About Us

About Us

Lorena Saelices


Lorena Saelices, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

I was born and raised in the south of Spain. I earned my B.S. in biology and my Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Sevilla, where my training focused on molecular biology and structural biology. As a postdoc, I used these tools to study proteins involved in human amyloid diseases.

My lab applies crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to obtain atomic information of amyloid structures, which is later used to design tools for the clinic. Our attention is mainly directed to transthyretin amyloidosis and Alzheimer’s disease.


Binh Nguyen



Binh Nguyen, Ph.D.

Assistant Instructor

I started as a community pharmacist, then shifted careers and earned my Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. I served as a lecturer in molecular biology and managed the External Relations Department at Vietnam National University’s School of Medicine, in Ho Chi Minh City. I then moved to UCLA, where I discovered a passion for amyloid research and cryoEM. In the Saelices lab, I’m using cryoEM to explore fibril structure and dreaming about solving the mystery of amyloids.


Shumaila Afrin



Shumaila Afrin, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I am from India, and earned my Ph.D. in biochemistry at Aligarh Muslim University. In the Saelices lab, I am interested in developing a cell-based model system of transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis, applying it to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies, and understanding the disease's pathophysiology. I enjoy reading, traveling, cooking exquisite Indian dishes, and then eating them.


Mari Fernández-Ramírez



Mari Fernández-Ramírez, M.S., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I grew up in Córdoba, Spain, and earned my B.S. in biotechnology at Francisco de Vitoria University, and my M.S. and Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Autonomous University of Madrid. My research goal is to find key structural determinants in transthyretin and tau proteins associated with their related diseases, using CryoEM and other techniques.


Rose Pedretti



Rose Pedretti

Graduate Student: Cell and Molecular Biology

I am from New York and earned my B.S. in biochemistry from Nazareth College. In the Saelices lab, I am developing cell-based models for transthyretin amyloidosis to exploit novel therapeutic strategies and to capture the complexity of the disease more effectively. Outside of research, I enjoy weightlifting, baking, and trying new cuisines.