Stanford University

Dunn Lab 2019

Dunn Group

Alex Dunn

Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

Alex is interested in understanding the complex relations between physical forces and cellular behavior. He enjoys making Archer references in class, drinking homebrewed beer, and entertaining his children, David and James. Check out his CV.

Claudia Vasquez

Postdoctoral fellow

Claudia is interested in understanding how groups of cells respond to mechanical stimuli. Claudia enjoys chasing after a disc made of plastic, but she does it competitively, so she's one step above a dog. In fact, we rate her a 14/10. Much wow.

Carlos Garzon-Coral

Postdoctoral fellow

Carlos is devising methods to study the biogenesis of adherent junctions. He is also assembling a lattice light sheet microscope together with the Prakash lab. Carlos is a 3D printer and fit-bit enthusiast, a dog lover, and an expert-level cafecito companion. When he is not modding up his bike, you can find him reading up on science politics.

Leeya Engel

Postdoctoral fellow

Leeya uses her microsystems background to build custom cell culture platforms for quantitative cell-cell adhesion studies. She enjoys cafes, cooking Mediterranean style, and exploring new cities.

Christina Hueschen

Postdoctoral fellow

Christina is studying the mechanisms and dynamics of motility. She is particularly skilled at using plants to persuade people to do her bidding.

Steven Tan

Postdoctoral fellow

Steven works on developing new FRET-based force sensors to mimic different extracellular matrix proteins. He spends his time convincing other people to play video games, getting schooled at basketball, and running in really big circles.

Leanna Owen

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Leanna worked on understanding cell traction force generation in 3D and now looks at the molecular scale force sensitivity of adhesion molecules. She is a scientific fangirl, an enthusiastic consumer of warm beverages, and a loving caretaker of Luna.

Derek Huang

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Derek is using the optical trap to determine how cooperativity between actin-binding proteins might allow cells to form and maintain cell-cell adhesions. He collects hats, entertains children through science outreach, and has been known, at times, to dance with wild abandon.

Nick Bax

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Nick is using the optical trap to understand the cadherin-catenin complex. Nick hangs around the Weis Lab to keep pushing our understanding on single molecule dynamics. He enjoys cycling very, very quickly, devising outlandish, yet profitable money-making schemes, and topdecking with wild success.

Cayla Miller

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Cayla is working on understanding how adhesion architecture can affect cellular behavior. Cayla is an enormous fan of all cats and dogs, an avid biker, runner, and swimmer, and an expert at dealing with issues.

Kiara Cui

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Kiara is interested in designing fluidic devices for studying mouse development in vitro (in collaboration with the Fuller Lab). She enjoys attempting to make home-cooked meals, admiring cute animals from afar, and decorating places with handmade crafts.

Vipul Vachharajani

Graduate Student, Biophysics
MD/PhD program

When working in lab, Vipul is interested in the mechanics of systems of a few, but not too many, cells. When in lab but not working, he enjoys sassing Cayla. When not in lab, he dabbles in cycling and fruit appreciation (notably, a well-ordered preference list for berries).

Eva de la Serna

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Eva is working on a microfluidic device that supports extended culture of whole mouse embryos to observe and understand embryogenesis. She enjoys drinking large volumes of coffee, water color painting, and attempting to cook.

Elgin Korkmazhan

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Elgin is studying the physics of cell-cell junctions. He considers Diet Coke to be the pinnacle of American achievement and prefers to wear swimming trunks, even when not swimming.

Amy Wang

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Amy is using the optical trap to characterize force-sensitive adhesion proteins. She enjoys listening to trap music and making a lot of meals at once.

Brian Zhong

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Brian works on developing even better force sensors for a wide array of biological systems. He likes clambering up large rocks and consuming copious amounts of pork belly.

The four-legged lab members


Boulder works on the mechanical properties of ropes and the elastic properties of treats. He loves biking with Carlos and running with Cayla.


Luna works on the physics of fetching. She loves hanging around with Leanna. Luna and Vipul have a love-tense relationship.

Distinguished Alumni

Eleftheria Michalaki

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Eleftheria studied how endothelial cells sense fluid flows (in collaboration with the Fuller Lab). She enjoys getting really, really nice haircuts, learning arguably questionable mannerisms from Vinay, and organizing everything to complete perfection.

Andrew Price

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Andrew worked on characterizing cell-cell and cell-substrate mechanics in cell culture. He enjoys forgetting his sunglasses, entertaining absurd, hypothetical situations, and is 40w/v% caffeine. Now a postdoc at Illumina.

Eva Huang

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Eva studied how different environments affect stem cell behavior. She likes bringing her own pair of chopsticks to parties and keeping Steven and Vinay in line. Now at System1.

Vinay Surya

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Vinay was working to understand how endothelial cells sense fluid flows (in collaboration with the Fuller Lab). He enjoys looking at cute dogs, gracing with world with his sonorous voice and squeaky shoes, and fulfilling his role as district manager. Swag. Now at Gilead.

Sarang Nath

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Sarang worked on characterizing extracellular force sensors. He'll spontaneously speak in French, just because he can.

Michael Krieg

Postdoctoral Fellow, Goodman lab

Now a Group leader in Barcelona. Michael was interested in understanding touch sensation in worms and worked closely with the Goodman lab . He loves to climb and enjoys being a boss at everything.

Armen Mekhdjian

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Now at Gilead. Armen was interested in understanding the details of focal adhesion architecture and the mechanisms of focal adhesion assembly. He also worked with the Liphardt Lab to gain insights into the single molecule dynamics of focal adhesions. He excels at being charming, designing intricate handshakes, and observing people compete to hit a ball with a stick as far as possible. Additionally, he fuels his love of competitive gaming by helping to run MobaChampion in his spare time.

Nicolas Borghi

Postdoctoral Scholar, Nelson Lab

Now a group leader at IJM - France

The Borghi lab

Nicolas worked on the elucidating the forces associated to the cadherin-catenin complexes and its communication with the integrin analogs.

Diego Ramallo

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Now a data scientist in the bay area. Diego was interested in examining in cellular myosin activitiy. He enjoys soccer, cracking arguably hilarious puns, and being chill.

Jack Chai

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Now a data scientist at Facebook. Jack worked on examining zebrafish development. He is a connoisseur of foods, a lover of basketball, and the keeper of sunshine.

Masatoshi Morimatsu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Now a Staff scientist at Okayama University - Japan. Masatoshi was interested in discovering new techniques for visualization of cellular forces. He enjoys channeling the Force and mentoring his young padawan, Yuzuki.

Sheil Kee

Postdoctoral Fellow

Now a scientist at Genentech. Sheil worked on understanding the role of cell-cell contacts in stem cells. In her free time, she likes culturing her own personal batch of stem cells affectionately named Ezel.

Alice Chang

Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering

Now a scientist at Five Prime Therapeutics. Alice was working on developing fibronectin-based force sensors to learn about focal adhesions and cellular behavior. She also worked with the Mycrosystems lab engineering new ways to study focal adhesions. She is the climber of all things, a ravisher of delicious foods, and an impeccable organizer of life.

Craig Buckley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Craig worked on elucidating the details of adherens junction proteins through optical trapping. He loves pizza, nighttime, and lasers.

David Altman

Associate Professor, Willamette University

Altman Lab

Maria Sorokina

Graduate Student, Chemistry

Arjun Adhikari

PhD. Chemical Engineering

Natascha Leijnse

Postdoctoral Scholar, Goodman Lab

Austin Lewis

Chemical Engineering

Maggie Ostrowski

PhD. Chemical Engineering

Jonathan Mott

Chemical Engineering

Joyce Chai

Chemical Engineering

Diana Beyerlein

Summer Research Intern

Olga Shcherbakova

Research Associate

Not pictured:

Charlotte Poplawski

Dunn Lab 2016

Dunn Group