Alvaro Sagasti

Principal Investigator

Sagasti lab members

Katie Ching


Cytoskeletal regulation of axon caliber

Kadia Pemba Adula

Regulation of sensory axon regeneration

Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow, Appel lab, University of Colorado

Kyle Sheu, Staff Associate

Control of microridge morphogenesis by cortical contraction

After the lab: Staff associate, UCLA Department of Medicine

Khaled Nassman, Staff Associate

Axon and cell migration through the epidermis

After the lab: Graduate student, UCLA

Fang Wang

The molecular basis of somatosensory axon development

Current position: Associate Professor, Cal State University, Dominguez Hills

faculty webpage

Josh Clanton

Mechanisms of axon ensheathment by skin

After the lab: Teaching, Mt. St. Mary’s College and Santa Monica College

Jeff Rasmussen

Innervation and phagocytosis in the larval and adult skin

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Washington

lab webpage

Sandra Rieger

Interactions between the skin and sensory axons during regeneration

Current position: Associate Professor, University of Miami

faculty webpage

Yasuko Inaba

Microridge morphogenesis

Current position: Assistant Professor, Nara University

· Post-docs: We are hiring post-docs in all research areas. If interested, contact Alvaro ( with a CV and statement of interest

· Grad students: We recruit students from two UCLA PhD programs: Cell and Developmental Biology and Neuroscience. If you are interested in the lab, please apply to one of those programs

Former lab member

Michael Porter, lab manager

Sandhiyha Kalyanasundarum, volunteer

Laura Yee, undergraduate

Lok Kwan Leung, undergraduate

Majid Husain, undergraduate

George Hanna, undergraduate

Wensi Wang, undergraduate

Jamie Fajardo, undergraduate

Jenny Ward, undergraduate

Elizabeth Hiroyasu, undergraduate

Rosario Villegas, visiting researcher

Dean Lee, undergraduate

Alaa Koleilat, undergraduate

Nickolas Wheat, undergraduate

Steve Roberts, undergraduate

Gerardo Tellez, undergraduate

Marci Rosenberg, undergraduate

Ara Vartanyan, undergraduate

Alex Chan, undergraduate

Lydia Kyrillova, undergraduate

Lamia Choudhury, undergraduate

Hannah Markovic, undergraduate

Rania Abdusamad, undergraduate

Jessica Sims, undergraduate

Reem Abu-Shamma, undergraduate

Kenya Ochoa, undergraduate

Current position (or position after UCLA)

Graduate student, UCSD

Manager, Cisco Systems

Graduate student, UCSF

Graduate student, UCLA

Medical School, UC Irvine

Medical School, Saint Louis University

Staff associate, OHSU

Nursing school, UCLA

Public health graduate student, Harvard

Graduate student, UCSB

Post Doc, Universidad Católica de Chile

Graduate student, Harvard Medical School

Graduate student, Mayo Clinic

Graduate student, UC Davis

Medical student, Touro University

Medical student, UC Davis

IRTA program, NIH; now MD/PhD student UCSF

Medical student, Saint Louis University

Graduate student, MIT

Medical student, UC Irvine

Medical student, UC Davis

Graduate student, University of Oregon

Medical student, Stanford

Medical student, Vanderbilt

Graduate student, Johns Hopkins

Medical student

Ana Maria Palanca

Somatosensory neuron subtypes and sensory transduction in zebrafish

Current position:  Post-doctoral Fellow, Law lab, Salk Institute

Cressida Madigan

Neuroinflammatory responses to mycobacterial infection

Current position: Assistant Professor, UCSD

faculty webpage

Mauricio Vargas

The role of calcium in Wallerian degeneration

Current position: Ophthalmologist

Georgeann (O’Brien) Sack

Impediments to skin reinnervation by regenerating peripheral sensory axons

After PhD: Post-doc, Feller lab, UC Berkeley

Current position: freelance science writer

Join our team

Former post-docs

Former grad students

Former staff

More lab alumni

Jeff Rosa

Axon-epithelium interaction

Current position: Researcher, University of Pennsylvania

Kelly O'Donnell

Live imaging of mitochondria during axon degeneration and neurodegeneration

After MD-PhD: Resident, Psychiatry, NYU

Donald Julien

Somatosensory axon diversity and cell recognition molecules

After PhD: Life science management consultant and marketing, Collective Acumen LLC

Current position: Giliad Sciences

Aaron van Loon

Regulation of microridge morphogenesis by cortical contraction

Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow, Theriot lab, University of Washington

Seanna Martin

Pathways controlling axon degeneration after injury

Current position: Assistant Professor, Diablo Valley College

Son Giang, Lab manager

After the lab: Fund manager, UCLA MCDB department; then fund manager, Pew Charitable Trust

Lindsey Barske, Lab manager

Current position: Assistant Professor, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

lab web page

Sean Wolfson, Staff associate

The molecular basis of somatosensory peripheral axon development

Current position: Hollywood production

Stephen Basenfelder, Lab manager

After the lab: Moved to Australia. Preparing for a career in occupational therapy.

Vasudha Chauhan, Staff associate

Genes regulating actin-based microridge formation in the skin

After the lab: Pharmacy school, USC

Thi Vo, Staff associate

Development and regeneration of nerves in fish scales

After the lab: Dental school, UCSF

Evan Takayoshi

Graduate student

Control of microridge morphogenesis by Plakin cytolinkers

Grace Johnson

Undergraduate researcher and lab assistant

Regulation of sensory axon caliber and lab management

Melissa Emami

Graduate student

Trans-epithelial cell migration in the epidermis

Tiffany Lu, Staff associate

Microridge development

After the lab: Graduate student, University of Chicago

Olivia Justynski


Molecular characterization of epidermal migratory cells

Sukriti Kapoor


Sensory axon-epithelial cell interaction in the epidermis

Chelsea Salem

Undergraduate researcher

Regulation of plakins in microridge morphogenesis

Sofia Stuart

Undergraduate researcher

Specification of mucus cells and ionocytes in zebrafish epidermis

Frankie Xu

Undergraduate lab assistant

Lab management

Fatimah Jaffar

Undergraduate lab assistant

Lab management