Lab Members

Daria Mochly-Rosen, Ph.D.



Dr. Daria Mochly-Rosen received her B.Sc. at Tel Aviv University and her doctorate in Chemical Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. After two years of postdoctoral training with Dr. Dan Koshland Jr, at UC Berkeley, she spent seven years at UC San Francisco (as Assistant and Associate Professor in Residence in the departments of Neurology and Pharmacology). Dr. Mochly-Rosen joined Stanford University, School of Medicine in 1993 where she is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology; she served as Chair of this department for four years. In 2005, she was appointed the Senior Associate Dean for Research in the School of Medicine, a position she held until 2013.

Dr. Mochly-Rosen is a protein chemist who used her basic research discoveries to develop a number of drugs for human diseases. Dr. Mochly-Rosen’s effort has been focused on basic research in signal transduction and its translation into drugs that address unmet clinical needs. She has been studying a family of enzymes called protein kinase C. Her laboratory developed a rational approach to identify novel and specific peptide inhibitors of protein-protein interactions for each member of this family of enzymes. She shared these research tools with over a hundred laboratories, which greatly advanced the field. These tools, and her laboratory work in applying these tools for cardiovascular research, provided the foundation for KAI Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2003; acquired by Amgen, 2012). Since then, she has expanded her focus to include the ALDH family of enzymes, and her laboratory has developed both inhibitors and activators of specific ALDH isoforms. These tools show promise in cardiovascular disease, Fanconi anemia, alcohol metabolism deficiency and oncology. This work forms the basis for Dr. Mochly-Rosen’s newest effort, ALDEA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (2011).


Kathy Johnson

Executive Assistant


Kathy Johnson joined the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology in March 2004 and has been assisting Dr. Daria Mochly-Rosen since 2012. Kathy is currently supporting the Mochly-Rosen lab and is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Mochly-Rosen and Dr. Kevin Grimes as part of the SPARK at Stanford program. Kathy has 2 daughters and a grandson. She is also the mother of 2 fur babies and enjoys spending her time off at anything Disney related.


Che-Hong Chen, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist


Che-Hong, a molecular biologist and geneticist, has been working with Prof. Daria Mochly-Rosen’s laboratory at Stanford University for the past 24 years. Che-Hong’s early research includes the characterization of the first intra-cellular receptor for protein kinase C and its protein-protein interaction with other signaling molecules. Che-Hong also studied the role of ethanol-mediated cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injuries. His research demonstrated that acute ethanol protects the heart from ischemic events by mimicking cardiac preconditioning. Several protein kinase C substrates involved in this ethanol-induced protective mechanism have been identified in his research; among them is an important detoxifying enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).

More recently, Che-Hong has been focusing on the function of ALDH multi-gene family and its association with human diseases. By high throughput screening of small molecule libraries, Che-Hong pioneered the discovery of a class of novel enzyme activators and inhibitors of aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldas & Aldis). Many of the 19 human ALDH isozymes and their mutations have been implicated in diseases caused by the accumulation of toxic aldehdyes and oxidative stress. Aldas have been shown to be effective in enhancing cell’s detoxifying capacity both in vitro and in vivo. The discovery of Aldas & Aldis as a unique class of enzyme modulators carries a great potential for drug development for a wide range of human diseases. Che-Hong’s current research focuses on the isolation and characterization of ALDH modulators and the understanding of the basic molecular interaction between ALDH and these small molecules. One of the mutations in the ALDH gene family is the common East Asian-specific point mutation of ALDH2 which is present in nearly 560 million people or 8% of the world population and causes the well-known Asian Alcohol Flushing Syndrome. The ALDH2 mutation leads to a deficiency in the capacity of aldehyde detoxification and is associated with high risks of acetaldehyde-induced cancers and other diseases. Using an ALDH2 deficient mouse model, Che-Hong is currently identifying molecular and pathological targets that are susceptible to toxic and reactive aldehydes. In addition to the study of enzyme deficiency in ALDH, Che-Hong is also interested in applying what has learned from the ALDH project to another common human metabolic enzyme deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).

Since 2015, Che-Hong has organized a Stanford-Taiwan ALDH2 Deficiency Research (STAR) consortium which is devoted to the promotion of multidisciplinary collaboration of basic and clinical research on ALDH2 deficiency related diseases. The mission of the consortium also includes public health education and public awareness of ALDH2 deficiency and acetaldehyde toxicity in particular for the East Asians. Che-Hong currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of the STAR consortium.



Gwangbeom Heo, Ph.D.


Gwangbeom was born and raised in South Korea. He received his Pharm.D. and Ph.D. from Pusan National University in South Korea. For his Ph.D., he studied the role of autotoxin and lipid rafts in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoclastogenesis. He joined the Mochly-Rosen lab in September 2022. He is currently working on targeting pathological mitochondrial changes under oxidative stress to develop new therapeutics.



Ben Kraemer, B.S.


Ben received a B.S. in neuroscience with minors in chemistry and Spanish from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. During his undergraduate career, he worked on synthesizing novel antibacterial agents to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and also performed cognitive psychology research investigating the evolutionary psychology of memory. Currently, he is interested in the aldehyde dehydrogenase family of enzymes and their association with disease.

Suman Pokhrel, B.S.


Suman was born and raised in Nepal. He studied B.S in Biology and Chemistry at the University of New Orleans. His undergraduate research focused on investigation of phenomenon of chromatic acclimation in marine cyanobacteria using biochemistry tools. After completing his undergraduate degree in 2018, he worked at Bayer Crop Science as a biochemist for two years. At BCS, he worked on several projects involving target based small molecules discovery for agricultural pest and pathogen control. Currently, he is interested in small molecule modulation of protein-protein interactions mediating mitochondrial and peroxisomal dynamics.



Ni-chin (Nina) Tsai, M.D.


Ni-Chin is an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) based in Taiwan. She obtained her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Kaohsiung Medical University and underwent specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. Her expertise lies in infertility endocrinology and in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology. Previously, her research primarily centered on noninvasive embryo selection. Presently, her focus is on investigating the aldehyde dehydrogenase family of enzymes and their potential implications in human reproductive disorders.


Yi-Hsun (Jay) Chen, M.D.


Dr. Yi-Hsun Chen is a gastroenterologist and an assistant professor from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Taiwan. He is also an oncologist and takes care of patients with esophageal cancer and pancreas cancer. His research expertise focuses on cancer epidemiology, non-invasive screening method of esophageal cancer, and cancer related precision medicine. He is a visiting scholar in Daria Mochly-Rosen’s lab and try to connect clinical diseases to basic works about ALDH superfamily and mitochondria.



Coming soon!