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Lab Members

We are actively recruiting for all roles. Please check out here:

Xiao Tian

Principal Investigator

Xiao Tian is an Assistant Professor in the Degenerative Diseases Program and the Cancer Genome and Epigenetics Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. He opened the Tian lab in January 2024 to understand the fundamental biology of aging and its contribution to age-related diseases. He joined SBP after his postdoctoral research in Dr. David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard Medical School where he co-wrote the Information Theory of Aging. He obtained his B.S. from Shandong University and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester where he worked with Dr. Vera Gorbunova to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying longevity and cancer resistance in long-lived species.

Mehran Ghafari

Postdoctoral Associate

Mehran studied engineering for his BEng and MSc (UK), focusing on developing wireless chargers for pacemakers. His fascination with the health and aging process motivated him to study the mechanisms of aging for his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Particularly, he focused on yeast cell aging and replicative lifespan prediction from time-lapse microfluidic images using machine learning. Recently at SBP in the Terskikh lab, he developed an automatic thermal-based automated platform for observing mouse biological behaviors. Mehran joined the Tian Lab in April 2024, where his research centers on the behavioral analysis of Alzheimer's mice and bioinformatic analysis. His interests extend to biological behavioral analysis for other age-related diseases and exploring the complexities of gene expression patterns and understanding how they vary under different conditions. Outside of academia, Mehran enjoys playing tennis, cycling, and camping.

Erik Hultenius

Research Assistant II

Hello! My name is Erik and I recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego where I double majored in Human Biology and Global Health. I am particularly interested in understanding the biological mechanisms that govern aging and age-related disease. Furthermore, I wish to investigate how we may target and reverse these processes by utilizing cellular rejuvenation techniques. Most recently, I interned in the Zach Levine Lab at Altos Labs where I studied how nuclear morphology changes with age and the tissue specific properties of this phenomenon. I also have experience working at various industry labs throughout San Diego developing treatments for diseases such as cancer and ALS. I am a San Diego native and enjoy spending my free time outdoors, at the beach, and with my dog Shelby.

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