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 function?
Passionate about: molecules, science, history, photography, cooking
Guilty pleasure: ice-cream
Favorite quote: “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” — Monty Python
Spirit animal: 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: 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 stability using advanced 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

Larissa Sambel

Graduate Student

Graduate Program: Chemical and Systems Biology
Hometown: Dearborn, MI
Previous Research Interests: Regulation of E3 ligases, developing small-molecule inhibitors of DUBs, mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer, therapeutics targeting homologous recombination in Faconi anemia and cancer
Current Research Interests: Using single molecule imaging to understand regulation of DNA replication initiation
Passionate about: Microscopy, hiking, cooking, triathlons, plants
Guilty pleasure: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Favorite quote: “Not all those who wander are lost” — Bilbo Baggins (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Spirit animal: Badger

Jinho Park

Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Gwangju, South Korea
Previous Research Interests: Single-molecule spectroscopy, TIRF, CRISPR-Cas9
Current Research Interests: How RPA affects DNA replication dynamics
Passionate about: Biophysics, Swimming, Walking, Being a girl dad
Guilty pleasure: YouTube
Favorite quote: “Scientists love laser” — Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad)
Spirit animal: Owl

National Science Foundation Fellows

Juliet Hamak

Lead Biotechnology Pathway Teacher at Oak Grove High School, San Jose CA

Hometown: Mountain View, CA
Previous Research Interests: Dendritic morphology of neurons in gerbil medial superior olive
Current Research Interests: Purifying fluorescent proteins
Passionate about: playing bassoon and contrabassoon, cooking, the small pond I built.
Guilty pleasure: Stephen King novels
Favorite quote: “It’s only a flesh wound.” — Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Spirit animal: Guinea Pig

Dylan Garrissere

High School Biology/Biotechnology Teacher

Hometown: San Jose, CA
Previous Research Interests: N/A
Current Research Interests: Bringing more robust Biotech labs and demonstrations into the classroom
Passionate about: Magic the Gathering, Warhammer, 40k, Fighting Games
Guilty pleasure: Horror Podcasts
Favorite quote: “Shadow had spent 3 years in prison. He was big enough, and looked ‘don’t mess with me’ enough, that others generally left him alone, which was what he wanted. He spent his days practicing coin tricks, and thinking about how much he loved his wife.” American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Spirit animal: Sheep

Donaji Lopez

High School Student Intern, Summer 2023

Hometown: San Jose, CA
Current Interests: Forensics investigation using gel electrophoresis
Passionate about: Art, music, literature, writing, astronomy, philosophy
Guilty pleasure:  Daydreaming
Favorite quote: “The closer a thing comes to its perfection, the more keen will be it’s pleasure or it’s pain.”  – Dante Alighieri
Spirit animal: Deer

Abril Lopez-Gutierrez

High School Student Intern, Summer 2023

Hometown: San Jose, CA
Current Interests: Forensics investigation using gel electrophoresis
Passionate about: Cooking, Drawing, DNA/Genetics, Animal Biology
Guilty pleasure:  Buldak Spicy Ramen
Favorite quote: “You are your best thing.”  – Toni Morrison, Beloved
Spirit animal: Capybara

Administration Team

Katie Field

Administrative Associate

Hometown: Castro Valley, CA
Current Interests: Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Astronomy, Art
Passionate about: Fitness, family, dogs, sustainable agriculture
Guilty pleasure:  Cinnabon
Favorite quote: “Goodbye Kyle.”  – Ken, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Spirit animal: Golden Retriever

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)


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: Pet Rock

Chistol Lab Photo: 2023 Summer, Last Day of High School Summer Internship.
Left to right, Top: Jinho Park, Riki Teriu, Gheorghe Chistol, Scott Berger.
Left to right, Bottom: Luke Lynch, Donaji Lopez, Abril Lopez-Gutierrez, Larissa Sambel.

Chistol Lab Photo: 2022 Fall, CSB Department Retreat in Asilomar.
Left to right: Katie Field, Dhruva Deshpande, Scott Berger, Gheorghe Chistol, Larissa Sambel, Riki Terui, Luke Lynch, and Jinho Park.

Chistol Lab Photo: 2020 Fall, Lab Trip to Half Moon Bay + Synchronized Liftoff.
Left to right: Riki Terui, Luke Lynch, Dhruva Deshpande, Elena Blanco, Scott Berger, and Gheorghe Chistol.

Chistol Lab Photo: 2020 Fall, Socially Distant Lab Photo Outside our Home Building (CCSR).
Left to right: Luke Lynch, Linda Song, Scott Berger, Gheorghe and Henry Chistol, Taylor Crisologo, and Riki Terui.

Former Lab Members

DeWayne Darrnell Anderson

Rotation Student, Spring 2023

Paleo Kong

Wandering Undergraduate, Fall 2022

Theresa Lee

Executive Administrator, Spring – Summer 2022

Megan Hampton

Undergraduate Student at CSU Northridge

Emma Atul

Administrative Assistant, Summer 2021 – Spring 2022

Elena Blanco

Visiting Scholar, Fall 2021

Sierra Horangic

Undergraduate Student, Fall 2021

Anika Krishnan

Undergraduate Student, Summer 2020 – Fall 2021

Tsion Abza

Research Intern, Summer 2021

Linda Song

Lab Manager/Research Scientist, Fall 2019 – Summer 2021

Taylor Crisologo

Lab Admin, Fall 2019 – 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