Principal Investigator

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte

Gene Expression Laboratory
Roger Guillemin Chair

Lab Assistant
May Schwarz

May Schwarz, B.S

Lab Manager

May graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and molecular genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000.  She joined the Belmonte lab in 2000.
Staff Scientists

Concepción Rodriguez-Esteban Ph.D.

Senior Staff Researcher

Conchi is a Senior Staff Researcher in the GEL-B laboratory. She joined the lab in 1993. Her scientific interest lies in the understanding of embryonic development: how a single cell becomes a human being. A better understanding of this process is helping us in the search of molecules, gene and cell treatments for diseases affecting mankind. Additionally, some of the concepts learned from the study of embryogenesis are guiding us to discover methodologies for inducing endogenous in vivo regenerative responses that may allow for tissue and organ  transplantation and regeneration, delaying  aging and aging associated diseases.

Tomoaki Hishida Ph.D.


Tomoaki received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD from Nagoya City University. From there, he joined the lab of Professor Okuda Akihiko at Research Center for Genomic Medicine, Saitama Medical University, as a Postdoctoral fellow. He joined the Belmonte lab in 2012 as a Research Associate.
Hsin-Kai Liao

Hsin-Kai (Ken) Liao, Ph.D.


Hsin-Kai graduated with a B.S. in Marine Resources from National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan. Later he received his M.S. in Biochemistry from College of Medicine in National Taiwan University, he worked in Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Iowa State University, and then he joined the Belmonte lab for his postdoctoral research. He is interested in developing stem cell and genome targeting approaches in regenerative medicine.

Pradeep Reddy Ph.D.


Pradeep graduated in 2002 and completed master’s in biotechnology in 2004, India. He obtained his Ph.D. from Umea University, Sweden in 2010. He did his first postdoc at Stanford University and joined Belmonte lab in 2013. His work in the lab is focused on aging, genome edition and reprogramming topics.

Yuta Takahashi Ph.D.


Yuta received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD from the University of Tsukuba, Japan. He joined the Belmonte lab in 2012 and has studied targeted DNA methylation editing.
Research Assistants
Yuriko Hishida

Yuriko Hishida, M.S


Yuriko graduated with a B.S. from Mukogawa Women’s University in 2007. She then completed an M.S. in 2009 from Nagoya City University. She joined the Belmonte lab in 2012 as a Research Assistant.
Mariana Morales Valencia

Mariana Morales, M.S

Research Assistant II

Mariana received her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia.  She joined the Belmonte Lab as a Research Assistant in 2015, since then she has been involved in different research projects mainly focused on embryonic development and epigenetics inheritance. Outside the lab, Mariana enjoys the beach, camping and hiking, and baking.
Postdoctoral Fellows

Sanjeeb Kumar Sahu Ph.D


Sanjeeb is a Research associate in the Lab of Dr. Juan Carlos Belmonte. Currently he is trying to understand the molecular mechanism underlying cellular and organismal ageing. He received his PhD degree from JGU, Germany on Neurobiology and cancer metastasis.
Reyna Hernandez-Benitez

Reyna Hernandez-Benitez. Ph.D.


Reyna received her PhD in Biomedical Science from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).  Main expertise in the fields of Neuroscience, Gene Editing, Metabolism.
Jiameng Dan

Jiameng Dan Ph.D


Jiameng  Dan received his PhD degree in Cell Biology from Nankai University, China, where he studied epigenetic regulation of telomere length and totipotency of mouse ES cells. He did his first postdoc at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and joined Belmonte lab in December 2017. His work in the lab is focused on genome editing and developing novel universal approaches to treat genetic diseases caused by accumulation of disease proteins.

Isabel Guillen-Guillen Ph.D


Isabel received her B.S in Pharmacy from the Universidad San Pablo CEU in Madrid (Spain). Later she finished her M.S at Universidad de Murcia (Spain), and her Ph.D in Nutrition, Technology and Food Safety at the Universidad Católica de Murcia (Spain). Her thesis was on the development of a highly specific lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA), showing no cross-reactivity to other chemically similar compounds to confirm the presence or absence of contaminants in food. She applied the LFIA for rapid screening of antibiotics residues in honey. After her Ph.D, she joined Belmonte lab as Postdoc. She is studying the role of chondrocytes and changes in the extracellular matrix of cartilage in Osteoarthritis disease. Besides science, she loves to enjoy time with her family and friends, cooking and spending time outdoors.
Fumiyuki Hatanaka

Fumiyuki Hatanaka Ph.D.


Fumiyuki graduated and completed his M.S. from Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan. Later he obtained his Ph.D. from Kyoto University in Japan. After he worked in Hiroshima University and RIKEN Brain Science Institute, he joined the Belmonte lab in 2015. His work in the lab is focused on aging in the brain and genome editing.

Verónica Lamas Ph.D


Veronica comes from Palencia, Spain. She completed her B. S in Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Salamanca in 2008. Later she received her M.S and a PhD in Neurosciences in the Auditory Neuroplasticity lab of the Institute for Neurosciences of Castilla y León. In 2014 she moved to Boston to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Inner Ear Biology lab of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary- Harvard Medical School, where she was focused in the development of new gene therapies to treat genetic deafness. She joined the Belmonte Lab in 2019. She is interested in regeneration of the inner ear, the development of new therapies for deafness and the Usher Syndrome. She has expanded her research interests also to age-related retinal diseases like Macular degeneration.

Takashi Lezaki Ph.D.


Takashi received his PhD, M.S. and B.S. in Pharmaceutical Science from Kanazawa University. He is currently interested in the regulation of osteoarticular and aging by epigenetics and genome editing. He would like to identify the mechanism of regenerating our skeletal system.
Ronghui Li

Ronghui Li Ph.D.


Ronghui obtained a master degree in Guangzhou Institute for Biomedicine and Health and finished his doctoral training in University of Wisconsin-Madison. Afterwards, he joined the GEL-Belmonte lab as a postdoc to explore the use of stem cells to create three dimensional models to study early embryonic development. He is also interested in applying stem cell biology into therapeutic development.

Zhifei Luo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Zhifei did his Ph.D. training at the University of Southern California and joined Belmonte lab in late 2020. He’s interested in using novel genomic and computational approaches to study biological questions and investigate the loss of epigenetic information in aging.

Zaijun Ma

Zaijun Ma Ph.D


Zaijun Ma graduated with a B.S. in 2014, and with a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019, where he focused on investigating the role of histone modification and microRNA on Drosophila aging. Then, he joined Belmonte lab in 2020 as a Postdoctoral fellow, and now his research is focused on aging, ECM stiffness and epigenetic.

Sebastian Memczak Ph.D.


Sebastian Memczak received a PhD from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. Currently he is trying to decipher the molecular basis of cellular (de)differentiation. In particular, he’s exploring how single cell technologies and novel computation can be used in a meaningful way to gain insights into this and related basic biological processes.
Naresh Mutukula

Naresh Mutukula Ph.D


Naresh Mutukula obtained his M.S in biological science from IISER-Kolkata, India. He received his PhD (Dr.rer.nat) from Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin. Naresh’s graduate work was focused on the generation of cerebral cortex cell types and neurodevelopmental disorders using 3D brain organoid models. Later he joined Prof. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in February 2020 with a broad research interests in early embryonic development using in vitro models as well as age-associated neurodegenerative disorders. Outside of research, he is an avid cricket follower (one of the most popular sports in India).
Yasuo Ouchi

Yasuo Ouchi Ph.D.


Yasuo received his Ph.D. degree in Medicine from the University of Tokyo, Japan. He joined the Belmonte lab in May 2018 and his project focuses on the molecular mechanism of longevity and age-related diseases, and the development of new clinically applicable strategies for cancer, genetic diseases and infectious diseases using CRISPR and cellular reprogramming technologies.
Paloma Martinez Redondo

Paloma Martínez-Redondo Ph.D.


Paloma graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in Biology from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain; followed by a M.S. in Biomedicine in 2009, from the University of Barcelona, Spain. She joined Dr. Vaquero’s Lab in 2008, and obtained in 2014 her Ph.D. in Biomedicine from the University of Barcelona, Spain, for her work on the role of Sirtuins in cell cycle and chromatin dynamics. Paloma joined Belmonte’s Lab as Research Associate in 2014 and her research is focused on healthspan improvement using animal models. Outside the lab, Paloma loves nature and travel, so she finds any excuse to go camping and backpacking to discover new places and challenge herself.
Rube?n Rabada?n

Ruben Rabadan-Ros Ph.D


Rubén received his B.S. degree in Biology and his PhD in Health Science Program from the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain. There he focused on bioengineering, developing biomaterials to repair or replace bone, ligament and cartilage tissues. He joined the Belmote’s lab in 2019 as a postdoc, and he is currently studying aging factors that affect specifically the muscle, focusing on the muscle satellite cells (MuSCs) and “niche” properties. Outside the lab, Rubén is passionate for sports and has fallen in love with surfing in San Diego.

Yosu Luque Rincon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yosu comes from San Sebastian, Spain. He is a nephrologist and worked in Tenon hospital (Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France) till 2020. He obtained his M.D. in 2013 and his Ph.D. in 2016 in Sorbonne Université (Paris, France) studying glomerular diseases in CoRaKid Lab (Tenon hospital, Paris, France). He joined the Belmonte Lab as a post-doctoral fellow in January 2021. His work in the lab is focused on kidney regeneration and gene editing.


Yanjiao Shao Ph.D.


Yanjiao received her PHD degree in Cell Biology from East China Normal University (ECNU) in 2018, where she focused on genome editing and gene therapy in mice and rats. Then, she joined Belmonte lab as a postdoc to optimize genome targeting tools for genetic diseases treatment.
Kensaku Shojima

Kensaku Shojima Ph.D.


Kensaku graduated from Hiroshima University in 2007, obtaining an M.D. degree. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital and received his Ph.D. in medical science from Osaka University.After working at Hashimoto Municipal Hospital, he joined the Belmonte lab in 2017. He is interested in regeneration and aging. He is engaged in the study of liver regeneration by using in vivo reprogramming.

Lei Shi Ph.D.


Lei received his B.S. in Biotechnology at the Southwest University in 2007, Chongqing, China, and received his Ph.D. in Genetics at Kunming Institute of Zoology of CAS (Chinese Academy of Science) in July 2012. After graduation, he worked as a research associate in Kunming Institute of Zoology. In 2015 he joined as a postdoc research fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to study cortex development. In March 2019, he joined the Belmonte lab as a postdoctoral fellow.
Mako Yamamoto Tsuji

Mako Yamamoto Tsuji Ph.D.


Mako received her Bachelor and master’s degree in Life Sciences from Tottori university (Japan) and her Ph.D. degree in Medicine from Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine (Japan) in 2012. After obtaining her Ph.D., she came to San Diego and joined University of California (Department of Surgery) as a postdoctoral fellow studying cancer biology. In 2015, she started working in Belmonte lab. Currently, her work has been focused on aging and gene editing technology. Outside the lab, Mako likes baking cakes, surfing and sleeping.

Chao Wang Ph.D.


Chao got his PhD degree from Purdue University in 2017, where he studied genes or miRNAs regulating skeletal muscle development and regeneration.  He joined the Belmonte lab in 2018.  Here he is extending his studies from basic science to translational medicine.  He is utilizing CRISPR-mediated approaches to activate genes in skeletal muscle, aiming to enhance the motor and metabolic function of skeletal muscle.
Yuan Xue

Yuan Xue, PhD.


Yuan Xue received her PhD in Molecular Biology from Newcastle University, UK, in 2011. She then was a postdoc fellow at Yale University, applying synthetic biology tools to study gene regulation and chromatin remodeling. In 2019, Yuan joined Dr. Juan Carlos Belmonte’s group at Salk Institute, where she studies aging and regeneration. She aims to develop new methods for rejuvenating the lung and the female reproductive system. Outside of the lab, Yuan enjoys practicing Aikido and learning data science.
Cuiqing Zhong

Cuiqing Zhong Ph.D.


Cuiqing got her PhD on developmental biology from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell biology, Chinese Academy of Science mentored by Prof. Jinsong Li. In 2016, she joined Dr. Belmonte’s lab focusing on stem cell biology and embryogenesis, especially generating synthetic embryos (blastocyst-like structures called Blastoid) from human and mouse pluripotent stem cells in vitro. Outside lab, she enjoys hiking and playing badminton with her friends.
Visiting Scientists

Ran Zhang


Lab Technicians

Hilda Ayala

Lab Technician II

Jasmine Chavez

Jasmine Chavez


Cristina Alvarez

Cristina Alvarez


Padmini Gadireddy

Padmini Gadireddy


Nanami Kadota

Nanami Kadota


Hannah Tauchi

Hannah Tauchi


Lab Coordinator
Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz, B.S


Peter graduated with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999.  He joined the Belmonte lab in 2011.