Amjad Askary

Amjad is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA. He is also a member of the Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences and Brain Research Institute. Amjad is interested in understanding how cell fate decisions are orchestrated during development and has been developing molecular tools that help us answer this question.

Amjad did his undergrad in Iran at University of Tehran, before moving to US to work on his PhD with Dr. Gage Crump at USC, where he worked on cell fate specification in joint cartilage and developed a zebrafish model for human joint disease. He then worked with Dr. Michael Elowitz at Caltech on genetic recording and in situ readout of cell lineage.

Fun fact about Amjad: there is none.

Yuka McGrath

Yuka is our laboratory assistant. She has moved from Tokyo to Paris and now calls Los Angeles her home. She has recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University with her undergraduate in biology. She’s been doing research since high school at Caltech in an embryology lab studying the migration and fate mapping of cardiac neural crest cells. During her undergrad at LMU, she also worked in an evolutionary biology lab studying arachnids. In her free time, she enjoys reading a good Steven King novel and watching nature documentaries.

Kai Hao

Kai is a postdoctoral scholar working on imaging based molecular recorders. He has recently completed his PhD in Cell Biology at the Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his PhD, he focused on studying ciliary local translation using super resolution and live imaging. He is interested in quantitative analysis of spatiotemporal dynamics at the single molecule and single cell level. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, role-playing games, and watching nature documentaries, especially on geography and astronomy. His favorite outdoor activity is hiking snow-capped mountains.

Zainalabedin (Zain) Samadi

Zain is a postdoctoral scholar focused on developing new methods for spatial profiling of gene expression and lineage. He has recently finished his PhD degree in Communication Systems Engineering at Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) and has experience in signal processing, statistics, and machine learning. He is new to developmental biology, but excited to apply the mathematical principles that are frequently used for signal processing and data compression to address fundamental biological questions. In his spare time, he enjoys writing short stories, reading novels, and taking a long walk in nature.

Pratiti Dasgupta

Pratiti is a postdoctoral scholar interested in developing a spatial atlas of mammalian retina. Her goal is to build a model that takes local interactions between retinal progenitors into account and explains stereotypical distribution of retinal cell types. She recently acquired her PhD in Genetics from the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India. Having studied dynamics of gene expression and epigenetic modifications during stress response in plants, Pratiti looks forward to applying her expertise to solve mysteries of retina development. Her favorite pastime includes cooking, singing, and watching wildlife documentaries.

Andy Garcia

Andy is currently a fourth-year physiological science major and global health minor at UCLA. He was born and raised in Porterville, CA, a small town in California’s Central Valley near Sequoia National Park. He is interested in cell and developmental biology to develop a better understanding of the ways in which physiological processes occur. After graduating, Andy will be taking a gap year before pursuing medical school. He enjoys reading memoirs and other non-fiction books, watching sports, and learning new things.

Sahana Ramesh

Sahana is a second-year Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major interested in exploring developmental cell signaling pathways. In her free time, she enjoys learning languages and playing video games.

Previous members

Joseph Bugliarelli (Lab Assistant)

Parviz Seifpanahi Shabane (Staff Research Associate)

Tyler Buckley (Rotation student; MBIDP)

Swetha Ramesh (Rotation student; Bioinformatics)

Ashley Arancio (Rotation student; MBIDP)