Staff

Our staff performs day-to-day operations for the IGI, including administrative support, communications, and bench research.

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Myeong-Je Cho, Ph.D.

Director and PI of Plant Genomics and Transformation

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Myeong-Je Cho, Ph.D.

Director and PI of Plant Genomics and Transformation

Myeong-Je obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy at Seoul National University and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was a postdoc/specialist in PMB at UC Berkeley and became VP of Byotix, Inc. He later worked at DuPont Pioneer for 11 years prior to joining the IGI in 2016 to run the Plant Genomics and Transformation facility.

Marsha Fenner Portrait - Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI)
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Marsha Fenner

Program Director

Marsha Fenner Portrait - Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI)
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Marsha Fenner

Program Director

Marsha holds a masters degree in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She joined the IGI at its inception in early 2014 after managing scientific programs and research groups in various divisions of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, including the Advanced Light Source and the Joint Genome Institute, since 1999.

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Diane Ferris

Administrative Coordinator

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Diane Ferris

Administrative Coordinator

Diane has a graduate degree in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University, a CA bilingual teaching credential, and completed a teacher apprenticeship program at Harvard University. Prior to joining the IGI, Diane taught English at many educational levels, worked as a congressional assistant, and consulted for a variety of educational publishers.

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Ariana Hirsh

Research Associate

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Megan Hochstrasser, Ph.D.

Science Communications Manager

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Megan Hochstrasser, Ph.D.

Science Communications Manager

Megan has a B.A. in Biology from Brown University and received her Ph.D. from Jennifer Doudna's lab at UC Berkeley in 2016, where she studied mechanisms of CRISPR immunity in bacteria. She joined the IGI in September 2016 to handle scientific communications, hoping to bridge the gap between researchers and the public.

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Mara McClellan

Senior Director of Development

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Mara McClellan

Senior Director of Development

Mara has a B.S. in Psychology/Pre-Medicine from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Most recently, she led development efforts for the $230M Biomedical Innovation Initiative at Stanford Medicine. She previously raised research and clinical funds for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Mara has been dedicated to IGI fundraising since March 2017.

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Ryan Pak

Research Associate

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Chong Park, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Screening Facility Manager

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Chong Park, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Screening Facility Manager

Chong obtained her Ph.D. in Michael Hayman's lab at SUNY Stony Brook, did a postdoctoral fellowship with Deepak Srivastava at the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF, and worked as a project manager for UCSF's Diabetes Center. In 2011, she started the Embryonic Stem Cell Targeting Core at UCSF. She joined the IGI in February 2015 to run the high-throughput screening facility.

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Julie Pham

Research Associate

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Julie Pham

Research Associate

Julie earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis with an emphasis in plant biotechnology. She has also worked at LA Biomed and DuPont Pioneer, and has experience with cancer cells, maize, and Arabadopsis. She joined the Plant Genomics and Transformation lab at IGI in January 2017 to improve gene delivery, yield, and resilience traits in commercial crops.

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Jaclyn Tanaka

Lab Manager

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Jaclyn Tanaka

Lab Manager

Jackie received her B.S. in Plant Biology from UC Davis. She joined the Plant Genomics and Transformation Lab at IGI in January 2017. Previously, Jackie worked on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of various cereal crops to improve drought tolerance, insect resistance, and yield at both Arcadia Biosciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred.