Oshri Afanzar was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. He graduated his B.Sc.Agr. at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. For his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he carried out research with Prof. Michael Eisenbach on the mechanism that governs bidirectional rotation of the bacterial flagellar motor. Oshri came to the Ferrell lab to learn how to do research when things become non-intuitive (i.e., to obtain experience with modeling). In the Ferrell lab, he is studying the effects of geometrical constrains on trigger waves. He does so because (1) trigger waves are nice to model and observe, and (2), modeling suggests non-intuitive effects of vessel geometry on trigger wave progression. Oshri hopes that by studying the effects of geometry on trigger waves he can demonstrate some nice ground principles of biological signaling. In his spare time he does parent stuff, plays the guitar and hikes.
Yuxin Chen Postdoctoral Scholar
Yuxin Chen grew up close to Yuelu Academy, one of the oldest academies in the world, in Changsha China. He was an undergraduate majoring in biology at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, where he got attracted by the amazingly diverse body plans of insects, and began his study in insect taxology and evolution. Yuxin met Chung-I Wu in 2008 and worked with him as a PhD student on microRNA evolution in the fruit fly and the effects of miRNAs on Gene Regulatory Network (GRN) stability. He visited Stefano Allesina’s lab at the University of Chicago in 2014 to study the application of foodweb theory to GRN analysis. He spent the year of 2017 at Yale University working with Gunter Wagner on how the core GRN affects fibroblast potency. He recieved his Ph.D in 2017. Having studied large scale GRNs, he is now fascinated by small gene circuits, with particular interest in understandings: How GRN gains all their properties? What are the general design principles? Therefore Yuxin came to the Ferrell lab, where he is focusing on the trigger wave model. Specifically, he is carrying out research on how interferon signals propagate through epithelial cells in a spatiotemporal manner.
Xianrui Cheng Postdoctoral Scholar
Xianrui Cheng was born and raised in Hunan, a south-central Chinese province located on the path of Chang Jiang, the third longest river in the world. He then moved north to attend Tianjin University, earning a bachelor's degree in Bioengineering in 2005. He came to the US in 2006 to pursue a Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke University, working with physicist Joshua Socolar and developmental biologist David McClay on the systems biology of sea urchin embryonic development (details here and here). His interest in systems biology led him to the Ferrell lab, where he is carrying out his postdoctoral research on the spatial propagation of apoptosis using Xenopus laevis egg extracts and oocytes. In his spare time he dabbles in gymnastics, photography, cooking and music.
Lawrence Chiou Graduate Student
Lawrence Chiou was born and raised in Ames, Iowa. As an undergraduate, he studied physics at Harvard College and graduated in 2015. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Biophysics at Stanford University. Lawrence enjoys collecting fountain pens, doing puzzles, taking photographs, and playing historical keyboard instruments.
Julia Kamenz Postdoctoral Scholar
Julia Kamenz grew up in Berlin, but then left the city in 2003 to study Biochemistry in the picturesque town of Tuebingen. For her Diploma thesis she spend a year in Frank Uhlmann’s lab at the London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, where she investigated the functional importance of the ATPase cycle of the two SMC subunits of the Condensin complex in budding yeast. In 2009 she joined Silke Hauf’s group at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society as a Ph.D. student. There she became interested in how events during the metaphase to anaphase transition are coordinated in time in order to ensure faithful segregation of sister chromatids. She received a fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Funds for this project and defended her PhD thesis in February 2015 with highest honors. In March 2015 she started in the Ferrell lab, where she continues to investigate the determinants of temporal order during mitotic exit using experimental and computational approaches. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys being outdoors, whether it is skiing in the winter or hiking, biking or sailing during the long Californian summer.
Connie Phong Postdoctoral Scholar
Connie Phong was born and raised in the port city of Long Beach, California. She studied Computational and Mathematical Sciences at Stanford University and Biomathematics at UCLA before stumbling into the perfect fit in systems biology. She trained with Mike Rust at the University of Chicago, and helped to elucidate how negative feedback is actuated in the cyanobacterial KaiABC circadian oscillator. She graduated in August 2016. Connie joined the Ferrell Lab to study the robustness of cell cycle regulatory systems. Connie enjoys music, baking, rowing, and plotting future expeditions to Antarctica.