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.
Research Associates
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Ceyda Coruh

Research Associate

Ceyda Coruh received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering program from Sabanci University (Istanbul, Turkey), and her PhD in Plant Biology from Penn State in 2014 in the Axtell lab, where she focused on the identification, biogenesis and function of different types of endogenous small RNAs in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Ceyda joined the Law Lab in 2016 where her current research is centered on understanding the interplay between chromatin and DNA repair processes using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
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Elisa Iniesto

Research Associate

Elisa Iniesto received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in 2009, a Master Degree in Plant Biotechnology from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) in 2010 and her Ph.D. degree in Life Sciences from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) in 2015. As a graduate student in Vicente Rubio’s laboratory (National Center for Biotechnology-CSIC) she studied the regulatory roles of the ubiquitin proteasome system in plant adaptation responses to drought, salinity, and other abiotic stresses. Currently, as a postdoctoral fellow in Julie Law’s laboratory, she continues to focus on understanding plant responses to abiotic stresses, but from an epigenetic perspective—trying to unravel how the environment interacts with the epigenome to regulate key biological processes to influence plant adaptation.
Laura Martins

Laura Martins

Research Associate

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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Ana Marie Palanca

Research Associate

Ana Marie Palanca received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA in 2005.  As part of the Center for Academic and Research Excellence (CARE) Fellows and Scholars Program and the Minority Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) Program, she did undergraduate research in Steve Jacobsen’s lab, characterizing methyl-binding proteins in Arabidopsis. She received her Ph.D. in 2012, from the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCLA where she worked in Alvaro Sagasti’s lab, identifying and mapping subtypes of somatosensory neurons in larval zebrafish. Her dissertation work was primarily funded by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Health. As a post-doc in Julie Law’s lab, she returned to her love of plants and is currently studying DNA methyl-binding protein complexes and how they regulate gene expression in Arabidopsis. Her post-doctoral work was funded by the Glenn Center for Research on Aging.
Matt-Simenc

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.
Guanghui-Xu

Guanghui Xu

Research Associate

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.
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Ming Zhou

Research Associate

Ming Zhou received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Agronomy from Northwest A&F University and Nanjing Agricultural University, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Genetics from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. Ming accomplished his Ph.D. work in Dr. Xiaofeng Cao’s lab, where he identified targets of small RNAs in rice and characterized the mechanisms underlying the thermo-sensitive genic male sterility (TGMS) for hybrid rice breeding. Ming joined Dr. Julie Law lab at Salk Institute for Biological Studies as a postdoc in 2014 and focused on understanding the mechanisms of locus-specific DNA methylation in RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model. Ming is interested in the interactions between epigenome and environments and is supported by the Pioneer Fund Postdoctoral Scholar Award and Glenn Fellowship for Research on Aging.
Research Assistant
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Adam Flanders

Research Assistant I

Adam Flanders received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Maine in 2011. As an undergraduate in Benildo de los Reyes’ functional genomics laboratory (UMaine Molecular Genetics), he studied the genetic regulatory networks that allow plants to adapt to various environmental conditions. The Reyes lab looked at the effects of abiotic stress, using Arabidopsis and rice (Oryza sativa) as model plants. Adam also assisted graduate students studying potato pests and diseases at the New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory (USDA). Adam’s graduate studies included methods in plant breeding and studying the potential for improving crop hardiness by crossing them with wild relatives. Currently, as a research assistant in Julie Law’s lab, Adam works with members of the Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) to support ongoing research projects.
Mina-Rostamza

Mina Rostamza

Research Assistant III

Mina Rostamza did her PhD at the University of Tehran, Iran, where she worked on water use efficiency of millet under drought stress as well as sorghum and millet root plasticity to variable water supply. During her 4-year postdoc at Purdue University, Mina continued her research on plant root phenotyping for root traits that have a direct effect on plant adaptation. She mainly focused on root foraging for nutrients, specifically nitrate in response to nutrient heterogeneity, and how plant competition and arbuscular mycorrhizae affect root foraging for nutrients. She also did some modeling to explore the effects of resource uptake and plant tissue cost on the outcome of plant allocation models. Mina joined the Law lab at the Salk Institute in October 2019 as a part of Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) to phenotype plants for root morphology and to image and quantify the levels of different plant polymers in root tissues.
Josh Wemmer

Josh Wemmer

RESEARCH ASST III

Josh Wemmer received his Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Minnesota in 2015 and his Master’s degree in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside in 2019. For his Master’s thesis, Josh characterized the transcriptomes of aphids and their plant-hosts and identified genes and processes that underlie plant immunity and aphid gall induction. In 2020, Josh joined the Law lab as a research assistant as part of the Harnessing Plants Initiative where he conducts research aimed at generating transgenic plants that sequester more carbon by enhancing their natural ability to produce recalcitrant root bio-polymers.
Research Collaborator
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Clara Bourbousse

Research Collaborator

Graduate Students
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Luke Sarre

Graduate Student

Luke Sarre is a graduate student in Dr. Chory’s lab and is co-advised by the Law and Busch labs as part of the Harnessing Plants Initiative at Salk. Luke first experienced plant research during his final thesis project of dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Sheffield, studying adventitious roots in Arabidopsis thaliana. After graduating in 2017, he enrolled in the Affiliated Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences between UCSD and the Salk Institute where he continues to study Arabidopsis, focusing on the regulation of suberin synthesis and accumulation.
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Neeraja Vegesna

Graduate Student

Neeraja Vegesna received her dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India in 2014. For her Master’s thesis, she worked with Chlorella variabilis for biofuel production in the Sen laboratory. In 2015, she joined Dr. Law’s lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences as a graduate student (Affiliated Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences between the UCSD Division of Biological Sciences and the Salk Institute) where she is investigating the role of chromatin in DNA damage repair using Arabidopsis thaliana.
Workstudy Student
angela-ranon

Angela Ranon

Workstudy Student

Volunteers
Josiah Discar

Josiah Discar

Volunteer

Joy Baal

Joy Baal

Volunteer

Laboratory Alumni

Andalis

Taylor Andalis

Volunteer

Alvarez

Santiago Arconada Alvarez

Volunteer

Brannan

Nicolette Brannan

Volunteer

leonardo-castanon

Leonardo Castanon

Student Intern

Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan

Volunteer

katherine-chang

Katherine Chang

Volunteer

Yang Chen

Yang Chen

Rotation Student

Cleary

Kendra Cleary

Volunteer

Eppert

Amy Eppert

Volunteer

Flagg

Matthew Flagg

Rotation Student

Gandolfo

Sierra Gandolfo

Intern

Gherzi

Ester Gherzi

Volunteer

Gilchrist

Alison Gilchrist

Student Intern

Goodson

Maggie Goodson

Volunteer

Harn.

Stephanie Harn

Volunteer

Hayashi

Saya Hayashi

Volunteer

Herron

Michael Herron

Volunteer

Kellman

Benjamin Kellman

Rotation Student

Lambolez

Alice Lambolez

Exchange Scholar

Markovic

Sofija Markovic

Volunteer

Morales

Joseph Morales

Workstudy Student

Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen

Volunteer

Nieto

Maria Nieto

Volunteer

Pierce

Emily Pierce

Rotation Student

Roca

Nicholas Roca

Volunteer

Sarre

Luke Sarre

Rotation Student

Salter

Daniel Salter

Volunteer

Slavin

Avital Slavin

Volunteer

Shuldberg

Sara Shuldberg

Volunteer

Shleizer-Burko

Sharona Shleizer-Burko

Research Assistant II

Tiffany Ton

Tiffany Ton

Volunteer

Trinidad

Kelly Trinidad

Volunteer

Tyagi

Anisha Tyagi

Volunteer

Warburg

Zachary Warburg

Rotation Student

Zhiyin Yi

Zhiyin Yi

Lab Tech I