Lab Members

Peter Hevezi, Ph.D., Lab Manager

I joined the Cherqui lab in 2016 to participate and support GLP-like studies focused on generating pre-clinical data for a gene therapy approach to treat cystinosis, a lysosomal storage disease. I have extensive experience in advanced molecular technologies, data and laboratory management, biomarker and drug target identification as well as the supervision of scientific research groups. I am also using my strong background in scientific writing to assist in the preparation and submission of an IND application for conducting clinical trials of our novel treatment for cystinosis.

Laura Hernandez, BS, CCRC, CPT, Clinical Research Coordinator

As the clinical research coordinator, Laura Hernandez has been on assignment at Cherqui Lab for over 2 years, assisting Dr. Cherqui on cystinosis studies including preparations for the autologous stem cell transplant protocol. She received her B.S. from University of California, Davis. She is a Certified Phlebotomy Technician and a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator.

Maulik Panchal, MS, MBA, CBM, Manager, Regulatory and Clinical Affairs (CIRM Project Manager)

Maulik Panchal brings together 6+ years of Global CMC Regulatory Affairs and 3+ years of Project Management / Clinical Project Lead experience. His regulatory experience include eCTD life cycle management for Drugs, Biologics, Combination Products and Cell, Tissue & Gene Therapy products per FDA, EMEA regulations in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, hematology, rheumatology. Maulik earned his Master's in Regulatory Sciences from University of Southern California, Los Angeles; MBA from United States University, San Diego; Certificate in Bioscience Management from Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Bioscience, Claremont and Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences from PES College of Pharmacy, RGUHS, India.

Thi Le, BS, BA, Administrative Assistant

I got my Bachelor Degree in Pharmacological Chemistry and Economics from UC San Diego. After graduation, I worked as a coordinator for UCSD Medical Genetic fellowship program. I joined Cherqui Lab in March 2017. As a member of the team, I am responsible for managing documents, ensuring records are properly stored and easily accessible.
I also take care of daily administrative tasks and act as point-of-contact for undergrad-intern applicants.

Céline J. Rocca, Ph.D., Assistant Project Scientist

I got my PhD in Physiology and Physiopathologies from the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France in 2009. I have started to work on stem cell and gene therapy during my first postdoc in London for 2 years. I joined Dr. Cherqui lab in 2011 where I have been working on 3 main projects: (1) Development of a kidney-targeted gene delivery using Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) that led to a first manuscript published in Gene Therapy in 2014, (2) Investigate the potential use of Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to cure the eye pathology in Cystinosis (IOVS, 2015) and, (3) Use of Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to treat the mitochondrial disorder Friedreich Ataxia.

Spencer Goodman, BS, Graduate Student Researcher

I received my B.S. from Boston University in Biology with a focus on Molecular Biology and Genetics. After graduation, I worked at the National Institutes of Health for several years to continue my education at the bench. I have always been fascinated with gene therapy and joined the Cherqui lab to get a chance to work in this exciting field. I work on deciphering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the basic biology of our stem cell therapy. Specifically, I am investigating the nature of the formation of tunneling nanotubes, the delivery highways for our gene therapy products.

Tatiana Lobry, BS, Graduate Student Researcher​

I did most of my study back in France, after high school I moved to Reims for my Bachelor Degree in biology. After my bachelor, I really wanted to continue to study Genetics, so I moved to Brest for a Master Degree in Genetics, Genomics & Biotechnology. To graduate from my second year of Master Degree I had to perform an 8-month internship. I applied to Stephanie’s lab and got in; few months after arriving here, Stephanie asked me to do a Ph.D. so here I am.

Carlos X. Castellanos, MHS, Staff Research Associate

I received my B.S. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. I continued my stay In Baltimore to complete my Master degree at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2016. My graduate work focused on biochemistry and molecular biology. After reading about the Cherqui lab, I felt it was a great fit and joined in the Summer of 2016. I am currently working with the GLP team to prepare a body of data that supports the toxicology and efficacy studies for our gene therapy-based treatment of Cystinosis, a genetically inherited lysosomal storage disorder.

Emily Chua, Undergrad-Intern

Emily Chua is a third year undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego where she is majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and minoring in Cognitive Science. She's a student of Warren College and is graduating in the Spring of 2018.

Joseph Haquang, Undergrad-Intern

I am a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Ethnic Studies at UCSD and I have been working in the Cherqui Lab since June 2015. My future goals are to go into medicine and research incorporating community involvement.

Roy Miller, Undergrad-Intern

I am a senior Human Biology major here at UC San Diego with the goal of becoming a physician in the future. I joined Cherqui lab in Spring 2016 to gain research experience and exposure to the "behind the scenes" discovery aspect of medicine. As graduation nears, I plan on continuing my education in biomedical sciences as part of UCSD's BS/MS program pending decisions from medical schools.