Lab members  

Iswar Hariharan Ishwar Hariharan

I obtained my degree in Medicine (MBBS) from the University of Sydney and my Ph.D. degree from the University of Melbourne where I worked with Jerry Adams and Suzanne Cory. My post-doctoral training was with Gerry Rubin at the University of California, Berkeley. I joined the faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School in 1992. In 2004 my lab moved to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at U. C. Berkeley where I am a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. I have no hobbies and have forgotten how to relax.

Publications on PubMed

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Kendra Verga (lab manager)

I am a third year undergraduate Integrative Biology major with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies. I joined the Hariharan lab in September 2014, and I plan to continue working with the research staff here to help the lab run smoothly. I hope that the longer I am here, the more I will learn about the incredible world of Drosophila genetics. When I am not studying or in the lab, I spend my time working at a pediatric center in Oakland and playing with my pet snakes and my tarantula, Miss Snuggles.


Justin Bosch

I’m a PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at UC-Berkeley and I joined the Hariharan lab in 2009. My interest has been to identify novel genes in Drosophila that control tissue growth, as well as a fascinating phenomenon called cell competition where cells can affect the survival of their neighbors. Using genetic screens and whole genome sequencing, I have identified and characterized multiple genes involved in tissue growth. One of the most interesting genes encodes an uncharacterized F-box protein, which I discovered is involved in signaling via the atypical cadherin Fat and the Hippo pathway. To help expand the capabilities of Drosophila mosaic analysis tools, I created a new genetic system called “CoinFLP”, which I used to perform an unbiased RNAi screen for genes controlling growth and cell-cell interactions, as well as visualize cell-cell contacts in imaginal discs. I am originally from Minnesota, and people in lab still laugh at my (supposed) accent. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar, riding my bike, making YouTube videos, and watching sci-fi movies.

Publications on PubMed

Profile on Google Scholar

2009-2012: Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (NSF)
2012-2013: Predoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association (AHA)
2013-2014: Predoctoral Fellowship, Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC), University of California.



Robin Harris

I completed my PhD in the lab of Dr Hilary Ashe at the University of Manchester in the UK in 2009, examining the differentiation of Drosophila germline stem cells, where I discovered my passion for awkward and repetitive dissection. I joined the Hariharan lab as a postdoc in 2011, and am currently studying the process of tissue regeneration by developing a screening system based on genetic ablation, which will ultimately allow the identification of genes that regulate regeneration. Aside from frequently indulging in larval wing disc dissections, I also enjoy running, yoga and going to the pub.

Profile on Google Scholar

2012-2013: Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
2013-2016: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Life Sciences Research Foundation.


Linda Setiawan

I am a graduate student at the Free University Berlin conducting my thesis project in Iswar's lab. During my Master studies in biochemistry, I felt a need to resurface from the subcellular and to study developmental biology in real animals. I did my Master thesis research in Didier Stainier's lab at UCSF studying the fate decision in liver/pancreas progenitors in zebrafish. In Iswar's lab, I study the mystery of genes involved in regeneration and have been conducting a genetic screen together with Melanie to address the burning question: Why do we regenerate less as we age?


Taryn Sumabat

I graduated from Stanford University in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology. There, my affinity for the Hippo pathway first took root, and I became interested in aspects of growth control while studying cell cycle dynamics in the lab of Dr. Jan Skotheim. Following graduation, I moved to Hong Kong to serve as a Princeton-in-Asia teaching fellow for one year. I then returned to California to pursue graduate studies at UC Berkeley, where I have been a member of the Hariharan lab since 2013. My work aims to understand the genetic and molecular coordination of tissue growth during development.

2014-2017: Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (NSF).

Alexis Woods

Melanie Worley

I received my bachelor’s degree in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and learned that I am intrigued by both genetics and developmental fate decisions. I received my PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 2013 (in the Hariharan lab). I have now exhibited a fate change from graduate student to a post doc and am pursuing the identity of a mutant that enhances the frequency of transdetermination. I also developed a new technique to visualize and manipulate multiple clones, which we named "TIE-DYE", because we are in Berkeley after all. Besides in lab, I can be found outside searching for birds to add to my life list.

Publications on PubMed

Profile on Google Scholar

2008-2010: Predoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
2014: Winner - Best Poster Award (postdoc category) - Annual Drosophila Research Conference
2014: Runner Up - Image Award - Annual Drosophila Research Conference


Sa Kan Yoo

I went to Kobe University School of Medicine in Japan and learned perspectives in human medicine. Although I was not a great student on the wards, it was extremely lucky that I could get intensive training of cell biology at Dr. Yasuhiro Minami’s lab. I pursued approaches of performing cell biology in vivo using zebrafish at Dr. Anna Huttenlocher’s lab during my Ph.D study at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I investigated how cells respond to tissue injury in zebrafish. I joined the Hariharan lab, being attracted to advanced genetics in the fruit fly. I have been interested in how organs and animals respond to disruption of homeostasis (e.g., injury and cancer). I am addressing this question by combining the fruit fly and zebrafish. My long-term goal is to obtain insights and perspectives that could feedback to understanding of pathophysiology during disruption of homeostasis in humans.

Publications on PubMed

Profile on Google Scholar

2012-2015: Miller Research Fellowship, Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, UC Berkeley

Larissa Alexander

Won Jae Jeong

I am a third year undergraduate student majoring in MCB with Cell & Developmental Biology. I previously worked at the Song Lab in Korea University Medical College, studying the effect of BMP-2 on osteoblast activity; there I found my passion in biological science and research. I joined the Hariharan Lab in August, 2014. Currently, I am working with Justin on investigating a phenomena called Cell Competition in which certain cells affect the viability of adjacent cells and I enjoy working with Drosophila. Although I am originally from Korea, because I lived in Texas for 8 years I love saying "yall" while I hate saying "hella". I my free time, I like to ride cruiserboard, collect snapbacks, and watch 'How I met your mother' over and over again.



Rachel Liang

I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Integrative Biology. I joined the Hariharan Lab in Spring of 2014 and have been working with Sa Kan to study the genetic processes regulating organismal death. I am currently investigating the effects of possible suppressors for lethality by oncogenic stress in Drosophila. Outside of academics, I can be found volunteering at a local Alzheimer’s caregiving center, attending music festivals, or exploring the outdoors for new medicinal plants to add to my collection.


Steven Reich

I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Developmental Genetics. I joined the Hariharan Lab in April 2014 and work with Robin to investigate the genetic regulation of regeneration. I am currently studying the role of a particular enhancer in the repression of Drosophila regeneration over time and utilizing a Cas9/CRISPR genome editing technique. Outside of lab, I religiously watch European soccer games when not playing soccer myself, and I enjoy rooting for Bay Area sports teams.


Christina Shih

I am a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Genetics, Genomics, and Development and Public Health. I joined the Hariharan lab in July, 2012, and am currently working under Sa Kan on studying the effects of oncogenic stress in Drosophila intestinal stem cells and how that weakens and eventually kills the flies. In my spare time, when I’m not busy with my studies, I like to volunteer at clinics that serve the homeless and low-income individuals and attend music festivals and concerts.


Susan Wang

I am a 2nd year undergraduate student intending to major in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I joined the Hariharan lab in August of 2014 and am currently working under Taryn to study growth control pathways such as the Hippo pathway. Outside of school, I enjoy figure skating, watching Marvel movies, and finding silly things to giggle at.



The "extended family" - some former members
Nicolas Tapon (postdoc) London Research Institute, Cancer Research U.K.
Kenneth Moberg (postdoc) Department of Cell Biology, Emory University School of Medicine
Ivana Delalle (postdoc) Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University
Cathie Pfleger (postdoc) Department of Oncological Sciences, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Kieran Harvey (postdoc) Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, University of Melbourne
Hiroshi Kanda (postdoc) Department of Physiology, Keio University
Brett Pellock (postdoc) Department of Biology, Providence College
Adrian Halme (postdoc) Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia
Rachel Smith-Bolton (postdoc) Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tania Reis (postdoc) Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver
Ai-Sun Kelly Tseng (graduate student) School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Sarah Siegrist (postdoc) Department of Biology, University of Virginia


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