Ankur Garg – Postdoc
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Crystallography, 2018
Ankur joined Joshua-Tor lab in 2019, and studies the molecular machines involved in RNA interference. He uses Cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography to determine molecular structures, and complement them with different biochemical & biophysical methods. Outside the science lab, Ankur enjoys cooking Indian cuisine and preparing various curry spices. He always brings the Jägermeister to the lab picnics and was the accidental inspiration for our recent tradition of creating amazing and sometimes silly hats for our lab members who are defending their thesis. He’s also a great pumpkin carver!
Armend Axhemi – Postdoc
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, 2020
Case Western Reserve University
Armend joined the Joshua-Tor lab in the summer of 2020 after we charmed him via Zoom interviews. He is broadly interested in applying structural biology techniques to study protein-RNA interactions, but also focused on elucidating the molecular basis for specificity of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and RNA-processing enzymes such as exoribonucleases and polymerases. When he’s not in the lab, Armend faces the busier and more difficult task of raising three daughters. Outnumbered by females 4 to 1 in his own home, Armend enjoys having other men to talk to at work. We love him, but he also makes us feel lazy with his outfit rotation of marathon t-shirts and proclivity for hiking, trail-running and camping in the great outdoors.
Kin Fan (Ken) On – Postdoc
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, 2013
University College London
Ken works on unraveling the structure-function relation of molecular machinery that utilizes ATP to get jobs done. His research focuses on utilizing X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and a whole range of biochemical and biophysical methods to understand how the origin recognition complex (ORC) functions in the DNA replication initiation pathway, as well as to gain mechanistic insights into catalysis of kinases for potential drug discovery efforts. You would think that as a Biochemist, Ken would have the technical skills to be a good cook–but you’d be wrong. Instead, Ken has found a way to get the desired pictures of Instagram-worthy food; by dining out at nice restaurants. On weekends, Ken is an active member of his church community and acts as the church’s audio engineer.
Stephanie Goldsmith – Laboratory Manager II and unofficial Lab Historian
B.A., Biological Basis of Behavior, 1988
University of Pennsylvania
Stephanie came to CSHL in 1989 and worked with Nobel Laureate Carol Greider prior to joining the Joshua-Tor lab in 2002. After 20 years at the bench, she morphed into our full-time lab manager. In addition to reminding people to fully close the freezer doors, she facilitates all reagent, consumables and equipment purchases while overseeing lab renovations (including painting the X-ray Facility purple!) and compliance and safety matters. She summarizes her job as “putting out fires,” but not the literal kind (though she probably could). She also stands by her claim that nothing is truly missing or out of stock until she can’t find it. She is a founding member of the Lab Manager’s Network at CSHL and currently serves as Co-Vice-Chair of HHMI’s LMNOP (Lab Managers Network of Professionals) Advisory Board. Outside of work, she enjoys photographing nature, especially the beautiful grounds of the laboratory campus, and has some of her post cards and other stationary designs for sale at the CSHL bookstore.
Lauren Richter – Senior Scientific Administrator
B.S. Economics, 1991
Carnegie Mellon University
Lauren joined the Joshua-Tor lab in 2022, bringing organization and humor to the ground floor of Beckman laboratory. She handles grant applications, expense reports and many other boring (but very important!) administrative tasks while making sure the scientists never run out of coffee, tea and whiteboard markers. Outside of the Joshua-Tor lab, she coordinates the labwide CSHL Seminar Series. Lauren spends time outside the lab reading, listening to podcasts, and getting into a game of Mah Jong when she can.
Dexter Adams – Graduate Student, Stony Brook University
B.S in Molecular Biology and Zoology, 2018
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dexter is a PhD candidate at Stony Brook University, pursuing his dissertation research by studying RNAi pathways using biochemical and structural techniques. He’s also the point-person for our new Chameleon and is tasked with training lab members and newbies on its awesomeness (and to make sure no one breaks it!). Outside of the lab, Dexter enjoys working on and driving cars and motorcycles, and rivals Kelley Blue Book in his ability to evaluate and appraise motor vehicles on sight.
Leah Braviner – Graduate Student, CSHL School of Biological Sciences
B.S in Biochemistry, 2019
University of Leeds
Leah is a PhD candidate at the School of Biological Sciences at CSHL. Her research focuses on the structural elucidation of C.elegans proteins involved in regulation of gene expression. When she’s not working at the bench, you can find her brewing a cup of Early Grey tea and attempting to build/paint random things for her house (level of success undisclosed). More successfully, she also enjoys sailing, skiing, and cycling, and plays ultimate frisbee at (but not in!) the lab.
Sumati Gonuguntla – Research Technician II
M.S. Biotechnology, 2007
Dr. D. Y. Patil Institute of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics
Sumati joined the lab in 2021, after finding that pandemic-induced quarantine with her husband and young son was just too much family time for her sanity. She assist scientists in the performance of laboratory and investigative procedures by performing a variety of routine experimental techniques such as cloning, gel electrophoresis, PCR, centrifugation, chromatography, and the like. Most importantly, she’s also in charge of our tissue culture room, where she keeps the cells happy and fed.
Matthew Licht – Research Technician I
B.S. Biology & Chemistry Double Major, 2020
Stony Brook University
Matthew joined the lab shortly after finishing his bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University. During his undergraduate studies, his favorite classes were the difficult ones, such as Physical Chemistry II, but he balanced those challenges with courses such as SmartPhone Photography (yes… that’s really a class now). In the lab, Matthew assists researchers by cloning DNA, growing cell cultures, preparing buffers, and running gels–although the gels usually feel like they’re walking. He keeps the lab and its equipment clean, and retrieves items from top shelves for those of us who can’t reach.
Dennis Thomas – CryoEM Lab Facility Manager
Ph.D., Biophysics, 1997
Dennis joined the lab in 2017 with the arrival of our Titan Krios and K3 direct electron detector. The new CryoEM facility has achieved resolutions as high as 2.2 angstroms and can collect as many as 410 images per hour. When he’s not babysitting the most impressive (and expensive!) piece of equipment on the CSHL campus, he’s at home wrangling two small children who are determined to permanently break his eye glasses.
Ming Wang – X-Ray Lab Facility Manager
M.S., Chemistry, Crystallography, 1986
Fudan University, Shanghai
Ming joined the lab in 1998 and manages our X-ray Lab Facility, which consists of a MicroMax-007HF generator with Osmic VariMax VHF optics, a Saturn 944+ detector, and an AFC11 goniometer all from Rigaku. Ming provides training and collaboration to research labs at CSHL, as well as the annual practical course on Macromolecular Crystallography. He’s also our resident computer consultant, assisting in the procurement and management of the lab’s high-end computers (some of which are named after Game of Thrones characters).
Adriana Hincapie – Media Maker
Adriana has been a part of the CSHL community since 2001, but joined the Joshua-Tor lab in 2017. She handles media preparation and pouring, as well as preparing biochemical solutions. She ensures sterilization of lab glassware by washing and autoclaving in our “kitchen,” not to be confused with our kitchen where we drink the coffee and eat the snacks.