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.


See more photos here.


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.


Serena Chang
Serena Chang
Staff Research Associate
Serena.chang (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in the Bay Area and studied Biochemistry and General Biology as an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. During my time there, I joined Dr. Derek Welsbie’s ophthalmology lab focusing on the development of gene therapies/small molecules to mitigate degeneration in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) with hopes for vision restoration in glaucoma patients. I had the opportunity to design plasmid constructs for CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and to work on optimizing the differentiation of human STEM cells into RGCs. In my final quarter as an undergraduate, I was introduced to and amazed by the field of epigenetics which led me to join the Corces Lab where I could dive further into epigenomic profiling of major neurodegenerative diseases. When I’m not in lab, I like crocheting tiny plushies and trying new coffee places.


Mrugakshi Chidrawar, MS
Mrugakshi Chidrawar, MS
Staff Bioinformatician
mrugakshi.chidrawar (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I was born in India but I grew up and completed my basic schooling in Saudi Arabia. I became fascinated with genetics when I learned about DNA profiling and the Human Genome Project in my school curriculum, and the world of software, algorithms, and databases ignited my passion for computing. After establishing a strong foundation in computer engineering from Pune University, I relocated to the US to attend Boston University to pursue my passion for Bioinformatics. I gained experience as a Research Assistant at the Daniel Segre Lab at BU, where I constructed a metabolic model pipeline and a GUI that helped examine the development of the root microbiome. I also had the opportunity to work as a Data Science and Bioinformatics intern at Pfizer, where I extensively worked with NLP models and techniques such as colocalization and fine-mapping studies for genetics research. I joined the Corces lab to gain exposure to and learn about single-cell technologies and neurodegenerative diseases. I’m now developing a web application for Variant Effect Prediction and a pipeline for in-house Multiome analysis. Outside of work, I love to draw, sing and dance to Bollywood music, watch movies, obsess about the clouds and read endlessly about MBTI personality types!


Iris Chin
Iris Chin
she/her/hers
UCSF PhD Student (BMS)
iris.chin (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
ORCID
@irismchin

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 and discovered that neuron-specific knockdown of one of the causative genes for Williams Syndrome—a rare developmental condition characterized by hypersociability—has an evolutionarily conserved effect, altering protein translation and social behavioral phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster. I graduated in 2019, and after continuing for a year as lab manager, I joined the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at UCSF. As part of the Corces Lab, I am pivoting to study the genetic drivers of the more common and highly polygenic Alzheimer’s Disease. I aim to understand the cell type-specific effects of disease-associated noncoding genetic variants. My current efforts include profiling human brain tissue using single-cell ATAC-seq and RNA-seq, conducting high-throughput functional genomics assays, and generating CRISPR-edited iPSC-derived models of brain cell types. I think glia (especially oligodendrocytes) are rad! Outside of lab, I can be found taking long walks with an iced coffee, or working toward my mission to find the best fried chicken sandwich in the city.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Anthony Raus, PhD
Anthony Raus, PhD
he/him/his
Postdoctoral Fellow
anthony.raus (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu
ORCID

Originally from Sacramento California, I studied Biology at the University of California, Irvine. My undergraduate research included developing drug delivery systems using exosomes and self-assembling acid-cleavable nanoparticles. Under the supervision of Professor Autumn Ivy, MD, PhD, I completed my PhD. My research focused on answering the question, “how does exercise in early life improve learning and memory?” My investigation, which leveraged bulk CUT&RUN and RNA sequencing techniques, discovered support for a mechanism of epigenetic priming. Along the way, I developed a novel transgenic mouse line and a novel technique, SIT, for the cell-specific simultaneous isolation of nuclei and RNA from a single homogenate. I am excited to investigate memory at the other end of the life-cycle as part of the Corces Lab. I want to leverage multi-omic and single-cell sequencing techniques and bioinformatics tools to understand how the epigenome and the environment influence neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia. I also enjoy swing dancing, cooking, scootering, art, hiking, video games, board games, and card games.


Aayushi Shah
Aayushi Shah
Staff Research Associate
aayushi.shah (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

I grew up in the Bay Area and studied Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics as the University of California, Los Angeles. While there, I worked in the lab of Dr. Vaithilingaraja Arumugaswami studying pandemic potential virus pathogenesis, and completed a thesis project focused on studying viral genetic adaptation to innate immune responses such as cGAS-STING in Monkeypox outbreaks. After graduation, I joined the Corces Lab to learn more about and focus on the fields of epigenetics and neurodegenerative diseases. Outside of lab, I spend most of my time reading and attempting to finish writing a novel.


Adam Turner, PhD
Adam Turner, PhD
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
Senior Administrative Specialist
erica.delin (at) gladstone.ucsf.edu

Alumni


Name Years in Lab Position in Lab Subsequent Position
Lucas Kampman 2020-2023 Staff Research Associate UW, PhD Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dayoung Kim 2022-2023 Visiting PhD Student PhD Student, UNIST Korea
Alex Lan 2021-2023 High School Student Undergraduate Student, Yale University
Gabriela Reyes 2023 Summer Intern Undergraduate Student, Montgomery College
Heather Chang 2022-2023 Staff Research Associate PhD Student, Harvard Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Paulina Paiz 2021-2023 PROPEL Scholar and Staff Research Associate PhD Student, UCSF Program in Biological and Medical Informatics
Courtney Colston 2022-2023 Staff Research Associate Hospice administrator, Suncrest Hospice
Fiorella Grandi, PhD 2020-2022 Postdoctoral Fellow Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre de Recherche en Myologie
Hailey Modi 2020-2022 Staff Research Associate PhD Student, WashU PhD Program in Biology
Sean Dailey 2020-2022 Administrative Assistant Masters Student, Stanford MS Program in Human Genetics & Genetic Counseling

Rotation Students


Name Program Year / Quarter Thesis Lab
Maddie Urbanek BMS 2022-2023, Winter Cathryn Cadwell
Madison Lotstein BMS 2022-2023, Winter Gabi Fragiadakis
Mai Nobuhara PSPG 2020-2021, Spring Nadav Ahituv
Indigo Rose NS 2020-2021, Winter Martin Kampmann
Rachel O'Sullivan NS 2020-2021, Winter Mazen Kheirbek