Principal Investigator
Julie_Law

Julie Law

Associate Professor
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Hearst Foundation Developmental Chair

Julie Law received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University in 2001 and her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2006 where she investigated RNA editing in Trypanosome brucei in the Sollner-Webb laboratory. Dr. Law’s post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Steven E. Jacobsen at the University of California, Los Angeles focused on understanding the roles of small RNAs in targeting DNA methylation and gene silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana and was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health. In September of 2012, Dr. Law joined the Plant Biology program at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences as an Assistant Professor where she continues to focus on epigenetics and other chromatin based processes. In January of 2019, Dr. Law was promoted to an Associate Professor.
Postdoctoral Fellows
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En Li

Postdoctoral Fellow

Originally from China, En obtained her PhD from China Agricultural University in 2020, where her research focused on the roles of nucleosome organization and three-dimensional chromatin structure in maize growth and development. Following her PhD, She pursued two post-doctoral positions: one investigating the domestication of the Jasmonate pathway in tomatoes at the Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and another studying RNA modification in Arabidopsis at the University of Chicago. In September 2023, She joined Julie Law’s lab at Salk Institute to further her research journey. Her main points of interest are: 1) the molecular mechanisms of RNA-directed DNA methylation establishment, and 2) how chromatin modifications influence DNA repair.

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Laura Martins

Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura Martins did her PhD in Reichheld lab at LGDP (University of Perpignan, France) where she worked on an iron-sulfur cluster protein belonging to the antioxidant enzyme family of glutaredoxin, the Arabidopsis GRXS17. The goal of her thesis was to better understand the role of this protein in root development and temperature adaptation by both in vivo and in vitro techniques, using biochemical, proteomic, microscopic, genetic and phenotypic approaches. She joined the Law lab at the Salk Institute in October 2019 to help, by using her background, in the characterization of factors involved in the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway to determine the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms controlling DNA methylation patterns.
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Fuxi Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Fuxi Wang received her PhD from University of Maryland – College Park in 2022. Her thesis work focused on understanding how the cell cycle is integrated into plant meristem development in Arabidopsis Thaliana. She worked on characterization of the TSO1 regulatory pathway in the shoot apical meristem and the root apical meristem using both genetic tools and single cell RNA sequencing. As a postdoctoral fellow in Julie Law’s lab, she will be exploring the roles of chromatin modifications in mediating tissue-specific patterns of DNA methylation using both genetic and genomic approaches.

Guanghui-Xu

Guanghui Xu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Guanghui Xu received his Ph.D. in Crop Genetics and Breeding in China Agricultural University in 2019. As a graduate student in Feng Tian’s lab (National Maize Improvement Center of China) he studied the genetic basis of maize domestication from a metabolomic perspective. By analyzing the metabolic evolution between maize and its progenitor, teostine, he identified many specialized metabolites that are involved in maize domestication and mapped candidate genes responsible for the maize metabolic domestication processes. As a postdoctoral fellow in Julie Law’s lab, he started to focus on the molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation establishment in Arabidopsis and is currently screening for novel factors involved in the function of CLSYs, which are locus-specific DNA methylation regulators.
Bioinformatics
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THERESA PAPIKIAN

BIOINFORMATICS ANALYST I

Theresa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computational and Systems Biology with a concentration in Neurosystems from UCLA. Theresa’s thesis work in Dr. Matteo Pellegrini’s lab focused on whole genome DNA methylation analysis methods using bisulfite sequencing and how methylation levels correlate with age. She joined Dr. Julie Law’s lab in 2023 where she is interested in analyzing genomics data to understand the mechanisms that regulate gene expression and suberin synthesis. Theresa is also a tennis player.

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Matt Simenc

BIOINFORMATICS ANALYST II

Mathew received his Bachelor’s in Botany from Humboldt State University and his Master’s in Biology from California State University, Fullerton. Mathew has a long-time love for plants and took interest in bioinformatics toward the end of his Bachelor’s program. For his Master’s thesis he focused on annotating fern genomes and the bioinformatic characterization of LTR retrotransposons. Mathew joined Julie Law’s lab in March 2020 to provide bioinformatics support for the Harnessing Plants Initiative at Salk.
Research Assistants
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Joshua Eis

Research Assistant II

Joshua Eis received his Bachelors of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, San Diego. During his undergraduate, he was a research assistant in Dr. Linda Holland’s lab at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography where he studied the role of FGF in establishing somite boundaries of Branchiostoma Floridae and how it compares to vertebrates. Additionally, he spent a summer in Dr. Emma Farley’s lab to study the role of the ZRS enhancer in expressing the Sonic Hedgehog Transcription Factor in mice. He also helped facilitate an upper division course called Eukaryotic Gene Expression under Dr. James Kadonaga. Eis joined the Law lab in April 2022 as a volunteer and began his Research Assistant I role in August 2022. Currently, he is working with Dr. Laura Martins to elucidate how the CLSY proteins are involved in establishing methylation patterns in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome via the RNA-directed DNA Methylation (RdDM) pathway.

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PALOMA MALDONADO

Research Assistant II

Paloma received her Bachelor of Science through a joint program between CEU San Pablo University in Madrid, Spain, and the University of California, San Diego. Her bachelor’s thesis focused on characterizing the West Nile Virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. She moved to San Diego during her last year of undergraduate where she joined Jose Pruneda-Paz’s Cell and Developmental Biology lab, standardizing a method to increase CRISPR/Cas9 homologous recombination efficiency, using Arabidopsis Thaliana as a model. Paloma joined the Law lab as part of the Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI), contributing to the development of different strategies for carbon sequestration in plants. For this, she uses confocal microscopy and sequencing techniques such as DAPseq, among others. She is also helping in the efforts of translating these traits into crop plants. In her free time, she’s out skateboarding, convincing herself that she will learn how to surf, and trying not to break any more bones.

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Liam Sheedy

Research Assistant II

Liam Sheedy received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Biology. While at UMass he did an undergraduate honors thesis in a plant biology lab. His thesis involved increasing production of omega three fatty acids and overall oil yield in Camelina sativa for biofuel usage. Liam was also a part of the iCons program at UMass focusing on interdisciplinary research skills and collaboration. His work in the Law lab is with the Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI), using genetic engineering approaches to identify novel phenotypes associated with root growth and recalcitrant biopolymers. Liam hopes to continue using molecular biology techniques in plant systems to solve real world societal issues. When he is not in the lab, Liam is watching UMass hockey or baking.
Lab Technicians
Kristen Werner

Kristen Werner

Lab Technician

Kristen Werner received her Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Vermont in 2021. Due to her long-time interest in environmental issues, Kristen spent her first two years at UVM living in the Sustainability learning community where she became familiar with the local ecology through hands-on outdoor classes and worked with her peers to incorporate sustainable practices, like composting, into everyday dorm life. Kristen went on to participate in undergraduate research under evolutionary biologist Dr. Laura J. May-Collado in 2021, using auditory data from Puerto Rico to study how climate change has affected the physiology and vocalizations of the Coquí frog. Kristen joined the Law Lab as a Lab Tech in 2022 to provide support for the projects and research efforts of the lab.

Student Trainees
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Yuhan Chen

Student Trainee

Yuhan Chen is a current undergraduate pursuing a double major in Pure Mathematics and Molecular and Cellular Biology at UCSD. Previously, he conducted research in the Chen lab and the Antos Lab of Tongji and ShanghaiTech university, where he investigated Th2 immunological activation during Schistosomiasis and the role of Sonic Hedgehog signaling during zebrafish fin regeneration, respectively. Yuhan joined the Law Lab in August 2022, where he is interested in how protein and DNA factors collaborate to direct CLSY dependent DNA Methylation. He is currently completing a senior honors thesis under the tutelage of the Law Lab. He hopes to eventually obtain a PhD and further investigate the mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation, eventually employing this knowledge to improve human health.

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RONGJUN HAN

Student Trainee

Rongjun Han is an undergraduate student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology at UCSD. Before moving to San Diego, he was working on investigating the symbiotic interaction between bacteria and seagrass in Dr. Jonathan Eisen Lab at UC Davis. For 2023 summer, he joined Dr. Chao Wang’s lab at Jinan University in China to study protein structures in chicken muscle. In October 2023, Rongjun joined the Law lab as a student trainee. He is working with Dr. Fuxi Wang on studying the chromatin modification in mediating tissue-specific DNA methylation patterns.

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Carsten Hoeke

Student Trainee

Carsten Hoeke is a fourth year General Biology undergraduate student at UCSD. He started his journey in plant research at the Jacobsen lab at UCLA/HHMI. There, he worked on identifying interaction networks of potential Histone binding proteins. Carsten joined the Law lab as a student trainee in October 2023. He is currently working with Dr. Fuxi Wang. He is interested in understanding DNA methylation patterns and inheritance influenced by the CLSYs. Besides studying and research, he likes to go sailing, play golf, and hang out with friends.

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Solomon Huang

Student Trainee

Solomon Huang is an undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in Neurobiology and set to graduate in 2025. Alongside his studies, he has a keen interest in epigenetics. In April 2023, Solomon joined the lab as a volunteer, working under the mentorship of Dr. Laura Martins. His current research investigates the role of CLSY proteins in the RNA-directed DNA Methylation (RdDM) pathway, the latter of which is involved in establishing de novo DNA methylation throughout the Arabidopsis thaliana genome.

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Nidhi Noronha

Nidhi Noronha is a first-year undergraduate student at UC San Diego. Her passion for genetics, especially epigenetics, led her to join the Law lab in April 2024. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Laura Martins on a research project that explores how CLSY proteins influence methylation patterns in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome through the RNA-directed DNA Methylation (RdDM) pathway. This work contributes to the understanding of how gene expression is regulated at the epigenetic level in plants. Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending time at the beach.

Laboratory Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows

clara-bourbousse

Clara Bourbousse

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Ceyda Coruh

Elisa_Iniesto_0783rt

Elisa Iniesto

Ana_Marie_Palanca_0898rt

Ana Marie Palanca

Maher-Un-Nisa

Maher Un Nisa

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Ming Zhou

Research Assistant III

Photo

Sara Behnami

Mina-Rostamza

Mina Rostamza

Josh Wemmer

Josh Wemmer

Research Assistant II

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William Albers

Shleizer-Burko

Sharona Shleizer-Burko

Research Assistant I

adam-flanders

Adam Flanders

Research Collaborator

zheng-li

Zheng Li

Graduate Students

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Luke Sarre

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Neeraja Vegesna

Lab Technician I

Gilchrist

Alison Gilchrist

Zhiyin Yi

Zhiyin Yi

Rotation Students

Yang Chen

Yang Chen

Flagg

Matthew Flagg

Kellman

Benjamin Kellman

Pierce

Emily Pierce

nathan-strutzman

Nathan Strutzman

Warburg

Zachary Warburg

gabrielle-meza

Gabrielle Meza

Workstudy Students

Morales

Joseph Morales

angela-ranon

Angela Ranon

Exchange Scholar

Lambolez

Alice Lambolez

Interns

leonardo-castanon

Leonardo Castanon

Gandolfo

Sierra Gandolfo

Volunteers

Josiah Discar

Josiah Discar

Andalis

Taylor Andalis

Joy Baal

Joy Baal

Alvarez

Santiago Arconada Alvarez

Brannan

Nicolette Brannan

Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan

katherine-chang

Katherine Chang

Cleary

Kendra Cleary

Eppert

Amy Eppert

Gherzi

Ester Gherzi

Goodson

Maggie Goodson

elaine-ha

Elaine Ha

Hayashi

Saya Hayashi

Herron

Michael Herron

Markovic

Sofija Markovic

Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen

Nieto

Maria Nieto

Roca

Nicholas Roca

abigail-ross

Abigail Ross

Salter

Daniel Salter

Slavin

Avital Slavin

nicole-talaba

Nicole Talaba

Shuldberg

Sara Shuldberg

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Kevin Tidwell

Tiffany Ton

Tiffany Ton

Trinidad

Kelly Trinidad

Tyagi

Anisha Tyagi