Principal Investigator


My background is in combining experimentation and modeling to study complex biological phenomena. I completed my PhD (bioinformatics and proteomics) in 2008 at the University of Toronto, Canada. After a 4 year postdoc at Harvard/MIT under the tutelage of Drs. Kevin Haigis and Douglas Lauffenburger, I started my own lab at Vanderbilt in the spring of 2013. I am interested in technologies that can interrogate signaling networks at high dimensional and high resolution (single cell) levels. In my spare time, I like to do home improvement projects.

Lab Manager


I graduated with a B.S. from Western Kentucky University in 2009 where I studied biology and chemistry while carrying out phylogenetic research. I spent the following year working with In-Situ Hybridization for cancer screening before returning to academic research in 2011. From 2011 to 2013 I investigated bacterial manipulation of drosophila reproduction for the Bordenstein Lab. I joined the Lau Lab in July of 2013 and I'm currently helping to optimize a procedure for the quantitative analysis of in vivo cellular signaling responses. I believe that a diverse interdisciplinary background is a valuable asset in the creation of novel ideas in the laboratory.

Postdoctoral Fellow


I graduated from Duke University in May of 2013 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I worked in numerous laboratories during my undergraduate career in both the Duke University Medical School and the Duke Biology department. My senior year research experience consisted of investigating drug resistance in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The project consisted of utilizing high-throughput sequencing techniques to probe genetic differences between mCRC cell lines sensitive or resistant to standard-of-care therapies such as Oxaliplatin and Irinotecan. Presently, I am working on growing enteroids ("mini-guts") in the lab and learning about single-cell analysis techniques. I am interested in utilizing enteroids to probe signaling networks in the intestinal epithelial lining. When not in lab, I enjoy reading fiction and swimming.

Graduate Student


I graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2014 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. My undergraduate research focused on studying whether pre- or post-synaptic serotonin 1A receptors mediate alterations in adolescent rat dopamine signaling following nicotine and/or fluoxetine (Prozac) exposure. During this time, I also had the opportunity at Stanford University to investigate Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma, a rare brain tumor that affects kids. Specifically I studied the proliferative effects of neuronal activity in the ventral pons on pontine oligodendroglial precursor cells. As of now, I am broadly interested in the immune microenvironment of colon cancer on a single cell level. In my free time I enjoy cooking, working out, and exploring the outdoors. Funded by T32AI007281 and R01DK103831 supplement.

Graduate Student


I earned my B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2015. There, my start in research was with synthetic biology. I then studied gene regulatory networks and zinc finger transcription factors under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Stubbs. Afterwards, I moved to Nashville to do research at Vanderbilt with Dr. Emily Hodges. Here, I developed functional genomic experimental methods for the investigation of non-coding gene regulatory sequences. Now, having joined Dr. Ken Lau's group, I am developing computational methods to leverage machine learning in the exploration of single-cell multiomics. My current hobbies involve computer hardware, DIY electronics, decentralized computing, and Nashville's music scene. Funded by T32LM012412.

Graduate Student


I graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 2015 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. As an undergraduate, my research project focused on engineered phage display systems for the discovery of affinity reagents. Before joining the graduate program, I worked at Vanderbilt with Dr. Borden Lacy to screen for receptors that mediate Clostridium difficile toxin A binding and entry. Additionally, we used phage display panning to identify antibody fragments that target various toxin epitopes. In the Lau lab, I am largely interested in using experimental and computational approaches to investigate the complex interactions among intestinal epithelial cells, immune cells, and microbes in the context of inflammatory bowel disease. Outside of the lab, I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors. Funded by T32HD007502.

Graduate Student


I received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. As an undergraduate, I worked in the lab of Aaron Baker, investigating shear-stress mediated signal transduction in vascular remodeling of mesenchymal and endothelial cells. Following graduation, I worked as a research and development scientist for Asuragen in Austin, Texas. Here, I was part of a team developing and validating in vitro diagnostic sequencing assays and companion software tools to detect risk alleles for genetic disease and somatic mutations in cancer. As a member of the Lau Lab, I hope to apply machine learning and graph theoretic approaches to multimodal, single cell datasets to learn how cell identity and signaling contribute to disease. In my free time, I play ice hockey and golf, and enjoy all the live music in Nashville.

Research Assistant

Mary Kate

I have my undergraduate degree from Case Western Reserve University in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on signal processing and systems biology. As an undergraduate most of my research experience was in neuroscience processing electrical signals. My projects here mainly focus on processing and modeling single-cell RNA sequencing data. In particular, I'm interested in expanding our analysis in the temporal domain and exploring multivariate methodology. When I'm not in lab you may find me out on a hike or taking photos around town. I particularly enjoy exploring Nashville's live music scene and craft breweries.

Research Assistant


I graduated from the University on North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry. During my undergraduate career, I designed CRISPR constructs to generate mutations in various suspected oncogenes and proto-oncogenes to test if their mutation was sufficient to generate tumors in Dr. Terry Magnuson's lab at UNC. In the summers, I worked in the TPSR at VUMC where I assisted in the animal sentinel program and ran the clinical chemistry analyzer. Currently, I am working to optimize single cell RNA sequencing and to adapt it to work with fixed cells. In my free time I enjoy gaming, biking, and reading.

Trainees (Alumni)

Sun Wook Kim
Chuck Herring

Undergrads (Alumni)

Andres Guillen
Chehronai Fozil
Tarun Mallipeddi

Undergrads (Alumni)

Susie Shin
Hanjune Kim
Catherine Swarts

Undergrads (Alumni)

Yingshyan Ku
Andrea M. Lopez
Joshua Stokes

Undergrads (Current)

Hyeyon Kim
James Ro