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Rob Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology. He was honored with the 2019 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for his microbiome research and received the 2017 Massry Prize, often considered a predictor of the Nobel. He is the author of “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” (Simon & Schuster, 2015), coauthor of “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and written over 700 scientific articles. He spoke at TED in 2014 which is viewed over 2 million times. His lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including the QIIME pipeline (cited over 23,000 times as of this writing) and UniFrac (cited over 9500 times including its web interface). He is co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project, the American Gut Project, and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, has enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world. Dr. Knight can be followed on Twitter or on his web site




Rob Knight

Gene Yeo, PhD MBA is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), a founding member of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and member of the UCSD Stem Cell Program and Moores Cancer Center.  Yeo is a Paul Allen Distinguished Investigator and has received numerous awards for his research in RNA biology, computational biology and therapeutics in the area of neuromuscular diseases, including the inaugural Early Career Award (2017) and Elisa Izaurralde Award (2021) from the international RNA Society. Yeo is a co-founder of Locanabio, Eclipse Bioinnovations, Enzerna and Proteona and is on multiple scientific advisory boards in life sciences companies and venture funds.  Yeo has a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the UCSD Rady School of Management. Click here to see his lab website.




Gene Yeo

Work in our laboratory is directed toward understanding he impact of 1) environmental toxicants on the development and progression of liver fibrosis and 2) the role of naturally occurring antioxidants such as serum bilirubin in the regulation of gene expression. Through the Superfund Research Center (SRC), which I currently Direct, our biomedical programs focus on the underlying mechanisms associated with Toxicant Associated Steatohepatitis (TASH), while the Environmental and Engineering group focuses on the development of unique biologically orientated bioremediation tools. This expertise is leveraged in our Outreach and Community Engagement programs in South San Diego where efforts have been developed through community gardens and education to improve healthy living and reduce existing health disparities. The organizational structure of our SRC helped to quickly structure the working groups that resulted in the formulation of the UC San Diego RADX-UP program.



Co-Principal Investigator

Robert Tukey

Keith Pezzoli is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego where he serves as Director of the Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design. Pezzoli also leads the Community Engagement Core and Research Translation Core of UC San Diego’s Superfund Research Center supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Click here for more information.




Keith Pezzoli

Shashank received his Bachelor of Technology degree in Bioinformatics from the Dr. D.Y. Patil University in Mumbai, India in 2010. He moved to USA to pursue graduate studies in Bioinformatics at the San Diego State University in 2011 and achieved his Master’s degree in 2015.Shashank started his Bioinformatics career in 2013 as an Intern at the Allen Lab in J.Craig Venter Institute, where he performed transcriptomic analyses on marine species such as diatoms. In 2014, Shashank joined Dr. Yeo’s group as a Bioinformatics staff member, focused on analyzing RNA processing data using computational methods. Currently, Shashank works on studying RNA subcellular localization and RNA-RBP interactions under stress, developmental and diseased conditions.


UC San Diego


Shashank Sathe

Maria Linda Burola is a bilingual Clinical Research Coordinator for the CO-CREATE Project with UC San Diego Health. She graduated from UC Davis in 2012 with a degree in Spanish and Chicano/a Studies, then received her MS in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Maria Linda’s research focus is in childhood obesity interventions and has extensive experience working with women’s health, diabetes in pregnancy, and group pregnancy care within FQHC and non-profit organizations.


UC San Diego

Lead Clinical Research Coordinator

Maria Linda Burola

​Pablo is a Research Assistant with San Ysidro Health. They were born and raised in South Bay, spending most of their life between Tijuana and San Diego. They received their Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University in 2021. During the pandemic, Pablo worked with SD County HHSA in their public health efforts against COVID-19 and at ARCHES LGBTQ+ Public Health Research Lab. Their passion is to continue to work addressing health disparities among members of marginalized and vulnerable communities. Outside of work, they like to ride motorcycles and volunteer with organizations like Detention Resistance and UCSD Student Run Free Clinic.



Research Assistant

Pablo Cuellar

Melody is a second-year Public Health Major. She is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as a physician assistant. She is a student research intern with UCSD's CO-CREATE team working to help understand how to minimize the health disparities caused by COVID-19 in the San Ysidro community. 




Melody Torres

Stephenie Tinoco Calvillo is a Clinical Research Coordinator Assistant for the CO-CREATE Project with UC San Diego Health. She graduated from UC San Diego in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She has been involved in clinical research since 2018 and previously worked in a pediatric
gastroenterology lab. She is passionate about advocating for equitable healthcare for women and children, and bridging research and health care in communities of color.



Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Stephenie Tinoco-Calvillo

Arleth is a recent graduate from UC San Diego who majored in General Biology and Global Health. She is currently pursuing her MPH with a concentration in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at UC Berkeley. As an aspiring physician, her goal is to make an impact in the healthcare industry through direct patient care and academic research. 


UC San Diego

Research Assistant

Arleth Escoto

Isabel is a fourth-year Global Health major, minoring in Human Rights and Migration. She is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as a physician assistant, to give back to her community and in hopes of minimizing health care disparities in underserved communities. With Co-Create Isabel is hoping to gain more knowledge and help understand any barriers with COVID-19 prevalent in the San Ysidro community. 




Isabel Villegas

Starla is a fourth-year Public Health: Medicine Science major. She plans on pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant as well as in Public Health and preventative health working with Spanish speaking communities.

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Starla Y Mendoza


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