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

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.

The IGI's science communications specialist, Doudna lab graduate Kevin Doxzen.
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Kevin Doxzen, Ph.D.

Science Communications Specialist

The IGI's science communications specialist, Doudna lab graduate Kevin Doxzen.

Kevin Doxzen, Ph.D.

Science Communications Specialist

Kevin holds a B.A. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and received his Ph.D. from Jennifer Doudna's lab at UC Berkeley in 2017. Kevin's doctoral research focused on understanding the structure of RNA-binding proteins. He joined the IGI in June 2017 to assist in science communication and create educational tools for fellow scientists and the public.

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Diane Ferris

Administrative Coordinator

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

Ariana Hirsh

Research Associate

Ariana holds a B.A. in Biology from Barnard College. She worked as a lab manager for Florian Krammer's group at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC until moving back to the best coast to join the IGI in September 2016. She also manages the Wilson and Staahl research groups.

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Megan Hochstrasser, Ph.D.

Science Communications Manager

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.

Staff page headshot of IGI CRISPR screening facility research associate Jason Hong
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Jason Hong

Research Associate

Staff page headshot of IGI CRISPR screening facility research associate Jason Hong

Jason Hong

Research Associate

Jason received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Davis in June 2017. While at Davis, he studied autophagy and ran drug discovery experiments with BRET (Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer) in an effort to find cancer-inhibiting molecules. After graduating, Jason joined the IGI in July 2017 as a Research Associate in Chong Park's CRISPR screening lab.

Staff page headshot of PGTF research associate Jesse Jones
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Jesse Jones

Research Associate

Staff page headshot of PGTF research associate Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones

Research Associate

Jesse received his B.S. in Horticulture with a specialization in Plant Science and Biotechnology from Delaware Valley University. Jesse joined the IGI in May 2017 as part of the Plant Genomics and Transformation facility. He is currently working on CRISPR-based genome editing in Theobroma cacao and other major crops. Before joining the IGI, Jesse worked at Dupont Pioneer in the Arabidopsis Genetic Discovery group and then in the Glycine max Transformation department.

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Mara McClellan

Senior Director of Development

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.

Staff page headshot of IGI CRISPR screening facility research associate Meghan McKenna
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Meghan McKenna

Research Associate

Staff page headshot of IGI CRISPR screening facility research associate Meghan McKenna

Meghan McKenna

Research Associate

Meghan earned her B.A. in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology from the University of San Diego in May 2017. While studying at USD, she was an undergraduate research scholar working to characterize the expression of the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) in developing zebrafish embryos. Meghan joined the IGI in July 2017 as a Research Associate in Dr. Chong Park’s CRISPR screening core lab.
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Chong Park, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Screening Facility Manager

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

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.

A headshot of IGI research associate Daniel Rietz
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Daniel Rietz

Research Associate

A headshot of IGI research associate Daniel Rietz

Daniel Rietz

Research Associate

Daniel received his B.S. in Genetics and Plant Biology from UC Berkeley, with an emphasis in bioenergy and a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies. While at Berkeley, he conducted research on ovule abortion in plants and photoinhibition in cyanobacteria. Following his graduation in 2017, Daniel joined the Plant Genomics and Transformation lab at IGI. Favorite plant family? Lamiaceae!

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Jaclyn Tanaka

Lab Manager

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.

Headshot of IGI Policy Analyst Lea Witkowsky
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Lea Witkowsky, Ph.D.

Project/Policy Analyst

Headshot of IGI Policy Analyst Lea Witkowsky

Lea Witkowsky, Ph.D.

Project/Policy Analyst

Lea has a B.A. in Chemistry from Willamette University and received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley working in Robert Tjian's lab. Her doctoral work focused on mechanisms of human transcription and the influence of chromatin on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. Lea joined the IGI in September 2017 as a science policy analyst, looking at the regulatory landscape as it relates to new genetic engineering technologies and the role of public perception in biotechnology development and adoption.