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.
Res. Asst. Prof., 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.
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.
Sunny Jang, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist, Scripps
Sunny received her D.V.M from Chungbuk National university in South Korea and Ph.D.in Veterinary
Preventive Medicine from the Ohio State University. She joined the Chanda Lab in 2023. With her
background in veterinary medicine, Sunny has worked on investigation of immunopathogenesis of viral
infections and developing novel vaccine strategies. Sunny is interested in the discovery of novel targets
from mucosal immune responses to be applied as broad spectrum prophylactics and/or therapeutics
against zoonotic respiratory viruses. In her free time, Sunny enjoys running, surfing, and hiking. She also
likes to throw movie nights
Indrajee Wewaliyadda, M.S.
Lab Manager / Scientific Assoc., 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.
Research Scientist, Scripps
Tian-hao received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Ren Sun’s lab in UCLA. He used integrated multi-omics methods to study the host pathogen interactions of RNA viruses. During his Ph.D., he invented single virion genetic barcoding and used it to trace viral dynamics in animal models. He also constructed several high throughput genetic profiling systems for RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, HIV-1, InfluenzaA and so on. Before he became a full-time virologist, he was a professional Pokemon trainer.