Our People

We are a brand new lab located at the Gladstone Institutes in sunny Mission Bay looking for passionate students and postdoctoral fellows to join us in our mission to decode the cellular interaction networks that shape immune responses in human tumors. We are excited to grow into a cross-disciplinary, collaborative and diverse lab that includes clinicians, immunologists, geneticists, cancer researchers, and computational biologists.

Karin Pelka

Assistant Investigator

Karin Pelka, PhD, is an assistant investigator at Gladstone Institutes. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco. Pelka aims to understand how immunological processes are regulated in human tissues in order to leverage the immune system in the fight against diseases such as cancer. Using unbiased high-throughput and high-content technologies and deeply mechanistic studies, she intends to systematically dissect how immune and non-immune cells work together to shape immune responses.

Karin Pelka
Getiara Zaidi

Getiara Zaidi

Administrative Associate

Getiara is a graduate of UC San Diego with a B.S. in Pharmacological Chemistry. As she previously worked in a clinic, she found her passion for administrative work and is happy to continue on here at Gladstone. In her free time, she loves going to the beach and binge-watching Gilmore Girls!

Aditya Naik

Lab Manager

Aditya graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology. Since then, he worked in the Research & Development units of Indian pharma majors, USV Private Ltd. and Lupin Ltd. He was involved in the development and characterization of Bio-analytical methods supporting the pre-clinical stage of Novel Small Molecules & Biosimilar drug development. Together with his R&D work, he also completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Executive-MBA). Aditya is very much excited to be part of Dr. Karin Pelka’s Lab. Outside of research, he enjoys hiking and exploring new locations.

Aditya Naik 2
Jon Woo

Jon Woo

Institute Lab Manager

Jon obtained an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology and a master's degree from SF State in Biomedical Lab Science. During his undergrad, he volunteered at a UCSF lab that focused on the genetics of neurological disorders where he worked in a core facility that provided sequencing and genotyping services to the UCSF community. Eventually, he became the manager of the facility but had to find another avenue of financial funding after Sanger sequencing and microsatellite genotyping were considered obsolete analysis platforms. Jon joined a lab that stayed on the forefront of new techniques and assay adoption as the lab manager for the Marson Lab. After many exciting years, Jon transitioned to an Institute Manager at the joint Genomic Immunology Institute, providing operations support to all the labs. Outside of the lab, he aims for board game sessions, any game, any length.

Jackson Demaray

Research Associate I

Jack is a Research Associate with the Pelka lab. He graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Chemistry and developed a passion for biology through his work in microbiology and biophysics labs. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, climbing, and watching basketball.

Jack Demaray
Scott Engels

Scott Engels

Visiting Researcher

Scott is a visiting researcher from Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences. Scott used single-cell RNA sequencing technologies to elucidate age-associated autoimmunity in atherosclerosis during his research internships at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). He developed a passion for genomic immunology while at the LACDR and hopes to expand his knowledge in the Pelka lab. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring San Francisco.

Shakthi Subramaniam

Student Intern

Shakthi is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis on Immunology. She enjoys learning about new techniques and research methods, and is interested in studying immune responses and interactions with tumor cells.

Shakthi Subramaniam
Alisa Dietl

Alisa Dietl

Postdoctoral Scholar

Alisa is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she dissected the biological relevance and role of RNF43 loss-of-function mutations in colitis-associated cancer development by focusing on the complex interaction between epithelial cells, immune cells and microbiota. In Karin’s lab, she analyzes the temporospatial crosstalk of cellular neighborhoods that shape immune responses in tumors. By employing CRISPR-induced perturbations in transplantable organoid models combined with multiplex imaging, she aims to identify cellular interdependencies in the tumor microenvironment that can be therapeutically targeted to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying new restaurants.

Anna Ralser

Postdoctoral Scholar

Anna is a Postdoc in Karin Pelka’s Lab. During her MD/PhD studies at the Technical University of Munich, she investigated the interplay of cellular compartments in H. pylori-driven CRC using cutting-edge technologies like scRNAseq and in-depth histologic monitoring of cellular phenotypes in their local environment. Now, Anna aims to improve responsiveness to cancer immunotherapy by elucidating mechanisms accounting for the spatio-temporal coordination between immune-malignant cellular hubs by combining high-plex in-situ hybridization with CRISPR-based perturbation studies and innovative computational approaches. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, baking sourdough bread and exploring new places.

Anna Ralser

Rotating Students & Alumni

amelie delcourt
Amelie Delcourt

Rotating Student

mckenzie daanen
McKenzie Daanen

Rotating Student

Jodi Lee
Jodi Lee

Rotating Student Alumni

Sara Misiukiewicz
Sara Misiukiewicz

Rotating Student Alumni

Sham Rampersaud
Sham Rampersaud

Rotating Student Alumni

Isabelle Young
Isabelle Young

Rotating Student Alumni

Interested in working at Pelka Lab?

Are you passionate about science, eager to team up in the fight against diseases, and have a strong background in the fields of immunology, genomics, molecular biology, genome engineering, or computational biology? Shoot us an email and we’d love to chat with you!