The Team

Elphège Nora – Principal investigator Not sure how to pronounce my name? Elphège  obtained his Ph.D. from the Université Paris-Sud in France after doing research on X-chromosome inactivation in the laboratory of Pr. Edith Heard at the Curie Institute. He then moved to San Francisco for a post-doctoral training with Pr. Benoit Bruneau at the Gladstone Institute, where he applied genome engineering to study the functions of proteins involved in chromosome organization and gene regulation in embryonic stem cells. Since 2019 he leads a research group in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California in San Francisco. The goal of the group is to decipher and engineer the molecular processes used by cells to organize their genome in the nucleus, and understand how this enables the regulation of gene activity in developmental and disease contexts. Read his work here
Erika Anderson – Postdoctoral Fellow Erika  joined summer 2019. She graduated from Indiana University, where she studied the control of meiosis in fungi in the laboratories of Mimi Zolan and Soni Lacefield. She then completed her PhD with Pr. Barbara Meyer at the University of California, Berkeley, where she investigated how chromatin folding influences X chromosome dosage compensation, as well as aging, in Caenorhabditis elegans. In her free time, Erika enjoys playing the carillon, running, and hiking. Read her work here
Rini Shah – Postdoctoral Scholar
rini.shah_at_ Rini joined fall 2020. She obtained her PhD from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, where she investigated the mechanisms governing transcriptional regulation of human XIST in the laboratory of Pr. Sanjeev Galande. Prior to joining the Nora Lab, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Pr. Frederick Alt at the Boston Children’s Hospital, focusing on the molecular aspects of antibody class-switch recombination. Her broad research interest is to understand the dynamics and impact of genome architecture in the context of development. When not thinking about loop extrusion, Rini enjoys reading books, exploring restaurants, running, and hiking.  Read her work here
Fernanda Vargas-Romero – Postdoctoral Scholar
Fernanda.vargasromero_at_ Fernanda joined our team in Spring 2023. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she discovered her passion for understanding the molecular mechanisms that control stem cell fate decisions. She furthered her research interest by completing her PhD at KAUST (Saudi Arabia), under the supervision of Pr. Wolfgang Fischle, where she focused on investigating the roles of linker histones in regulating transcriptional programs and their effect on stem cell differentiation processes. When she is not in the lab, Fernanda enjoys exploring new restaurants, hiking, painting and spending quality time with her dogs. Read her work here
Karissa Hansen – Graduate Student
karissa.hansen_at_ Karissa joined spring 2020. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BS in Biology. Prior to joining the DSCB graduate program at UCSF, she worked as a research associate in the lab of Pr. Licia Selleri at UCSF studying genomic control of craniofacial development. The first of her projects used mouse transgenesis to validate and describe orthologous human and chimpanzee cranial neural crest enhancers that were predicted to have species-specific activity. Additionally, she worked on elucidating the gene regulatory networks underlying the outgrowth of the upper jaw and related fusion of the secondary palate using mouse, chicken, and pig as diverse models of this process. Outside of lab she spends her time at local music venues, camping, and baking. Read her work here
Annie Adachi – Research Specialist
annie.adachi_at_ Annie joined in summer 2022. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelors in molecular cell biology, neurobiology. While at Berkeley, she developed an interest in neurobiology and neurodegenerative research. She has also participated in organ-on-a-chip research at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles. Outside of the lab, Annie enjoys drawing, baking, and listening to music.
You? We are recruiting, apply here!


Emily Arnold–  Staff Research Associate 2019-2022 next position: graduate student at the University of Southern California with Pr. Derrick Morton Former rotation students Irié Carel – Master 1 from the European Magister of Genetics (Paris, France) spring-summer 2023 next position: Master 2 at the European Magister of Genetics (Paris, France) Kaite Zhang – rotation student (Tetrad) spring 2023 next position: graduate student in the group of Vijay Ramani (UCSF) Kevin Chen – rotation student (DSCB) spring 2022 next position: graduate student in the group of Dan Wagner (UCSF) Kenya Bonitto – rotation student (Tetrad) winter 2022 next position: graduate student in the group of Davide Ruggero (UCSF) Yashodara (Yash) Abeykoon – rotation student (BMS) spring 2020 next position: graduate student in the group of Alex Pollen (UCSF) Ali Palla – rotation student (Tetrad) spring 2020 next position: graduate student in the group of Danica Galonić Fujimori Former undergraduate interns Valerie Rodrigues – high school intern (CURE program) summer 2023 next position: high school senior Deani Lyons – high school intern (CURE program) summer 2022 next position: high school senior Kevin Lin – undergraduate volunteer summer 2021 next position: 2nd year of B.Sc. UCLA, California


We are grateful to the funding organizations that are enabling our research, past and current: Hellman Foundation
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Sandler Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research