Principal Investigator

Joe Pogliano
Professor of Molecular Biology

Joe Pogliano is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California San Diego and cofounder of Linnaeus Bioscience Inc. He received B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Honors Biology from the University of Illinois, Champaign. He obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School where he studied cell division, outer membrane stress responses, antibiotic mechanism of action and protein secretion. As a postdoc at the University of California San Diego he studied cytoskeletal proteins involved in plasmid DNA segregation.

He joined the UCSD faculty in 2003 where his research has focused on using cell biological tools to study bacterial cell growth, DNA replication, cell division, outer membrane biogenesis, and the mechanisms by which antibiotics target these essential cellular processes. His lab recently discovered the “phage nucleus”, a compartment formed by many bacteriophage that replicate in Pseudomonas. The phage nucleus compartmentalizes phage replication, with phage DNA and enzymes required for replication and transcription localized inside the nucleus while phage structural proteins and metabolic enzymes localize in the cytoplasm. He and Kit Pogliano developed Bacterial Cytological Profiling (BCP) technology that provides a rapid method for screening for antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacteria and understanding their mechanisms of action.



Annie Aindow
Postdoctoral Scholar, joint with the Villa lab

Annie received her B.A. in Molecular & Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. She completed her undergraduate thesis work in Jeremy Thorner’s lab, where she studied yeast alpha-arrestin phospho-regulation. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University, working with Dan Kahne on cell wall biosynthesis enzymes from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Her graduate work was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

In the Pogliano lab, Dr. Aindow works on conserved hypothetical proteins in jumbo bacteriophage. Her work utilizes protein biochemistry, fluorescence microscopy, and genetic assays to investigate the specific mechanisms of phage nucleus formation.


Erica Birkholz
Postdoctoral Scholar

Erica earned her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UCSD, graduating magna cum laude in 2016. Her undergraduate research was aimed to discover new antibiotics produced by diverse bacteria in Joe Pogliano’s lab, receiving the Doris Howell and Julia Brown scholarships for two summers of independent research. In 2022, she completed her Ph.D. in Biology from UCSD upon characterizing the first known nucleus-forming jumbo phage that infects E. coli and studying the competitive mechanisms influencing the speciation of nucleus-forming jumbo phage. Her Ph.D. thesis was supported by the David V. Goeddel Chancellor’s Fellowship and CMG training grant.

As a postdoc in the Pogliano Lab, Dr. Birkholz is elucidating the molecular mechanism of a competitive interference factor and investigating the standing theories of eukaryogenesis, particularly the evolution of the Viral Eukaryogenesis Theory (Philip Bell 2001) in light of the discovery of nucleus-forming phages.

Arica VanderWal
Postdoctoral Scholar, joint with the Villa lab

Arica is a postdoc in the labs of Joe Pogliano and Elizabeth Villa, looking at how host bacteria react to jumbo phage infection. She obtained her bachelors of science in biochemistry at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. After her undergraduate studies, Arica joined the lab of Dr. Muthiah Kumaraswami at the Houston Methodist Research Institute where she studied mechanisms of Group A Streptococcus virulence. Her newfound passion for microbes led her to pursue a masters and PhD in biochemistry & molecular biology at the University of Rochester with Dr. Mitchell O’Connell. Her doctoral work dealt with discovering a new mechanism of CRISPR-Cas13b antiviral activity by which Cas13b activates a novel membrane protein, CRISPR-Csx28, which forms a large pore channel to slow metabolism upon viral infection. After living in Michigan, Texas, and New York, Arica decided it was time for some change (again) and joined the Pogliano and Villa labs at UCSD! In the Pogliano lab, Arica is currently focusing on unraveling the roles of conserved host genes involved in jumbo phage infection. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, knitting, traveling, trying new foods, and playing with her cats.

Phoolwanti Rani
Postdoctoral Scholar, joint with the Villa lab

Phoolwanti Rani is a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Joe Pogliano and Elizabeth Villa. After completing BSc (Bachelor of Science) and Msc (Master of Science) in Bioinformatics and Biochemistry respectively from Kurukshetra University (India), she decided to pursue her passion for science and joined Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India) in Prof. V. Nagaraja’s laboratory. In Ph.D., she worked on Mycobacterial DNA topoisomerase I and established its role in RNA metabolism and chromosome segregation. She did brief post-doc in Prof. David Gilbert laboratory (SDBRI, San Diego) and worked on replication timing. In his laboratory she contributed to the 4D nucleome project and mapped high resolution replication timing in different cell lines. She also established pA-DamID in the laboratory and mapped LADs (Lamin associated domains).

In Joe Pogliano and Elizabeth Villa’s lab, she is working on nucleus forming Jumbo phage and trying to understand the function of various proteins important for the same. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, cooking, and learning Indian classical Dance.


Graduate Students

Amy Prichard
Biology PhD Candidate (started Fall 2018), joint with the Villa lab

Amy earned her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2018. As an undergraduate, she worked jointly in David Kirkpatrick’s and Duncan Clarke’s labs studying the cell biological effects of histone phosphorylation mutants on meiosis in yeast. While doing this work, she realized her love of microscopy and decided to continue studying the cell biology of microscopic organisms in her graduate work. In the Pogliano lab, Amy is working on understanding how a seemingly simple bacterial virus can make a complex structure like a phage nucleus during its replication in its host bacterial cell. To this end, she is researching the diversity and complexity of the nucleus-based phage replication pathway by focusing on Erwinia phages (such as RAY, Asesino, and Joad) since they are numerous and belong to many clades of nucleus-forming phages. In her free time, Amy enjoys gaming, hiking, reading books, performing music, and drawing.

Eray Enustun
Biological Sciences PhD Candidate (started Fall 2018), joint with the Corbett lab

Eray received his B.Sc. in Molecular & Cell Biology with a double major in Chemical & Biological Engineering from Koc University, Turkey. In 2015, he worked with Dr. Cagla Eroglu at Duke University on “Astrocytes’ role in synaptogenesis”. He completed his masters thesis work on “Role of chromatin modifying enzymes in fibroblast-to-hepatocyte transdifferentiation” with Dr. Tamer Onder at Koc University. In the Pogliano Lab, Eray is working on identifying the components of the phage nucleus and how they mediate the functions of: DNA export to capsids, mRNA export to cytoplasm and protein translocation.

Emily Armbruster
Biology PhD Student (started Fall 2019), joint with the Kit Pogliano lab

Emily graduated with her BS in Biology from California Lutheran University in 2019. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she conducted research in both organic chemistry and molecular parasitology. She contributed to the development of novel nucleic acid dye molecules under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Kingsbury and investigated the gene expression pathways driving encystation of Entamoeba histolytica in Dr. Paloma Vargas’ lab.

As a PhD student under the joint mentorship of Joe Pogliano and Kit Pogliano, Emily is investigating the initial processes and components required for assembly of a functional phage nucleus using a variety of molecular biology, cell biology and genetics techniques.


Chase Morgan
MD/PhD Student (started Summer 2021)

Chase joined the UCSD Medical Scientist Training Program in 2019. Before UCSD, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Columbia University, where he studied P. aeruginosa biofilms under the guidance of Dr. Lars Dietrich. He further pursued a research fellowship in the NIH Department of Laboratory Medicine studying protein-protein interaction with Dr. David B. Sacks. His current research focuses on the dynamic processes by which nucleus-forming phages organize proteins within the bacterial cell and the potential for nucleus-forming phages to be used as therapeutics for human infections.

Ying-Xing (Linda) Li
Biomedical Sciences PhD Student (started Fall 2021), joint with the Glass lab

Linda earned her BS in Biochemistry and minored in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in May 2020. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Steven Blanke’s labs studying the impacts of C. jejuni secreted Cytolethal Distending Toxin-mediated DNA damage on the intestinal homeostasis. In the Blanke lab, her interdisciplinary research involved cell biology, biochemistry and microbiology. As a PhD student under the joint mentorship between Dr. Joe Pogliano and Dr. John Glass, Linda is working on the synthesis of complete bacteriophage genomes and studying the functional importance of various genomes during phage infections. In her free time, Linda enjoys traveling, reading, music and fitness.



Ria del Rosario
Faculty Assistant

Ria has been a Faculty Assistant for the School of Biological Sciences since 2004. She is also the Chair’s assistant to the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. She was once described as “a general facilitator for all things confusing and/or bureaucratic” AKA someone that aids in financial transactions, room reservations, helping with events, troubleshooting all sorts of situations, and answering a plethora of phone calls and emails.



Undergraduate Students

Jina Lee
Annika Sy
Amber Lee
Kyle Thomas
Isabelle Shepherd
Meliné Norquist
Ivan Chavez
Sela Peters
Sahana Rangarajan
Sinclair Chieng
Catherine Juan
Millie You
Nathan Muck

Lab Alumni

Lauren Brumage
Vorrapon (Arthur) Chaikeeratisak
Hazel Davis
Alan Derman
Mackennon Egan
Marcella Erb
Lynley Fernandez
Kanika Khanna
Anne Lamsa
Tara (Penny) Mahoney
Elizabeth Montaño
Katrina Nguyen
Poochit (Mike) Nonejuie
Joe Sugie
Hannah Tsunemoto