Our People

We are a brand new lab located at the Gladstone Institutes in sunny Mission Bay looking for passionate students and postdoctoral fellows to join us in our mission to decode the cellular interaction networks that shape immune responses in human tumors. We are excited to grow into a cross-disciplinary, collaborative and diverse lab that includes clinicians, immunologists, geneticists, cancer researchers, and computational biologists.

Karin Pelka

Assistant Investigator

Karin Pelka, PhD, is an assistant investigator at Gladstone Institutes. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco. Pelka aims to understand how immunological processes are regulated in human tissues in order to leverage the immune system in the fight against diseases such as cancer. Using unbiased high-throughput and high-content technologies and deeply mechanistic studies, she intends to systematically dissect how immune and non-immune cells work together to shape immune responses.

Karin Pelka
Assistant Investigator
Karin.Pelka@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Karin Pelka, PhD, is an assistant investigator at Gladstone Institutes. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco. Pelka aims to understand how immunological processes are regulated in human tissues in order to leverage the immune system in the fight against diseases such as cancer. Using unbiased high-throughput and high-content technologies and deeply mechanistic studies, she intends to systematically dissect how immune and non-immune cells work together to shape immune responses.

Anderson Lee

Research Associate II

Anderson Lee studied Bioengineering with a focus in synthetic biology at UC Berkeley. He then worked on gene insertion technologies in the AbuGoot Lab at MIT and cancer diagnostics at Earli, Inc. Outside of work he enjoys surfing, reading, and getting checkmated by chess masters at Alamo Square park.

Anderson Lee
Research Associate II
anderson.lee@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Anderson Lee studied Bioengineering with a focus in synthetic biology at UC Berkeley. He then worked on gene insertion technologies in the AbuGoot Lab at MIT and cancer diagnostics at Earli, Inc. Outside of work he enjoys surfing, reading, and getting checkmated by chess masters at Alamo Square park.

Getiara Zaidi

Administrative Associate

Getiara is a graduate of UC San Diego with a B.S. in Pharmacological Chemistry. As she previously worked in a clinic, she found her passion for administrative work and is happy to continue on here at Gladstone. In her free time, she loves going to the beach and binge-watching Gilmore Girls!

Getiara Zaidi
Administrative Associate
getiara.zaidi@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Getiara is a graduate of UC San Diego with a B.S. in Pharmacological Chemistry. As she previously worked in a clinic, she found her passion for administrative work and is happy to continue on here at Gladstone. In her free time, she loves going to the beach and binge-watching Gilmore Girls!

Aditya Naik

Lab Manager

Aditya graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology. Since then, he worked in the Research & Development units of Indian pharma majors, USV Private Ltd. and Lupin Ltd. He was involved in the development and characterization of Bio-analytical methods supporting the pre-clinical stage of Novel Small Molecules & Biosimilar drug development. Together with his R&D work, he also completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Executive-MBA). Aditya is very much excited to be part of Dr. Karin Pelka’s Lab. Outside of research, he enjoys hiking and exploring new locations.

Aditya Naik
Lab Manager
aditya.naik@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Aditya graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology. Since then, he worked in the Research & Development units of Indian pharma majors, USV Private Ltd. and Lupin Ltd. He was involved in the development and characterization of Bio-analytical methods supporting the pre-clinical stage of Novel Small Molecules & Biosimilar drug development. Together with his R&D work, he also completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Executive-MBA). Aditya is very much excited to be part of Dr. Karin Pelka’s Lab. Outside of research, he enjoys hiking and exploring new locations.

Jon Woo

Institute Lab Manager

Jon obtained an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology and a master's degree from SF State in Biomedical Lab Science. During his undergrad, he volunteered at a UCSF lab that focused on the genetics of neurological disorders where he worked in a core facility that provided sequencing and genotyping services to the UCSF community. Eventually, he became the manager of the facility but had to find another avenue of financial funding after Sanger sequencing and microsatellite genotyping were considered obsolete analysis platforms. Jon joined a lab that stayed on the forefront of new techniques and assay adoption as the lab manager for the Marson Lab. After many exciting years, Jon transitioned to an Institute Manager at the joint Genomic Immunology Institute, providing operations support to all the labs. Outside of the lab, he aims for board game sessions, any game, any length.

Jon Woo
Institute Lab Manager
jonathan.woo@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Jon obtained an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology and a master's degree from SF State in Biomedical Lab Science. During his undergrad, he volunteered at a UCSF lab that focused on the genetics of neurological disorders where he worked in a core facility that provided sequencing and genotyping services to the UCSF community. Eventually, he became the manager of the facility but had to find another avenue of financial funding after Sanger sequencing and microsatellite genotyping were considered obsolete analysis platforms. Jon joined a lab that stayed on the forefront of new techniques and assay adoption as the lab manager for the Marson Lab. After many exciting years, Jon transitioned to an Institute Manager at the joint Genomic Immunology Institute, providing operations support to all the labs. Outside of the lab, he aims for board game sessions, any game, any length.

Jackson Demaray

Research Associate I

Jack is a Research Associate with the Pelka lab. He graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Chemistry and developed a passion for biology through his work in microbiology and biophysics labs. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, climbing, and watching basketball.

Jackson Demaray
Research Associate I
jack.demaray@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Jack is a Research Associate with the Pelka lab. He graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Chemistry and developed a passion for biology through his work in microbiology and biophysics labs. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, climbing, and watching basketball.

Sara Misiukiewicz

Graduate Student

Sara is biomedical sciences (BMS) graduate student in the Pelka lab. Sara graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Human Science. She previously worked at UCSF in Luke Gilbert’s lab using functional genomics to better understand the DNA damage response and utilization of chemotherapies targeting these pathways. In the Pelka lab, Sara is excited to study trained immunity and the role of epigenetics in immune hub formation. Outside of lab, Sara enjoys tending to her many plants, hiking, crossfit and going to Philz.

Sara Misiukiewicz
Graduate Student
sara.misiukiewicz@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Sara is biomedical sciences (BMS) graduate student in the Pelka lab. Sara graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Human Science. She previously worked at UCSF in Luke Gilbert’s lab using functional genomics to better understand the DNA damage response and utilization of chemotherapies targeting these pathways. In the Pelka lab, Sara is excited to study trained immunity and the role of epigenetics in immune hub formation. Outside of lab, Sara enjoys tending to her many plants, hiking, crossfit and going to Philz.

Alisa Dietl

Postdoctoral Scholar

Alisa is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she dissected the biological relevance and role of RNF43 loss-of-function mutations in colitis-associated cancer development by focusing on the complex interaction between epithelial cells, immune cells and microbiota. In Karin’s lab, she analyzes the temporospatial crosstalk of cellular neighborhoods that shape immune responses in tumors. By employing CRISPR-induced perturbations in transplantable organoid models combined with multiplex imaging, she aims to identify cellular interdependencies in the tumor microenvironment that can be therapeutically targeted to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying new restaurants.

Alisa Dietl
Postdoctoral Scholar
alisa.dietl@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Alisa is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she dissected the biological relevance and role of RNF43 loss-of-function mutations in colitis-associated cancer development by focusing on the complex interaction between epithelial cells, immune cells and microbiota. In Karin’s lab, she analyzes the temporospatial crosstalk of cellular neighborhoods that shape immune responses in tumors. By employing CRISPR-induced perturbations in transplantable organoid models combined with multiplex imaging, she aims to identify cellular interdependencies in the tumor microenvironment that can be therapeutically targeted to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying new restaurants.

Anna Ralser

Postdoctoral Scholar

Anna is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she investigated the interplay of cellular compartments in H. pylori-driven CRC using cutting-edge technologies like scRNAseq and in-depth histologic monitoring of cellular phenotypes in their local environment. Now, Anna aims to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy by elucidating mechanisms accounting for the spatio-temporal coordination between immune-malignant cellular hubs by combining high-plex in-situ hybridization with CRISPR-based perturbation studies and innovative computational approaches. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, baking sourdough bread and exploring new places.

Anna Ralser
Postdoctoral Scholar
anna.ralser@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Anna is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she investigated the interplay of cellular compartments in H. pylori-driven CRC using cutting-edge technologies like scRNAseq and in-depth histologic monitoring of cellular phenotypes in their local environment. Now, Anna aims to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy by elucidating mechanisms accounting for the spatio-temporal coordination between immune-malignant cellular hubs by combining high-plex in-situ hybridization with CRISPR-based perturbation studies and innovative computational approaches. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, baking sourdough bread and exploring new places.

Han Chen

Graduate Student

Han is a graduate student in the Pelka lab. She previously graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Bioengineering and spent time in Garry Nolan's lab at Stanford University before starting in the BMI program at UCSF. Outside of the lab, you'll almost always find her outside playing tennis or ultimate frisbee, climbing, or backpacking. Other hobbies include collecting the softest hoodies possible, pet-sitting my friends' dogs, or following the Golden State Warriors and Liverpool FC.

Han Chen
Graduate Student
han.chen@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Han is a graduate student in the Pelka lab. She previously graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Bioengineering and spent time in Garry Nolan's lab at Stanford University before starting in the BMI program at UCSF. Outside of the lab, you'll almost always find her outside playing tennis or ultimate frisbee, climbing, or backpacking. Other hobbies include collecting the softest hoodies possible, pet-sitting my friends' dogs, or following the Golden State Warriors and Liverpool FC.

Alumni

Amelie Delcourt
Rotating Student
amelie.delcourt@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Amelie is a UCSF graduate student in the Tetrad program. She graduated with a B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA, where she also studied prostate cancer development and therapy resistance. Outside of the lab, Amelie enjoys walking along the coast, basking in the sun, and exploring San Francisco!

Amelie Delcourt

Rotating Student

McKenzie Daanen
Rotating Student
mckenzie.daanen@gladstone.ucsf.edu

McKenzie is a student in the Biomedical Sciences PhD program at UCSF. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Genetics and Genomics. She previously was at Abbvie working in Immuno-oncology doing early target development work. In graduate school, she is interested in exploring how tertiary lymphoid structures play a role in response to cancer immunotherapy. Outside of the lab, she enjoys paddling boarding, skiing, drinking lots of tea, and 4-hour-long Wikipedia deep dives.

McKenzie Daanen

Rotating Student

Shakthi Subramaniam
Student Intern
shakthi.subramaniam@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Shakthi is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis on Immunology. She enjoys learning about new techniques and research methods, and is interested in studying immune responses and interactions with tumor cells.

Shakthi Subramaniam

Student Intern

Jodi Lee
Rotating Student
jodi.lee@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Jodi is a student in the Tetrad Graduate Program at UCSF. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and developed a passion studying immunology and disease. Outside of the lab, she enjoys swimming and hiking.

Jodi Lee

Rotating Student

Scott Engels
Visiting Researcher
scott.engels@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Scott is a visiting researcher from Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences. Scott used single-cell RNA sequencing technologies to elucidate age-associated autoimmunity in atherosclerosis during his research internships at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). He developed a passion for genomic immunology while at the LACDR and hopes to expand his knowledge in the Pelka lab. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring San Francisco.

Scott Engels

Visiting Researcher

Sham Rampersaud
Rotating Student

Sham graduated from the chemistry department at Hunter College in New York, with a Bachelor of Arts. He worked as a research technician in the Alexander Rudensky Lab at Sloan Kettering Institute where he studied tumor microenvironment and the role of lymphocytes in establishing a tumor niche. He is currently a rotating PhD student in Melanie Ott’s Lab and has a broad interest in immunity and virology. When he is not in the lab, he enjoys Jazz and theatre.

Sham Rampersaud

Rotating Student

Isabelle Young
Rotating Student

Isabelle is a Biomedical Sciences PhD student at UCSF. She graduated from Emory University with a BS in Biology and an MS in Cancer Biology. Her master’s thesis in the lab of Sumin Kang linked cancer metabolism to antitumor immunity. Overall, her interests lie in tumor immunology, cell signaling, and metabolic reprogramming. Outside of the lab, her hobbies include traveling, staying active through sports, and reading.

Isabelle Young

Rotating Student

Nils Asmann
Visiting Researcher
nils.asmann@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Nils is a visiting researcher from the University of Bonn in Germany, pursuing his master's degree in immunology. During his lab work, he gained experience with the synthesis and degradation of sphingomyelin and, in part, its effects on receptor signaling using various microscopy techniques. In another lab rotation, he worked on the link between obesity and Alzheimer's disease by treating microglial cells with a sphingolipid. Before coming here to SF, he worked in Mihai Netea's group to explore the effects of a mixed biomolecule on trained immunity and ways to prevent its effects. In the Pelka lab, he further follows his passion for the innate immune system, trying to gain insights into its interaction with anti-tumor hubs. Outside of the lab, Nils plays almost any kind of sport and enjoys being outside to hike, enjoy the weather, or visit charming cafes.

Nils Asmann

Visiting Researcher

Johanna Franz
Visiting Researcher
johanna.franz@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Johanna is a visiting researcher from the University of Bonn, where she is currently doing a master's program in immunology. Her interest in systems immunology was sparked during a previous project where she studied the effect of the menstrual cycle on the peripheral B cell compartment through single cell multi-modal analysis. Outside the lab, you will find her in the ocean for surfing, the climbing gym, the swimming pool, or in a nice coffee shop.

Johanna Franz

Visiting Researcher

Interested in working at Pelka Lab?

Are you passionate about science, eager to team up in the fight against diseases, and have a strong background in the fields of immunology, genomics, molecular biology, genome engineering, or computational biology? Shoot us an email and we’d love to chat with you!