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Lab Members

 

Saul A. Villeda, PhD – Principal Investigator

 

 

Dr. Saul Villeda earned his PhD. Degree in Neuroscience from Stanford University. He initially trained as a developmental biologist during his time at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the lab of Dr. Patricia Phelps. At Stanford he first trained as a neural stem cell biologist with Dr. Anne Brunet, and went on to complete his doctoral work under the training of Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray. During his time in the lab of Dr. Wyss-Coray he investigated how systemic changes in aging blood contribute to age-related impairments in neural stem cell function and cognitive prcesses. Dr. Villeda joined the UCSF community in 2012 as a UCSF Faculty Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Saul

 

 

 

 Jill Bouchard – Post-Doctoral Fellow 

I graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Throughout this time, I worked as a research technician at the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences in a molecular neurobiology lab, where I gained valuable experience in molecular and biochemical techniques. More recently, I obtained my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). It was during this time I became very interested in how immune responses contribute to neuronal function. As a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Saul Villeda’s lab, I would like to understand the signaling mechanisms between glial cells and neurons in the context of cognitive impairment in the aging brain.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Jill

 

 

 

 

 Joe Udeochu – BMS Graduate Student 



 

I graduated from UCLA with a BS in Physiological Sciences. During my time at UCLA, I worked on identifying neuronal populations in the upper cervical spinal cord that are involved in the transmission of pain stimuli. This experience formed my foundation in basic science research and greatly motivated my decision to further my science education in graduate school. As a student in the biomedical sciences program, I hope to study the role of immune cells and signaling factors on cognitive function. As a graduate student in the Villeda lab, I am working on characterizing changes in microglia in the ageing brain with the goal of identifying cell intrinsic and extrinsic pathways that result in aberrant cognitive function and decreased neurogenesis with age.  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Joe 

 

Karin Lin – Neuroscience Graduate Student 

Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I have been lucky enough to enjoy living and studying in such a lovely city. I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia where I majored in pharmacology, but my research experiences during these past years in neuropharmacology and cognition labs have directed me towards the field of neuroscience to pursue my graduate studies. Since arriving at UCSF, I have become increasingly intrigued by the interaction between the immune system and the neural system. While the prevailing dogma had been that these two systems operate primarily independent of each other except for in pathological conditions, a newer frontier in neuroscience explores the bidirectional communication between these systems. I am interested in how classically immune cells and molecules may help shape neural circuits and function not just in development, but also in the aging brain.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Karin

 



 

 Kris Plambeck – Master's Student 



 

I graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2011 with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Currently, I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University pursuing a Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences within the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program with a concentration in Stem Cell Biology. During my time at UC Merced I worked in stem cell research on breast cancer and breast cancer metastasis. While studying within the Professional Science Masters biomedical science graduate program, I have become deeply interested in the area of stem cell biology and its applications to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimers disease. Within the Villeda lab, I will aim to elucidate specific molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of the aging brain to rejuvenate. Through the identification of these mechanisms, we will be able to potentially halt the aging process in hopes of preventing neurodegenerative diseases before their onset.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Kris 

 

Liz Wheatley – DSCB Graduate Student 

I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2009 with a BA in Studio Art and a minor equivalent in Chemistry. I later joined the Beveridge Lab at Wesleyan to complete my MA in Chemistry with a focus in computational molecular biophysics, and graduated again in 2012. My thesis utilized Molecular Dynamics (MD) calculations to investigate the salt-based conformational stability and transitions of unusual DNA structures, and involved computational structure prediction of an unknown protein-DNA complex. My interests within the biological field strengthened during my previous graduate work, and I joined the DSCB program here at UCSF hoping to pursue my biological studies with a biophysical perspective in mind. While still broad, my interests encompass neurology, stem-cell based tissue regeneration, and applications for treating cancer and disease.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Liz

 

 

 Luke Smith – Research Assistant

 

After graduating from University of Puget Sound in 2011, with a B.S. in Biology, I worked in industry profiling novel drug candidates against viral and human polymerases. Now, using my knowledge of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology, I will pursue a different area of human health and disease: the aging brain. My current research is on the neuro-immune regulation of neural stem cell function and cognition during aging.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Luke 

 


 

 

 

Cedric Snethlage – Master's Student 

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 2010. After taking 2 years off to work as a tutor and teacher I am currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at San Francisco State in the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program with a concentration in Stem Cell Biology. Since starting work at UC San Francisco, I have become more interested in adult neurogenesis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. I plan to study the role of immune molecules in adult neurogenesis.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Cedric