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Meet The Team

Principal Investigator

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Tara TeSlaa, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

tteslaa@mednet.ucla.edu

Dr. TeSlaa got her PhD in molecular biology at UCLA. She then did her postdoctoral training with Joshua Rabinowitz at Princeton University. In her free time Dr. TeSlaa likes to spend time with family, cheer for UCLA and LA sports, and play beach volleyball. 

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Staff

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Katherine Dang

Lab Manager 

katherinedang@mednet.ucla.edu

Katherine received her bachelor's degree from UCLA with a major in Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology (MCDB) and minors in Biomedical Research and Science Education. She conducted her undergraduate research in the Lyons Lab, where she studied TGF-beta and BMP signaling in articular cartilage. She participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) and volunteers with CityLab at UCLA to bring biotechnology education to underserved LAUSD high school students. Outside of the lab, Katherine can be found exploring LA’s museums, gardens, and improv comedy scene.

Graduate Researchers

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Teagan Dean

Graduate Researcher

teagand98@ucla.edu

Teagan is a first year Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology graduate student. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a bachelor's degree majoring in biochemistry and minoring in evolutionary medicine. Her research background includes undergraduate research in ecology and evolutionary biology studying the effects of climate change in harlequin bugs. Additionally, she did a year postbac at UCLA in the Chanfreau lab studying the effects of splicing inhibition in yeast. Besides doing lab work, Teagan also enjoys baking, working out, exploring new places, and spending time with friends and family. 

Undergraduate Researchers

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Isabelle Kouyoumdjian

Undergraduate Researcher

ikouyoumdjian@mednet.ucla.edu

Isabelle Kouyoumdjian is a rising fourth-year at UCLA majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Armenian studies. She is an honors program student and an active member of the Armenian Student Association. Outside of UCLA, Isabelle is a nationally certified EMT and works as a medical scribe in the emergency department. In the community, Isabelle volunteers with the Armenian Youth Federation and the Youth of Girls Inc of Orange County. In the future, she hopes to combine her love for serving the youth and her passion for medicine as a physician. When she’s not in the lab, Isabelle can be found spending time with family, hiking, playing tennis, or playing basketball.

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sofiamirabal25@ucla.edu

Sofia is a junior at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. She plans to pursue an MD-PhD with a focus in Oncology. Sofia loves her SoCal adventures from the Wizarding World in Universal Studios, to skiing in Big Bear, to swimming in Newport, to the Hot Springs in Palm Desert.

Sofia de Lourdes Mirabal

Undergraduate Researcher

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JKouyoumdjian@mednet.ucla.edu

Jenny Kouyoumdjian is a fourth year at UCLA in the Honors program, studying Biochemistry with a minor in Armenian Studies.She volunteers as a mentor in the Transfer Mentorship program mentoring new transfer students and is also an active member of the Armenian Student Association club. Outside of UCLA, Jenny is a nationally certified emergency medical technician and has worked as a wilderness EMT. She is currently participating in The Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence, Information, Investigation, and Innovation Institute Internship at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County collaborating with peer interns on healthcare innovations while shadowing Pediatric physicians. Jenny is a very active member in the Armenian Youth Federation. serving as the Social Committee Chair last year, pursuing the Armenian cause and maintaining the passion for the Armenian culture through activism, music, dance, and aiding homeland initiatives. Jenny is passionate about working with children through the AYF to cultivate the Armenian youth and also through the Girls Inc of Orange County. She volunteers with the Girls Inc of Orange County inspiring young girls from low-income minority communities to be smart, strong, and bold while also initiating an after-school tutoring program. She aspires to combine her love for the youth with her love for medicine as a future physician as well as having a clinic in Armenia in the future.
 

Jenny Kouyoumdjian

Undergraduate Researcher

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manognajha26@ucla.edu

Manogna is a sophomore majoring in psychobiology at UCLA. She is interested in an MD-PhD; new scientific knowledge makes Manogna come alive. Manogna is also heavily involved in The Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program (KDSAP at UCLA), where she helps provide kidney health screenings free of cost to people in medically underserved areas of LA. Her home is in California's Central Valley, a region where medicine is not very accessible. To help solve this problem, she would love to practice medicine in her home region in the future. Outside of education, Manogna enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and listening to music! 

Manogna Jha

Undergraduate Researcher

Join the lab!

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