current members

Joe Bondy-Denomy

Principal Investigator

Joe went to the University of Waterloo for his undergrad in Biology (Microbiology specialization) 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 started his lab at UCSF as a Faculty Fellow. In November of 2017, Joe will continue at UCSF as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

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

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. Adair is studying all things anti-CRISPR in Pseudomonas, including striving to understand how they work and discovering more! When not in lab, Adair can be found biking around the greater San Francisco area or swimming in the (cold) ocean.

Bálint Csörgő

Postdoctoral Fellow


Bálint joined the Bondy-Denomy Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in December, 2017. Bálint comes from Hungary and obtained his MSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Szeged. He completed his PhD working on the design, construction, and optimization of E. coli strains for biotechnological purposes in the lab of György Pósfai at the Biological Research Center (BRC) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged, Hungary. He then moved to the lab of Csaba Pál, also at the BRC, where he worked as a research associate developing novel recombineering-based bacterial gene-editing tools, as well as studying various aspects of antibiotic resistance evolution in bacteria. In the Bondy-Denomy Lab, he is working on the development and utilization of alternative CRISPR-Cas systems for gene-editing applications. Outside of the lab, Bálint enjoys spending time with his family, as well as a variety of outdoor activities including basketball, soccer, swimming, and biking.


Sutharsan Govindarajan

Postdoctoral Fellow


Sutharsan Govindarajan or ‘Sutha’ is a postdoctoral researcher in the Bondy-Denomy Lab. Sutha comes from India where he obtained his M.Sc. in Biochemical Technology from the School of Biological Sciences in Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU). In the MKU, Sutha joined the lab of Prof. Hussain Munavar where he studied the genetics of lon (protease) and uvrD (helicase) incompatibility in E. coli. In order to pursue his interest in microbial genetics, he moved to the lab of Prof. Orna Amster-Choder at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, where he obtained his PhD. During his PhD, Sutha explored a much broader question of ‘how are things organized within the bacterial cell’. He addressed this question by studying the mechanisms involved in subcellular targeting of the Phosphotransferase system (PTS), which is a model cell polarity system, and the MreB cytoskeletal system. Currently in Joe’s lab, Sutha is exploring the cell biology of the CRISPR-Cas system of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Apart from science, he enjoys travelling, cooking, reading, and music.

Ashika John

Undergraduate Student

Ashika is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and joined the lab in July of 2018.

Matt Johnson

Graduate Student


Shweta Karambelkar

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shweta is a postdoc in the Bondy-Denomy lab, looking at how anti-CRISPRs do what they do. A fascination for phages has brought her here all the way from her home country India. Her interest in microbes, acquired early on as an undergrad in Mumbai grew into a fascination under the aegis of Prof. Valakunja Nagaraja at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, where Shweta completed an integrated Masters-PhD program. Her doctoral work dealt with discovering a new mechanism regulating an unusual DNA modification in bacteriophage Mu and understanding the biosynthesis of the modification. In the Bondy-Denomy lab, Shweta is currently focusing on unraveling novel anti- CRISPR mechanisms. In her free time, she enjoys distance running, especially when combined with exploring the beauty of San Francisco. She loves reading all kinds of books and learning Spanish.

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. Lina joined the lab in 2016 and passed her qual exam to become the second PhD candidate in the lab! Lina is using the minimal Type I-C CRISPR-Cas system to understand how the most common CRISPR effector nuclease in the world (Cas3) does its job. 

Caroline Mahendra

Junior Specialist
Caroline is a technician in the Bondy-Denomy Lab. She was born and raised in Indonesia, and moved to the United States for college. She attended University of California, Berkeley in Chemical Biology for her undergrad and then spent a year in North Carolina completing a Masters in Engineering at Duke University. Caroline is screening for anti-CRISPR candidates against the widely used Cas9 to discover more and add into the genome editing toolbox. When not in the lab, Caroline can be found at local pop-up fairs and events, or exploring the Bay Area.

Nicole Marino

Postdoctoral Fellow


Nicole is a post-doc in the Bondy-Denomy lab identifying novel class II anti-CRISPR proteins. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry/Cell Biology and Classical Studies at Rice University in Texas. She completed her graduate work in John Boothroyd’s lab at Stanford University, where she studied how Toxoplasma gondii transports effector proteins into the host cell. In her free time, she enjoys exploring live music and comedy shows in San Francisco and dancing Argentine tango.

Senén Mendoza

Graduate Student (TETRAD)

Bettie Osuna

Graduate Student (TETRAD)


Senén Mendoza is a TETRAD graduate 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. In the BD Lab, Senen is studying the ways that bacteria regulate their defense systems. His life on the west coast consists of science, food, and music.







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. Bettie is studying anti-CRISPR function in Listeria monocytogenes. Outside of doing dope science, you can find Bettie dancing (or at least trying to) at all kinds of shows in the city.

Rafael Pinilla Redondo

Visiting Graduate Student


Rafa is a plasmid Geek (note the capital “g”). He is also a PhD student from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, where he studies the spread of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in microbial communities, their impact on humans and potential biotechnological applications. Recently, he became obsessed with CRISPR-Cas systems and how MGEs fight back; ergo,  this is why he is visiting the BD Lab #anti-CRISPRs! When he is not in the lab, you will find him experimenting with film photography, getting lost in nature (sometimes literally), philosophizing over a glass of wine, wrestling octopuses/octopi?? underwater or bragging about how sophisticated Copenhagen is. Rafa is a silly Spaniard who can’t grow a proper beard; don’t take him seriously.

Jenny Zhang

Undergraduate Student

Jenny is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley pursing a degree in Molecular Cellular Biology working in the lab both during the school year and over the summer. Under the supervision of Adair, Jenny is studying anti-CRISPR evolution and mechanism. 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.

Carlos Zuazo

Rotation Student



former members

Ben Rauch

Joel Berry

Chris Waters

Postdoctoral Scholar
Current: Scientist, Zymergen






Associate Specialist
Current: Scientist, Caribou Biosciences





Tetrad Rotation Student
Fall 2017
Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Bardo Castro

Junior Specialist

Current: Graduate Student, University of California, Davis 


Fatema Saifuddin

Rotation Student

Fall, 2018

Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Varun Bhadkamkar

Rotation Student (Tetrad)

Fall, 2017

Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Adam Catching

Rotation Student 

Spring, 2018

Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Anika Tiwari

High-School Student

Summer Student, 2018

Current: High-School Student

Veronica Escalante

Tetrad Rotation Student
Fall 2016
Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Ry Young

Director, Center for Phage Technology
Sadie Hatfield Professor,
Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M

Salvador Alcaire

Summer Student, 2016
Current: Dentist

Tina Solvik

Rotation Student, spring 2016 (BMS)
Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Yuliya Birman

Rotation Student, spring 2016 (iPQB)
Current: Graduate Student, UCSF

Kelsey Hickey

Rotation Student, 2015 (Tetrad)
Current: Graduate Student, UCSF