Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma
Degree/training: B.S., Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma; Ph.D., Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University; Postdoctoral training, Pharmacology, Yale University
Favorite non-science activity: Fitness/exercise, travel, and hiking in San Diego’s beautiful outdoors.
Favorite book/author: Impossible question! But if I go by re-read frequency, it’s Richard Bradford’s Red Sky at Morning, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers, and David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day.
Scientist hero: Prof. Joan Steitz
Fun fact about me: For two years during my postdoc, I played the triple cello pans in a steel pan band. I am currently scratching the percussion itch by learning to play the tabla.
Research focus: I play a number of important roles in the Sohl Lab, from training students in a variety of biochemical and cell culture techniques, maintaining and repairing instruments, and making sure the lab runs smoothly. I am currently generating stable cell lines for modeling IDH-driven cancers in order to better understand mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
Hometown: Binh Dinh, Vietman
Degree/training: B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University
Favorite non-science activity: Gardner, sugarcane
Scientist hero: My parents
Research focus: IDH1 mutations drive a host of cancers, including gliomas, chondrosarcomas, and acute myeloid leukemia. Many mutations confer a neomorphic activity, and we recently showed that tumor-relevant mutants have widely varied kinetic profiles. I seek to connect the biochemical and structural features of IDH1 mutants to tumor phenotypes and patient prognosis using cellular techniques. I also am interested in exploring the peroxisomal consequences of IDH1 mutations, particularly in the context of stress communication and lipid processing.
Degree/training: PhD, Medical Oncology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Penang, Malaysia
Favorite non-science activity: Cooking and baking
Favorite book/author: The Winner Stands Alone, Paulo Coelho
Scientist hero: Ahmed Zewail
Fun fact about me: I love cats so much!
Research focus: Understanding enzyme dynamics is critical for elucidating the key features of enzyme structure and function. By using spectroscopic tools tied to transient-state kinetics methods, I seek to understand how real-time structural changes in the human enzymes IDH1, a metabolic enzyme, and PolE, a leading strand polymerase, facilitate their vital enzymatic activities.
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Degree/training: B.S. Chemistry, San Diego State University Georgia
Favorite non-science activity: Playing video games and cooking
Favorite book/author: Antonio and David by Jemal Karchkhadze
Scientist hero: Rosalind Franklin
Fun fact about me: Before I became a biochemist, I was a professional dancer
Research focus: Polymerase ε (PolE) is responsible for leading DNA strand replication in humans. Mutations in PolE drive cancers of the endometrium, stomach, and skin. These mutations can theoretically affect nucleotide incorporation, nucleotide excision, processivity, and overall fidelity. We use pre-steady-state kinetics experiments to determine the consequences of these mutations on robust, accurate DNA replication. I am interested in kinetically characterizing both exonuclease domain and polymerase domain mutants that drive tumors to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of tumor growth and development.
Hometown: San Diego, California
Degree/training: B.S., Biochemistry, Cal Poly, Pomona
Favorite non-science activity: Going to Disneyland with my family
Favorite book/author: The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
Scientist hero: Rosalind Franklin
Fun fact about me: I can live off of caffeine and 2 hours of sleep
PhD student (Biology)
Research focus: The conversion from isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate by IDH1 is the main source of NADPH in peroxisomes. Mutations in IDH1 prevent this conversion and can affect plasmalogen biosynthesis, β-oxidation of very long chain fatty acids, and α-oxidation of phytanic acid. I aim to use lipidomics and cellular assays to establish the peroxisomal consequences of IDH1 mutations that drive cancer.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Degree/training: B.S., Bioengineering/Biotech UCSD; M.S., Biotechnology, UPenn
Favorite non-science activity: Socializing with the TV on my couch. Being overly gleeful at funny human antics like trying to name a ship Boaty McBoatface
Favorite book/author: Eating Animals (Jonathan Saffran Foer), the last ~1/3 of Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), and the first section of At the Bench (Kathy Barker).
Scientist hero:Dr. Jen Gunter and Dr. Mama Danielle Jones
Fun fact about me:Most of the time, you can see my heart beat pulse against my skin on my wrist. Freaky!
Research focus: Human polymerase epsilon (PolE) mutations are known drivers of cancer, typically leading to a hypermutated phenotype. I am interested in using transient-state kinetics to characterize the catalytic parameters of both exonuclease and polymerase domain PolE mutants. By establishing the incorporation kinetics and fidelity of these important mutants, we can identify new drivers of tumorigenesis.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Degree/training: B.S. in Chemistry, SDSU
Favorite non-science activity: Motorcycle rides, hiking outdoors, beach walks
Favorite book/author:Fiction/ Dracula by Bram Stoker
Scientist hero: Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Fun fact about me: Can easily daydream any time during the day
Research focus: Mutations in human polymerase ε (PolE) have been implicated in a variety of cancers. Due to the kinetic features of polymerases in general, we use pre-steady-state kinetics methods to probe rates of nucleotide incorporation and excision. I am inspired by known PolE mutations that drive endometrial, stomach, and skin cancers and will determine changes in kinetic rates and fidelity to better understand how these mutants drive tumors.
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Degree/training: B.S., Chemistry, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Favorite non-science activity: Cooking, writing, photography, traveling
Favorite book/author: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Scientist hero: Marie Curie
Fun fact about me: I am extremely fascinated by cats and babies
Research focus: Though IDH1’s role in cancer is well established, modes of regulation of this protein are not well known. I am using mutational methods to understand the role of post-translational modifications in altering IDH1’s activity.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Degree/training: SDSU Undergraduate, Biochemistry
Favorite non-science activity: Concerts, the beach, hanging out with friends/family, SDSU basketball and football games, walking my dog, runway fashion!
Favorite book/author: The Giver by Lois Lowry
Scientist hero: Mae Jemison
Fun fact about me: My name translates to “calm of the heavens” or “chief of the sky.” I am a resident advisor (RA) in Huāxyacac Hall!
Research focus: Human isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) is an important metabolic enzyme that is often mutated in tumors of the brain, cartilage, and bile ducts. These mutations often lead to a neomorphic activity that is important for driving tumor formation. I am interested in expressing and purifying IDH1 mutations and characterizing them kinetically so we can better understand how mutant IDH1 catalyzes this important and dangerous reaction.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Degree/training: SDSU undergraduate, Chemistry
Favorite non-science activity: Dancing, water coloring, listening to movie soundtracks, photography
Favorite book/author: About Men & Women by Tad Guzie & Noreen Monroe Guzie, the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
Scientist hero: My cousin, Fred Khoury
Fun fact about me: In 8th grade, I won history class president while dressed as a luffa for Halloween
Research focus: Fruits contain a host of interesting molecules that can drive or regulate many pathways in the cell. There is great interest in studying fruit-derived molecules in the inhibition of pro-tumorigenic pathways. I am interested in establishing the role of dried plum extracts on the proliferation and growth of cells derived from bone tumors.
Hometown: Goodyear, AZ
Degree/training: SDSU undergraduate, Foods and Nutrition, DPD
Favorite non-science activity: Running
Favorite book/author: Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic; Thich Nhat Hanh
Scientist hero: Antoine Lavoisier – “Father of Nutrition and Chemistry”
Fun fact about me: I am a certified Yoga Instructor!
Research focus:Mutations in human polymerase ε (PolE) drive many tumors of the endometrium, stomach, and skin, and are associated with a high mutational burden in the genome. I am interested in using a computational and structural approach to predict passenger versus driver mutations for PolE mutants identified in patients. This will guide my selection of PolE mutants to generate using site-directed mutagenesis.
Favorite non-science activity: tbd
Favorite book/author: tbd
Scientist hero: tbd
Fun fact about me: tbd
Research focus: Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1), both wild type (WT) and mutant forms, have been implicated in tumors. I am interested in designing, expressing, and purifying IDH1 mutants, and then characterizing them kinetically. This will help us better understand how IDH1 performs its normal catalytic functions, and how patient-inspired mutants facilitate a neomorphic reaction critical for tumor formation.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Degree/training: SDSU undergraduate, Biochemistry
Favorite non-science activity: Staying active/working out
Favorite book/author: Jenny Han
Scientist hero: Marie Curie
Fun fact about me: I am a first generation college student for my family
Alumni: Graduate Students
Amanda Coale (SohlMate 2019-2020), MS 2020 (Engineering). Engineer at Biolinq
Adam Grunseth (SohlMate 2016-2018), BS 2015.
Ngoc “Jade” Huynh (SohlMate 2018-2021) MA 2021. Technician at University of San Diego
Dr. Lucas Luna (SohlMate 2015-2021) PhD 2021. Scientist at Singular Genomics
Dr. Diego Avellaneda Matteo (SohlMate 2015-2020), PhD 2020. Scientist at Molecular Assemblies
Phuc Phan (SohlMate 2019-2020), MS 2021 (Engineering)
Kate Sabo (SohlMate 2019-2022) MS 2022.
Anna Uvarova (SohlMate 2015-2017), MS 2017. Scientist at Novartis
Dr. Joi Weeks (SohlMate 2018-2020), PhD 2020. Passed away in 2020
Grace Wells (SohlMate 2016-2020), MS 2018. Scientist at Enlaza
Zeqing “Ruth” Xu (SohlMate 2017-2019), MS 2019. Scientist at Illumina
Alumni: Undergraduate Students
Sati Alexander (SohlMate 2018-2020), BS 2020. PhD student at Augusta University
Celena Anaya (SohlMate 2017), BS 2018. Scientist at Trilink Biotechnologies
Stacy Anselmo (SohlMate 2015-2017), BS 2017. Scientist at Eton
Carlos Bobadilla (SohlMate 2016), BS 2017 Scientist at Illumina
Danielle Caliger (SohlMate 2019-2021), BS 2021. Applying to medical school
Esteban Delgado (SohlMate 2018), BS 2020. PhD student at UCSD
Jeon Erik Fonbon (SohlMate 2017-2018), BS 2018.
Eric Gonzalez (SohlMate 2015-2017), BS 2017. MS at UCSF.
Madison Kennedy (SohlMate 2015-2018), BS 2018. PhD student at U Washington
Zach Lesecq (SohlMate 2017-2018), BS 2018. MD student at California U Science and Medicine
Dania Meza-Acosta (SohlMate 2018), BS 2022. Scientist at Illumina
Precious Moman (SohlMate 2016-2017), BS 2018. MD student at UCLA
Michelle Nguyen (SohlMate 2018), BS. PharmD student at UCSF
Tin Duc Nguyen (SohlMate 2019), BS 2021 (UCSD). Applying to PhD programs
Dahra Pucher (SohlMate 2019), current USC undergraduate
Giovanni Quichocho (SohlMate 2017-2020), BS 2020. PhD student at the University of Utah
Andrea Ruiz (SohlMate 2016), SDSU undergraduate
Jorge Sandoval (SohlMate 2016), BS 2019. Applying to med school
Anup Sarakki (SohlMate 2016), MS 2018. Scientist at Alkahest
Michelle Scott (SohlMate 2018-2019), BS 2019. PhD student at Vanderbilt University before passing away in 2020
Lexy Strom (SohlMate 2018-2021), BS 2021. PhD student at Stanford
Ella Thornberg (SohlMate 2019-2021), BS 2021. Applying to medical school
Viraj Upadhye (SohlMate 2017-2020), BS 2020. PhD student at Cornell
Vinnie Widjaja (SohlMate 2018-2021), BS 2021. PhD student at Brown
Yunjin Wu (SohlMate 2016), MS 2018. Scientist at Wuxi AppTec
Elan Zora (SohlMate 2018). BS 2019. Applying to medical school