Lab Members

Daria Mochly-Rosen, Ph.D.

Professor

Email: mochly@stanford.edu

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).

Staff

Kathy Johnson

Executive Assistant

Email: kathyj1@stanford.edu

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

Email: chehong@stanford.edu

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 isoyzmes 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.

Email: chehong@stanford.edu

Sunhee Hwang, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Email: sunhwang@stanford.edu

I joined Daria Mochly-Rosen’s lab in 2012 after I completed my Ph.D at Duke University. My current research focuses on the elucidation of molecular mechanisms involved in mitochondrial elimination in Huntington’s disease. I am also trying to generate and characterize pharmacological chaperones to correct enzyme deficiency.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Bereketeab Haileselassie, M.D.

Email: bhailes3@stanford.edu

I attained my undergraduate and medical school training at University of Missouri-Kansas City. I attained my masters in health sciences from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of public health. I did my residency training in pediatrics at the University of Washington and critical care fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Currently, my academic efforts are focused on evaluating the interplay between cardiac mitochondrial oxidative stress and myopathy in sepsis. In particular, I have focused my efforts on the identification of developmental variability in cardiac bioenergetic reserve and mitochondrial oxidative stress in the setting of sepsis. Furthermore, I am interested in the role and regulation of mitochondrial redox scavengers in the context of sepsis.

Amit Joshi, Ph.D.

Email: aujoshi@stanford.edu

I received my B.Sc. in Microbiology from University of Pune, India. I then completed my M.Sc. Biotechnology at University of Abertay Dundee with my project at the Roslin Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Tahar Ait-Ali. Later, I joined Dr. Deliang Cao’s lab at SIU, Springfield, IL, USA where I was working on the role of Aldo-keto-reductases in GI cancers. I then moved to Giessen, Germany where I completed my PhD in Prof. Sandip Kanse’s lab working on the pathophysiological significance of Factor VII activating protease in ischemic stroke.

Currently, I am looking to understand the mechanisms involved in mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases and identify potential therapeutic targets. Also, as a part of my project, I will be analyzing the effect of neuro-inflammation on mitochondrial dynamics in the broader context of neurodegenerative disease progression.

Amanda Lin, Ph.D.

Email: linaj@stanford.edu

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

Riddhita Mukherjee, Ph.D.

Email: riddhita@stanford.edu

I completed my undergraduate (major: Biotechnology) in India, after which I moved to USA to attend graduate school. I received my PhD in genetics from University of Utah. In my current role in Mochly-Rosen lab, I am studying regulators of mitochondrial dynamics during sepsis.

Matthew Stevens, Ph.D.

Email: mcstev@stanford.edu

I earned my B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I then completed my Ph.D. in Chemistry at Stanford in the lab of Paul Wender where I developed novel rhodium-catalyzed cycloaddition methodology with a focus on developing new scaffolds for small-molecule kinase inhibitors. I was also part of a team that completed a scalable total synthesis of bryostatin 1, a marine natural product currently being tested in the clinic for the eradication of HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, I am working toward identifying and evaluating new variants of aldehyde dehydrogenases relevant to human disease states, with the goal of developing small-molecule activators and inhibitors of this enzyme family.

Graduate Students

Adriana Garcia, B.S.

Email: adgarcia@stanford.edu

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is the rate limiting enzyme of the pentose phosphate pathway and changes in its activity are associated with several disease states. Structurally, it is well known that G6PD is a monomer, homo-dimer, and homo-tetramer with only the latter two being active. However, it has only recently been shown that the tetramer is four-fold more efficient then the dimeric form and the significance between the dimer to tetramer interconversion has not been studied. My research aims to understand if the tetramer is physiologically significant and aims to understand how protein-protein interactions and post translational modifications influence G6PD’s oligomeric state. I would like to use the insight gained from this research to identify therapeutic strategies to modulate G6PD activity.

Andrew Raub, B.S.

Email: araub@stanford.edu

I graduated from UCSD in 2012 with a B.S. in chemistry. During my time at UCSD I conducted research in the area of physical organic chemistry under the direction of Joe O’Connor. After an internship at Novartis and working for Jay Siegel in Zurich, I came to Stanford to continue my education as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry. My work in the DMR lab focuses on the synthesis of activators and inhibitors of the metabolic enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).

Luis Rios, B.S.

Email: lrios@stanford.edu

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

Undergraduate Students

Nicolai Ostberg

Email: nostberg@stanford.edu

I am currently a junior pursuing a B.S. in Bioengineering and a co-terminal M.S. in Biomedical Informatics. I am very interested in cardiovascular health, drug development, and computational biology. I joined the lab in 2017 and I’m currently working with Amanda Lin to characterize novel mechanisms that mediate ischemia-reperfusion injury and develop rationally designed peptides that attenuate IR damage.

Visiting Scholars

Sin-Jin Li

Email: sjli@stanford.edu

I am a visiting researcher in the Mochly-Rosen Lab and am currently a third-year Ph.D. student at National Taiwan University. In my previous research, I focused on developing an optimal animal model of metabolic-related diseases, including metabolic syndrome (MetS), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and cardiomyopathy. I then used these animal models to explore the regulatory role of ER stress, autophagy and mitochondria dynamic in metabolic related disease. My current research focuses on elucidating characteristics of different aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 mutants during acetaldehyde stress.