Meet our Scholars
Drs. Alvaro and White
Meet our Scholars
Drs. Cekanaviciute (past Scholar) and Sims
Meet our Scholars
Drs. Cole and Johnson
Meet our Scholars
Drs. Payumo and Sanchez
Meet our Scholars
Drs. McCully (past Scholar) and Hardin
Meet our Scholars
Drs. Pastore, Carrasco, McCully (past Scholar)
Meet our Leadership
Dr. Jennifer Breckler, Teaching Coordinator SFSU
Dr. Holly Ingraham, Program Director UCSF
Meet our Leadership
Anne Sufka, Program Coordinator, UCSF
Dr. Raymond Esquerra, Program Co-Director, SFSU


Christopher Alvaro, PhD

Molecular and Cellular Biology,
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Christopher Alvaro is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Allan Basbaum’s lab in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF. The Basbaum lab studies biological mechanisms of pain and itch and their regulation in the central nervous system to better understand disease states such as chronic pain and itch. Dr. Alvaro’s project addresses the question of how itch and pain signals are differentiated in the central nervous system and hopes to identify specific neurons and molecules important for the separation of these two pathways in the spinal cord. (Appointed to IRACDA March 2016)


Yazmin Carrasco, PhD

Natural Products Chemistry,
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Yazmin Carrasco is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jack Taunton’s lab in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. Dr. Carrasco's research interests focus on understanding the molecular mechanism for co-translation translocation of secretory and membrane proteins using small molecule inhibitors. Secretory and transmembrane proteins are critical for cell-to-cell communication and have been associated to numerous human pathologies such as inflammation, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. (Appointed to IRACDA November 2013)


Daud Cole, PhD

Biochemistry and Biophysics,
 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Dr. Daud Cole is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Dean Sheppard's lab in the Department of Medicine.  Dr. Cole’s research project describes molecular mechanisms underlying vascular permeability in endothelial cells, measuring forces between VE-cadherins of adjacent endothelial cells using a FRET-based tension sensor under varying physiological relevant conditions. Dr. Cole hopes to find evidence of signal transduction between VE-cadherins at intercellular junctions. (Appointed to IRACDA January 2014)


Aaron Hardin, PhD

Molecular and Cellular Biology,
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Aaron Hardin is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Nadav Ahituv's lab in the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. Dr. Hardin answers questions regarding genetic variation and diversity in mammary glands in several model systems including mice, rats and humans. Additional areas of research include development of new in vitro assays for learning enhancer functions across vertebrates and machine learning techniques for high throughput genomic assays. (Appointed to IRACDA January 2014)


Audra Johnson, PhD

Chemical Biology & Progenitor Cell Biology,
 The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Audra Johnson is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jody Baron's lab in the Department of Medicine. The Baron Lab studies immunopathogenesis of acute and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a mouse model with human correlates. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on dissecting the immune responses that lead to viral persistence or clearance, particularly immune priming that leads to HBV persistence and immune-mediated chronic inflammation of the liver. (Appointed to IRACDA September 2013)


Mayra B. Pastore, PhD

Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology,
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Mayra B. Pastore is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Holly Ingraham's lab in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology. The Ingraham lab's research focuses on the role of liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1) and estrogen receptor (ER) in metabolic homeostasis. Dr. Pastore’s project focuses on LRH-1 and ER nuclear receptors’ role in the etiology and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). (Appointed to IRACDA September 2015)


Alex Payumo, PhD

Chemical & Systems Biology,
Stanford University

Dr. Alex Payumo is a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Guo Huang at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Payumo's research focuses on understanding the basis for mammalian heart regeneration using neonatal mice as a model system. Neonatal mice can regenerate their hearts after injury until the first week after being born. Dr. Payumo researches the physiological basis for the limitation of cardiac regeneration during that developmental window. (Appointed to IRACDA September 2016)


Erica Sanchez, PhD

Molecular and Cellular Biology,
University of Washingon

Dr. Erica Sanchez is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Rushika Perera's lab in the Department of Anatomy. Dr. Sanchez's research will focus on the cellular biology of transcription factors that modify gene expression in pancreatic cancer cells. Dr. Sanchez will identify regulatory circuitry responsible for the maintenance of enhanced autophagy in those cells. (Appointed to IRACDA September 2016)


Olivia Sims, PhD

Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Olivia Sims is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Melanie Ott’s lab at Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in the UCSF division of Gastroenterology. A focus of the lab is to identify the molecular mechanisms contributing to HIV-1 latency. Dr. Sims studies the epigenetic modifications that maintain latent HIV-1 reservoir in T cells and searches for new drug targets to reverse latency  with a focus on the immunology of memory T cells. (Appointed to IRACDA February 2014)


Corin White, PhD

Kansas State University

Dr. Corin White is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Joseph DeRisi's lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. The DeRisi lab employs a number of omic approaches to explore and determine the causal agent of various diseases. Dr. C. White explores the genetic architecture of infected and non-infected individuals with lower respiratory and/or autoimmune disease, and is interested in identifying host state specific human and microbiome signatures to identify disease biomarkers. (Appointed to IRACDA January 2016)


Marquitta White, PhD

Human Genetics,
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Marquitta White is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Esteban Burchard's lab at UCSF focusing on asthma research. The Burchard Lab identified several single variants significantly associated with pediatric bronchodilator response (BDR) in Latino and African American populations. Dr. M. White's research identifies and characterizes the genetic and environmental factors contributing to genetic architecture of BDR in Latino populations. (Joined IRACDA September 2014)