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.

Senior Scientists

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.


Postdoctoral Scholars

Amanda Lin, Ph.D.


Amanda earned my B.S. in Psychobiology (Behavioral Neuroscience) with a minor in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012. She then completed her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Physiology at UCLA. For her thesis, she studied the effect of a specific heat shock protein, HSP72, and its role in mitochondrial dynamics and insulin resistance in males and females. Currently, she is studying the relationship between δPKC phosphorylation of cTnI, mitochondrial function, and the response of the heart to reperfusion injury.

Ana Koperniku, Ph.D.


Ana obtained her BSc in Pharmacy in 2011 and MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2013 from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. In 2013 she started at the University of British Columbia as a PhD student and her doctoral thesis focused on the chemistry of N-silylated amines as precursors to pharmaceutically relevant small molecules in the groups of Profs. David Grierson and Laurel Schafer. She is currently a PDF in drug discovery in the Mochly-Rosen laboratory at Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University, where she is working on the identification of small molecules to correct enzymopathies.

Kate Samardzic, Ph.D.


Kate completed her Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2015. For her Ph.D., Kate studied neurotoxic amino acids found in dietary supplements, specifically looking at cell death pathways and mitochondrial function. After graduating in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked as a biotechnology business development consultant for a year before moving to the USA and joining the Mochly-Rosen lab. Here, she combines her love of studying mitochondria and the brain to work on a project developing activators of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, which is implicated in the neurological disease kernicterus.

Aly Elezaby, Ph.D.


Aly attended college at the University of Arizona, where he studied molecular and cellular biology with a research focus on mechanisms of genome instability. He graduated from the MD-PhD program at Boston University, with a dissertation focus on the effects of nutrient excess on mitochondrial function and oxidative stress in the heart. He completed residency training in internal medicine at Stanford as part of the Translational Investigator Program, where he has continued in fellowship training in cardiovascular medicine. His current research interest is in the signaling pathways leading to mitochondrial dysfunction in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, with particular focus on cardiac troponin I and delta PKC. He intends to pursue a career studying cardiac metabolism with a clinical focus on heart failure.


Riddhita Mukherjee, Ph.D.


Dr. Mukherjee has been a member of the Mochly-Rosen laboratory since 2018. She completed her undergraduate studies (major: Biotechnology) in India, after which she moved to USA to attend graduate school. During her PhD in genetics from University of Utah, she studied and identified novel genetic mechanisms by which cells can survive telomere loss, a phenomenon that predisposes organisms towards carcinogenesis. Following graduate school she did her postdoctoral training at University of Pennsylvania where she investigated the destabilization of Type I interferon signaling in tumor micro-environment of colon carcinomas. In her current role in Mochly-Rosen lab and in collaboration with Dr. Bereketeab Haileselassie at Stanford Pediatrics Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Mukherjee is investigating the role of altered mitochondrial dynamics and cell-free damaged mitochondria in sepsis-induced immune dysfunction and end organ failures. She is particularly interested in designing and developing novel peptide inhibitors that play therapeutic roles in alleviating aberrations of mitochondrial dynamics in the context of sepsis.

Graduate Students

Adriana Garcia, B.S.


Adriana received a B.S. in biochemistry from San Francisco State University in 2016. Upon receiving her bachelors, she opted to remain in the Bay Area, where she enjoys exploring the culinary diversity available to us. Currently, her work in the Mochly-Rosen Lab focuses on modulating protein oligomerization as a therapeutic strategy for treating G6PD deficiency.

Luis Rios, B.S.


Luis completed his bachelors in neurobiology at UC Berkeley in 2013. After graduation, he moved to Osaka University in Japan to work on brain development and central pattern generation. After his travels in Japan, he got a position in the Panda Lab at Salk Institute researching circadian rhythms. He worked on circadian transcriptomics, a genetically encoded marker for electron microscopy based connectomics, and time-restricted feeding in mice. Currently, he is interested in metabolism and inflammation and is investigating rationally designed peptide inhibitors of mitochondrial fission.

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.

Research Associate

Lucia Lee


Lucia completed my undergraduate degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019. After graduating, she joined the lab and is currently working with Dr. Che-Hong Chen on investigating the impact of genetic variations on alcohol metabolism deficiency in different ethnic populations.