Lab Alumni

In Memoriam


Maria Birukova – 2014 -2016

Maria was a MSTP and Immunology PhD student.  Maria did a summer rotation in the Bollyky lab in 2014 working on wound healing and diabetes.  In 2015, Maria officially joined the lab and began work on the role of Pseudomonas and phage in chronic wounds.  Maria’s research focused on developing tools to disrupt biofilm formation in hopes to treat chronic infections.  On the weekends, Maria was typically out on an adventure.  She passed away on September 18th during a mountain climbing accident.   Maria will be greatly missed by the  Bollyky lab and the Stanford community.

“I think that she was intellectually as well as physically an explorer,” said Dr. Paul Bollyky.  “Just like she was out there climbing mountains, I think she was willing to take on some of the harder, more interesting questions and challenges. I think that’s a strand that runs through most of everything she did.” -excerpt taken from the Mercury News.


Heather Ishak – 2014-2017

Heather was the lab manager for the Bollyky lab for over 3 years.  She was the go-to person to handle questions about protocols and all lab related business.   Heather was an essential part of the diabetes and bacterial biofilm research in the lab.

Heather has a BS in Animal Science from UC Davis (2005) and an MS in Conservation Biology with a molecular emphasis from San Francisco State University (2007).   Previously, she worked as a lab manager for the Mueller lab in the Integrative Biology department at the University of Texas from 2007-2012.  Her previous research has included blood parasites in hawks and owls, coevolution of leaf-cutter ants including whole bacterial community analysis and genome assembly.

VSunkariVivekananda Sunkari 2013-2017

Vivek headed the wound healing team/research in the Bollyky lab.   He was interested in autoimmune disorders, especially Type 2 diabetes.  Vivek could often be found searching the Infectious Disease office for free food.  Vivek has moved on to work on Hybridoma cell lines at LakePharma.

Check out Vivek here:    Researchgate        LinkedIn      Twitter

KoshikaYadavaKoshika Yadava–  2015-2017

Koshika was the Bollyky lab’s asthma / lung inflammation expert.  She was investigating the role of Tregs and other immune cells in allergic responses. She was active with the Stanford University Postdoctoral Association (SURPAS) advocating for postdoc needs.  Koshika received her PhD in Immunology from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and Masters in Immunology from the University of Oxford, UK.  She is enthusiastic , brilliant, and addicted to popping bubble wrap.  Koshika has moved back to Oxford to continue a second post-doc.

IMG_1052Robert Manasherob -2016

Robert was our resident molecular biology expert. He has over 20 years of experience with the last 10 years working in the Cohen lab in the Genetics Department at Stanford.  Robert will spent a year enhancing the microbiology aspects of our Pseudomonas and phage research.


Ben86Ben Danielson- 2015 -2016

Ben worked as a post-doc for the Bollyky Lab for a year and a half.  During his stay, he earned a T32 Immunology Training Grant and worked on the role of CD44 variants.  He was our hyaluronan expert (don’t ask him about cow knees).   For fun, Ben is a serious runner and can make an excellent cup of coffee.  Ben moved on to a start-up company to be an Immunology Scientist at CERo Pharmaceuticals.

EthanEthan 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.

IMG_1673Bryan Xie– Winter 2016

Bryan graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2014 with a BS in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and is a first year graduate student in the Immunology PhD program. He joined the Bollyky lab for his 2016 winter quarter rotation. As an Orange County native, he misses the beautiful beaches there, and is a big fan of the Lakers and Ducks. In his spare time, you can find him watching his two favorite sport teams and his favorite TV shows, or at the gym shooting hoops (or hoping he finds time to shoot hoops).


Kelly McGill – Fall 2015

Kelly McGill was a first year graduate student who spent her first graduate rotation in the Bollyky lab during the Fall 2015 quarter.  She had recently graduated (2015) as the student marshal with a BS degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Nutrition.  Kelly carried out her honors thesis research in Dr. Margherita Cantorna’s laboratory at the Penn State Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences where she explored the interactions of vitamin D and IBD through mouse models of colitis. She believes that “Science does not know its debt to imagination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

ShShannonannon Ruppert2013-2015

Shannon Ruppert was a postdoctoral fellow focused on characterizing the molecular mechanisms behind the activities of dendritic cells and regulatory T cells in inflammation.  Shannon is fluent in many techniques, utilizing flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, gene expression and protein analysis, and animal models, to investigate how signals transduced via the extracellular matrix modulate both dendritic cell activation and suppression by regulatory T cells.

Shannon has moved on to become a Senior Research Scientist at Genentech working on cancer immunotherapy.

JasonBestJason Yang – 2013-2015

Jason is an undergraduate who spent 2013 working as a lab aid in the Bollyky lab.  Following his work study position, he began working on his own research projects and obtained BioX funding in the summer of 2104 and 2015.   Jason worked on wound healing projects as well as diabetes drug treatment studies.

OmarOmar 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. Omar has moved on to focus on his true interest chemistry.


AadyotBhatnagarAadyot Bhatnagar- 2015 SIMR student

Aadyot spent the summer working closely with Dr. Gernot Kaber on developing a Hyaluronan ELISA. Aadyot is currently an undergraduate at Caltech.


JasmineEdwardsJasmine Edwards–  2015 SSRP student

Jazzy was part of the Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP) and joined us all the way from New York!  She spent the summer working with Dr. Vivek Sunkari on diabetes research. Most of her time went towards analyzing slides of pancreatic islets and running insulin ELISAs.

BeckyBecky Leylek – 2014 Fall Rotation

Becky was a first year Immunology Student who joined us for her first rotation.  She worked with Dr. Vivek Sunkari on wound healing projects in diabetes models.  After moving on, Becky was awarded one of the NSF graduate student scholarships! Congratulations!


DannyDaniel Lazzareschi  – 2014- Summer Rotation

Danny is a med student, who is also interested in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, especially in sinusitis patients.  Danny is quick to add humor or movie quotes to any conversation.  “It’s IN the computer?” -Zoolander


JonathanJonathan Melamed–  Lab Experience-  Summer 2014

Jonathan shadowed Dr. Hedwich Kuipers to gain laboratory experience.  He is currently an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley.



MinaMina Iskarous–  Student Research Assistant – Summer 2014

Mina was a recent high school graduate, who came to help during the summer.  Mina and Colin both got to be very familiar with our lab freezers and antibody lists.  Currently, Mina is obtaining his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University.


Colin Lester – Student Research Assistant – Summer 2014  (not pictured)

Colin was a high school student who joined the lab for some summer lab experience.  He and Mina were responsible for the freezer and antibody organization.  Colin also enjoyed visualization of histology staining.

benBen 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.   Ben enjoyed long walks to Thai food and late lab evenings.  Sadly for us, Ben  returned to Seattle to continue working at the Benaroya Research Institute.

MarkRieckMary Rieck –  Lab Manager 2013-2014

Mary was the original lab manager for the Bollyky and Blish Labs at Stanford.  She is currently the lab manager at the Bluestone lab at UCSF.


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