School of Medicine
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Nicole M. Martinez
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Developmental Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Martinez lab studies RNA regulatory mechanisms that control gene expression. We focus on mRNA processing, RNA modifications and their roles in development and disease.
Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular) and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
BioDr. Mercola is Professor of Medicine and Professor in the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. He completed postdoctoral training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, was on the faculty in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School for 12 years, and later at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Institute and Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego before relocating to Stanford in 2015.
Prof. Mercola is known for identifying many of the factors that are responsible for inducing and forming the heart, including the discovery that Wnt inhibition is a critical step in cardiogenesis that provided the conceptual basis and reagents for the large-scale production of cardiovascular tissues from pluripotent stem cells. He has collaborated with medicinal chemists, optical engineers and software developers to pioneer the use of patient iPSC-cardiomyocytes for disease modeling, safety pharmacology and drug development. His academic research is focused on developing and using quantitative high throughput assays of patient-specific cardiomyocyte function to discover druggable targets for preserving contractile function in heart failure and promoting regeneration following ischemic injury. He co-established drug screening and assay development at the Conrad Prebys Drug Discovery Center (San Diego), which operated as one of 4 large screening centers of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Molecular Libraries screening initiative and continues as one of the largest academic drug screening centers.
Prof. Mercola received an NIH MERIT award for his work on heart formation. He holds numerous patents, including describing the invention of the first engineered dominant negative protein and small molecules for stem cell and cancer applications. He serves on multiple editorial and advisory boards, including Vala Sciences, Regencor, The Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and the Human Biomolecular Research Institute. His laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Phospholamban Foundation and Fondation Leducq.
George D. Smith Professor of Translational MedicineOn Leave from 09/25/2023 To 12/24/2023
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTwo areas: 1. Using rationally-designed peptide inhibitors to study protein-protein interactions in cell signaling. Focus: protein kinase C in heart and large GTPases regulating mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegdenration. 2. Using small molecules (identified in a high throughput screens and synthetic chemistry) as activators and inhibitors of aldehyde dehydrogenases, a family of detoxifying enzymes, and glucose-6-phoshate dehydrogenase, in normal cells and in models of human diseases.
Ph.D. Student in Chemical and Systems Biology, admitted Summer 2022
BioBorn in Tehran, Iran, Siavash pursued his B.Sc./M.Sc. Degrees in Biochemistry and Chemical Biology from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in 2022. Under the mentorship of Don W. Cleveland and Bogdan Bintu, his research centered on studying the in-vivo conversion of glial cells into functional neurons using cutting-edge methods like single-cell multi-omics, single-molecule imaging, and spatial genomics/transcriptomics. His academic excellence was recognized with Summa cum laude, Highest Distinction, and Departmental Honors.
At UCSD, Siavash was involved in a significant project as part of the NIH Brain Initiative Cell-atlas Network (BICAN). Using the advanced Multiplexed Error Robust Fluorescent In-situ Hybridization (MERFISH) technique, he contributed to creating the 'periodic table' of mouse and human brain cell types.
Upon graduation, Siavash was awarded the Harold C. Urey Award for his exceptional academic accomplishments. He currently pursues his Ph.D. in the Biosciences program at Stanford University's Department of Chemical and Systems Biology. He has the privilege of being co-advised by Nobel Laureate Carolyn Bertozzi of the Department of Chemistry and the Stanford ChEM-H Institute, as well as Longzhi Tan from the Department of Neurobiology.
Away from his rigorous academic pursuits, Siavash enjoys reading, studying Artificial Intelligence, traveling, and cooking, and he always keeps an open mind toward learning new skills.