Our Members

Current Members

Karl-WillertKarl Willert, PhD

Principal Investigator

Karl received his Ph.D. from UCSF, did his post-doctoral research at Stanford, and joined UCSD as an Assistant Professor in 2008. He is currently a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Christina C. N. Wu, PhD

Project Scientist

Naycari De Luna

Lab Manager

Erin D. Jeffs, MS

Staff Research Associate

Erin earned her graduate degree through Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo’s Regenerative Medicine Program and is thrilled to be a member of the Willert Lab.  Her research is focused on the role of FZD7 as both a cancer stem cell marker and therapeutic target for mammary tumors.  Erin’s work involves both in vitro mammary organoid studies as well as in vivo cell transplantation studies in a murine model.  When not in lab, Erin enjoys playing video games, hiking, and rock climbing.

Sakshi Pradhan

Master’s Student

Rylee Start

Ph.D. Student

Rylee completed his Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California – San Diego. He joined the Willert lab in March 2021 as an undergraduate student and he has since joined the lab as a Staff Research Associate. He has been working on protein purification and studying WNT9A/FZD9 signaling in HSC development. In his free time, Rylee enjoys card games, cooking, and exploring San Diego.

Ashley Key

Staff Research Associate

Ashley was a visiting undergraduate from the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Internship Program, and she has since joined the lab as a Staff Research Associate.  Her research focuses on exploring FZD7 as an exosomal biomarker for early and non-invasive cancer detection in vitro in ovarian cancer cell lines and in vivo in murine mammary cancer models.  Her own experiences as a stage 3 cancer survivor ignited her interest in research and drives her passion behind her work.  Outside of the lab, Ashley loves playing tabletop games, spending quality time with her husband, dog, and cat, strength training, and learning how to play bass guitar.

Meghana Krishnan

Undergraduate Student

Erin Hairston

CIRM Undergraduate Student

Past Members:

David Anjakos

Holly Aur

Neha Balaji

Grober Baltazar

Rocio Barahona

Matthieu Bauer

David Brafman

Julia Busch

Emily Carnahan

Myan Do

Olivia Gaylord

Sarah George

Stephanie Grainger

Diana Gumber

Brett Henninger

Max Herrerias

Jiahao Huang

Ian Huggins

Christina Jessen

Natalie Kardos

Nathaniel Kenner

Tamás Kovács

Nathan Kumar

Sneha Lakshmanan

Brianna Lonquich

Albert Lowe

Daniel McCoy

Riley Mills

Ellen Mintz

Hannah Morris-Little

Damian Ng

Nikki Nguyen

Jon Okubo

Krystal Oon

Luca Perna

Christine Phung

Amelia Prada

Angeline Puranen

Jenna Richter

Alessandra Rodriguez

Jason Ross

Charlotte Rossdam

Hailey Rowe

Jordan Setayesh

Kevan Shah

Nikita Shah

Tyler Sloan

Stephanie Soltero

Pooja Sonavane

Alexandra Stanley

Aubrey Stiers

Neya Suresh-Kumar

Tanisha Takhar

Julia Thulin

Alyssa Vukcevich

Sameena Wani

Sara Wirth

Kelsey Yang