Brady Cress, PhD
Brady Cress leads research on microbiome editing technologies. As part of IGI’s BIOME, research in his lab focuses on engineering microbial communities to address global challenges associated with human health and climate change. Brady completed an NIH Kirschstein-NRSA (F32) Postdoctoral Fellowship with Jennifer Doudna, where he and colleagues developed CRISPR-associated transposases for species- and site-specific genome editing within microbial communities.
Jaymin Patel, PhD
At IGI, Jaymin seeks to study mechanisms by which microbes exchange and manipulate genetic material within complex microbial communities. By understanding the biochemistry of these mechanisms, we can harness their use for translational applications, exploring the potential of microorganisms to address pressing global challenges, with applications in bioremediation, biomanufacturing, agriculture, and environmental sustainability.
Prior to Berkeley, Jaymin completed his PhD at Yale under the supervision of Dr. Farren Isaacs and Dr. Jason Crawford. There, he used a multidisciplinary approach, combining synthetic biology, chemical biology, and bioinformatics to discover and examine the biosynthesis and function of specialized metabolites produced by the human microbiome. This work can enable a deeper understanding of the chemical ecology of complex microbial communities, as well as provides a framework for the discovery of novel molecular scaffolds for drug discovery from metagenomic information.
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. Sophia is a joint member with the Rubin lab, where she 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.
Michael is the Lab Manager and a Research Associate. Michael received a B.A. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley in 2023, researching novel proteins in Borgs in the Savage Lab and the Banfield Lab. Outside of the lab, Michael loves to create new recipes, train olympic weightlifting, and run!
Agnès is a Staff Scientist working jointly with the Rubin Lab. Agnès is a microbiologist and synthetic biologist with expertise in developing genome editing tools to transform non-model microorganisms into therapeutic agents. She holds a MSc in Biotechnology from Wageningen University & Research, where her thesis focused on engineering thermophilic bacteria for the production of bio-chemicals. At Caribou Biosciences, she developed a CRISPR-Cas9-based method to engineer anaerobic gut bacteria from the Bacteroides genus into therapeutic candidates for immuno-oncology. At Felix Biotechnology, Agnès worked on a platform to isolate, engineer, and characterize phages targeting multie-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria, and she developed phage candidates for consumer and clinical applications. In September 2023, she joined IGI, where she focuses on strategies to enable efficient CRISPR-based editing of non-model gut bacteria, and uncovering microbe-host interaction mechanisms. Beyond her work, she enjoys “sobremesa” with friends and nature activities such as climbing, trail running, backpacking, and skiing.
Juana Cruz Sampedro
Juana Cruz is a rising 4th year majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Hispanic Linguistics. She is originally from Fresno, CA although her family hails from Oaxaca, MX in the Mixteca Alta region. She is interested in genetic engineering for the purpose of genetic diversity. Previously she has done research in both mutagenesis and bioinformatics categorizing cytokine specific responses. She is excited to learn more about translational applications in healthcare as a mentee. In her free time she likes to swim, explore the bay area, and shop at open air markets.
Patrick Vu is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley studying Molecular & Cellular Biology. He is a mentee at the Cress Lab excited to learn everything from computational biology techniques to microbiome editing technologies. Outside of the lab, Patrick loves to play volleyball, tennis, frolic on the Berkeley campus glade, and cook!
Senior Program Manager
Audrey Glynn, PhD
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 BIOME 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.
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.
Rachel K. Evans, PhD
Kate V. Miller: Lab Manager and Research Technician, 2021-2023. Current: PhD student, Stanford University
Mark J. Ware: Rotation Student, Spring 2023. Current: PhD student, Sook Wah Yee Lab @ UCSF