Group Leader

Guy Salvesen  

B.Sc. University of London
Ph.D. Cambridge University

Biography: Guy Salvesen earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University in 1980. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia, Strangeways Laboratory and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. In 1987 he was appointed Assistant Medical Research Professor at Duke University, where he maintains an adjunct appointment as Assistant Professor of Pathology. Dr. Salvesen was recruited to SBP in 1996.  He is Dean of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and holds an Adjunct Professorship in Molecular Pathology at the University of California, San Diego.  He is on the editorial board of several journals and Co-founder of the International Proteolysis Society.


Senior Staff

Scott Snipas  
Lab Manager

B.Sc. Appalachian State University

Biography: Scott Snipas earned his bachelorÕs degree in biology with a minor in photography from Appalachian State University in 1991. After graduating he was hired as a lab technician for Dr. Guy Salvesen at Duke University.  After five years with Dr. Salvesen at Duke, Scott relocated to SBP in 1996.  He holds the title of Laboratory Coordinator in Professor SalvesenÕs Laboratory.  He is responsible for the orderly running of the lab, some interesting top secret research projects, and is completely indispensible.




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Myra Lucas

Biography:  Mayra is a Southern California native on loan from paradise and a proponent of the Red Queen Effect, an evolutionary hypothesis proposing that laboratory scientists must constantly adapt and evolve not merely to gain knowledge, but also simply to survive while pitted against the ever-proliferating scientific literature. MayraÕs hypothesis intends to explain two different phenomena: the constant proliferation of predatory open access journals and the eroding impact factors of the subscription model, and how this impacts scientific progress.



Marcin Poreba
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Wroclaw Institute of Technology

Biography: Marcin is an Icelandic actor, comedian, writer and film producer who poses as a Polish graduate student. He initially achieved success at the Wroclaw Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on Eyjafjallajškull's Flying Circus. In his thesis project, entitled "Chemistry is the Holy Grail", Marcin predicted how to explore the complete conformational space available to compounds of 700 daltons. Although this has been previously estimated at more than the number of subatomic particles in the universe, Marcin contends that this can be squeezed into a 96-well plate by any competent scientist, but only if you can pronounce the magic words Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego.


Anne Hempel
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Cambridge University

Biography: Anne is a scientific superhero and warrior princess known in her homeland as Princess Anne of Stralsund. She is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers and superior biochemical and rowing skills. She possesses an arsenal of weapons, including the iPad of Truth, a pair of indestructible latex gloves, a pipette that serves as a projectile, and the Purple Ray of CRISPR that can prevent cell death. In her persona of goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts and crafts, she hopes to guide the Salvesen lab through the dangers and infinite possibilities of genomic engineering.


Paulina Kasperkiewicz
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Wroclaw Institute of Technology

Biography: Paulina (Pronounced Pow-lee-na caspase-cleavage) is a Polish singer-songwriter, chemist, artist and chef. Raised in Wroclaw, Paulina moved to San Diego, at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label Sanford-Burnham and became the youngest chemist ever hired by the Salvesen lab. The release of PaulinaÕs self-titled debut paper in 2014 established her as a chemistry star. Her second paper, "What I know about NSPs," will make her the youngest country music star to have a number one hit and a PLoS paper, if the reviewers agree. 


Doctoral Students

Monica Gonzalez
Graduate Student
M.Sc.Fresno State University.


Biography: Monica is an originator of the "magic realism" mode of scientific investigation, and will become one of the first successful magical scientists in America. She has written a masters thesis based in part on her own experiences, weaving together the myths and realism of protein destabilizing domains. Although Monica is often considered to use the scientific style of magical realism, her works display elements of post-genomic pragmatism, and as such her style cannot be described as purely adhering to magic, an issue frequently overlooked by her disciples. Monica also holds to a very methodical literary routine, leading her to question whether the promise of genome editing is myth or reality.


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Amir Razai
Graduate Student
M.Sc. Georgetown University


Biography: Amir Razai Is a merchant travelling biochemist whose voyages will eventually be recorded in Livres des trappage du monde (Book of the Traps of the World), a book that introduces biologists to the wonders of protein engineering. He learned the engineering trade from his mentors at Inhibrx, has travelled extensively through yeast displayland and antibodyland and, with the help of his studies at SBP Graduate School, aims to be number one in the protein engineer hit parade. When not engaged in his studies and top secret projects, Amir relaxes by attempting to re-write the mechanism of proteases, to influence European cartography, probably leading to a major revision of the New York Subway map.


Visiting Scientists


Former Trainees


Mario Navarro

Present Position: Application Scientist at NanoCellect Biomedical, Inc.

Andrea D'Osualdo

Present Position: Roche

Bram van Raam

Present Position: Postdoctoral Fellow at BioMed X Innovation Center

Mari Enoksson Rydman

Present Position: Novo Nordisk


Gidi Shani


Cristina Pop

Present Position: Staff Scientist Verenium

Jean-Bernard Denault

Present Position: Associate Professor University of Sherbrooke

Marcin Drag

Present Position: Associate Professor Wroclaw University of Technology

Erik Wildfang

Present Position: Toxicologist Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Jowita Mikolajczyk

Present Position: Senior Specialist at Novartis Vaccines

Fiona Scott

Present Position: Associate Director of Biology, Receptos, Inc

Ciara Ryan Kennedy

Present Position: Vice President, Head of Cholestatic Liver Disease, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Martin Renatus

Present Position: Senior Scientist I, Novartis, Basel, Switzerland

Veronika Stoka

Present Position: Department of Knowledge Technolgies, Jozef Stefan Institute

Henning Stennicke

Present Position: Corporate Project Vice President, Heamophilia, Novo Nordisk, Copenhagen, Denmark

Paula Scarborough Juras

Present Position:  Project Officer,  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Chronic Disease Epidemiology Group..

Tomoko Komiyama

Passed away – we miss you Tomoko






        Doctoral Students

Janna Hachmann

Present Position: Consultant with VDI/VDE-IT GmbH

Goon Ho Park

Present Position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Edward Koo at UCSD

Domenico Fasci

Present Position: Postdoctoral Fellow in Albert Heck's Lab

Miklos Bekes

Present Position: Postdoc, Huang Lab, NYU School of Medicine

Katherine Wachmann


John Timmer

Present Position:  Research Investigator - Group Leader, Inhibrx

Brendan Eckelman

Present Position: Founder and Vice Preseident of Biotherapeutics, Inhibrx

Kelly Boatright Sexton

Present Position: TDirector, Office of Technology Transfer, North Carolina State University

Stefan Riedl

Present Position: Associate Professor Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

Hwain Shin

Present Position: Reg CMC Manager at Novartis Pharma AG

Qiao Zhou

Present Position: Professor and Vice Chair, Pathology Department, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

Long Quan

Present Position: Dermatology Surgeon, Carolinas Dermatology Group, P.A.

Alan Mast

Present Position: Senior Investigator, Blood Center of Wisconsin








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Emily Yang


Present Position: Dartmouth University


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Ben Liebowitz


Present Position: University of Chicago


Paloma Sanchez Pavon

Present Position: Graduate Student Sanford Burnham Prebys

Ling Nie

Present Position: Graduate Student West China University

Roberto Nelson

Present Position: Yale School of Medicine

Amelia Weidmann

Present Position: Associate Researcher II at GNF Novartis

Alexander Tran

Present Position: Student at Fresno State University

Andy Nevarez

Present Position: Graduate Student at UT  Southwestern, Dallas

Emily Houlihan

Present Position: Student at Harvard University

Erik Cancino

Passed away – we miss you Erik

Joseph Oloo

Present Position: Student, UCSF Medical Center

Christoph Wierschem

Present Position:  Masters Student, University of Regensburg

Amy Jacobson

Present Position: Graduate Student at Fischbach Lab, UCSF

Matt Owen

Present Position: Graduate Student Harvard

John Cao

Present Position: UCSD Undergraduate

Greg Fuchs

Present Position: Graduate Student Biomedical Sciences, UCSD