Principal Investigator

Diana Hargreaves

Principal Investigator

Diana received her Bachelor of Science from Haverford College and subsequently worked with Dr. Jason Cyster at the University of California, San Francisco. She completed her doctoral training in the Yale Immunobiology Department with Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov under an NSF Graduate Fellowship where she studied epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms regulating immune response genes. She went on to focus on the SWI/SNF complex in her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University under Dr. Gerald Crabtree. During that time, she was the recipient of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Ann Schreiber Research Training Program of Excellence Award, and the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her sons.
Research Associates

Nasiha Ahmed

Research Associate
Salk Cancer Center T32 Postdoctoral Fellow

Nasiha received her B.A. majoring in biology and anthropology from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She completed her PhD from the University of Arizona in the lab of Dr. Jacob Schwartz, where she studied the role of intrinsically disordered proteins in the pediatric cancer Ewing sarcoma. She joined the Hargreaves lab in September 2020 and her work focuses on the ncBAF complex in macrophage activation. Outside of the lab, Nasiha enjoys creative writing and exploring the San Diego food scene.
Helen McRae

Helen McRae

Research Associate
Salk Postdoctoral Fellow
Tang Prize Awardee
CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellow

Helen received her B.Sc (Hons) majoring in genetics from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She completed her PhD through the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne Australia in the laboratory of Anne Voss and Tim Thomas where she studied the in vivo role of PHF6 in haematopoietic development and leukaemia. Helen joined the Hargreaves lab in September 2019 and is investigating the role of BAF complex subunits in the tumour microenvironment. Outside of the lab, some of Helen’s favourite activities include running, karaoke and swimming in the ocean.
Research Assistants

Mannix Burns

Research Assistant

Mannix grew up in Minnesota before attending college in Boston. While an undergraduate, he performed research on legume-rhizobia symbiosis at the University of Minnesota and on the role of glutaredoxin-1 and glutathionylation in the progression of cardiovascular diseases at Boston University. After graduating from Boston University in 2019 with a BA in biology, he joined the laboratory of Georch Church at Harvard Medical School, where he studied neurodegenerative and neurological diseases using human cerebral organoids.  Mannix joined the Hargreaves lab in mid-2021 to gain more experience in epigenetics before applying to grad school.  Outside of the lab, Mannix enjoys swimming, running, reading, and anything outdoors.
Graduate Students
Brent Chick

Brent Chick

Graduate Student
UCSD T32 Pathways in Biological Science (PiBS) Predoctoral Trainee
Mary K. Chapman Foundation Awardee


Shitian (Steven) Li

Graduate Student

Steven, a native of Hunan province in central China, relocated to the United States in 2016 to pursue higher education. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with Cum Laude honors, holding double majors in Bioengineering and Mathematics. During his undergraduate time, Steven worked with Dr. Yingxiao (Peter) Wang to develop FRET-based histone H3 acetylation biosensors, and conducted senior design research with Dr. Stephanie Fraley to develop automated z-stack image analysis software for the analysis of 3D collagen gels. Following his graduation, he joined Dr. Crystal Zhao at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, to investigate RNA m6A modifications. In 2021, he returned to UCSD/Salk to pursue a PhD in Biological Sciences and in May 2022 joined the Hargreaves lab. He is currently conducting research on the role of BAF complex in cytosolic ssDNA release and sensing. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, listening to music, and indulging in wine and beer tasting.

Jingwen Liao

Graduate Student

Jingwen was born and raised in Shanghai, China before she moved to the US for high school. She graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, CA in 2018 and enrolled in UCSD Biological Sciences PhD program right afterwards. She joined Diana Hargreaves lab in 2019 to study the role of BAF complex in macrophage development and activation. Outside the lab, Jingwen enjoys snowboarding, making/searching for good food, and goofing around with her dog.

Hannah Rattu Mandias

Graduate Student
UCSD T32 Predoctoral trainee
NIH F31 Predoctoral Fellow

During her undergraduate education, Hannah worked in Dr. Brian Livingston’s lab at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), where she studied sea urchin embryos as model organisms for biomineralization. She became interested in studying epigenetic regulation through UC Berkeley’s summer research program. There, she worked in Dr. Lin He’s lab studying the role of EZH2, the catalytic subunit of PRC2, in metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Hannah graduated from California State University Long Beach with departmental honors and a Bachelor’s of Science in General Biology in 2020. Currently, Hannah is a 2nd year PhD student in UC San Diego’s Biological Sciences program and works at the Hargreaves lab at the Salk Institute, where she is studying the involvement of PBRM1 in alveolar macrophage development and function. In her free time, Hannah enjoys going to the gym, painting, and spending time with her dog.

Matthew Maxwell

Graduate Student
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
HHMI-Gilliam Fellow
Mary K. Chapman Foundation Awardee

Matt grew up in a small town in rural Oklahoma and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a B.S in Biochemistry. During his undergraduate years, he studied hypoxia signaling in cancer in the lab of Dr. Teresa Golden and completed summer research fellowships at Harvard, UCLA, and Novartis. Matt matriculated into the UCSD Biological Sciences PhD program in 2018 and joined the Hargreaves lab in early 2019. Outside of the lab, Matt enjoys spending time in the ocean, reading, and grabbing a beer with his friends and lab mates.

Samuel Rivera

Graduate Student

Sam completed his B.S. in Biology at Boston College, where he studied cyclase signaling in Charles Hoffman’s lab. After graduation, Sam joined Mike Greenberg’s lab at Harvard Medical School as a research assistant, there he studied microglia-neuron interactions in experience-dependent synaptic refinement during development. Sam received an M.S. in Biotechnology from Northeastern University, where he became excited about immune-targeted cancer therapies. Driven by this interest he performed research in discovery groups at Takeda Oncology, on an iPSC-derived CAR-T program, and Oncorus, developing an oncolytic virus platform. Sam joined the Biological Sciences program at UCSD in 2021, and the Hargreaves Lab in 2022. Sam is interested in characterizing the effect of BAF complex mutations in tumors on infiltrating immune cell behavior, particularly in the context of immune-targeted therapies. Outside of the lab Sam likes to play soccer, ride his bike and go to the beach.

Hargreaves Lab Alumni

Alina Dayn (Research Assistant) — QC Associate II, BioLegend
Katherine Nguyen (MS Student)
Fangjian Gao (Postdoctoral Fellow) — Senior Scientist at Odyssey Therapeutics
Katherine Coakley (Visiting Scholar) — Gynecologic Oncology Fellow, UCSD
Marianne Hom-Tedla (Visiting Scholar) — Gynecologic Oncology Fellow, UCSD
Ryan McCubbin (CIRM Intern) — Associate Scientist, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals
Chaidon Castillo (CIRM Intern) — Formulation Technician, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics 
Jovylyn Gatchalian (Postdoctoral Fellow) — Senior Scientist at Kura Oncology, Inc
Josephine Ho (Research Assistant) — Technical Service Scientist, BioLegend
Nicholas Elliott (CIRM Intern, Research Assistant) — Graduate Student, University of Chicago
Jawoon Yi (Research Assistant) — Research Scientist, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology
Shivani Malik (Visiting Scholar) — Associate Director at Kura Oncology, Inc
Timothy Kelso (Postdoctoral Fellow) — Data Analyst/Data Manager, University of Newcastle, Australia
Devin Porter (Research Assistant) — Founding Scientist, Zafrens