Teruel Lab

Systems Biology Of Cell Signaling & Differentiation

Lab Team


Mary Teruel

Mary Teruel

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and, by courtesy, of Bioengineering

Biographical Sketch:  Mary’s NIH Biosketch
Complete CV: Mary’s Complete CV
Favorite Scientist: My favorite scientist is Nikola Tesla (1856-1943). I grew up in Buffalo, NY, a city that had its glory years back in the late 19th-early 20th centuries by being the western terminus of the Erie Canal, as well as the first American city to have widespread electric lighting – thanks to its proximity to Niagara Falls. I have always loved visiting Niagara Falls and seeing how the hydroelectric plants harness the enormous energy of the falls to power much of New York State. Nikola Tesla designed the first hydro-electric power plant in the world in Niagara Falls. This was the final victory of Tesla’s Alternating Current – which is today lighting the entire globe – over Thomas Edison’s Direct Current.
Hobbies: skiing, running, traveling and experiencing new cultures, and enjoying the awesome weather, arts, and open-mindedness in the San Francisco Bay Area!
Email: mteruel@stanford.edu


Zahra Bahrami-Nejad

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests:Signaling networks involved in cell differentiation
Education: B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Marine Biology, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran; M.S. in Biotechnology and Protein Science, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Favorite scientists: Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution is indeed one of the greatest scientific contributions ever made, and Gregor Johann Mendel (the father of genetics) for his fascinating work on heredity, which became the basis of the modern theory of genetics.
Hobbies: Cooking, running.
Email: zz.bahraminejad@gmail.com


Ewa Bielczyk-Maczynska

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: Stanford Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
Education: B.Sc. in Biology, M.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Psychology, University of Warsaw, Poland; Ph.D. in Haematology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Favorite Scientists: Louis Pasteur – not only did he disprove the long-standing concept of spontaneous generation but also created the first vaccines against rabies and anthrax.
Hobbies: non-fiction literature, fencing, travel, linguistics, photography
Email: ewabm@stanford.edu


Prat Gupta

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: Co-PI on a Stanford Center for Systems Biology Seed Grant ($25,000) to work with Nathan Abell and Steve Montgomery on a project “Glocal Identification of Terminal Differentiation Commitment Factors”
Education: B. Eng in Biotechnology. Ph.D. in Developmental Biology, University of Calgary, Canada.
Favorite Scientists: Jacob and Monod. One of the most important aspects of biology and health is gene expression and regulation. The foundation of gene expression and regulation was laid by two brilliant scientists – Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod. They discovered the lac operon in 1961 and demonstrated the role of gene expression and regulation in production of B-galactosidase enzyme. Since then, molecular and developmental biologists around the globe have been trying to identify gene expression and regulation mechanisms for numerous proteins in order to treat plethora of diseases. Moreover, Monod also postulated the importance of model systems in order to understand human biology. He said – “Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants.”
Hobbies: Photography, Biking/Hiking – exploring the Bay Area, Writing Poetry, Music
Email: pratg@stanford.edu


Devon Hunerdosse

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship
Education: B.A. in Biology, Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. Ph.D. in Endocrinology, University of California, Berkeley.
Favorite Scientists: Jonas Salk, for his campaign for mandatory vaccination and development of the polio vaccine, which contributed to the eradication of this disease. But most of all, his choice to forego personal fortune for the betterment of humanity.
Hobbies: Travel, cooking, national parks
Email: devonh@stanford.edu

Mia Hutchinson

Mia Hutchinson


Major: Mechanical Engineering
Awards: Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Email: hutch16@stanford.edu

Kovary, Kyle2

Kyle Kovary

Ph.D. Student

Education: B.S. Biochemistry, U.C. Santa Cruz
Favorite Scientist: Alfred Hershey for his famous and elegant “Blender Experiment.” He was able to convince the still fragmented biology field that DNA, and not protein, was the carrier of genetic information.
Hobbies: Outside of lab I like to bike ride, camp, surf, and travel
Email: kkovary@stanford.edu

Brooks Taylor

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: Stanford Jumpstart Fellowship, Stanford Endocrinology T32
Research Interests: Control of adipogenesis by the dynamics of cAMP signaling
Education: B.S. in Bioengineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Ph.D. in Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Favorite scientist: Tough question! While a lot of impressive names come to mind (Dr. Ian Malcolm, Dr. Julius Erving, and Dr. Emmet Brown, among others), I’d have to go with Leonhard Euler, who discovered an identity that Richard Feynman called “the most remarkable formula in mathematics”, and so many other things that they literally had to start naming concepts after the second person who discovered them.
Hobbies: deep-frying things
Email: b4taylor@stanford.edu

Stefan Tholen

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: German Science Foundation (DFG) Postdoctoral Fellowship
Research Interests: Characterizing the mechanisms controlling the rate of adipogenesis in vivo.
Education: Diploma in Biology, University of Göttingen, Germany; Ph.D. in Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany.
Favorite Scientist: Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) for his power of observation. In his absence a mold had grown on a petri dish which itself is nothing unusual. However, this particular mold seemed to have killed bacteria that had been growing in the petri dish. Fleming realized that this mold had potential and discovered penicillin in 1928. Thereby he revolutionized medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic without planning it. Penicillin has saved and is still saving millions of lives each day.
Hobbies: Aquaristics, Running, Skiing, Traveling
Email: stholen@stanford.edu

Michael Zhao

Michael Zhao

Ph.D. Student

Education: B.S. in Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Favorite Scientist:  Christian Anfinsen for his work demonstrating that the primary amino acid sequence of a protein contains sufficient information to encode its 3D sequence.
Hobbies: Eating, hiking, basketball, golf, and running (sometimes)
Email: mlzhao13@stanford.edu

Jaime Larios

Jaime Larios

Research Technician

Email: jlarios@stanford.edu


Jennie Vistacion

Administrative Associate

Email: jenniev@stanford.edu

Lab Alumni


Ellen Abell

Education: B.S. George Fox University
Former Position: Life Sciences Research Assistant, 2009-2011
Current Position: Medical Student, Loma Linda University


Robert Ahrends

Awards: Stanford Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010-2011), German Science Foundation (DFG) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2013)
Education: Diploma Biology, U. of Giessen; Ph.D. Chemistry, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2013
Current Position: Independent Group Leader in Systems Biology, Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften, Dortmund, Germany
Favorite Scientist: I have always thought Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) and Robert Koch (1843-1910) were the most impressive scientists. With no training in their individual fields, careful experimentation and great observation, both were able to develop some very complex new ideas, which were the basis for genetic and microbiology today.
Hobbies: Hiking, road biking, and tango dancing


Bryce Aebi

Former Position: Visiting Undergraduate Reseacher from Brown University


Chris Brunson

Former Position: Undergraduate Researcher
Awards: Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Current Position: Medical Student, UCSF

Nicole Dahal1

Nicole Dalal


Major: Human Biology
Awards: Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Email: nhdalal@stanford.edu


Casey Haaland

Former Position: Undergraduate Researcher
Awards: Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Research Fellowship


Kangbeom Kwan

Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Associate Professor, Dept. of Physiology, Wonkwang University, Chonbuk, South Korea


Asuka Ota

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: Stanford Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2012-2013), American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2015)
Education: B.S Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics, UCLA; Ph.D. Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Physiology, UCLA
Favorite Scientist: George Boole for his contribution in logic and probability, and providing the basis for binary code. Martin Rodbell for the identification of G-proteins and his contribution in signaling transduction.
Hobbies: climbing, cooking, music
Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Senior Scientist, Emerald Therapeutics, South San Francisco, CA.


Byung Ouk Park

Education: B.S., Ph.D. Biochemistry, Gyeongsang National University, Korea
Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Research Scientist, Institute for Basic Science, South Korea


Karen Tkach

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests:
Education: B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley; Ph.D. in Immunology, Weill Cornell Medical School, NY, NY.
Favorite Scientist: Barbara Mclintock, who first demonstrated the principles of gene regulation and transposition, and bravely and patiently weathered hostility for contradicting several central dogmas of the time. Mary Clare King, who applies her studies of genetics to human rights work, exemplifying how scientists can use their evidence-seeking approaches for the advancement of social justice.
Hobbies: Running, cooking, volunteer science outreach and tutoring, feminist discourse
Email: karentkach@gmail.com

Sabine van Schie

Sabine van Schie

Graduate Student

Education: B.S. and M.S. in Life Science and Technology, Leiden University, Netherlands.
Favorite Scientist:
Email: sabinevschie@gmail.com


Olivia Wu


Major: Human Biology
Awards: Stanford Biology Summer Research Program Fellowship
Email: oliviawu@stanford.edu


Wenting Yang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Awards: Stanford Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2015)
Research Interests: fluorescence imaging, high-content, high-throughput microscopy
Education: B.S. in Biology, Dalian Nationalities University, China; M.S. in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, China; Ph.D. in Physiology, University of Tubingen, Tubingen, Germany.
Favorite Scientists: Barbara McClintock and Ralph Steinman. Barbara McClintock demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information. She is the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in that category. I appreciate her persistence on research. Ralph Steinman is the discoverer of the dendritic cell and its central role in the immune system. He was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in 2007. Starting at the time of his diagnosis, he and his colleagues began developing and using their experiential immunotherapies to treat his own pancreatic cancer. He survived for four and a half years (usually patients live for only a few weeks or months). I appreciate his faith in science and his venturing into the unknown.
Email: iwentinging@gmail.com