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The Rubin Lab (Spring 2023)

Principal Investigator
Ben Rubin standing in front of a green background
Ben surfing on a wave!
Ben Rubin, Ph.D.

As a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Jennifer Doudna's lab, Ben and colleagues created technologies that enable CRISPR-Cas editing of microbiomes. The Rubin lab continues to develop this platform while working with collaborators to apply microbial community editing tools to various microbiomes, such as those residing in human guts, cow rumens, and plant roots. Ben is also a co-founder of the non-profit Science Corps and, when not in the lab, tries to spend as much time in the Pacific Ocean as possible. 

Postdoctoral Associates
Amanda Alker in front of a green background
Amanda hiking!
Amanda Alker

Amanda received a PhD in Biology at San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego in 2022, where she developed modular genetic tools to study diverse marine bacteria and applied them to study bacteria-stimulated metamorphosis in tubeworms and corals. In the Rubin Lab, Amanda will join the BIOME project to work on microbiome editing with support from the Joint BioEnergy Institute. During her postdoc, she will apply microbial community editing techniques to lignin degrading bacterial communities from plant-root microbiomes. Furthermore, she will improve the maintenance and enrichment of successfully edited microbes in this system by developing methods for positive metabolic selection. Outside of the lab, Amanda likes to travel and enjoy outdoor activities like running, surfing, camping and seeing live music.

Graduate Students
Sophia Swartz (she/her)

Sophia Swartz received her B.A. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from Harvard University in 2022, where she used confocal microscopy to study the biogeography of various microbial communities ranging from human oral biofilms to plant leaf pathogens to human pores. In the Rubin lab, Sophia will investigate the regulation and integration mechanism of CRISPR-associated transposons to develop and optimize editing tools for non-model microbes. Outside of the lab, Sophia loves to lift, climb, caffeinate, and hike.

Leo Song standing in front of an ocean background
Leo scuba-diving
Leo Song

Lab Manager & Research Associate |

Leo Song received his B.A. in Molecular & Cell Biology, with an emphasis in Genetics, Genomics, and Development, from the University of California, Berkeley. After joining the lab in the summer of 2022, Leo worked to set up the Rubin Lab space as well as to initiate research activity and manage operation of the lab. He is currently working to advance and optimize CRISPR-Tn based editing technologies for diverse microbial communities. During his spare time, Leo can be found drawing, photographing wildlife and nature, or planning his next backpacking or scuba diving trip.

A picture of Jigyasa Arora
Jigyasa at a marathon
Jigyasa Arora

Staff Scientist | | LinkedIn

Jigyasa received her Ph.D. in Biology from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), Okinawa, on the beautiful tropical island of Japan.
She bioinformatically examined the host gut microbiome interactions in insects. Statistically, she explored phylogenetic correlations of functional traits, horizontal gene transfers, and co-evolution with the host at evolutionary timescales. In the Rubin Lab, Jigyasa will optimize bioinformatics tools to investigate CRISPR-associated transposons regulation. She will also examine mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and host interactions using machine learning models to inform predictions of unknown proteins or novel functions important for understanding largely unexplored MGEs. In her free time she likes to run and explore the parks of San Francisco with her partner.

Audrey Glynn, Ph.D.

Senior Program Manager |

Audrey Glynn received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Tulane University, completed her post-doctoral studies with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, and entered the programmatic side of research during a 2-year AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship with the Office of Naval Research Global. She went on to work for Strategic Analysis, Inc, through which she provided over 8 years of direct support to the DARPA Biological Technologies Office, helping to de-risk and bring novel medical countermeasures to the clinic. Since joining the IGI in late 2021, Audrey provides programmatic and strategic support across multiple IGI projects, including BIOME, the Affordability Task Force, and the Sickle Cell Initiative. When not supporting BiomeForge and other IGI activities, Audrey can be found in the yoga studio, in the kitchen whipping up vegan cuisine, or anywhere reading a good book and sipping a glass of rosé.

Audrey Glynn standing in front of a green background
Audrey doing yoga
Rachel K Evans

Executive Administrative Officer |

Rachel K Evans earned a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Before that, she completed a B.A. and M.M. at UCLA. In addition to her passion for performing (and teaching) music, Rachel has worked in a variety of diverse fields, most recently working as a Project Manager in Telecommunications before joining the IGI in early 2022. At IGI Rachel spends most of her time providing administrative support and planning/hosting events.

Undergraduate Students
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Abby Wang standing in front of greenery
Abby taking a picture with a Van Gogh painting
Abby Wang (she/her)

Undergraduate Researcher & Graphic Designer |

Abby is a second-year intended Molecular and Cell Biology major with interests in all-things biology, neuroscience, philosophy, and graphic design. At the Rubin Lab, Abby does wetlab experimental work with Leo and performs various tasks related to design (including designing and managing this website!). Outside of her studies, she enjoys tackling her reading list, museum hopping, and picking up niche hobbies.

Zoë Chan

Undergraduate Researcher | | LinkedIn

Zoë is a fourth-year bioengineering student with an interest in medicine and computational biology. Zoë will be working on DNA sample library prep, quality control, sequencing, and data analysis in R and Python. Outside of the lab, Zoë enjoys finding new sunset spots around Berkeley and serving the unhoused community.

Time in Lab
Current Location
Sara Smith
Undergraduate Researcher
PhD Student, UCSF Biological and Medical Informatics (BMI)
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