Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Hearst Foundation Developmental Chair
Vijaya Lakshmi Battala
Vijaya obtained her PhD from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India with Dr. Utpal Nath. Her Ph.D. work focuses on the Molecular genetic analysis of trichome development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Later she joined Dr. Adrienne Roeder’s lab as a Fleming postdoctoral fellow where, she investigated the molecular mechanism of giant cell development in the Arabidopsis sepals using single-cell RNA-seq, ChIP-Seq, genetics and cell biology. She Joined Dr. Julie Law’s lab in April 2023, for her second postdoc where, she is currently investigating the mechanisms to increase the suberin in the roots for Salk HPI project. To do this, she is employing next generation sequencing, genetics, molecular biology and cell biology techniques.Apart from science, she also enjoys being connected to the plant biology community. She served as an Assistant Feature Editor (AFE) to The Plant cell, Plantae Fellow, former SIPS-PA co hair (2019-2020) and postdoc representative at the plant biology faculty meetings at Cornell. In her free time, she is interested in photography, cooking and travelling. You can contact her via email email@example.com or Twitter @Vijaya_Batthula
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.
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.
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.
BIOINFORMATICS ANALYST II
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.
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.
Research Assistant II
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.
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.
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.