Naoko Matsunaga, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist, Calibr
Naoko received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Infection Control Sciences from Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan. She joined the Chanda Lab in 2019 following research positions of increasing responsibility in several pharmaceutical and biotech companies as a principal scientist and a study director. Naoko has worked on several successful drug discovery projects for infectious and inflammatory diseases. She is interested in understanding and controlling innate immunity to cure patients with infectious and autoimmune diseases. In her free time, Naoko enjoys tennis, golf, and hiking. She likes cooking Japanese dishes.
Nacho Mena, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Scientist, Scripps
Nacho obtained his degree in Biology at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. He did his postdoctoral training at Scripps and the Pasteur Institute. After that, he worked at Centro de Investigacion en Sanidad Animal (CISA-INIA) in Valdeolmos, then joined the Adolfo Garcia-Sastre Lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focuses on RNA viruses (evolution, reverse genetics, vaccine development). Outside of work, Nacho likes to be outdoors and practice bird watching and wildlife photography. He also practices Aikido.
Sunnie M. Yoh, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Scientist, Scripps
Sunnie received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from UC Davis. Sunnie’s scientific career has been dedicated to studying disease mechanisms at the molecular level. During her post doctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, she investigated epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Since joining the Chanda Lab she has focused on innate immune pathways in autoimmunity, cancer and viral infections. She has made several high-profile discoveries about innate immune sensing and her current research focuses on the role of innate immune sensing in neurodegeneration. In her free time, Sunnie enjoys cooking and walking
Lars Pache, Ph.D.
Collaborator, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP)
Lars received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Virology from the Freie Universität Berlin. He conducted his postdoctoral training with Dr. Chanda at SBP, where he identified a novel class of drugs that reverse HIV latency. As a Research Assistant Professor at SBP, Lars leverages multi-omics to identify novel drug targets and investigate mechanisms that control viral replication. He is also interested in developing strategies for the management of large datasets and has contributed to the development of the popular Metascape bioinformatics tool. Outside the lab, Lars is an avid sailor and enjoys outdoor sports.
Valesca Anschau, Ph.D.
Senior Postdoctoral Associate, Scripps
Valesca earned her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Sao Paulo in 2017. Before joining the Chanda Lab, she spent 2 years working with proteomics platforms applied to infectious diseases at University of Valencia, Spain. Then, she moved to San Diego to work as a postdoctoral associate in the Proteomics Department at SBP Medical Discovery Institute. She is currently working on the design and implementation of mass-spectrometry-based proteomics technologies to illuminate the interactions between drug-like molecules and proteins to facilitate the development of new therapeutic agents. In her free time, she enjoys outdoors sports, reading and spending time with friends.
Tanya Dragic, Ph.D.
Senior Science Writer, Scripps
Tanya earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Paris and completed her postdoctoral training at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in NY. During her time as tenure-track faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, her research group focused on molecular mechanisms of viral entry. Since 2011, Tanya has worked as a science writer and funding consultant. She joined the Chanda Lab in 2022. In her free time, Tanya enjoys cooking for friends and family, spending time with her children and outdoor sports.
Indrajee Wewaliyadda, M.S.
Lab Manager / Scientific Associate, Scripps
Indrajee received his M.S. in Microbiology from San Diego State University, where he studied the effects of antibacterial peptides on bacterial physiology. He has been the microbiology lab coordinator for San Diego State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has been an academic lab instructor since 2016. He joined Chanda lab in 2022. He likes hiking and enjoying time with his family.