Wandless Lab

Lab Members

Current Crew

Tom Wandless

Tom Wandless


Email: wandless@stanford.edu
Phone: 650-723-4005

Tom Wandless spent his wholesome and relatively uneventful childhood in Kansas City before moving to San Antonio to attend Trinity University with the vague notion that it might be OK to be a physician if one were to have to work at all. It was there that two events ultimately put him on a slightly different path that led him to Stanford.

First, after successfully avoiding chemistry in his freshman year, Tom’s sophomore year included a general chemistry course taught by Clark Bricker. Day after day, Dr. Bricker innocently mistook Tom’s end-of-lecture enthusiasm for actual interest in the subject matter. This led Dr. Bricker to keep Tom after class one day and suggest that he work on an extracurricular research project. Not wanting to disappoint his instructor and bewildered by the request (work that didn’t count for a grade!), Tom agreed. Dr. Bricker tasked Tom with inventing a simple experiment to quantitatively demonstrate the relative lifting powers of hydrogen and helium gases. Tom’s insightful, creative, and frankly brilliant solution to this seemingly untractable problem so impressed Dr. Bricker that they published their findings in the reknowned publications, Chem 13 News and The Physics Teacher (alas, neither abstracted by PubMed). Having exhausted his opportunities with Dr. Bricker, Tom began working with another chemistry professor, Dr. Mike Doyle, using metal catalysts to make cyclopropanes. Tom was vaguely interested in synthetic methodology, but totally enraptured by the discovery process that is basic research. By this time he had spent a year in Dr. Doyle’s lab and he felt it was time to get serious about the looming medical school thing. More or less by chance, Tom spent several days making clinical rounds with a local physician. These afternoons quickly led to the rather disconcerting epiphany that Tom could not imagine spending his life around sick people. Med school was “out”, but he had the good fortune to realize that he loved doing research and he was led to believe that one could actually make a living doing it. Graduate school was the logical avenue to pursue a research career, so he finished his B.S. degree in biochemistry at Trinity and moved on.

Tom ended-up at Harvard, arriving at the same time as Stuart Schreiber who had been lured back to Cambridge from Yale. For some reason, at that time Tom ferverently believed that synthetic chemistry could be a useful tool for learning about biology. As a result, he knew he wanted to learn organic synthesis for his Ph.D. studies, but he shied away from the traditional synthetic labs. Tom joined Schreiber’s lab and spent the following four years using synthetic chemistry to learn about how the immunosuppressive drugs FK506 and rapamycin work. These studies were tremendously aided by a longstanding collaboration with Jerry Crabtree’s lab at Stanford. In his final year at Harvard, Tom built on these newly revealed biological mechanisms to create a cell-based system for controlling the transcription of a specific gene. His thesis was entitled “Turning Genes On and Off Using FKBP and FK506”, and he defended his thesis in early 1993. Tom then spent two years working with Chris Walsh at Harvard Medical School. Tom’s work focused on a human tyrosine phosphatase, and these studies allowed Tom to expand his range of skills in a more biological direction, while also allowing him to focus more directly on human health.

Tom moved to the Department of Chemistry at Stanford in 1995 and built a research program at the interface of chemistry and biology. He moved to the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology (f.k.a. Molecular Pharmacology) in 2003 and continues to use chemistry to make new tools for biology and medicine. He and his wife, Karlene Cimprich, have a young son named Eli and a younger daughter named Anika.

Ling Chun Chen

Ling-Chun Chen

Research Scientist

Email: lingchun@stanford.edu
Phone: 650-725-6859

Ling took her time getting to the Wandless lab. She started in Taiwan, then moved to Indiana for awhile, then to Mike Bishop’s lab at USCF for her PhD. She hid-out in the UC system for several years before hearing the siren song of the Farm and moving to Stanford in 2005. She runs the Wandless lab with Gallic resolve and Caribbean precision, preferring “El Supremo” to all other nicknames. She is devoted to her family and has a thing for Galapagos tortoises.

Joseph Park

Joseph Park

Graduate Student

Email: jpark24@stanford.edu
Phone: 650-725-6859

Joseph Park, like his rock-n-roll doppleganger Jack White, grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from the University of Chicago. As an undergraduate working in the lab of Allan Drummond, Joseph fell in love with learning about all the crazy things (intentional and otherwise) that proteins can do. Hooked on research but somewhat clueless about major life decisions, he then journeyed to Stanford and spent two years working as a tech in Onn Brandman’s lab. His work there focused on how cells deal with the consequences of stalled ribosomes during translation. Unwilling to part from the beautiful weather of the Bay Area, he decided to pursue his PhD in the department of Chemical and Systems Biology. In the Wandless lab, when not shivering under a blanket, Joseph is interested in using the lab’s DD technology to understand how cells detect and deal with misfolded proteins. In his free time, Joseph enjoys playing the drums (more Meg than Jack White), procrastinating on finishing Netflix shows, and daydreaming about all of his experiments finally working.

Nate Hansen

Nate Hansen


Email: nhansen7@stanford.edu
Phone: 650-725-6859

Nate Hansen (Stanford Class of 2018) has worked in the Wandless Laboratory since early 2016. Since that time, he has studied how different ubiquitin chain linkages can affect protein degradation. Specifically, he is investigating why certain ubiquitin chains (i.e. K48) can signal degradation of a tagged substrate while other ubiquitin chains (i.e. K63) do not. Nate joined the Wandless Laboratory through the Stanford Chemistry, Engineering, and Medicine for Human Health (ChEM-H) initiative as one of their first funded research scholars. When not in lab, Nate is volunteering in the Emergency Department at a local county hospital, running the Dish, or practicing Stevie Wonder tunes on the piano.

Lab Alumni

Graduate Students:

Ray, Gregory T. (1995-2000) M.D., Arlington, VA
Woiwode, Thomas F. (1995-2000) Versant Ventures
Stohlmeyer, Michelle .M (1995-2001) Partner, BCG-Chicago
Barco, Joseph W. (1995-2001) Alamar Biosciences
Tanaka, Hiroko (1997-2003) Frontier Medicines
Braun, Patrick D. (1997-2003) New Haven, CT
Amos, Chris (1999-2005) Christian Grey stunt double
Maynard-Smith, Lystranne (2000-2006) CSR @ NIH
Sawayama, Andrew (2000-2006) Encodia
Banaszynski, Laura (2001-2007) Faculty, UTSW
Grimley, Joshua (2001-2007) Universal Cells
Edwards, Sarah (2002-2008) USDA
Sellmeyer, Mark (2005-2010) UPenn, faculty
Iwamoto, Mari (2004-2011) IVD Product Development
Egeler, Emily (2004-2011) Stanford Cell Therapy Ops
Chu, Bernie (2007-2013) Bina Technologies
Miyazaki, Yusuke (2010-2015) ANRI Ventures


Kar, Ari K. (1998-2000) SACHEM
Vogel, Kurt* (1998-2000) Illumina
Lin, Yun-Ming (2000-2003) University of Toledo
Tang, Lam (2001-2003) Molecular Partners
Bonger, Kimberly (2009-2012) Radboud Univ.
Rakhit, Rishi (2008-2015) Mitokinin
Navarro, Raul (2014-2017) Occidental College
*joint with Jerry Crabtree’s lab

Undergraduate Students:

Patett, Frauke (1996-1997) N/A
Rose, Christoph (1997-1998) Research scientist at Continental
Norman, Derek (1996-1997) PhD with Greg Verdine
Cutler, Serena (1997) Research associate at Tularik
Lau, Nancy (1996) Albert Einstein MD/PhD program
Wirtz, Ryan (2000-2001) Yale in London
Bickford, Lincoln (1997) Stanford to Cornell MD/PhD program
Barglow, Katherine (2001-2003) Grad student with Ben Cravatt, Scripps
Hanan, Emily (2001-2003) Research associate at Sunesis
Erika Ebbel (1998-2000) MIT
Wennerlund, Paola (2003-2004) Uppsala University, Sweden
Ho, Andrew (2008-2009) NY College of Osteopathic Medicine

Visiting Scholars:

Taylor, Loverine (1997-1998) Washington State University
Lee, Kyunghee (2007-2008) Sejong University
Imoto, Hiroshi (2009-2010) Takeda
Miyamae, Yusaku (2015-2016) Tsukuba University

Wandless Lab