current members

Joe Bondy-Denomy

Principal Investigator

Joe went to the University of Waterloo for his undergrad in microbiology and spent time as a co-op student in labs at Western University (London, ON) and McGill University (Montreal, QC). Joe then attended the University of Toronto to complete his PhD in Alan Davidson's lab where he studied interactions between bacteriophages and their host bacteria, focusing on the effects of lysogeny and the CRISPR-Cas immune system. In the spring of 2015, Joe moved to California to start his career at UCSF as a Faculty Fellow. The lab is currently focused on studying the roles of CRISPR-Cas immune systems in their host organisms, discovering novel CRISPR-Cas functions and identifying ways in which these systems interact with bacteriophages. When not working, Joe will definitely be found watching baseball.

Adair Borges

PhD Candidate (BMS)

Adair is a graduate student in the Bondy-Denomy lab. Originally from Montana, Adair graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 2014 with a degree in Microbiology. As an undergraduate, she studied the role of gene duplication and locus expansion in the evolution of Toxoplasma gondii pathogenesis with Dr. Jon Boyle. She is now a BMS grad student, where she continues to study microbial genetics and evolution. When not in lab, Adair can be found biking around the greater San Francisco area or swimming in the (cold) ocean.

Bardo Castro

Junior Specialist

Bardo is a technician in the Bondy-Denomy lab. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Davis.

Lina Leon

Graduate Student (Tetrad)
Lina is a TETRAD graduate student in the Bondy-Denomy lab. She is from Bogota, Colombia and is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Chemistry.

Ben Rauch

Postdoctoral Scholar
Ben is a proud native of New Jersey! As an undergraduate, he studied Chemistry at Skidmore College in Upstate New York. After college, Ben moved west to pursue his PhD. His journey as a graduate student began at UC Santa Barbara, and eventually concluded at Oregon Health & Science University. All the while, he studied protein synthesis and microbial sulfur metabolism under the supervision of his advisor, Dr. John Perona. As a postdoctoral scholar in the Bondy-Denomy lab, Ben is now researching CRISPR-Cas function in unstudied bacterial systems. Outside of lab, Ben engages in many activities. Most of these involve flying discs, bicycles, burritos and/or music.

Joel Berry

Associate Specialist
Joel is a biochemical geneticist with broad scientific interests. To put it bluntly, he loves science. He earned his BA in biochemistry at Mississippi State University before traveling to College Station, home of Texas A&M University, to gain his PhD, in you guessed it, biochemistry. In addition to the biochemistry degrees, Joel has also focused on practicing phage and microbial genetics. His graduate work under Dr. Ry Young was key to identifying the first phage-encoded membrane fusion system, i.e., cool science. After the PhD, Joel spent two years catching and characterizing novel phages at the Center for Phage Technology (CPT) and also co-instructed a practical and science packed course on phage genomics and biology at TAMU. Paris was calling so Joel then filled a postdoctoral position at the Institut Pasteur under Ivo G. Boneca. While fumbling his way through the French language, he was also employing ‘omic’ methodologies to search for clues as to how bacteria regulate peptidoglycan metabolism under stress. Joel has now joined the Bondy-Denomy lab as an associate specialist in order to discover and characterize novel mechanisms of CRISPR-cas evasion and he is also helping to develop methodologies to apply CRISPR-cas technology outside of the laboratory. Otherwise, Joel is never far from his Kindle and you may also find him roaming the wonderful national and state parks of California. That is if he is not unraveling the mysteries of biology at the bench and having fun doing it. You may also locate him riding his bike around SF and the surrounding hills or perhaps running in those very same places.

Bettie Osuna

Graduate Student

Jenny ZhangUndergraduate Student

Bettie is a TETRAD graduate student in the Bondy-Denomy lab. She is from Southern California where she earned a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Outside of doing dope science, you can find Bettie dancing (or at least trying to) at all kinds of shows in the city.







Jenny is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley pursing a degree in Molecular Cellular Biology. Outside of lab and school, she can be found exploring the city with friends, going to art museums, and watching sitcoms and scary TV shows.

Senén Mendoza

Rotation Student (Tetrad)
Senén Mendoza is a Tetrad rotation student in the Bondy-Denomy lab. He was raised in Miami, Florida where he earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami. His life on the west coast consists of science, food, and music.



former members

Chris Waters

Tetrad Rotation Student
Fall 2017
Chris is a rotating Tetrad graduate student in the Bondy-Denomy lab. He earned his BS in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he investigated the genetics of plant-microbe symbiosis in legumes.

Veronica Escalante

Tetrad Rotation Student
Fall 2016
Hello, I’m Vero. I grew up in Mexico for the majority of my life and completed my undergrad at the University of Texas at El Paso with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry. Here, I worked in a biochemistry lab focused on studying the cholesterol degradation pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A summer research opportunity here at UCSF brought me to the bay area and got me excited about joining such a great community as a Ph.D. student. Although my interests lean towards studying host-pathogen interactions and the mechanisms by which pathogens lead to infection, I am excited to also explore new topics here at UCSF. Aside from the lab, I enjoy hanging out with friends, the art of cooking, trying new food, a nice cup of coffee and traveling.

Ry Young

Director, Center for Phage Technology
Sadie Hatfield Professor,
Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M
Dr. Ry Young is a long time leader in the phage community, where his lab has focused on many aspects of phage biology, predominantly making significant contributions to understanding bacterial cell lysis. Ry spent two months in the Bondy-Denomy lab on a mini-sabbatical where he was a prominent force of encyclopedic phage knowledge at every lab meeting, coffee break, and get together. We are thrilled that Ry chose to spend the summer in our lab and we are sad to see him return to Texas!

Salvador Alcaire

Summer Student, 2016
Salvador is a summer student in the Bondy-Denomy lab and a student at the University of Toronto in Canada studying dentistry. Salvador completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto specializing in molecular neuroscience. He then completed his MSc under the supervision of Mei Zhen at the University of Toronto. During his MSc, Salvador focused on studying an uncharacterized protein and its role in nervous system development using tools in round worms, yeast, and mice. Salvador is also interested in the molecular pathways that lead to craniofacial syndromes, specifically Crouzon syndrome, which he studied under the supervision of S.G. Gong. When not studying or pursuing science, Salvador enjoys travelling and music.

Tina Solvik

Rotation Student, spring 2016 (BMS)
Tina is a BMS graduate student rotating in the Bondy-Denomy lab. She is from the Bay Area and graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Chemistry.

Yuliya Birman

Rotation Student, spring 2016 (iPQB)
Yuliya graduated from The University of Alabama with a B.S. in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she researched the relationships between enzyme structure, function, and evolution in Patrick Frantom’s laboratory. She is now an iPQB graduate student who is currently rotating with the lab. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and exploring San Francisco.

Kelsey Hickey

Rotation Student, 2015 (Tetrad)
Kelsey is a tetrad graduate student who rotated in the Bondy-Denomy lab in Fall 2015. She is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in biochemistry. Her research interests include genetic engineering and synthetic biology.