Our Lab, Winter 2023!

Our ‘Flag Code’ used here:

✊🏻 solidarity, 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇲🇽 country-based identities,🧠 learning/cognitive disability, 🐕‍🦺 physical  disability,  🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQ+, File:Feminism symbol.svg - Wikipediafeminist,  🥇1st Gen College,    💕 mentor training, 💚 loves plants & green algae,🤎 loves seaweeds, 🌽 loves Maize…..(ongoing!)

Note: If you want to learn more about pronouns, check out these resources (NPRUCLA’s LGBTQIA+ Center)

Lauren Dedow, Senior Research Associate and Lab Manager.

🇺🇸💚 Email: ldedow (at)            (she/her )

Lauren completed her PhD at UC Riverside, on RNA biology. She has joined the lab to help keep us on track and bring her molecular biology expertise to our aid!

Emoni Cook, Senior Research Associate

Email: emonic96 (at)    (she/her)

Emoni completed her MSc here at UCLA in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior where she worked to understand antimicrobial resistance. Currently she is working to understand the interaction between algal cell walls and their microbiomes.

Lital Davidi, Post-Doctoral Researcher

💚🇮🇱 File:Feminism symbol.svg - Wikipedia Email: litaldavidi (at)        (she/her)

Lital is an expert in algal biochemistry, from brown to red to green. She is examining stress tolerance mechanisms in algae, with a current focus on intertidal macroalgae and green algae (desmids). Lital is also pursuing her own exciting research program in the green alga Dunaliella salina, including working on pioneering approaches to genetic engineering.

Steven Beuder, Post-doctoral Researcher

Email: sbeuder(at) (he/him)

Steven has extensive experience studying tip-growth and cell walls in plant pollen tubes. He is leveraging that knowledge to understand convergent processes in Macrocystis pyrifera (giant kelp) as part of the Kelp Magic! team. He is also a passionate mentor and teacher. He is currently also the co-lead for our virtual Kelp Kulture seminar series.

Jessica Carstens-Kass, PhD Student in IMMP

Email: jcarstenskass (at)    (she/her)

Jess received her BSc from the University of Montreal in Microbiology. She is currently pursuing her PhD, working on understanding the relationship between kelp and their microbiomes.

Siobhan A. Braybrook, PI.

✊🏻🇨🇦🇺🇸🧠🏳️‍🌈File:Feminism symbol.svg - Wikipedia🥇💚🤎💕

Email: siobhanb (at)  (she/they)

As the PI (Principal Investigator) in our lab, it is my greatest joy and privilege to be along for the scientific journeys of the folks in our lab.  Scientifically, I am deeply interested in how organisms grow when they have cell walls and asking how our science can be used to improve our world. To learn more about my science journey, my roles at UCLA, and some of my philosophies (science, mentoring, teaching) click here.

Undergraduate Researchers

Noelle Fuller, MCDB Major

Noelle is working to understand the impact of climate change of growth in the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. She has also spent time working with the model brown alga, Ectocarpus siliculosis.



Elsa Couvillon, Biology Major

Elsa is working to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying desiccation tolerance in the Fucus distichus, one of the toughest brown algae you will find in the intertidal zone!




Grace Donnelly, BioMedical Research Minor & MCDB Major

Grace is investigating the role of the cytoskeleton in gametophyte and embryo development in Macrocystis.




Claire Latendresse, MCDB Major

Claire is building expression constructs and working on transformation in Macrocystis pyrifera.





Catie Virtue, PhySci Major

Catie is working on understanding the giant kelp microbiome, with a focus on how anti-microbial compounds in the cell wall may impact human/animal health.




Vanessa De La Cruz, Biology Major

Vanessa is investigating how carbon availability regulates cell and organismal growth in the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera.

Catherine Sutarjo,  Pre-Math/Applied Bio Major

Catherine is working to understand hypocotyl growth dynamics in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Isabela Murray, Physics Major

Isabela is investigating how indentation mechanics in cellular solids (like plant & algal tissue) might best be measured and interpreted.

Lab Assistants

Grace Donnelly

Savannah Ruiz


Past Members

Tia Barfield Griffin, MCDB Major

Serena Ta, MCDB Major

Manya Kimbadi, MCDB Major

Rick Robin, MCDB Major

Manuel Mora, Graduate Student

Emily Oren, MCDB Major

Chloe Rome, MCDB Major

Tim Sisneros, EEB Major

Pablo Martinez, PostDoc & HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow

Chris Caro, Graduate Student

Marina Linardic, Postdoc

Skye Grimm, Lab Assistant

Triet Ngo, Biology major

Shiva Bayatmalayeri, MCDB major

Ashley Royce, Biochem major and Biomedical minor

Firas Bou Daher, Postdoc

J Louis Kaplan, PhD Student

Yuanjie (JJ) Chen, PhD Student

Katie Leap and Devin Gibbs, UCLA Rotating graduate students

Marina Linardić, PhD Student

Roza Vőfély, Graduate Student

Thomas Torode, Post-doctoral Researcher

Adi Naamati, Research Assitant

Shen Bayon de Noyer, Research Assistant

Marco Aita, Post-doctoral researcher

Emily Marr, Undergraduate, Plant Sciences Part II Project.

Summer interns 2015: Jack Clough and Molly Murton (King’s College)

Joanna Wolstenholme, Undergraduate, Plant Sciences Part II Project.

Simon Butterworth, Undergraduate Researcher. Nat Sci.

Amy Roberts, Undergraduate Researcher, UROP Summer Project

Amish Gir, Undergraduate Researcher. Plant Sciences Part II Project.

Ashley Manton, Undergraduate Researcher, UROP Summer Project.

Alexis Peaucelle, Visiting Scientists via AgreenSkills.

Lihua Han, Senior lab technician


CCBY*Please note that all images are Creative Commons CC-BY*