Graduate Program in

Mathematical, Computational & Systems Biology

1st-Year MCSB Students

Chaorong Chen

Jilin University

Hi! My name is Chaorong Chen (/ʧaʊ'rɔŋ ʧɛn/), and I recently graduated with B.E. in Software Engineering from Jilin University. During my undergraduate, I conducted researches on applying machine learning to discover biomarkers related to breast cancer. I also worked as a research assistant at Broad Institute, where I built up a bottom-up model across different biological levels to reveal the correlation between complex human diseases. I am interested in the intersection of bioinformatics and novel computational methods and hope to describe biological mechanisms with a new insight. I enjoy fitness, calligraphy, cooking in my free time.

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Gabby De Robles

University of California, Irvine

Hello! My name is Gabriela but most people call my Gabby. I was born and raised in SoCal and I recently graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor’s in genetics. For over two years, I have been in Dr. Michael McClelland’s lab working with Dr. Farah Rahmatpanah performing comparative genetic analysis on tumor tissues. Besides genetic studies in cancer biology, I am also interested in exploring virology and bacterial microenvironments. My hobbies outside of the lab include baking, exercising, hiking, playing video games, and watching anime!

Kai Silkwood

University of California, San Diego

Hello! My name is Kai Silkwood. I am originally from Monterey, California. I received my B.S. degree in Molecular Synthesis from UC San Diego and went on to pursue a Master’s in Business and Science from the Keck Graduate Institute. I have worked in a variety of fields including physical organometallic chemistry, biochemistry, data engineering, machine learning, and bioinformatics. My most recent project involved working with an Australian startup company to perform bioinformatic analyses on soil microbes that can assist in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. My current research interests lie in environmental biology, machine learning, and protein modelling/engineering. My hobbies include surfing, playing video games, rock climbing, hiking, working out, and drawing.

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Lulu Lai

Baylor University

My name is Lulu Lai, I grew up in China and came to the States for high school. After high school I studied Biochemistry and Statistics at Baylor University and then obtained my master’s degree from Washington University in St Louis in Biostatistics. My future research interests fall in the scope of genomics, transcriptional and translational studies relevant to human health, specifically in genomics/personalized medicine. Outside of school, I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Negin Rahimzadeh

University of California, Los Angeles

Hello! My name is Negin. I graduated with a B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) from UCLA. During my undergraduate, I explored my interests in an MCDB lab where I briefly studied cell quiescence, as well as a bioinformatics lab where I used DNA methylation data to fit regression models to predict folic acid levels in individuals. Currently, I work as a junior bioinformatician at Providence Saint John’s Cancer Institute where I analyze Next Generation Sequencing data to find biomarkers associated with various cancers such as melanoma and its complications. My research interests span a broad range of topics, but I’m excited to continue working on cancer genomics, precision medicine and drug discovery, and extend my work to develop computational models to study mental and neurological disorders. Outside of lab, I enjoy going on nature hikes, listening to music, and learning about coffee beans and various roasts.

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Pei Tan

Soochow University

Hi everyone! My name is Pei. I graduated from Soochow University with a B.S. majoring in Bioinformatics. Most of the work I did is about cancer transcriptome data mining and data analysis. Also, I participated in some algorithm development work based on R. Recently, my greatest interest is learning Japanese language.

Andres Guerrero Ramirez

University of Sao Paulo State

Hello all! I am Andrés Guerrero. I was born in Bogotá, Colombia but grew up in Armenia, in the heart of the country's coffee region. I majored in physics at Universidad del Quindío, Colombia, but finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Sao Paulo State in Brazil. Later, I moved to Argentina to earn my master´s degree in medical physics at Instituto Balseiro. There, I studied radiomics in DCE-MRI for prostate cancer diagnosis and its associated uncertainties as part of my master´s thesis. After taking some classes related to biology and medicine, I fell in love with them. As an MCSB student, I am really excited to explore the frontiers of physics, systems biology, and computing to better understand cancer and develop tools to improve its diagnosis and treatment. During my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with friends, hiking, and dancing salsa!

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Sarah Eldeen

CSU Fullerton

Hello! My name is Sarah Eldeen. I grew up in Syria and moved to the U.S. in 2013. I got both my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and my master’s degree in Physics from California State University, Fullerton. My research experiences covers a wide range of points of focus including, extracting signal from noise of self-propelled colloids using stochastic modeling and statistical physics, developing a system to study active motion using low-cost camphor swimmers, participating in a HHMI program to observe protein-protein interaction using FRET, and conducting immunocytochemistry assays to observe protein localization in HEK 293 cells. My previous research experiences have made me interested in combining concepts in physics, biology and math to study complicated systems, and what better program can enable you to do that than the MCSB program! Fun fact about me is that I got my second degree black belt in Taekwondo when I was 5 months pregnant!

Thao Nguyen

University of California, Los Angeles

Hello! My name is Thao. I grew up in Vietnam and moved to southern California for college. I graduated from UCLA with my Bachelor’s in Mathematics/Economics and my Master’s in Physiological Science. I spent a few years in Ophthalmology research at UCLA, studying the metabolism and repair mechanisms of the neural retina in inherited degenerative eye disease. My research interests include applying computational and mathematical models to address outstanding questions in the fields of cancer biology, developmental biology, and biomedical engineering. Outside of academics, I enjoy doing yoga, dancing, going on food adventures, and traveling with friends and family.

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Wei (Albert) Shao

Suzhou University of Science and Technology

Hello, I am Wei Shao, if it is more convenient for you, you can call me Albert! My undergraduate studied Applied Chemistry at Suzhou University of Science and Technology. After my undergraduate, I worked as an organic chemist in China for two pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer. During my working experience, I found a career interest in developing new medicine. Then, I went to George Washington University’s Bioinformatics master program to learn how to use Bioinformatics in medical area. Specifically, I was trained to use single-cell sequencing and CRISPR gene editing to solve biological problems in master program. For my current lab techniques, I am good at data analysis such as DEG analysis and variant calling from sequencing data, but I am also looking forward to collaborating with wet-lab students. Outside of lab I like to watch animation, movies and NBA games, listen to music and attend outdoor activities with friends.