James was an undergraduate at McGill University, where he worked in the lab of Dr. Francois Fagotto on Xenopus developmental biology. During the summers, he returned to his hometown of Toronto and worked in Dr. Alan Davidson’s lab on TetR repressor biophysics and bacteriophage genomics.
He moved to California in 2005 to do his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Berkeley. There, he worked with Dr. Tom Alber creating biophysical methods to characterize protein side chain flexibility in high resolution X-ray electron density maps. They applied these techniques to study connections between conformational dynamics and enzymatic catalysis, showing that room temperature, but not standard cryogenic, X-ray data collection could reveal the structural basis for critical functional motions.
Near the end of his Ph.D., he was an EMBO Short-Term Fellow in Dr. Dan Tawfik’s lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Concurrently, he authored the problems and solutions manual for the physical chemistry textbook The Molecules of Life by Kuriyan, Konforti, and Wemmer.
In January 2011, James started his independent career as a QB3 at UCSF Fellow affiliated with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. In January 2013, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) with promotion to Associate Professor in 2016, and Full Professor in 2020. From 2022-2023, he was Vice Dean of Research for the UCSF School of Pharmacy. Since August 2023, he has been chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences.
The lab is also part of the Macromolecular Structure Group at UCSF and BioXFEL, a Science and Technology Center established by the National Science Foundation. We maintain a deep connection with Macomolecular Crystallography Beamline 8.3.1., directed by Dr. James Holton, at the Advanced Light Source. James is also a Faculty Scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Associate Director of the Quantitative Biosciences Initiative.
In addition to all the exciting developments in the lab, James has long standing interests in teaching, baseball statistics, and juggling. James is also on the board of ASAPbio, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discovery by making research outputs more accessible and reusable. The lab is committed to publishing our code, disseminating our datasets, posting manuscripts on preprint servers, and participating in open peer review.
His full conflicts of interest are available here.
Pooja received her Ph.D. from the University of Oulu in Finland. Her thesis focused on the structural characterization of mycobacterial membrane proteins using X-ray crystallography and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).
In the Fraser lab, Pooja will utilize both X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM to study the drug complexes of tubulin and understand the molecular mechanism of resistance of anti-parasitic drugs.
Outside of lab, Pooja enjoys long walks and board games.
Priyanka did her Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi and her Master’s in Biochemistry at the University of Hyderabad. She completed her Ph.D. from Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science under Prof. Raghavan Vardarajan. Her Ph.D. work involved developing high-thoughput screens for measuring the mutational sensitivity of the toxin component of the toxin-antitoxin system of E. coli. She carried out deep mutational scans of the site-saturation mutagenesis library and single-site synonymous mutant library of the toxin gene in operonic context.
In the Fraser lab, Priyanka will perform deep mutational scanning on cancer-related proteins.
Outside the lab, Priyanka likes to dance, go on adventurous trips and explore the city.
Lena graduated in pharmacy at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Wuerzburg, Germany. During her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the LMU Munich, she focused on the molecular mechanism of chromatin remodeler recruitment in yeast.
In the Fraser lab, Lena is responsible for lab management as well as protein purifications and subsequent assays.
On the weekends you can find her hiking in the forest or mountains or going to the ballet.
Martina is a third-year undergraduate student at UC Berkeley majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in bioengineering. She is interested in the applications of biomolecules as therapeutics. In the Fraser Lab, Martina will be purifying macrodomains to study their structure and measure binding affinity using ITC and X-ray crystallography. Outside of the lab, Martina enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends, and being in the sun.
Daphne graduated from UCLA with a degree in Biophysics. As an undergraduate, she studied the effects of chaotropes and kosmotropes on protein hydration layers under the guidance of Dr. Giovanni Zocchi.
She discovered her interest in structural biology when she spent a summer working under Dr. Kliment Verba at UCSF, and will pursue structural biology-related projects as a member of the Fraser lab.
Outside of lab, Daphne enjoys exploring San Francisco, playing video games, reading, and playing with her cat Lilly.
Daphne is supported by a graduate fellowship from the UCSF Discovery Fellows Program.
Galen’s research interest lies in using structural biology to tackle problems in protein engineering and drug design. He earned his Ph.D. from the Australian National University, where he worked with Dr. Colin Jackson on the structure, function and evolution of insect enzymes that detoxify organophosphate nerve agents.
In the Fraser lab, first as a postdoc and now as a staff scientist, Galen is using recently developed methods in fragment-based drug discovery to guide the design of new inhibitors of an emerging anti-cancer therapeutic target and leading the high-throughput crystallography component of the QCRG AVIDD Program to discover new anti-virals.
Mohamad hails from Southern California where he attended UC Irvine to pursue his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Here, he researched fruit flies, bacteria and viruses. For his Ph.D. studies in Metabolic Biology, he trained under Dr. Marc Hellerstein at UC Berkeley on stable isotope methods and technology combined with mass spectrometry to investigate the fluxes of metabolic pathways in human health and disease.
In the Fraser lab, Mohamad is pursuing his postdoctoral studies where he will emerge in biophysics and structural biology to study ribosomal structures of M. tuberculosis using Cryo-EM.
For his recreational activities, Mohamad really enjoys going to concerts with his wife and playing guitar.
Gabby graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, she studied the structure and dynamics of telomeres and telomerase under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Stone, where her focus was on developing a high-throughput platform to study telomere lengthening.
In the Fraser lab, Gabby is interested in studying the allosteric regulation of kinase activity through molecular and structural biology.
Outside of lab, Gabby enjoys exploring nature and tries her best to longboard.
Jessica recently earned her Bachelor’s degree in chemical physics from UC Davis, where her research focused on building new theoretical models to describe intrinsically disordered proteins. She has also taken an interest in structural biology, and in the Fraser lab, she’s working on developing qFit. Beyond the lab, Jessica loves climbing, biking, and painting.
Daniel graduated from Stanford, where he worked on single-molecule biophysics with Dr. Steven Block.
In the Fraser lab, Daniel works to improve and expand the lab’s computational resources. He’s passionate about open science, open data, and open-source software.
Outside of lab, Daniel can usually be found running or playing board games.
Sonya graduated from Williams College with a degree in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she studied antibiotic resistance mutations in beta-lactamase under Dr. Kathryn Hart.
In the Fraser lab, Sonya will be studying antibiotic resistance mechanisms.
Outside of the lab, she likes to listen to podcasts and stare into space.
Christian graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Mathematics and Biochemistry, where he conducted research in the total synthesis of marine natural products with Dr. George Pettit. Afterwards, he attended the University of Michigan for his Ph.D. in Biophysics. In Dr. Randy Stockbridge’s lab, he studied the evolution and function of a number of membrane protein families.
Outside of lab, he enjoys books, music, being outdoors and/or on a bike, and drinking too much coffee.
Christian is supported by a Kirschstein NRSA (F32) fellowship from NIH/NIGMS.
Rishav graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India with a Masters degree in Biotechnology. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan, working with Dr. James Bardwell on studying molecular chaperones and intrinsically disordered proteins. In the Fraser lab, Rishav is interested in studying the conformational dynamics of Macrodomains. Outside of lab, Rishav enjoys traveling and can usually be found in art galleries and coffee shops.
Tushar recently graduated from Department of Chemistry, Universität Hamburg. His research project was carried out in the laboratories of Dr. Arwen Pearson (Center for Free-Electron Laser Science) and Dr. Trevor Forsyth (Institut Laue-Langevin). As a graduate student, he worked on two enzyme systems: E. coli copper amine oxidase (ECAO) and aspartate α-decarboxylase (ADC). In case of ECAO, he explored the effect of two non active site mutations whereas in case of ADC, he studied the effect of binding of a ligand on structure and dynamics of these enzymes. For this, he used a combination of neutron spectroscopy, X-ray/neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics simulations.
In the Fraser lab, Tushar will work on the structural basis of translation stalling using single particle cryo-EM. He will create a predictive model for interactions between nascent peptide motifs, small molecules, and the ribosome.
Ashraya graduated from Anna University, India with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. She completed her Ph.D. in the Molecular Biophysics Unit at the Indian Insitute of Science in March 2021. During her Ph.D., Ashraya performed computational studies to understand various aspects of stereochemistry of crystal and cryo-EM protein structures.
In the Fraser Lab, Ashraya seeks to develop ensemble modeling methods for cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography.
CJ graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Genetics, Genomics and Developmental Biology. As an undergraduate, he studied how somitogenesis is initiated in Xenopus laevis under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Harland.
Outside of lab, CJ enjoys biking, hiking, cooking, and music, and playing guitar.
Stephanie graduated with her Ph.D. in Biophysics from UCSF. She was supported by graduate fellowships from NSF and the UCSF Discovery Fellows Program. Stephanie earned her bachelors degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst were she performed research on the economics of the Clean Water Act under Dr. Paul Kolkoswki. Subsequently, she worked as a computational biologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. There, she worked uncovering the genetic relationships between genetics and response to cancer treatements under Dr. Eliezer Van Allen and Dr. Joaquim Bellmunt.
Outside of lab Stephanie enjoys running, reading, and gardening.
I graduated from Aix Marseille university in France with a Ph.D. degree in structural biochemistry. During my Ph.D., I studied, at the functional and structural levels, two component systems involved in the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. After that, I joined the structural motility team at Curie Institute in Paris as a postdoctoral researcher. My project aimed to understand how does the human cardiac myosin interacts with other proteins and how dysfunction can lead to hypertrophic cardiomyopathies.
At UCSF, I will manage the X-ray Crystallography Core. I will also be involved in identifying new anti-viral compounds by X-ray crystallography.
Outside the lab, I enjoy listening to music, shopping, hiking, and discovering new places around the world.
Donovan graduated from CUNY John Jay College with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, he worked under Dr. Nathan Lents to help develop a computational model that determined an individual’s time of death based on changes in the cadaver’s skin microbiome.
In collaboration with Dr. Willow Coyote-Maestas, he is studying the structure-function relationship of the ESX-3 secretion system in M. smegmatis.
Outside of lab, Donovan enjoys watching movies, gaming, reading, and listening to music. He promises he isn’t ignoring you, he’s just wearing headphones and they’re hidden by his hair.
Donovan is supported by a Kirschstein NRSA (F31) fellowship from NIH/NIGMS.
Eric Greene, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar (F32 NRSA)
2020 - 2023
Subsequently: Assistant Professor - Greene Lab @ SFSU
Willow Coyote-Maestas, Ph.D.
Affiliate, HHMI Hanna Gray and
2021 - 2023
Subsequently: Assistant Professor - Coyote-Maestas Lab @ UCSF
Roberto Efraín (Robbie) Díaz, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Tetrad
(NSF GRFP, HHMI Gilliam Fellow)
2018 - 2023
Subsequently: DEIA Program Manager, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF
Roberto Efraín’s Citations
Jen Michaud, Ph.D.
2020 - 2022
Subsequently: Lab Manager and Cell Culture Lead @ Scale Biosciences
2021 - 2022
Subsequently: Graduate Student - UCSF
Iris Young, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar (F32 NRSA)
2018 - 2022
Subsequently: Scientist @ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
José Luis Olmos, Jr., Ph.D.
2020 - 2021
Subsequently: Lecturer of Biosciences at Rice University
Erin Thompson, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Chemistry and Chemical Biology
2015 - 2020
Subsequently: Scientist @ Octant
Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar (BioXFEL, F32 NRSA, PBBR Fellow)
2014 - 2020
Subsequently: Assistant Professor @ UC Merced
Alexander Wolff, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics (Discovery Fellow, ARCS Scholar)
2015 - 2020
Subsequently: Medical Writer @ Health Interactions; now Specialist - Thompson Lab @ UC Merced
Benjamin Barad, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics (Discovery Fellow, ARCS Scholar)
2014 - 2019
Subsequently: Postdoctoral Fellow - Grotjahn Lab @ Scripps; now Assistant Professor - Barad Lab @ OHSU
Justin Biel, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics (NSF GRFP) (2014-2019),
Staff Scientist (2019-2021)
2014 - 2021
Subsequently: Scientist @ Relay Therapeutics
Rahel Woldeyes, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Chemistry and Chemical Biology (NSF GRFP)
2012 - 2018
Subsequently: Postdoctoral Fellow - Chiu Lab @ SLAC/Stanford
Daniel Keedy, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (A.P. Giannini Foundation)
2012 - 2017
Subsequently: Assistant Professor @ City University of New York
David Mavor, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics
2011 - 2017
Subsequently: Postdoctoral Fellow - Bolon Lab @ UMass Medical School; now Adjunct Teaching Professor @ Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Andrew Van Benschoten, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics
2012 - 2015
Subsequently: Senior Data Scientist - Oracle; now Senior Manager, Data Science - Ovative Group
Lillian Kenner, Ph.D.
2011 - 2014
Subsequently: Graduate Student, Biophysics - Frost Lab @ UCSF; now Postdoctoral Fellow - Dueber Lab @ Genentech
2012 - 2013
Subsequently: Research Associate @ JBEI/LBL
Samantha Martinez - Undergraduate, University of San Francisco (UCSF-USF internship program)
Zachary Ryan - SRTP Student
Nhi Nhi Ly - PUMAS Intern
Esmeralda Mendoza - SRTP Student
Sophia Staggers - BioXFEL Intern
Joanna Maddela - SRTP Student
Mario Rodriguez - SRTP Student
Subsequently: Graduate Student @ Scripps
2018 - 2019
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ UC Los Angeles
2016 - 2018
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ San Jose State University
2015 - 2017
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ San Francisco State University
2014 - 2017
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ UC Davis
2011 - 2012
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ City College of San Francisco
Rocco Caliandro, Ph.D. - Visiting Professor
from National Research Council of Italy Institute of Crystallography
Roberto Chica, Ph.D. - Visiting Sabbatical Professor
from University of Ottawa
Kazutaka Ito, Ph.D. - Visiting Scientist
from Asahi Kasei
2017 - 2018
Tomas Lazarou - Visiting Technician
from McMaster University
Dan Bolon, Ph.D. - Visiting Sabbatical Professor
from University of Massachusetts
Hiroki Yamamura - Visiting Scholar
from JSR Corporation
2022 - Present