Research Team

Gheorghe Chistol

Assistant Professor

Hometown: Causeni, Moldova
Previous Research Interests: radioastronomy, planet hunting, optical trapping, molecular motors
Current Research Interests: how eukaryotic cells detect and respond to replication stress? how do complex molecular machines with dozens of subunits (such as the replisome) function?
Passionate about: molecules, science, history, photography, cooking
Guilty pleasure: ice-cream
Favorite quote: “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” — Monty Python
Spirit animal: The Polar Bear


Riki Terui

Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Shiga, Japan
Previous Research Interests: How does mismatch repair occur in the context of chromatin?
Current Research Interests: How does DNA damage checkpoint stabilize replication forks to maintain genome integrity?
Passionate about: Molecular biology, reading
Guilty pleasure: Sweets, Manga
Favorite quote: “Just concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.” — Momo (Michael Ende)
Spirit animal: The turtle



Dhruva Deshpande

Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Pune, India
Previous Research Interests: Single molecule localization microscopy (SMLM), stimulated emission depletion (STED), synaptic proteins involved in neurodegenerative disorders
Current Research Interests: Investigate replisome components using multiplexed super-resolution imaging
Passionate about: Microscopy, science writing, hiking, gardening
Guilty pleasure: Midnight food binges
Favorite quote: “One of the poets, whose name I cannot recall, has a passage, which I am unable at the moment to remember, in one of his works, which for the time being has slipped my mind, which hits off admirably in this situation” – P. G. Wodehouse
Spirit animal: Dog


Luke Lynch

Graduate Student

Graduate Program: Biochemistry
Hometown: Pinehurst, NC
Previous Research Interests: Rapid genome evolution and sub-clonal heterogeneity as a consequence of cell division errors
Current Research Interests: How DNA unwinding is regulated by checkpoint signaling
Passionate about: Microscopy, folk dance, baking, soccer
Guilty pleasure: PBR
Favorite quote: “You can observe a lot by just watching” — Yogi Berra
Spirit animal: Squirrel


Scott Berger

Graduate Student

Graduate Program: Biophysics
Hometown: Montvale, NJ
Previous Research Interests: The role of J-proteins in variant-specific yeast prion elimination, ribosome-associated complex structure and function, employing Kuramoto model oscillators and small-world network architecture in neuroscience
Current Research Interests: How is initiation of DNA replication regulated?
Passionate about: Single molecule imaging, history and evolution of Sinitic and Japonic languages, cooking, biking, chemical origins and early evolution of life, computer hardware
Guilty pleasure: Boba
Favorite quote: “I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that.” — K. Emiya
Spirit animal: Salamander


Anika Krishnan

Undergraduate Student

Hometown: San Mateo, CA
Previous Research Interests: PK/PDs involved in ChemoFilter drug adsorption, B-cell stimulation and spreading
Current Research Interests: Segmenting single-molecule image movies into individual molecules/Single-Particle Tracking of CMG molecules using MATLAB
Passionate about: Classical/choral singing, molecular biology, volunteering, watercolors, baking, and tide pool exploration
Guilty pleasure: RHOBH
Favorite quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” — Oscar Wilde
Spirit animal: Otter!


Sierra Horangic

Undergraduate Student

Hometown: Concord, NH
Previous Research Interests: Microfluidic cell manipulation, On-Chip PCR, Rapid point-of care COVID-19 testing, Isothermal amplification
Current Research Interests: How the replisome overcomes protein lesions
Passionate about: molecular machines, basketball, biomimicry, textile design
Guilty pleasure: ice cream sandwiches
Favorite quote: “Destiny is a funny thing.” — Uncle Iroh
Spirit animal: Lemur


Elena Blanco

Visiting Scholar

Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Previous Research Interests: DNA Re-Replication, PrimPol function at ICLs.
Current Research Interests: Structural and functional studies of PimPol primase
Passionate about: Molecular biology, traveling, reading
Guilty pleasure: Croquetas
Favorite quote: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie
Spirit animal: Cat

Administration Team

Emma Hammock

Administrative Assistant

Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana
Previous Research Interests: Dialectology
Current Research Interests: Cool things to do in the bay area
Passionate about: Learning languages, traveling, hiking and cooking
Guilty pleasure:  Gulab jamun cake
Favorite quote: “To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture.” -Franz Fanon
Spirit animal: Llama

Friends of the Lab

Sarina Mitchel


Hometown: Wayne, NJ
Previous Research Interests: Art history, perfect squares, number patterns, maximalism, surrealism
Current Research Interests: Masonite and other compressed wood products, acrylic paint, cells and how they move, abstract art
Passionate about: Creating art, bridging art and science
Guilty pleasure: Baking, writing postcards, and sleeping
Favorite quote: “Learn to eat rejection; it will make you stronger.” — Bob Ragland
Spirit animal: Ms. Proboscis (@msproboscis on Instagram)
Portfolio site:
Instagram: @rina_the_beans
Twitter: @smitchelart



Snack Quality Control Officer

Hometown: West Covina, CA
Previous Research Interests: brown squirrels
Current Research Interests: black squirrels
Passionate about: squirrel biodiversity, food on the ground, butt-scratches, did I mention squirrels?
Guilty pleasure: leftovers
Favorite quote: “Are you going to eat that?”
Spirit animal: The Pet Rock


The Chistol Lab’s 2020 socially-distant lab photo. From left to right: Luke Lynch, Linda Song, Scott Berger, Gheorghe and Henry Chistol, Taylor Crisologo, and Riki Terui.

Former Lab Members


Tsion Abza

Research Intern


Linda Song

Lab Manager/Research Scientist, Fall 2019 through Summer 2021

Taylor Crisologo

Lab Admin, Fall 2019 through Spring 2021

Christy Luong
Rotation Student, Spring 2021

Jordan Valgardson
Rotation Student, Winter 2020

Travis Lantz
Visiting Student, Winter 2020

Jo-Hsi Huang
Rotation Student, Summer 2020