I grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas as a child of the Clinton years. At Yale College for undergraduate education, I had little interest in science until work-study employment in a laboratory and Dr. Alanna Schepartz’s organic chemistry class opened my eyes. I went on to earn combined MS and BS degrees in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry with Alanna in 1993 and subsequently earned my PhD in Bio-organic Chemistry with Dr. Peter G. Schultz in the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley studying antibody evolution and developing methods to evolve catalytic antibodies. As a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Francis V. Chisari at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, I began studying human viruses and developed the hydrodynamic injection murine model of hepatitis B virus replication, which has become widely used as a tool for studying HBV-host interactions and for the evaluation of antivirals. In 2004, I established my own independent research group in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, applying chemical biology approaches to address fundamental problems in virology. We pursue curiosity-driven science and are drawn to trying to find solutions to challenges in the study of viruses and the treatment of viral diseases. We moved to the Microbiology and Immunology Department at Stanford in 2021. I feel privileged to work with talented trainees and collaborators and to have the scientific freedom that I have. Although I feel like the one real imposter (no syndrome, the real thing), I have resolved to run with the opportunity!
Antara Chakravarty has been a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Prof. Priscilla Yang since September 2021. She obtained her Ph.D. from Prof. ALN Rao’s lab at the University of California-Riverside. She is now interested in understanding the impact of altered membrane lipid composition on the replication of membrane-associated RNA viruses, using the hepatitis C virus and brome mosaic virus as model systems. Additionally, she is curious about exploring various modalities of targeted protein degradation as an antiviral approach. Outside work, she enjoys reading, hiking, wildlife photography, watercolor painting, and crocheting. Her secret ambition is to photograph as many bird species seen in California as possible, which is around 450 species.
In 2019, I got my Master of Science from the Technical University Munich with my studies focused on virology. Currently, my main project is the investigation of Dengue virus fusion and fusion inhibition by small molecules. Additionally, I am implementing HBV production to investigate HBV targeting compounds. I like running with my dog and camping in my free time. Something about me that you would not suspect could be that I started volunteering for the American Red Cross. I am leaving the Yang lab to start in the Stanford Bioengineering PhD program in Fall 2023.
Luning received his PhD (2022) and BSc (2016) at Peking University College of Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Zhi-Xiang Yu. During his PhD, Luning focused on synthesizing bioactive natural products such as sesquiterpenes and alkaloids. Besides, he also developed several novel metal-catalyzed cycloaddition methodologies to construct synthetically challenged ring systems and study the reaction mechanism by quantum chemical calculation based on density functional theory. Luning joined Prof. Yang’s laboratory in September 2022 as a postdoctoral researcher, interested in developing novel therapeutics targeting virus through small molecule.
In 2012 I finished my B.S. in biology at the Johanne-Gutenberg University in Mainz with my bachelor thesis entitled “Studies on the interaction of the USH 1G protein SANS with cytoplasmic dynein and its role in intracellular transport”. In 2014 I received my MS inbiology, also in Mainz. My M.S. focused on molecular biology and biochemistry resulting in my master’s thesis “Biochemical and molecular biological studies on the expression of hemocyanin isoforms from P.diffusa and V.viviparus”.
In 2015 I joined the Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Hannover Medical school participating in the PhD program molecular medicine with the Hannover biomedical research school. I graduated in 2020 and my thesis focused on dissecting distinct regulatory mechanisms of actomyosin-based contractility in non-muscle cells.
In 2021, I joined Priscilla Yang’s lab at Stanford University where I am working on the development of inhibitor strategies against the SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp) and the accessory Nef-protein encoded by human immunodeficiency virus type 1, 2 (HIV-1 and -2) and the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). I am also involved in projects using targeted protein degradation as antiviral strategy against distinct targets of the Dengue virus.
Outside of the lab, I enjoy outdoorsy activities as camping and hiking but also to gettogether with friends. Privately, my desire is for a kinder, honest and certainly healthier world.
I pursued my graduate study at Tsinghua University, and obtained Ph.D. in Biology in China.
The research I am work on is about cryoEM and cryoET studies of flavivirus virons and recombinant envelope proteins complexed with small molecules.
I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Structural biology. My past research endeavors have included understanding the chemical activity and signal propagation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and investigations of molecular response to light stress in Arabidopsis thaliana.
I am currently joining the efforts of Theresia Reindl on investigating the structure of hepatitis B virus HBx protein to understand it as a potential antiviral target, as well as, investigating potential mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent-RNA-Polymerase and their impact on inhibitor possibilities.
In my free time, I enjoys dancing, exploring/hiking with friends and family, teaching younger students science, and attempting to paint the scenery around her. You can also regularly find me in coffee shops as I continue my endless search to find the optimal coffee shop for working.
Connor Criswell, an Arkansan by birth, received his BA in biology from Hendrix College in 2016 before spending several years in Texas as a neuroscientist. He’s worked on a wide variety of projects sujch as investigating the genetics behind human cognition and neurodegenerative diseases as well as drug discovery projects searching for non-opioid painkillers. He joined Priscilla Yang’s lab at Stanford University in 2023 and currently investigates the use of targeted protein degradation as a potential antiviral treatment.
In his free time, Connor enjoys playing his instruments, video games, rock climbing, watching movies, and writing science communication articles, though most of the time you can find him hanging out with his cats, Lil Peep and Nearly. Something about him you might not expect is that in college he worked in Dr. Ann Willyard’s lab researching the phylogeography of pine trees. While collecting samples along the John Muir trail, he wrote a guide to identifying plants in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and in 2022 he was the editor of a popular science book written by Dr. Willyard.
I was trained as an agronomist at the faculty of agriculture in HUJI, while studying Auxin signaling in Arabidopsis. I’ve done my MSc at the Weizmann Institute of Science studying acetylation-mediated signaling in bacteria. In my PhD at the Weizmann Institute, I’ve solved key aspects in the rotational regulation of the bacterial flagellar motor. In my postdoc at Stanford, I’ve discovered that the mitotic reaction starts at the nucleus. In my postdoc at UC Berkely, I’ve found non-linear autoregulation dynamics in the so called “memory protein”, CamKII.
In late 2022 I’ve assumed a scientist position at the Yang’s lab, studying transcription dynamics on the surface of membranes.
I live with my family near campus, where we enjoy the bay area weather, atmosphere and local hikes. After the kids go to sleep, I may play board games with friends (Dune imperium and Orléans are amongst my favorites) and sometimes may even pick up the guitar.
Prior to joining Yang lab, I was a scientist at UC Santa Cruz. With my long virology experience, I hope to make significant contribution to the research program. I earned my PhD degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Name / position / years / next position
Bianca Linden, lab manager/LSRP, 2020-2023 PhD student, Stanford Bioengineering
Han-Yuan Liu, postdoctoral fellow, 2019-2023, Scientist at Amgen
Karthika Nagalekshmi, postdoctoral fellow, 2020-2021, postdoctoral fellow in Luban Lab, UMass Med
Chih-Yun Hsia, postdoctoral fellow, 2016-2020, Applications Engineer at Berkeley Lights, Inc.
….more being added……