Former Lab Members

Nerea Arias, PhD

Nerea Arias, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Arias is a native of Bilbao, Spain. She received her BSc in biology from the Alcalá de Henares University, Spain, in 2012 and her MSc in microbiology from the University of Basque Country, Spain, in 2014. She then completed a PhD on immunology and microbiology from AZTI (a food research foundation) and the University of Basque Country, Spain, in 2018. Her PhD thesis was titled, "Exploring new frontiers in host-microbiome interactions using zebrafish."

Grant Bennett

Grant Bennett

Undergraduate

Grant is a third year undergraduate student from Boulder, Colorado. He is majoring in biomedical engineering, along with a minor in Spanish. As an ulcerative colitis patient, Grant was drawn to microbiome research through a desire to learn more about the role that the microbiome plays in inflammatory bowel diseases. After completing his bioengineering degree, Grant plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Tien S. Dong, MD, PhD

Tien S Dong, MD, PhD

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Dr. Dong graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a BS in biological sciences. He subsequently received his MD from the University of Chicago. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Chicago, where he stayed on as faculty for an additional year as a liver hospitalist. While at the University of Chicago, he trained in the laboratory of Dr. Eugene Chang where he investigated the role of the gut microbiome on microRNAs and colon cancer.

Joseph Ebriana

Joseph Ebriana

Research Coordinator

Joseph is a recent UCLA graduate who earned his bachelor of science degree in anthropology. He originally attended UCSD for his undergraduate studies, but subsequently transferred to UCLA upon being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2015. Inspired by his diagnosis, Joseph immersed himself in the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) world by interning for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Reza Farshchi

Reza Farshchi

Research Coordinator

Originally from Tehran, Iran, Reza immigrated to the U.S. in his early teens and grew up in Santa Monica, CA. Reza graduated summa cum laude with both departmental and college honors from UCLA with a BA in philosophy in 2013. As an undergrad, he took an active role in various leadership positions and was president of Alpha Gamma Honor Society and Iranian Student Club, among others.

Edward Galfayan

Edward Galfayan

Research Coordinator

Edward is a fourth-year biology major at UCLA. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and his interests include watching and participating in basketball, soccer, and water polo. Edward has had extensive experience aiding medical professionals and patients while volunteering at his local hospital, skills which he now applies to his research in the Jacobs laboratory.

Meg Hauer

Meg Hauer

Technician

Meg is a third year undergraduate student from Tucson, Arizona. She is currently studying human biology and society. She became excited about microbiome research after taking Intro to Society and Genetics. Her research in the Jacobs Laboratory focuses on the effect of inflammatory bowel disease associated microbial states on colitis and ileitis in humanized germ-free mice.

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Nancy Huang, PhD

Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Huang completed her undergraduate studies in computer science at the University of Oregon. After receiving a master's in biotechnology (bioinformatics track) from University of Pennsylvania, she joined the IT industry as a researcher and developer to implement algorithms for virus and spam detection in emails. The experience she gained in the industry inspired her to pursue further studies in the field, and obtain a PhD degree in computer science from National Taiwan University.

Will Katzka

Will Katzka

Technician

Will earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at The University of Chicago. Following graduation, Will worked as a laboratory technician under Dr. Stephanie Dulawa for The University of Chicago and later the University of California, San Diego. His research, while in the Dulawa Lab, focused on epistatic modifiers of the BTBD3 gene and its role in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

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Ben Kashanchi

Undergraduate

Ben is a fourth year undergraduate psychobiology major. Born and raised in Newport Beach, he chose to attend UCLA because of its beautiful campus and invaluable educational opportunities in the life sciences. His interest in the human body, particularly the digestive system, motivated him to join the Jacobs Laboratory, where he has been learning more about the role of the gut microbiome in the development of gastrointestinal diseases.

Venu Lagishetty, PhD

Venu Lagishetty, PhD

Project Scientist

Dr. Lagishetty received his undergraduate (1994-1997) and master's (1998-2000) degrees at Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. He received his PhD degree (biochemistry) in 2007 from the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. He started his postdoctoral research at UCLA with Dr. Martin Hewison in 2007. His research explored the effects of vitamin D-insufficiency on immune function in mice and its impact on models of inflammatory bowel disease.

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Kang Lee, MD, PhD

Dr. Lee is a visiting scientist from Hanyang University, Korea. He received his MD from Hanyang University in 1999, completed residency training in internal medicine in 2008, completed gastroenterology fellowship training in 2010, and received a PhD in internal medicine from Hanyang University in 2011. Afterwards, he worked as an associate professor of medicine with clinical and research interests in inflammatory bowel disease, functional GI disorders, and endoscopic diagnosis.

Shumin Li

Shumin Li

Undergraduate

Shumin is a senior majoring in veterinary medicine at Jilin University, China. She is a visiting student in Dr. Jacobs' lab through the CSST (Cross-disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology) program this summer. She’s always fascinated with the microbiome world, an interdisciplinary area. Her previous research focused on how the gut microbiota influence susceptibility of diary cows to developing mastitis.

Fengting Liang

Fengting Liang

Technician

Fengting is a recent graduate of UCLA with a BS in physiological sciences. She is currently working as the lab technician in the Jacobs Lab and Microbiome Core. Before she joined the lab as staff, she was a member of the lab as an undergraduate researcher, where she worked on a study investigating fibrosis in Crohn's disease in relation to the microbiome. She also assisted with a clinical study investigating microbiome changes in colon cancer patients post-surgery and during chemotherapy.

Kayti Luu

Kayti Luu

Research Coordinator

Kayti is a second year life sciences major at UCLA. Originally from Singapore and raised in Orange County, Kayti enjoys having the best of both cultures. She frequently travels back and forth between Southern California beaches and Singapore - often visiting tropical locales along the way - to mix in with both lifestyles. Her love for food and interest in how diet affects health motivated her to research the digestive diseases.

Lanna Pathman

Lanna Pathman

Undergraduate

Lanna is a fourth year undergraduate student from Los Angeles, California. She is currently studying psychobiology and pursuing a career in medicine, particularly in the field of pediatrics. Lanna became interested in digestive diseases research after learning about the increasing importance of the microbiome and its role in human health and disease.