Kaech Lab group
Principal Investigator

Susan Kaech

Professor and Director
Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
Nomis Foundation Chair

B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Washington
Ph.D. Developmental Biology, Stanford University

The West coast is the best coast. I love spending time outside under the California sun, whether on a hike or while enjoying the sunset with a nice glass of wine. It is even better when I can do it with my loving family and friends. I also enjoy multicolor flow cytometry and cooking.
Research Associates

Dan Chen

Research Associate

B.S. Biology, Nanjing Normal University
Ph.D. Biology, Nanjing University

Dan’s study is focused on the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy in PDX and glioblastoma models. Her goal is to bolster the immune system against tumors. Outside the lab, she enjoys swimming and travel.

Hokyung “Kay” Chung

Research Associate

B.S. Pharmacy, Seoul National University Ph.D. Biology, Stanford University

Kay focuses on how CD8+ T cell states are determined by their internal (transcription factors) and external (environmental cues) programmers to design “smarter” T cells. Outside of the lab, she enjoys walking her dog Oli and exploring the best coffee roasters in San Diego.


Anna-Maria Globig

Research Associate

MD University of Freiburg

Anna aims to understand how the function of T cells can be metabolically manipulated in the context of different autoimmune diseases and in T cell exhaustion. Outside of lab, she enjoys exploring the Californian outdoors.

Shixin Ma

Research Associate

B.S. Bioscience and Technology, Yangzhou University
Ph.D. Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai

Shixin is focusing on the metabolic influence on the epigenetic landscape of CD8+ T cells within the tumor microenvironment. She enjoys traveling during her free time.

Tom Mann

Research Associate

B.S. Chemistry, Bucknell University
Ph.D. Biochemistry, Stanford University

Tom is studying the dynamics of intracellular calcium signaling in T cell exhaustion. Outside of lab, he enjoys board games, juggling, and tennis.

Karthik Varanasi

Research Associate

B.Sc. Biotechnology, Osmania University
M.Sc. Biotechnology, Vellore Institute of Technology
Ph.D. Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee

“Change brings faster results than chance.” My research focuses on how immune cells change their metabolism within different tissues to fit the local environment to stay functional.

Steven Zhao

Research Associate

B.A. Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Rutgers University
Ph.D. Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Steve is interested in how the nutrient environment of cells affects cellular metabolism and function. The goal of his research is to understand how altered metabolic states in diseases such as obesity and cancer influence the immune compartment. Outside of the lab, he enjoys anything food related, tennis, and photography.
Research Assistants

Jesse Furguiele

Research Assistant

Ming Sun

Ming Sun

Research Assistant

Timothy Chen

Research Assistant


Eduardo Casillas

Research Assistant


Filipe Araujo Hoffmann

Research Assistant

Graduate Students
Lizmarie Garcia-Rivera

Lizmarie Garcia-Rivera

Graduate Student


Jessica Roginsky

Graduate Student


Brian Stack

Graduate Student


Ali Kuhlmann

Graduate Student, Yale University

B.A.S. in Biology and English, Stanford University

Ali is currently studying how resident macrophage homeostatic programs can be co-opted during tumorigenesis to aid in the formation of a tolerant immune response. She is specifically focusing on alveolar macrophage lipid and surfactant homeostasis in lung adenocarcinoma.

Bryan McDonald

Graduate Student

B.S. University of California, San Diego

Bryan is interested in understanding how extracellular cues influence the cell fate decisions made by CD8 T cells during acute viral infections and in cancer. Outside of lab, he enjoys drinking coffee, eating pastries, and rock climbing.

Ziyan Xu

Graduate Student, University of California, San Diego

B.S. Fudan University

Zoe’s interested in understanding the tumor microenvironment, especially the correlation between metabolic changes and functionality in immune cells. She enjoys spending time with her dog Tinkerbell in her spare time.
Lab Technicians

Natalia Avina Ochoa

Lab Technician

Emma Cohen

Emma Cohen

Lab Technician

Lab Coordinator

Victoria Tripple

Lab Coordinator

B.S. Human Biology, University of California, San Diego
B.A. Psychology, University of California, San Diego

Victoria currently manages the Kaech Lab and also works on in vivo cancer models and infiltrating immune cells. In her spare time, she enjoys taking her son to the zoo and the beach.