Stephanie Grainger

Principal Investigator

Stephanie completed her PhD with David Lohnes at the University of Ottawa in 2012, where she worked on how Cdx transcription factors regulate intestinal development in mice. For her postdoctoral studies, she joined the laboratories of David Traver and Karl Willert at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) to study how Wnt signaling affects hematopoietic stem cell development. Now she’s interested in learning more about how Wnt signaling makes stem cells work!

Favorite cell signaling molecule: beta-catenin

Nikki Nguyen

Lab Manager, Head Technician and Morale Engineer

Nikki graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors Degree in Physiology and Neuroscience. She completed her Masters degree in Biology at UCSD, studying Wnt and Fzd interactions on the cell surface. She is currently continuing this work to determine what occurs inside the cell after Wnt and Fzd interact.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: EGFR


Master’s Student

Jasmine graduated from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelors degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. After UCLA she began an internship at the Salk Institute excited to work with stem cells. She has always been interested in cell biology and immunity so she joined San Diego State University as a Master’s student in Molecular and Cell Biology. Now she gets to fulfill her dream of doing research working related to blood by studying the necessity of specific signals needed for hematopoietic stem cell development.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: Estrogen

Brandon Molina

Master’s Student

Brandon received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from San Diego State University (SDSU). After graduating, he continued to be part of SDSU by working as a research assistant in two different labs in which he gained experience studying mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases and in cancer research. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in Cell & Molecular Biology working on deciphering mechanisms of a specific Wnt signal and developing a model of acute myeloid leukemia in zebrafish.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: Fzd9b

Emily Mu

Master’s Student

Emily completed her B.S. in Molecular Biology at San José State University where she investigated the machinations of the Drosophila central nervous system in the context of behavioral genetics. She is now pursuing her M.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology with the goal of becoming an effective science communicator and researcher equipped with the skill and knowledge to conduct research serving underserved populations.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: Histamine

Mallory Palatucci

Rotation Student

Mallory graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. After undergraduate school, she worked as an analytical chemist for a few years and applied to graduate school at the University of West Florida, where she earned my masters degree. During he masters research, she studied biodegradation and the metabolic pathway of a bacteria we discovered that degraded dichloronitrobenzene. 


Favorite cell signaling molecule: CA+. its small and versatile and an underdog to all the cool signaling molecules around it, but it works hard and in lots of places! I know the feeling. 

Dwayne Sese

Undergraduate Student

Dwayne is an Undergraduate at San Diego State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Stem cells have been a big part of his choice to pursue Biology and will strive to hone his lab skills to better facilitate and improve the goals of the lab’s research.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: Fzd9b

Yuchen Zhao

Undergraduate Student

Yuchen is an Undergraduate at San Diego State University, who would like to pursue a master’s degree in Biology. She is interested in stem cells and cancer research and wants to gain more knowledge and skills in the lab. Her goal is to make contributions in finding cures to cancer in the future.

Favorite cell signaling molecule: Not sure yet!

Lab Alumni

Jordan Setayesh (Former Undergraduate Student and Volunteer) now MD/PhD Student at University of Michigan

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