The Corces Lab @ The Gladstone Institute For Neurological Disease

Welcome to the Corces Lab!

In the Corces lab, we know it takes a diverse group of empowered individuals to effectively address the most important scientific questions. However, we also believe that equity and inclusion are important beyond the benefits they provide to the science we do. In this lab, we understand identity as intersectional and layered and engage with each other and our science through this lens. As such, we are committed to ensuring that gender expression, race, age, sexual orientation, ability status, and socioeconomic status do not play a role in defining who is afforded the opportunity to excel in science. To us, this includes (i) regularly participating in science outreach including the Gladstone PUMAS program for undergraduate students, (ii) posting our job openings on websites that attract diverse applicants and removing implicit bias from personnel decisions, (iii) thinking deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion and our own roles in perpetuating inequity through workshops and lab-specific DEI journal clubs, and (iv) a commitment to eschewing convenient silence when we can use our positions to build equal access to science for everyone. The structural and systemic nature of inequity that persists in our society makes it inadequate to simply offer a seat at the lab bench, and we are dedicated to fundamentally changing the role that science plays in perpetuating that inequity. We know that this commitment and the growth it involves is a continuous journey and feel strongly that it is worth the thought, courage, and humility that it requires.

Lab Members


Ryan Corces, PhD
Ryan Corces, PhD
he/him/his
Principal Investigator
ryan.corces (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
Google Scholar
ORCID
@doctorcorces

I graduated from Princeton University in 2008 with a major in Molecular Biology and a minor in Computer Science. While at Princeton, I worked under the mentorship of Coleen Murphy, studying C. elegans aging. During the summers I had relatively foundational scientific experiences studying learning and memory (with Cristina Alberini), and epigenetics (with Or Gozani).

After graduation, I spent a year living with family in Spain and teaching science to bilingual elementary schools students. In 2009, I started my Ph.D. in the Cancer Biology program at Stanford University under the mentorship of Ravi Majeti. Together with Max Jan and Thomas Snyder, we provided the first genetic and cellular proof that AML evolves from sequential acquisition of mutations in a hematopoietic stem cell. We went on to identify patterns to this mutational evolution, with mutations in epigenetic modifiers such as DNMT3A or TET2 occurring universally during the early “pre-leukemic” phase of the disease.

These findings led me to pursue postdoctoral training in epigenetics with Howard Chang at Stanford University. With Jason Buenrostro, we applied the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) to understand normal hematopoietic differentiation and leukemic transformation. This highlighted the utility of this technology for understanding complex cellular processes and we subsequently applied ATAC-seq to a cohort of 410 different tumor samples spanning 23 cancer types in collaboration with The Cancer Genome Atlas.

At about the half-way point of my postdoctoral work, I switched gears to study the genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases. Co-mentored by Thomas Montine, I used multi-omic epigenetic approaches to dissect the role of inherited variation in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This work serves as the launching point of the lab, driving our interest in using the epigenome to better understand neurological disease.


Heather Chang
Heather Chang
Staff Research Associate
heather.chang (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
@_heatherchang_

I was born in Taiwan and moved to the Bay Area when I was twelve to study piano performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College. My love for music then took me to Columbia University in NYC, where I could be challenged intellectually while still being a part of the classical music scene. At Columbia, soaking up everything like a sponge, I quickly discovered the elegance and beauty of biology, especially how neuronal patterns of activity give rise to sensory and behavioral responses. From there, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s in Neuroscience and Behavior and began my research journey in the lab of Richard Axel, studying the functional architecture of innate olfactory avoidance in Drosophila Melanogaster. I focused on the V glomerulus and the DA2 glomerulus, which are glomeruli that detect CO2 and geosmin, to understand how aversive channels elicit aversive behaviors. Through the experience, I gained a deep appreciation for brain systems and the intricacies of systems biology. I also yearn to see how basic science findings can transform into applied therapeutics in a precision context. Now at the Corces Lab, I am working towards that goal by delving into the underpinnings of neuronal dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases through a gene-regulatory and cell type-mechanistic lens. I am interested in using single-cell epigenomics and transcriptomics, alongside massively parallel reporter assays, to prioritize noncoding SNPs that are associated with the disease.


Iris Chin
Iris Chin
UCSF PhD Student (BMS)
iris.chin (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
ORCID
@irischin9

I grew up in the Bay Area, then moved to the midwest to study Neuroscience and Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. There, I joined the lab of Yehuda Ben-Shahar to study how homologs of genes that cause Williams Syndrome, a human developmental condition characterized by hypersociability, affect social behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. I graduated in 2019, and after continuing on as lab manager for a year, I joined the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at UCSF. Now, as part of the Corces Lab, I am pivoting to study human patient data directly, and using cellular models to understand the etiology of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases at genomic and epigenetic levels.


Courtney Colston
Courtney Colston
Staff Research Associate
courtney.colston (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I was born and raised in the East Bay Area, California, leaving in 2017 to attend Cal Poly Humboldt for a Bachelor’s in Plant Biology. While there, I had the opportunity to work in the lab of Dr. Mihai Tomescu, where I helped identify a plant from 400 million years ago. My work with Dr. Tomescu culminated in a scientific paper recently submitted to the American Journal of Botany. After graduation, I returned to the East Bay and joined Bio-Rad as a research associate. There I worked to develop innovative PCR reagents and optimize a novel droplet-based single-cell RNA-sequencing workflow. Most recently I made the move to San Francisco to join the Corces Lab at the Gladstone Institutes. In the Corces lab, I’ll be using my molecular biology expertise to perform single-cell multi-omic experiments in order to ultimately further our understanding of how genetic factors contribute to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Outside of work, I enjoy gardening and volunteering in hospice.


Zach Gardell
Zach Gardell
he/him/his
UCSF PhD Student (BMS)
zach.gardell (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
ORCID
@ZachGardell

Growing up in rural Rhode Island, I was raised in the outdoors and turned this into a passion for biology with the help of dedicated early educators. Deciding to make a career out of this, I made the trek to Providence to study Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Brown University. There, I began my journey in research in the lab of Ashley Webb, investigating how the Forkhead Box O family of transcription factors (FOXOs) regulate stem cell homeostasis in the brain. I concurrently examined this functionality under physiological and pathological conditions, focusing the majority of my efforts on investigating a role for FOXOs in the maintenance of cancer stem cell quiescence in the context of high-grade brain cancer. Wanting to continue research on human disease, I switched coasts after graduation to pursue my PhD in the Biomedical Sciences Program at UCSF. Here, as a member of the Corces Lab, I aim to pair multi-omics with organoid and iPSC-based model systems to pinpoint and validate the epigenetic underpinnings driving AD and PD. In particular, I am interested in the interplay between such drivers and their contextual relationships in a cell-type and cell-state specific manner. Outside of lab, you’ll find me working with UCSF’s Science Education Partnership, exploring new ways to consume coffee, or making my way to a beach or a mountain.


Fiorella Grandi, PhD
Fiorella Grandi, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
fiorella.grandi (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in Idaho, born to Argentinian parents. After falling in love with biology late in high school thanks to Campbell Biology’s Tour of the Cell chapter, I went to Washington State University (WSU) to pursue a bachelor’s in biochemistry. While at WSU, I fell in love with genome regulation while working on transposable elements and the variety of ways they create genomic and epigenetic variation. In 2014, I graduated and went on to pursue a Ph.D. at Stanford University in the lab of Nidhi Bhutani. There, I studied DNA methylation, specifically the regulation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine dynamics by the TET family of enzymes in the context of skeletal development and disease, including dissecting the relationship between 5hmC deposition and SOX9 transcription factor activity. During graduate school, I also became interested in pursuing the use of single-cell technologies to understand how the epigenome shapes cell fate, and specifically how it can store information about environmental conditions like chronic inflammation that cause disease. Now, I’m combing these two interests to study mechanisms of resilience to AD in the Corces lab.


Alia Johnson
Alia Johnson
Staff Research Associate
alia.johnson (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in the Bay Area, and went to the University of Washington in Seattle to pursue a degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. While there, I developed an interest in disease mechanisms and drug development. Under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Promislow, I joined a project working with the model organism Drosophila to study how tau protein affects the transcriptome of individual brain cells. Additionally, I started my own project focused on the aging drug, rapamycin, and its affect on development within Drosophila larvae of different genotypes. My work concluded with the production of single-nuclei transcriptome data of whole larvae raised on rapamycin. After graduating in 2022, I joined the Corces lab to continue working with single-cell technologies and neurodegenerative disease, now focused on understanding how genetic variants contribute to Parkison’s Disease. Outside of lab, I enjoy playing volleyball, hiking, reading, and making art.


Lucas Kampman
Lucas Kampman
he/him/his
Staff Research Associate
lucas.kampman (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in the Bay Area and studied Molecular & Cell Biology and German at the University of California, Berkeley. My introduction to biology research was in Oskar Hallatschek’s lab, where I worked with Dr. Jona Kayser on recombination-based tools for studying mechanical effects in microbial evolution. Since then, I’e studied transcriptional regulation in mammalian development, the role of evolution in tumor metastasis, and the ecology of benthic cyanobacterial mats. I’m broadly interested in the way evolutionary processes have shaped mechanisms for gene regulation.


Soumya Kundu
Soumya Kundu
he/him/his
Stanford PhD Student (CS)
Primary Advisor - Anshul Kundaje
soumya.kundu (at) stanford.edu
Google Scholar
@soumyakundu_

I was born in India and moved to Connecticut when I was eleven years old. During my undergrad at the University of Connecticut, I got interested in computational biology when I joined Mukul Bansal’s lab, where I worked on developing methods for simulating the evolution of gene families in the presence of horizontal gene transfer. While working at the lab during the summer, I got an opportunity to volunteer as a computer science teacher at Camp Promise, a summer camp for people with muscular dystrophy, which sparked my interest in disease genomics. After graduating in 2018, I started my PhD in computer science at Stanford, where I am advised by Anshul Kundaje. Currently, I am working on using machine learning to identify cell type-specific functional non-coding variants that impact neurodegenerative diseases, and I am collaborating with the Corces Lab to validate our findings using high-throughput experiments.


Alex Lan
Alex Lan
High School Student
alex.lan (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I am a high school student at The Harker School in San Jose, California. Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to computer science at an early age through competitions, courses, and events all around me. My introduction to neurodegenerative diseases came later at the start of high school, when I wrote an essay with Dr. Peter Tass on vibrotactile coordinated reset neuromodulation, his novel, non-intrusive treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. Following that experience, I spent two years researching and developing an audiovisual emotion classification platform powered by deep neural networks to help individuals with autism. Now, as part of the Corces Lab, I’m combining my interests in machine learning and neurological diseases to predict the effect of non-coding variants in Alzheimer’s Disease and create a tool for researchers to test their own variants of interest. Outside of the lab, I enjoy filmmaking, graphics design, hip-hop dance, and debate.


Shreya Menon
Shreya Menon
UCSF MSTP Student (BMI)
shreya.menon (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI and moved to the East Coast to pursue my undergraduate degree from Harvard College, concentrating in mathematics. While there, under the mentorship of Dr. Wesley Cain, I studied dynamical systems, specifically in surveying approaches for analyzing delay-induced stability and instability. I also had the opportunity to do clinical cytogenetics research in Dr. Cynthia Morton’s lab where we sought to better understand position effects and balanced chromosomal abnormalities. In 2020, I moved across the country to start in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCSF. In graduate school, I hope to bring together my background in mathematics with my interest in genetics to use and develop analytical techniques to help better understand how the epigenome influences disease pathology. Outside of the lab, I enjoy trying new foods, going for long walks, and baking.


Paulina Paiz
Paulina Paiz
PROPEL Scholar and Staff Research Associate
paulina.paiz (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
@paulinapaiz02
http://pau-paiz.com/

I grew up in Central America and studied Computational Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. There, I conducted research on memory retention and network science. After graduating, I grew brain and lung organoids to study SARS-CoV-2 infection patterns at Rockefeller University. Most recently, I was an Aging R&D intern at Loyal and a data analyst at Octant Bio. At the Corces Lab, I will be uncovering allelic imbalance in single-cell chromatin accessibility data and facilitating analysis and sharing of snATAC-seq data through development of ArchR and creation of flexible online data portals. Outside of lab, I enjoy playing tennis, road biking, and practicing French.


Cathrine Petersen
Cathrine Petersen
she/her/hers
UCSF PhD Student (Neuroscience)
Primary Advisor - Lennart Mucke
cathrine.petersen (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
Google Scholar
@cathrinepet

I was born in Denmark and moved to the U.S. when I was seven, growing up in the Bay Area. I studied Statistics and Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. While an undergraduate, I commuted across the bay to work at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center under the mentorship of Lea T. Grinberg, studying neuropathological alterations in atypical clinical variants of Alzheimer’s disease using postmortem human tissue. There, I developed a lasting interest in the factors that influence the clinical progression of neurodegenerative diseases. After graduation, I spent half a year traveling before starting my PhD in the Neuroscience Program at UCSF in 2019, where I am now using single-cell data to study the etiology of cognitive decline and neural network dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease, co-advised by Lennart Mucke and Ryan Corces.


Adam Turner
Adam Turner
Project Manager
adam.turner (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
@adamturner_01

I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and studied Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa in undergrad. During undergrad I developed an interest in DNA sequencing and cardiovascular disease from various research internships. I went on to do a PhD in the lab of Dr. Ruth McPherson at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Biochemistry/Human and Molecular Genetics where I worked on functional genomics of coronary artery disease. Following graduate school, I was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Clint Miller’s lab at the University of Virginia. There I performed bulk and single-cell ATAC-seq on human coronary artery samples and had the opportunity to learn various bioinformatic tools. I am now excited to join the Corces lab to perform single-cell multi-omic experiments in the context of PD and AD. Outside the lab I enjoy playing hockey, baseball, hiking, and video games.


Erica Delin
Erica Delin
she/her/hers
Administrative Specialist
erica.delin (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

We are recruiting!
We are recruiting!
Research Technician / Graduate Student / Postdoctoral Fellow
your.email (at) ucsf.edu

Interested postdoctoral fellows should e-mail Ryan at ryan.corces (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu with the following information: (i) a summary of their current and past research experiences, (ii) a short statement on the types of projects that they are interested in pursuing in the Corces Lab, and (iii) contact information for 3 references.

Interested and motivated Graduate and Undergraduate students should contact Ryan to talk about potential projects.

For Research Associates, the lab has a tradition of recruiting post-bac trainees seeking additional training prior to applying to graduate or medical school. These experiences are nearly always for at least two years and recruiting happens on a yearly cycle in the Spring for entrance into the lab in the summer. Contact Ryan for more information on availability of positions or search the Gladstone Institutes Career Portal.


Alumni


Name Years in Lab Position in Lab Subsequent Position
Sean Dailey 2020-2022 Administrative Assistant Stanford, MS Program in Human Genetics & Genetic Counseling
Hailey Modi 2020-2022 Staff Research Associate WashU PhD Program in Biology