Principal Investigator

Geoff Wahl


In 1970, Dr. Wahl was awarded his B.A. in Bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1976, he received a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from Harvard University. He was a Research Assistant at the University of Utah from 1975 to 1976 and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University from 1976 to 1979. He then joined the Salk Institute as an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory. Dr. Wahl received his present appointment as Professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory in 1989. Dr. Wahl is an Adjunct Professor in the Biology Department at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Wahl’s personal statement
Research Administrative Assistant

Sally Ganley

Research Administrative Assistant

Sally Ganley is a Research Administrative Assistant III. She has been at the Salk Institute since June 2006 and she joined the Wahl lab in July 2012.

Staff Scientists

Yao-Cheng (Leo) Li

Staff Scientist

Yao-Cheng (Leo) Li, Ph.D. graduated with a B. S. in Plant Pathology, 1992 from National Chung-Hsing University and a M.S. in Biochemistry, 1994 from the National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan. He graduated in 2002 with a Ph.D. in Pharmaclogy from the State University of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey. Leo joined the Wahl Lab in 2003.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Nikki Lytle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nikki Lytle, Ph.D. Hope Funds for Cancer Research Fellow. Nikki graduated with a B.A. in Biology and Religious Studies in 2010 from Willamette University in Oregon. She went on to work as a Research Assistant studying adenosine signaling in neurological diseases at Legacy Research Institute. In 2018, she received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California San Diego, where she studied signals that maintain aggressive, therapy resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Nikki’s research is now focused on understanding how perturbations to tissue homeostasis, such as obesity and fibrosis, can alter disease progression in both pancreatic and triple negative breast cancer.
Queralt Vallmajo

Queralt Vallmajó Martín

Postdoctoral Fellow

Queralt Vallmajó Martín, Ph.D. graduated with a B.S. in Biotechnology in 2011 from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. She then pursued her Master in Biomedical Engineering at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and completed her Master Thesis at Harvard-MIT. In 2019, she received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology and Bioengineering from EPF Lausanne, Switzerland, where she established bioengineered human bone marrow models utilizing synthetic and chemically defined biomaterials. She then applied those models to investigate cancer osteotropism in vivo in the UniversitätsSpital Zürich. Queralt joined the Wahl lab in 2021 and her research is now focused on elucidating the role of the stromal population in the onset and propagation of pancreatic cancer. To do so she will employ cutting-edge bioengineering approaches offering a unique opportunity to study the interaction between stroma and epithelial cell populations, and the role of cell-matrix interaction/deposition, both in vitro and in vivo.
Zhibo Ma

Zhibo Ma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Zhibo Ma, Ph.D. graduated with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry in 2010 from China Agricultural University. In 2018, he received his Ph.D. in Cellular Biology from University of Georgia, studying chromatin insulators and gene regulation in fruit fly. Zhibo expanded his skills kit from ”wet” benchwork to bioinformatics towards the end of his Ph.D. training and joined the Wahl lab in December 2018. He is now interested in understanding the heterogeneity and cell state changes during normal mammary gland development and in triple negative breast cancer by using various single cell technologies.
Research Assistant

Brandon Cooper

Research Assistant

Brandon Cooper graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a Minor in Biomedical Research. He has been a repeat summer intern in The Wahl Lab beginning in 2014 and joined The Wahl Lab full-time in 2021. Brandon is interested in understanding how cell state plasticity contributes to intra-tumoral heterogeneity and metastasis.

Yesol Go

Research Assistant

Yesol Go graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in 2018 from University of California, San Diego. She joined the Wahl lab in December 2019.

Cynthia Ramos

Research Assistant

Cynthia Ramos earned her BS degree in Medical Technology from Manila, Philippines. She was a Med/Biol. Laborantin in Basel, Switzerland then she moved to San Diego and worked as a Research Assistant and Lab Manager at the Dorris Neuroscience Center. She joined the Wahl lab in March 2015 where she currently holds the position of Research Assistant III/Lab Manager.
Lab Technicians

Vikas Gubbala

Lab Technician

Vikas Gubbala is a second year undergraduate in UCSD. He joined the lab in March 2018.

Samantha Ivezich

Lab Technician

Samantha Ivezich is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Human Biology and Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. She joined the Wahl lab in June 2021.

Nicholas Lai

Lab Technician

Nicholas Lai is a third-year UCSD student majoring in Molecular Biology. He joined the lab in January 2019.

Razia Naeem

Lab Technician

Razia Naeem graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Simmons College and a M.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She joined the Wahl lab in February 2018.

Simone Skiba

Lab Technician

Simone Skiba is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying Neurobiology at the University of California, San Diego. She joined the Wahl lab in June 2021.

Liliana Zamora

Lab Technician

Liliana Zamora is a fourth year undergraduate at UCSD majoring in General Biology and minoring in Japanese. She joined the Wahl lab in April 2019.

Bianca Kennedy


Bianca Lundien Kennedy, a two-time breast cancer survivor, is the first Resident Advocate at the Salk Institute, recruited into the Gene Expression Laboratory’s Wahl Lab in August of 2011. She has worked in the field of breast cancer patient and research advocacy since her original diagnosis in May of 2001. Her career in advocacy has included work affiliated with: the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program; the San Diego Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Advocates in Science program and Public Policy Committee; the Athena Breast Cancer Advocacy program at UCSD’s Moore’s Cancer Center; and Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization and its Y-ME CONNECT Program, as liaison to the San Diego Naval Medical Center. Bianca is a graduate of National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project Lead and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Barbara Parker


Past and Present Summer Student Rotation

Matthew Madina


Wahl Lab Alumni – Staff Scientists and Postdoctoral Fellows

Chi-Yeh (Jay) Chung


Chris Dravis


Raj Giraddi


Maya Ridinger


Benjamin T. Spike


Christy Trejo


Kathleen (Kathy) DelGiorno

Wahl Lab Alumni – Lab Staff

Charlene Huang


Karissa Huang


Claire Johns


Annabelle Kraus


Mikel Lemoine


Gidsela Luna


Brianna Matias


Jasmine-Patricia Padilla


Eric Ramirez


Rose Rodewald


Alexis Roth


Crystal Tsui


Jaslem Herrera Valdez


Luke Wang


Lisa Zeng

Grace Lee

Grace Lee


Annie Odelson