Principal Investigator


Trever Bivona, M.D., Ph.D. (Associate Professor in Residence)

Dr. Trever Bivona is a board-certified medical oncologist with a PhD in cell and molecular biology. He maintains an active academic clinical practice and clinical research program while also leading a basic and translational research laboratory focused on cancer genetics and precision medicine. A major research interest is enhancing the understanding of the molecular basis of targeted cancer therapy response and resistance in lung cancer and other solid cancers. He leads a multi- disciplinary team of investigators in laboratory-based, patient-focused investigation and is a principal investigator on clinical trials, enabling a bench-to-bedside research program. The overall goal of these efforts is to improve survival in molecular subclasses of cancer patients through novel, effective precision medicine approaches.


Assistant Professors


Amit Sabnis, M.D. (adjunct asst. Professor)

Amit is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology who is completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the Bivona Lab. His research relies on patient-derived models to identify and pre-clinically validate new therapeutic targets for high-risk pediatric sarcomas, in particular fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma. His collaboration with other laboratories at UCSF has led to an in depth exploration of the chaperone and proteostasis networks of cancer cells. In addition to his lab work, Amit sees patients at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, where he is a member of the Early Phase Clinical Trials group. 



Collin Blakely, M.D., Ph.D.

Collin Blakely MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. He received his training in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UPenn and completed his Medical Oncology fellowship at UCSF. Currently he works with the Bivona lab to translate laboratory based findings into clinical trials testing new therapies for lung cancer patients.



Asmin Tulpule, M.D, Ph.D.

Asmin Tulpule is a pediatric hematology-oncology fellow with an interest in translocation-driven soft tissue sarcomas. His projects examine mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapy in Ewing's sarcoma. He is also broadly interested in ALK fusion driven cancers.



Caroline McCoach, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr Caroline McCoach's research focuses on integrating clinical findings with laboratory studies to improve patient care. Her work includes developing new drug therapies for lung cancers as well as investigating how cancer evolves to become resistant to targeted therapies. This research aims to help create new therapies that may delay or prevent cancer cell resistance to treatment. Her goal is to provide a personalized approach to treatment based on each patient's cancer type in combination with their individual goals. She completed her PhD at Stanford University and her MD at the University of Colorado, her residency at the University of California, Davis and her Clinical oncology fellowship at the University of Colorado.


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Ross Okimoto, M.D. 

Ross is a medical oncologist at UCSF and his research efforts are focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis.



Elizabeth Yu

Elizabeth Yu

Elizabeth (Liz) Yu is a pulmonary critical care fellow. She completed her MD/PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and internal medicine residency at Tufts Medical Center before coming to UCSF for fellowship. She is interested in pursuing a career in interventional pulmonology and using computational biology to investigate translational lung cancer research. She is originally from the Bay Area and very happy to be home!

Associate Specialists


Beatrice Gini, Ph.D.

Beatrice is a Ph.D. in Neuroscience with extensive training in brain tumor research. Her current research interests are the dissection of the tumor heterogeneity in lung cancer using single cell technologies and the analysis of the oncogene-addicted cell’s dependence on specific pro-survival factors. The goal of these projects is to foster precision medicine, identifying more effective, patient specific targeted therapies for lung cancer patients.




Wei Wu received his medical and research training in cancer biology in China, the United States and Canada, and he is actively working in systems and computational cancer biology in gene regulatory networks mediated by protein coding and non-coding transcripts in the mammalian genome. His current research is focused on the landscapes of common and rare somatic mutations and chromosomal structural variations, which are occurring within and between tumors as well as single cell transcriptomic regulation during cancer genome evolution. His goal is to interrogate the cancer genome to find potential "actionable and druggable" small-molecule remedies for cancer treatment.


Postdoctoral Scholars


Philippe Gui, Ph.D.

Following a Master's degree in Pharmacology, Philippe obtained his Doctorate in Cell Biology from the University of Toulouse in 2014. His thesis project was focused on the characterization of the in vivo trans-tissular migration of cancer-promoting macrophages inside solid tumors. He joined the lab in October 2015 to pursue his interest in translational cancer research.



Nilanjana Chatterjee, Ph.D.

Nilanjana is a biochemist by training interested in the epigenetic regulation of chromatin and cancer. She believes that science is a service that is rendered for the improvement of human life and for the cure of life threatening diseases.



Manasi Mayekar, PH.D.

Manasi Mayekar obtained her Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. During her PhD at University of Pittsburgh in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, she investigated the mechanism of chromatin recruitment of a transcription elongation complex Polymerase Associated Factor 1 (Paf1) complex and the regulation of histone modifications by this complex. Following that, she did a short two year postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute where she characterized the novel role of C/EBPG transcription factor as a mammalian stress response regulator. Her current research interests involve designing effective and durable cancer therapies.



FranziSKA Haderk, PH.D.

Franzi's research efforts at UCSF involve working on the analysis of intra-tumoral heterogeneity in lung cancer and its role in resistance development against personalized therapies. She is particularly interested in the characterization of intercellular crosstalk between tumor cells and in defining rational polytherapy targeted treatment regimens. 


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Shigeki Nanjo, M.D., PH.D.

Shigeki Nanjo, originally from Japan, obtained his M.D. at Osaka City University in 2005 and Ph.D. at Kanazawa University in 2014. He engaged in the translational research of targeted therapy resistance and metastasis in lung cancer. He joined the Bivona Lab in 2016 and as a physican scientist, he aims to contribute to the understanding of oncogene addiction in cancer to help improve patient outcomes. Shigeki Nanjo, M.D., PH.D.



Aubhishek Zaman, Ph.D.

Aubhishek completed his PhD in 2017 from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) under Dr. Michael White’s mentorship. As part of his graduate work he deconvoluted signaling functions of the hetero-octameric protein complex, Exocyst, under physiologically distinct cellular contexts such as host defense and nutrient sensing through kinase substrate scaffolding. On December 2017, Dr. Zaman joined University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a post-doctoral scholar.

At Dr. Bivona’s laboratory, Aubhishek is focused on understanding crosstalk between distinct signaling regulatory programs- 1) under lung cancer therapy resistance and 2) during establishment of oncogene addiction. He is also interested in understanding heterogeneity of and dynamic alterations in epigenetic landscape during drug resistance. Besides science, his other interests include traveling and reading books for fun.




Dana Neel (Graduate Student (MSTP))

Dana is an MD/PhD student in the lab. At Stanford, where she was an undergrad, she studied the dynamics of heterochromatin formation in Jerry Crabtree's lab. In the Bivona lab, her interests include the role of epigenetic regulators in oncogenesis and mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapy in ROS1-fusion driver lung cancer. Dana is originally from Boston, but she thinks San Francisco is a pretty sweet city, too. In her free time, Dana enjoys running with the November Project, backpacking, watching football (go Pats!), and playing with her dog, Carter.


Patrick Halliday


Patrick is a fourth-year medical student at UCSF. He is an HHMI Medical Research Fellow in the Bivona Lab, where he is investigating the role cell cycle alterations play in limiting treatment response to EGFR TKIs.

Assistant Specialists


David Allegakoen

David graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a B.S. in chemical biology, after which he obtained a master's degree in Tumor Biology in 2016 from Georgetown University. He continued in the laboratory of Dr Aykut Uren at Georgetown for a year after graduating, where he studied CD99 as a drug target in Ewing Sarcoma. David joined the Bivona Lab in 2017. Currently, David studies protein homeostasis in pediatric sarcomas, in particular rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma. He is also interested in the development of resistance to targeted therapies in non-small cell lung cancer.



Victor Olivas

Victor graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Bioengineering in 2009. Victor is fascinated with cancer and its ability to overcome primary drug treatment and acquire resistance. He is looking for synergistic upfront polytherapies to offset tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. Victor hopes to one day combine his research background and acquire an M.D. to help patients in a clinical setting. 


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Dora Barbosa 

Dora graduated fromUC Berkeley, with an B.A. in Molecular Cell Biology. She is interested in 3D organoids, heterogeneity, metastasis, cell signaling and immunotherapy.  Dora’s ultimate goal is to study the tumor’s response to micro-environmental factors and apply this science to improve cancer patient outcomes.

Daniel Kerr

Daniel finished his bachelor's degree in Chemical Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, in Spring 2019. During undergrad, Daniel worked in Prof. Niren Murthy's group where he developed electrophilic antibiotic pharmacophores and chemical approaches to intracellular protein delivery. Since moving across the bay, Daniel is now studying tumor heterogeneity and targeted therapy resistance pathways among other topics relevant to non-small cell lung cancer.


Program Analyst

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Giovanni Vassallo

Giovanni is an administrative officer supporting Dr. Bivona’s research collaborations and helps manage the programs of the Bivona Lab. He worked 14 years in the UCSF Controller’s Office and 4 years in UCSF’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology before he joined the Bivona Lab in the Fall of 2018.


Julia Rotow

Julia Rotow

Julia Rotow is a hematology/oncology fellow specializing in the treatment of patients with thoracic malignancies. She attended medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed her internal medicine training at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her clinical practice she studies mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in oncogene-driven lung cancers.


Evangelos Pazarentzos, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Scholar)

Evangelos comes from Greece where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Crete before moving to Imperial College London in UK to obtain his Master and Ph.D. Evangelos joined the Bivona Lab in 2012 and he engaged in a variety of projects dealing with targeted therapy resistance, utilization of genomics to identify populations that would benefit for therapy and projects to identify new therapeutic targets in oncology. Recent work focused on NFKB, cancer metabolism, PTEN, PI3 kinase signaling, AXL kinase, IKK signaling, PDK1 and PKC-iota. Through extensive collaboration with physician scientists, biotech/pharma and genomic/sequencing companies, Evangelos aimed to contribute to the generation of a lung cancer target map that will be part of the personalized medicine efforts of our group.


Luping Lin, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Scholar)

Luping focused her research efforts on understanding molecular determinants of response and resistance to BRAF and MEK targeted therapies in lung cancer, and other solid cancers. Using genetic and pharmacologic screening approaches, she discovered several mechanisms of resistance to these targeted agents in BRAF mutant  and RAS mutant lung cancer and other other solid cancers. Her work has provided rationale for novel rational upfront polytherapy trials in BRAF mutant and RAS mutant cancer patients to enhance response and forestall the onset of resistance. 


Gorjan Hrustanovic, Ph.d  (BMS)

Gorjan's research focus explored the molecular pathogenesis of oncogenic ALK-fusions in NSCLC, and using these mechanistic underpinnings to uncover new therapeutic strategies to overcome clinical resistance to ALK inhibitors. He has also been involved in projects spanning cancer metabolism, resistance to EGFR targeted therapies, cancer metastasis, and RTK-fusion biology generally. His work has been published in Nature Medicine, Cell Reports, Oncogene, and Cancer Biology & Therapy.



Shruthi Perati (Volunteer Student)


Tony CHen (Volunteer Student)


More ALumni

Frank Breitenbuecher, Ph.D. (Associate Specialist)
Alexei Polishchuk, M.D., Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Scholar)
Ashley Maynard (Assistant Specialist)
Golzar Hemmati (Assistant Specialist)
Elton Chan (Assistant Specialist)
Carrie Lin (Assistant Specialist)
Jennifer Flanagan (Assistant Specialist)
Luu Pham (Volunteer Student)
Anin Sayana (Volunteer Student)
Soumya Kurnool (Volunteer Student)

Anshal Gupta (Student)




Rafael Rosell
Niki Karachaliou
Robert Doebele
Christine Lovly
Jonathan Riess
S. Ignatius Ou
Charles Rudin
Keith Flaherty
Jennifer Wargo
Iman Osman
Charles Swanton
Jose Baselga
Patrick Ma


Jonathan Weissman
Wendell Lim
Nevan Krogan
Sourav Bandyopadhyay
Eric Collisson
James Wells
James Fraser
Kevin Shannon
Alan Ashworth
Peter Walter
Kevan Shokat
Mark von Zastrow
Boris Bastian
Matthew Gubens 

Check out some Photos of our lab at work