lines and differentiating various cell types from them. Kajani left the Sareen Lab to pursue a doctorate in medicine.

Camille Ocampo

Former Lab Member

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In the Sareen Laboratory, Camille Ocampo characterized the protein expression of iPSC-derived foregut organoids in order to assess their similarities to in vivo stomach.

Neiki Rokni

Former Lab Member

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Neiki Rokni studied the expression of key proteins responsible for hypothalamic identity in the Sareen Laboratory.