Meet the Team

Each lab members role and expertise has an integral part in basic science and translational research conducted in our lab. We are focused on effectively treating the debilitating disease termed empty nose syndrome (ENS).

Aakanksha Rathor
David Zarabanda Portrait
Dawn Bravo Portrait

Dayoung Kim

Research Assistant

Dayoung studied Biochemistry and Psychology at CWRU till 2019 and became a member of the Nayak Lab since graduation. She is actively involved in empty nose syndrome and other sinus disorders research and is looking forward to expanding the areas of interest. Ultimately, her aim is to explore mechanisms and treatments associated with chronic inflammatory conditions.

David Zarabanda

Research Associate

One of the projects that David is involved in is the Cigarette Smoke Exposure Mouse Model project. His work involves exposing mice to cigarette smoke in continuous puffs simulating the usual amount that humans do. The goal in this project is to evaluate the immune responses in the nose while simultaneously exposing to an allergen.

Dawn Bravo

Basic Life Research Scientist

The culmination of Dawn’s research has been based on cystic fibrosis. Her first goal is to make a model system, using mice basal cells, where the stem cells are derived from the nasal cavity. CRISPR (Founder: Matthew Porteus) a genome-editing technology, to discover transformative medicine for major human genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. CRISPR is an approach used for patients suffering with cystic fibrosis. This approach is applied with the model system, which is transplanting corrected cells from humans into rodents, in order to find if the rodents do not form tumors.

Meena Easwaran Portrait
Phil Gall Portrait

Ivan Lee

Postdoctoral Fellow

Meena Easwaran

Research Assistant

Primarily involved in rodent (mouse) colony maintenance and management for the Nayak lab.  Specifically, she sets up mice breeders, maintain the mice litter (wean/split/euthanize) from different mice strains, ear tagging, injections, euthanasia, and sample collection when required etc., that we have for various experiments.  In this capacity, Meena provides support to Dawn Bravo’s projects (lineage tracing/ p63ko/ CF project mice). She also helps and maintain mice when needed for Hisa’s and Phil’s mice related projects.

Phil Gall

Life Science Technician II

One of the projects that Phil provides support is the Effects of Cigarette Smoke on the Nasal Airway. This project helps with evaluating changes in the nasal airway after firsthand cigarette smoke exposure; This involves the assessment for possible mechanisms contributing to association between smoking and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Sachi Dholakia Portrait
Sachi Dholakia Portrait
Sachi Dholakia Portrait

Sachi Dholakia

Life Science Technician II

I recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara and have spent the past few years working on basic science and clinical research at Stanford. On the basic science side, I am helping to advance our understanding of regeneration patterns of the nasal cavity, as well as how chronic dust exposure affects the upper airway. On the clinical side, I am involved in research projects to further our understanding of empty nose syndrome and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Angela Yang

Research Assistant

I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 and joined the Nayak lab as a research assistant. Clinically, through different testing conducted and data collected, I hope to better understand the physiology of the upper airway and different rare conditions of the nose, such as the Empty Nose Syndrome, as well as to develop innovative tools and techniques to diagnose and treat the disease.

Tsuguhisa Nakayama

Visiting Scholar

I am a life science research scientist and have been working with Dr. Jayakar V. Nayak since 2016. Prior to Stanford, I worked as a medical doctor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Jikei University in Japan. My primary focus is to identify the immunologic molecular mechanisms regarding upper airway biology, injury, and inflammation.

Wei Le

Research Associate

Wei and the lab are working on the development of a rapidly acting preventative therapy for influenza. It will demonstrate robust protection against non-lethal and lethal respiratory tract challenges with a spectrum of different influenza strains in relevant preclinical models. It will be tested in human nasal epithelial cells first, then animal study. Final step will enable IND approval for subsequent human clinical trials.

Lab Outings