Current Lab Members


Li-En Jao

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

UC Davis Departmental Profile

Li-En received his B.S. in Life Science from National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) before moving to the US for his graduate study. He joined the lab of Kuang Yu Chen at Rutgers University to study eIF5A and posttranscriptional gene regulation. For his first postdoc, Li-En moved to NIH to work with Shawn Burgess on developing genome-wide retroviral mutagenesis strategies in zebrafish. He then went back to the root of gene regulation and did his second postdoc with Susan Wente at Vanderbilt University on RNA metabolism, human disease modeling, and centrosome biology, using the zebrafish and cultured cell systems. In his spare time, Li-En enjoys the California sun, family time, and photography.









Guadalupe Sepulveda

Junior Specialist

Guadalupe graduated from UC Davis in 2014 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During undergrad, she interned in the Conrad Lab where she worked with Dr. Heather Fritz on creating an in-house library for characterizing Actinomyces bacteria using MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry. After graduating, she took time off from school and began working as a contractor at Monsanto Co. in their High Throughput Genotyping Lab in Woodland, CA.

Guadalupe joined the Jao lab in January 2016 and takes on the projects using the zebrafish model and human cultured cells. She plans on applying to graduate school to pursue a PhD in either Cell or Developmental Biology. Some of her hobbies include binge watching TV shows, being a foodie (food fanatic), and spending time with her family.









Noemi Castro

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Noemi will be graduating in June 2018 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. After graduating, she is planning on applying to graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. She is currently working with Lana on a zebrafish project. She is a UC Davis MARC Scholar. Her hobbies include hiking, reading science fiction novels, and walking in the rain.













Lana Christensen

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lana will graduate from UC Davis with a B.S. in Biotechnology with an emphasis in Microbiology and fermentation. In lab she studies the functions of different centrosome genes in zebrafish. After graduation, she plans on furthering her education in graduate school to work toward a career in research. In her free time Lana enjoys hiking, playing board games, and road trips.












Karan Mahe

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Karan is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Writing at the University of California, Davis and plans to graduate June, 2019. Karan is dedicating his time to learn more about the phenotypic analysis of centrosomal mutants and techniques involving molecular and cellular biology. After graduation, Karan plans to pursue either a medical degree or a Ph.D. in a health-related field. During his free time, he tutors chemistry through the university, enjoys playing piano, and loves to learn new languages.












Hashim Shaikh

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hashim currently studies Neurology, Physiology and Behavior at the University of California Davis and expects to graduate in June 2018. He is working on the CRISPR/Cas mutagenesis pipeline in the lab. Hashim wishes to pursue the field of medicine and hopes to become a cardiothoracic surgeon in the future. Hashim has interest in golf, football, and chess.















Alan Zhong

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alan majors in Genetics and Genomics and will be graduating in 2019. He is working hard on learning the techniques of tissue culturing and molecular biology. Alan plans to attend medical school with the goal of pursuing a career in genetics counseling.












Jennielee Mia

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Fish facility)

Jennielee is a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis. She is helping the lab maintain the zebrafish facility. Her interests include human anatomy, drug development, and microbiology. She plans to go to either medicine or pharmacy school after graduation. During her free time, she creates digital artworks, listens to music, and watches TV shows.













Ariana Nagainis

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Fish facility)

I am a second year animal biology major planning to graduate 2019. I am interested in Entomology and disease biology. I currently work in the Vannette lab studying microbes and antimicrobial substances in bees and also help the Jao and Dennis labs maintain their zebrafish facility. I am a Baritone player in the Band-uh!. I enjoy dancing to myself and I love to travel. I can also speak, read and write fluently in Latvian.











Christopher Yousif

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Fish facility)

Christopher is a senior at the University of California, Davis, pursuing dual degrees in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and Economics. In the past, he has worked in various clinics and hospitals. He was Vice President of Step-Up Summer Camp, an organization dedicated to establishing a Conductive Education summer camp in the Sacramento area for children with cerebral palsy and other motor disabilities and Vice President of Global Medical Training, an organization that provides free medical-dental services to medically deprived communities. He plans on pursuing a career in the healthcare field. He is helping the lab to maintain the zebrafish facility and work on zebrafish-related projects. His hobbies include traveling, watching movies, and hiking.













Mark Antkowiak: Medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Janice Tam: Staff Research Associate at UCSF

Marvin Orellana: Associate at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Yeon Kim: Student at UC Davis

Stephen (Evan) Brahms

Daniel Yoon



Jao Lab | UC Davis School of Medicine | Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

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