People

Jing Yan, Ph.D.

jing.yan@yale.edu

Jing Yan is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology with an affiliation in the Quantitative Biology Institute at Yale University. His trajectory in Science is a random walk. He received his B.S. in Organic Chemistry at Peking University, working on organic electronics with Jian Pei. He did his Ph.D. research with Steve Granick at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on soft matter physics. With training in chemistry and materials physics, he stumbled into microbiology at Princeton as a postdoctoral researcher, working with Bonnie Bassler, Howard Stone, and Ned Wingreen.  Outside of the lab, he is an avid board game player and collector.  

Postdoctoral Fellows

Jung-Shen Benny Tai, Ph.D. Damon Runyan Fellow. 

jung-shen.tai@yale.edu

Trained as a physicist, Benny obtained his BS and MS degrees from National Taiwan University and received a PhD degree from University of Colorado Boulder. He decided to dive into the intriguing biofilm matrix after having much fun in studying liquid crystals and topology. In his leisure time, Benny likes to go hiking, do yoga, and enjoy vegan food.

Alexis Moreau, Ph.D.

alexis.moreau@yale.edu

Alexis received his undergraduate degree in Immunology and Microbiology from Montpellier University (France). His M.Sc. research was performed at Princeton University, working on bacterial biofilms. Then Alexis decided to dive into interdisciplinarity. He got his PhD in Biophysics from Aix-Marseille University (France) in 2021, working on the dynamics of red blood cells (RBCs) in biomimetic splenic slits. Outside of research, Alexis is found of sports: biking, hiking, running… He also plays guitar and drums.

Merrill AspPh.D.

merrill.asp@yale.edu

Merrill received his B.S. degree in Physics from Brigham Young University, and he started working on biophysical experiments with bacteria and high throughput image processing during his PhD in Physics at Syracuse University. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading short stories.

Kee-Myoung Chris NamPh.D.

keemyoung.nam@yale.edu

Kee-Myoung (“Chris”) received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science from Swarthmore College in 2015, and subsequently obtained his Ph.D. in systems, synthetic, and quantitative biology from Harvard University in 2021. He is interested in modeling the interplay between biofilm mechanics and the molecular signaling underlying biofilm development. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and reading fiction.

Ellen AcostaPh.D. Joint with with Hesper Rego.

ellen.acosta@yale.edu

Ellie received her B.S. degree from the University of Michigan where she studied microbiology and Spanish and completed her thesis on comparative genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates. She then received her Ph.D. from Princeton, where she studied the skin microbiome using a mixture of microscopy, sequencing, and molecular techniques. She is excited to continue studying how bacteria live and grow in their native environments, and is a joint postdoc with Hesper Rego (microbial pathogenesis). Outside of lab, Ellie enjoys playing with her dog, cycling, and knitting.

Diana Valverde Mendez.  Ph.D. 

diana.valverdemendez@yale.edu

Originally from Costa Rica, Diana dual-majored in Physics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Costa Rica, where she focused on condensed matter research. She then moved to the US for grad school where she became excited about biophysics and living systems. She received her PhD in Physics from Princeton University, studying the dynamic 3D world inside living bacterial cells using advanced optical microscopy. She is excited to continue learning about bacterial systems, at the larger scale of biofilms. Outside lab, Diana enjoys spending time in nature, reading, playing boardgames and crafts.

Graduate students

Xin Huang

xin.huang@yale.edu

Xin got her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Nankai University in 2019, focusing on synthetic methodology with Prof. Gong Chen. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Chemistry, specifically Chemical Biology at Yale. She enjoys grocery shopping, cooking, and of course, eating delicious food.

Patty Benitez-Lomi

patty.benitez-lomi@yale.edu

Patty received their B.A. in Biological Sciences and Art History from Wellesley College in 2023 where they studied the growth dynamics of marine heterotrophic bacteria in response to extracellular vesicles. They are currently pursuing their PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and are excited to continue learning about how microbial communities carry out their unique functions. In their free time, Patty loves drawing, playing video games, visiting museums, and searching for the world’s best matcha latte.

Sarah Morgan Joint with with Jacob Musser.

s.morgan@yale.edu

Sarah received her B.S. and M.S. from Brigham Young University in genetics and biotechnology where she studied the genetic basis for colonization of bacteria in Drosophila melanogaster. She is currently pursuing her PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental Biology and will be studying the symbionts of freshwater sponges in both the Yan Lab and the Musser Lab. In her free time she likes to play with her dog, eat good food, and play video games.

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Post-baccalaureate researcher

Ewelina Liszczyk. Joint with Rich Olson

ewelina.liszczyk@yale.edu

Ewelina received her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Wroclaw University (Poland). She also did an internship at the University of Potsdam (Germany) at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology. During her MS in Biotechnology, she was working on designing and synthesis of microbiome serine proteases inhibitors at the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (Poland). Apart from research, she enjoys dancing, horse riding, and cycling, but she can also play the piano and write calligraphy.

Sarvagya Saluja

sarvagya.saluja@yale.edu

Sarvagya moved from Morelos, Mexico, to do her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota. Here she studied Materials Science and Engineering and delved into nanomaterials and nanoengineering research, such as carbon dot-based pollutant sensing. Wanting to explore the applications of materials science in biology, she came to Yale in 2021 for postgraduate research. Outside of lab, she loves dancing, painting, and spending time in the sun. 

Bianca Nam

hyerim.nam@yale.edu

Bianca Nam is a senior in Saybrook College, and she is from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Outside school and lab, she loves to cook for loved ones, read and write, and walk briskly while listening to her favorite songs.

 

Undergraduate researchers

Eric Wang

eric.wang.ew582@yale.edu

Eric is a junior in Morse College from Williamsport, Maryland. He is majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and pursuing a certificate in German. In his free time, he enjoys playing the French horn and the carillon, exploring museums, and watching food shows.

Alumni

Valentina Pham, undergraduate researcher.  

Angel Alvarado Amaya, undergraduate researcher.  

Cecilia Chak, undergraduate researcher.  Currently an exchange student at Center of Japanese Studies at Nanzan University.

Shreya Pathak, undergraduate researcher. 

Kate Matej, postgraduate researcher. Currently a graduate  student in Microbiology at Yale. 

Japinder Nijjer, postdoctoral researcher. Currently a senior scientist in AstraZeneca. 

Thomas Nero, postdoctoral researcher. Currently a senior scientist in Arrantia Bio. 

Qiuting (Rachel) Zhang, postdoctoral researcher. Currently an Assistant professor, Beihang University.

Zhaowei (Zoey) Jiang, postgraduate researcher. Currently a graduate  student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Brown. 

Robin Gallagher, undergraduate researcher. Currently a Veterinary assistant in Grace Park Animal Hospital. 

Catherine Geigel, undergraduate researcher. 

Haoran Lu, undergraduate reseacher. Currently a graduate student in the Department of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell. 

Beth Reed, undergraduate researcher. Currently an undergraduate student at Washington and Lee University majoring in Physics and Biology.

Mengqi Zhao, undergraduate researcher. Currently a graduate student in the Department of Physics at the University of Science and Technology of China.