Lab Alumni

Post-Docs and Senior Lab Members

Jonas Van Belleghem – 2018-2021 Jonas completed his PhD research at Ghent University, where he studied the interaction of bacteriophages and the human immune response.  He was an integral part of developing our phage research.

Ievgen Koliesnik – Post-Doc2018-2020. Zhenya came to us from the University of Jena in Germany.  He studied the role of extracellular matrix in immune regulation. He is currently a staff scientist at Synthekine.

Gina Suh – 2016-2018.   Dr. Gina was an Infectious Disease Physician at Stanford and an original member of Team Phage.    She moved to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to start her own research program as an Assistant Professor in the Infectious Diseases division.  She is busy stamping out antibiotic resistant wound infections as the Director and Founder of The Mayo Clinic Phage Therapy Center.

Hedwich KuipersPost-Doc, 2014-2018.  Hedwich was a member of both the Bollyky and Steinman labs at Stanford. She investigated autoimmunity from a neuronal background with a research focus in Multiple Sclerosis.    Hedwich is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary.  Go Hedwich!

Xiou Cao – Post-Doc, 2018. Xiou studied bacteriophages in wound infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. He moved back to China and is a Staff Scientist at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute.

Vivekananda Sunkari – Post-Doc, 2013-2017.  Vivek headed the wound healing team/research in the Bollyky lab.   After the Bollyky Lab Vivek took a Senior Scientist position at BriaCell Therapeutics.

Koshika Yadava  Post-Doc, 2015-2017.  Koshika investigated the role of Tregs and other immune cells in allergic responses in the Bollyky lab.   She is enthusiastic , brilliant, and addicted to popping bubble wrap.  Koshika left to do a 2nd post-doc in skin immunology the Ogg lab at Oxford .

Ben Danielson – Post-Doc, 2015-2016.  Ben studied CD44 in the lab.   Ben is a Scientist at CERo Pharmaceuticals. He also distills his own vodka (presumably for research purposes).

Shannon Ruppert – Post-Doc, 2013-2015.  Shannon Ruppert characterized the roles of Hyaluronan and CD44 in immune function.  Shannon is a Senior Research Scientist at Genentech working on cancer immunotherapy.

Graduate Students

Payton Marshall – 2015-2020 Payton was a MSTP student  in the Immunology PhD program.   He came into the lab with a strong background in engineering and microfluidics in particular. Payton successfully defended his thesis, sharing his excellent work on pericellular matrix and antigen presentation. Dr. Marshall will now be working to complete his medical degree at Stanford.

Jolien Sweere – 2013-2018. Jolien  was  amazing. She singlehandedly built up our bacteriophage research program and developed most of the animal models, cell lines, and other tools we use for that work. Her research was published as a first author manuscript in Science.   Jolien is currently working at Charles River Associates on biotechnology consulting.

Maria Birukova – 2014 -2016.  Maria was a MSTP and Immunology PhD student.  Maria worked on the role of Pseudomonas and phage in chronic wounds.  She passed away on September 18th during a mountain climbing accident.   Maria is greatly missed by the  Bollyky lab and the Stanford community.

Carlos Medina – 2015 -2020.  Carlos studied immune regulation in asthma and other airway inflammatory diseases in the Bollyky Lab. He also had leadership roles in multiple mentorship, minority recruitment, and LGBTQ support programs on campus.  After graduation, Carlos moved to Baltimore where is heading up a diversity and inclusion program at Johns Hopkins.  We’re all extremely proud of Carlos.

Senior Staff Members

Alana Persaud – 2017-2020. Alana was our lab manager for 3 years.  She came to us after several decades at at HHMI lab in New York .

Robert Manasherob – 2016.  Robert was our resident molecular biology expert. He has over 20 years of experience.  Robert  spent a year enhancing the microbiology aspects of our Pseudomonas and phage research.  He is now working on phage projects with our collaborator Derek Amantullah in Orthopedics.

Heather Ishak – 2014-2017. Heather was the lab manager for the Bollyky lab for over 3 years.  Heather was an essential part of the diabetes and bacterial biofilm research in the lab.  She moved on to take a lab manager’s position at the Palo Alto VA.

Ben Falk – Researcher, Staff – 2013-2014.  Ben moved from Seattle with Paul to start-up the Stanford Bollyky lab.  We are what we are today because of Ben and Mary’s efforts.    Sadly for us, Ben moved to LA and manages a lab at City of Hope Hospital.


Riya Goel – 2021 Riya worked as our clinical trial coordinator assistant for our Hymecromone clinical trial.  She also helped out in the lab on various experiments.

Stanford Undergraduates

Michelle Bach – 2016-2019. Michelle was a superstar undergraduate at Stanford who was a mainstay of our lab for several years. She worked closely with Jolien Sweere and  developed our wound models.  She is bound for medical school, public health and many, many great things.

Ethan Katznelson – 2013-2016 Ethan was a Bollyky lab regular; he worked in the lab for 3 years while he was an undergratuate student at Stanford.  He worked closely with Jolien Sweere on the Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm research.  Ethan is now attending Harvard Medical School.

Jason Yang – 2013-2015.  Jason was an undergraduate who spent 2013 working as a lab aid in the Bollyky lab.   Jason worked on wound healing projects as well as diabetes drug treatment studies. He is currently a graduate student in bioinformatics at Stanford.

Omar Garcia – 2014-2015. Omar started as a lab assistant with tasks essential to maintaining the lab and the vivarium.  A year later and he received a BioX summer funding and worked on iron sequestration in Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Jolien Sweere.

Visiting Scholars:

Dan Liu – 2019-2020. Dan was a visiting PhD student from Shanghai JiaoTong University School of Medicine, China. Dan worked on our studies of the immune response to phage-therapy.

Svenja Zihsler – 2018-2019.  Svenja is a MSc/PhD student in molecular medicine in Germany at the University of Göttingen. She studied the role of the extracellular matrix in immune regulation in neurology models.

Summer Students:

Quynh Tran – 2019

Sim Low – 2019

Svenja Zihsler- 2018

Amrit Ramesh – 2018

Ciara Lee – 2018

Jerry Guo – 2017

Esther Wang – 2017

Chloe Fishman- 2016, 2017

Aadyot Bhatnagar – 2015

Jasmine Edwards –  2015

Daniel Lazzareschi  – 2014

Colin Lester  – 2014, 2016

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