Drake Smith, PhD Student (2014-2017)

Drake received his B.S. degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology from Utah State University 2013. He was a Ph.D. student in the Immunity, Microbes and Molecular Pathogenesis (IMMP) Home Area at UCLA. He conducted PhD thesis research at the Yang Lab in 2014-2017, working on the biology and therapeutic application of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. Besides research, Drake enjoyed rock climbing, hiking, and camping.
Drake was the first PhD student graduated from the Yang Lab at UCLA; he completed a productive PhD training in 4 years.

After his PhD training at the Yang Lab, Drake joined the Gilead/Kite Pharma (Santa Monica, California) as a Scientist.

Inyoung Choi, Postdoctoral Scholar (2016-2017)

Inyoung received her B.A. degree in Biochemistry with minor in Biomedical Research from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2010, and her Ph.D. in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2016. Her Ph.D. thesis work was on dietary restriction regulation of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. She joined the Yang lab in June of 2016. Inyoung worked on the interface of immune system and nervous system in tumor microenvironment. Besides research, Inyoung enjoyed yoga and any outdoor activities.

After her postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Inyoung joined Booz Allen Hamilton (McLean, Virginia) as a Senior Consultant.

Stefano Di Biase, Postdoctoral Scholar (2016-2018)

Stefano received his B.S. degree in Biotechnologies with a minor in Biochemistry in Italy from La Sapienza University of Rome in 2008, his M.S. degree in Biochemistry from La Sapienza University of Rome in 2010, and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2016. His PhD thesis work discovered a novel pathway linking dietary restriction and immune system activation for targeting cancer cells. He joined the Yang Lab in June of 2016. Stefano worked on metabolic control of antitumor immunity. Besides research, Stefano enjoyed motorcycle riding, cycling, and playing guitar.

After his postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Stefano joined the Gilead/Kite Pharma (Santa Monica, California) as a Scientist.

Yanni Zhu, Research Scientist (2016-2018)

Yanni received her B.S. degree in Medicine from the Shanghai Medical University, her M.S. degree in Biochemistry from the Peking University in 2003, and her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the Tufts University in 2011. Her Ph.D. thesis was on Polyomavirus Middle Tumor Antigen signaling. She had her postdoctoral training in translational oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School from 2011-2015. She joined the Yang lab in November of 2016. Yanni worked on developing and translating iNKT cell-based immunotherapies for cancer. Besides research, Yanni enjoyed cuisines, concerts, and films.

After her scientist training at the Yang Lab, Yanni joined the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as a Project Scientist.

Jessie Xiaoya Ma, Postdoctoral Scholar (2018-2019)

Jessie received her B.A. degree in Sport Science from the Beijing Sport University in 2010, and her Ph.D. degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2015. She had her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan School of Medicine from 2015-2018, studying Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) and iron regulation of colon cancer. She joined the Yang lab in April of 2018. Jessie worked on tumor immunology and cancer metabolism. Besides research, Jessie enjoyed walking her dog, working out, hiking, traveling, cooking, and culture exploring.

After her postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Jessie joined the Amberstone Biosciences (Laguna Hills, California) as a Scientist.

Shirley Xi Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar (2015-2020)

Shirley received her B.A. degree in Medicine from Chongqing Medical University at China in 2004, her M.S. degree in Medicine from Shanghai Jiaotong University at China in 2007, and her Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences from the the University of Tennessee Health Science Center/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2014. Her Ph.D. thesis work was on MCL-1 regulation of cardiac function. She joined the Yang Lab in May of 2015. Shirley worked on molecular control of immune cell reactions in cancer and autoimmune diseases. Besides research, Shirley enjoyed reading, traveling, and cooking.

After her postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Shirley joined the Appia Bio (Los Angeles, California) as a Scientist.

Yu Jeong Kim, Postdoctoral Scholar (2018-2020)

Yu Jeong received her B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Ohio State University (OSU) in 2011, and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2017. Her Ph.D. thesis work was on improving CAR-T and NK cell-based immunotherapies through combining with immune checkpoint blockade and chemotherapy drugs. She joined the Yang Lab in February of 2018. Yu Jeong worked on targeted drug delivery and off-the-shelf cell therapy for cancer. Besides research, Yu Jeong enjoyed traveling, watching movies, and doing Yoga and Pilates.

After her postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Yu Jeong joined the Nkarta Therapeutics (South San Francisco, California) as a Scientist.

Ryan Yuchen Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar (2016-2020)

Ryan received his B.A. degree in Biology from the Anhui University in 2010, and his Ph.D. degree in Immunology and Cell Biology from the University of Science & Technology of China (USTC) in 2016. His Ph.D. thesis work was on Forkhead Box Protein O1 (foxo1) regulation of macrophage polarization. He joined the Yang Lab in August of 2016. Ryan worked on tumor immunology and nerve-driven immunity. Besides research, Ryan enjoyed hiking, playing board games, and visiting museums.

After his postdoc training at the Yang Lab, Ryan joined the Lusis Lab at UCLA for further training.

Claret Siyuan Liu, Lab Manager & Research Assistant (2013-2015)

Claret received her B.S. degree in Biotechnology from Huazhong Agriculture University at China in 2006, and her M.S. degree in Genetics from Iowa State University in 2010. Claret worked with Dr. Lili Yang as a Research Assistant at the Laboratory of David Baltimore at Caltech from 2010-2013. She was a Lab Manager at the UCLA Yang Lab in 2013-2015. At the Yang Lab, she worked on studying iNKT cell biology and developing iNKT cell-based cancer immunotherapies for cancer. Besides research, Claret enjoyed traveling, petting, cooking, and running.

After her training at the Yang Lab, Claret joined Amgen (Thousand Oaks, California) as a Scientist.

Heesung Moon, Undergraduate Student (2014-2017)

Heesung was an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at UCLA. She conducted research at the Yang Lab in 2014-2016, working with Dr. Shirley Wang on engineering immunity against cancer. Besides research and classes, Heesung enjoyed sleeping!

After college, Heesung joined the CHA University in Korea for MD training.

Alexander Pham, Undergraduate Student (2014-2017)

Alex was an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at UCLA. He conducted research at the Yang Lab in 2014-2016, working with Drs. Bo Li and Shirley Wang on molecular control of immune cell reactions in cancer and autoimmune diseases. Besides research and classes, Alex enjoyed playing with the Nanodrop 2000 and having Boba Tea!

After college, Alex joined the UCLA Medicine School for MD training.

Levina Lin, Undergraduate Student (2015-2018)

Levina was an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at UCLA. She conducted research at the Yang Lab in 2015-2018, working with Drake Smith and Dr. Yanni Zhu on developing iNKT cell-based immunotherapies for cancer. Besides research and classes, Levina enjoyed reading, running, and playing piano.

After college, Levina joined the UCLA Medical School for MD training.

 

Josh Ku, Undergraduate Student (2018-2020)

Josh was an undergraduate student majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) with a minor in Biomedical Research at UCLA. He joined the Yang Lab in January of 2018. Josh worked with Yanni Zhu and Alice Zhou on developing and translating iNKT cell-based immunotherapies for cancer. Besides research and classes, Josh enjoyed rock climbing, volunteering, and working with children.

 

Nicole Clarke, Undergraduate Student (2017-2020)

Nicole was an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at UCLA. She joined the Yang Lab in August of 2017. Nicole worked with Dr. Shirley Wang on tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Besides research, Nicole enjoyed volunteering, tutoring middle school students, playing with puppies, and painting.

 

Christian Hardoy, Undergraduate Student (2017-2020)

Christian was an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at UCLA. He joined the Yang Lab in August of 2017. Christian worked with Dr. Yanni Zhu on developing iNKT cell-based cancer immunotherapies. Besides research, Christian enjoyed martial arts, water sports, and reading.

After college, Christian joined the UC Irvine School of Medicine for MD training.