About Us

Lab Members

 

Łukasz Joachimiak

 

Łukasz A. Joachimiak, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
I earned my B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and my Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where I established computational tools to define the energetic and structural principles that underlie protein-protein interactions. My lab studies protein folding and how cellular factors influence folding, both in vitro and in vivo, focusing on how proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases change shape to drive disease pathology. (My name is pronounced Woo-kash Yo-ah-heem-e-yak.)

 
Sofia Bali

Sofia Bali

Graduate Student: Molecular Biophysics
(Computational Systems Biology track)

I grew up in New Mexico and earned a B.S. in Biochemistry at New Mexico State University. I’m working to identify common characteristics of modulators for amyloid formation. When I’m not in lab, I like to dance Salsa and go kayaking. I used to enjoy cross-country running before I got this real job.

 
Dailu Chen

Dailu Chen

Graduate Student: Molecular Biophysics
I grew up in Nanjing, China, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in physiology and a minor in math. I joined Łukasz’s lab in Feb 2017 and enjoy the collaborative atmosphere of the Center of Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. I study cofactors that promote the pathogenic conformational change of tau, which drives its aggregation. When not purifying proteins or writing code, I like to play my piano, learn drums, dance hip-hop, and just try to be cool in general.

 
Zhiqiang Hou

Zhiqiang Hou, Ph.D.

Assistant Instructor
I earned my Ph.D. degree at the Chinese Academy of Science, where I studied the crystal structure of membrane super-complex photosystem II. I came to UT Southwestern as a postdoctoral fellow, studying the depression mechanism of protein CIPC in circadian-clock transcription activity. Now I focus on creating biochemical and structural tools to understand how the protein tau changes into a pathogenic conformation and how molecular chaperones regulate this process, with direct implications for developing diagnostics and therapeutics.

 
Li Li

Li Li, M.S., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
I earned my B.S. and M.S. in medical chemistry in China. I then moved to UT Arlington, where I earned my Ph.D. developing fundamental methodologies for mass spectrometry. I did postdoctoral research at Georgia Tech, where I applied synthetic and analytical chemistry to understanding the role of sugars in the origin of life. I now use mass spectroscopy to study posttranslational modification of proteins (especially glycosylation), and its impact on tau seeding.

 
Vish Mullapudi

Vish Mullapudi

Student Assistant
I am a biochemistry undergraduate in my senior year at UT Dallas. I previously worked with Dr. Eric Kildebeck using immunogenetics/cellular engineering to develop treatments for autoimmune disorders. I joined the Joachimiak lab in 2018 as a Green Fellow studying the effect of phosphorylation on tau aggregation and am now using computational and physical methods to study structural and biophysical characteristics of tau and other amyloid proteins. Outside the lab, I enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy and working as a volunteer EMT.

 
Valerie Perez

Valerie Ann Perez

Graduate Student: Molecular Biophysics
I was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received my B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University. Now, under the guidance of my co-mentors, Drs. Lukasz Joachimiak and Marc Diamond, I investigate the roles that different molecular chaperones play in neurodegenerative diseases. I am also interested in developing novel therapeutic and imaging strategies for neurodegenerative diseases. I enjoy collecting cute things, making origami sculptures, and trying to keep my plants alive.

 
Bryan Ryder

Bryan Ryder

Graduate Student: Molecular Biophysics
I am from Hillsborough, New Jersey, and graduated with a B.S in biochemistry from Rutgers University. I study the structure and mechanism of a human Hsp40 that targets Huntingtin, the protein associated with Huntington’s disease, and possibly other amyloidogenic proteins containing low-complexity regions. Understanding how this chaperone targets other proteins would further our understanding of how cells naturally target misfolded proteins for refolding or degradation. I enjoy walking nature trails, playing golf, and writing.

 
Paweł Wydorski

Paweł Wydorski, M.S.

Graduate Student: Molecular Biophysics 
I am from Poland and earned my B.S. in neurobiology and my M.S. in biotechnology from Jagiellonian University. I use biophysical and structural tools to characterize interactions between chaperones and different conformations of tau protein. I am also interested in whether pathological amyloid formation is affected by breakdowns in how chaperones recognize misfolded proteins. Outside the lab, I often get overexcited about food.