Jenn Brophy

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator

Jenn was born and raised in Southern California. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley in 2009. Jenn completed her Biological Engineering PhD at MIT with Chris Voigt and Alan Grossman. During her PhD, she developed tools for engineering non-model Gram positive bacteria. As a postdoc, she worked with José Dinneny at Stanford to engineer spatial patterns of gene expression across plant tissues using synthetic genetic circuits. She is interested in applying synthetic biology to address climate change issues and enhance sustainability. Her favorite flowers are Lilies!

Graduate Students

Isabel Goldaracena Aguirre

PhD student

EDGE Fellow

Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) training program

isagolda [at] stanford [dot] edu

Isabel grew up in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She graduated from Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM) in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in biotechnology. She then moved to the U.S. to work as a Research Associate in different research institutions and biotech companies. Outside the lab, Isabel likes hiking with her dog, playing soccer, and organizing science outreach events, especially for the Latinx community.

Bella Archibald

PhD student

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

BioX Bowes Fellow

bellaa [at] stanford [dot] edu

Bella earned her BS in biomedical engineering with a minor in chemistry as a Barry Goldwater Scholar at the University of Utah. She is now a graduate student in Bioengineering at Stanford, interested in engineering synthetic systems for bioremediation and biomanufacturing. When she's not in the lab, she enjoys exploring new trails, and her favorite plant is the Arrowleaf balsamroot!

Anna Johnson

PhD student

co-advised by Kabir Peay

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

anilives [at] stanford [dot] edu

Anna earned her BS in chemical-biological engineering with a minor in business analytics from MIT. She is now a NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Bioengineering at Stanford, co-advised by Jenn Brophy and Kabir Peay. Anna is interested in engineering partnerships between plants and fungi for sustainable development, conservation, and food security. Outside of lab, she enjoys pottery and picnicking. Her favorite plant is the Acacia dealbata.

Vivian Zhong

PhD student

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

vivzhong [at] stanford [dot] edu

Vivian earned her BS in biological engineering from MIT and is currently a PhD candidate in bioengineering at Stanford. She is interested in designing plant biosensors and shaping plant-microbe interactions. Outside of the lab, she's into science policy, communication, and her favorite plant is the lotus!

Postdocs and Research Staff

Mario Alberto

Research assistant

mjalber [at] stanford [dot] edu

Mario earned his BS in chemical engineering with honors and a triple minor in the fundamental sciences from Cleveland State University. His senior thesis was on the design and characterization of novel virus-like particles and their possible use as theranostic tools. Prior to joining the Brophy lab, Mario has worked at Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies in Philadelphia, clinical and academic labs across Cleveland, and industrial biotech companies in the Bay Area. Outside of the lab, Mario enjoys reading novels, cycling, and amateur long-distance running.

Soyeon Choi


sychoi [at] stanford [dot] edu

Soyeon earned bachelors degrees in biological science and in food and nutrition from Sungshin University in Seoul, Korea. She received her PhD in genetics  from the University of Georgia, where she studied traits conferring latitudinal adaption in switchgrass. Soyeon is generally interested in improving the resilience of agronomically important crops. She wants to avoid adverse outcomes from climate change by developing and utilizing synthetic circuits that spatially and temporally tune the expression of developmental genes.

Kate Kozaeva


Novo Norodisk Foundation-BioX Fellow

ekozaeva [at] stanford [dot] edu

Kate received her BS and MS degrees in Biochemistry from Moscow State University in collaboration with the biotech company Ajinomoto Co., Japan. She earned her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Denmark, at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, where her research focused on metabolic engineering of soil bacteria for bioproduction of chemicals. As a Postdoc at Brophy Lab, she is engineering synthetic microbial communities to enhance plant resilience to abiotic stresses. Kate is passionate about biobusiness, enjoys nature, playing the ukulele, and her favorite plants include succulents & wheat!

Janina Tamborski

Research scientist

jtambor [at] stanford [dot] edu

Janina earned BS and Master degrees in plant biology from the Technical University of Aachen in Germany. She received her PhD from the Sainsbury Laboratory through the University of East Anglia, where she studied the role of stomata in plant immunity. Prior to joining the Brophy lab, Janina worked in the Krasileva lab at UC Berkeley to engineer disease resistance in wheat. Janina is now developing synthetic genetic circuits to enhance water use efficiency in the bioenergy grasses Setaria viridis and Sorghum bicolor. She is an avid climber and has an adorable rescue dog!

Undergraduate Students

Santiago Hernandez


iamsanti [at] stanford [dot] edu

Santiago is an co-term student in the Computer Science Department at Stanford with experience in artificial intelligence and systems. He is a native from Mexico, enjoys competing in soccer and, recently, reading about the incredible lives of 20th century scientists.

Julia Kao-Sota


jkaosota [at] stanford [dot] edu

Julia is an undergraduate studying bioengineering at Stanford. She enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, and her favorite flowers are azaleas!

Vardaan Shah


svardaan [at] stanford [dot] edu

Vardaan is an undergraduate studying bioengineering at Stanford and uses he/him pronouns. He enjoys music, cooking, and going on adventures in the city and in nature. He doesn't want to hurt the plants' feelings by picking a favorite, but he's currently fascinated by the phantom orchid, a plant that doesn't photosynthesize.

Join us!

We are currently recruiting graduate students and postdocs interested in the intersection of synthetic biology, plant biology or microbiology, and sustainability. We value openness, inclusivity, diversity, and enthusiasm for science/engineering!

[1] Graduate students:  We welcome rotations from Stanford graduate students in any department. Current Stanford students interested in rotating should email Jenn to learn more.  Prospective PhD students are encouraged to apply to the Bioengineering department

[2] Postdoctoral fellows:  We are seeking highly motivated postdoctoral scholars interested in plant synthetic biology and sustainability. Candidates with strong training in plant development, plant-microbe interactions, plant stress response, synthetic biology or genome engineering are encouraged to apply. Please email Jenn with a cover letter and CV.


James Bridson (Visiting Undergraduate) - Cambridge University

Daisy Cisneros (Undergraudate) - Stanford University

Veronica Greco (Visiting PhD student) - Bristol University

Savana Huskins (Undergraduate) - Recombia Biosciences

Amman Klair (Visiting Masters student) - University of California San Diego

Sofia Sanchez (Visiting Undergraduate) - Tecnologico de Monterrey

Russell Tran (Undergraduate) - Mantis Company

Andre Yeung  (Undergraduate) - Stanford University