The Troemel Lab

Emily Troemel
Principal Investigator

Office: 4202 Bonner Hall
e-mail: etroemel
office phone: (858) 246-0708

University of Wisconsin, Madison, B.S.
University of California, San Francisco Ph.D.
Renovis, Inc. Scientist
MGH/Harvard Med, Postdoctoral fellowship
UC San Diego Faculty 2008


Vladimir Lažetić
Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Belgrade, B.S./M.S./D.V.M.
University of Wyoming, Ph.D.
American Heart Association Fellow


Spencer Gang
Postdoctoral Fellow

Santa Clara University, B.S.
UC San Diego IRACDA fellow


Nicole Wernet
Postdoctoral Fellow

Philipps  University Marburg, BSc
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, MSc
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, PhD


Lakshmi Batachari
PhD Student

Harvey Mudd College, B.S.


Mario Bardan Sarmiento
Lab Manager

Texas State University, B.S.


Katie Li
Undergraduate Research Assistant

UC San Diego, B.S. (Expected 2023)

Deevya Raman
Undergraduate Research Assistant

UC San Diego, B.S. (Expected 2023)

Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows:
Cheng-Ju Kuo, PhD: Postdoctoral Fellow at Sanford Burnham Prebys

Eillen Tecle, PhD: Asst Prof at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Jessica Sowa, PhD: Asst Prof at West Chester University

Johan Panek, PhD: Marie Curie Fellow at U of Newcastle

Aaron Reinke, PhD: Asst Prof at U of Toronto

Michael Botts, PhD: Research Scientist at Genus

Malina Bakowski, PhD: Investigator at CALIBR

Margery Smelkinson, PhD: Staff Scientist at NIH

Amy Ma, PhD: Asst Prof, Drexel University

Katie Estes, PhD

Project Scientists:
Kirthi Reddy, PhD: Research Scientist at the Salk Institute

Visiting Computational Biologist:
Ryan Underwood, PhD: Bioinformatician at Naval Health Research Center

PhD Students:
Robert Luallen NSF GRFP fellow and NSF GROW fellow
Currently: Asst Professor, San Diego State University

Keir Balla NSF GRFP fellow
Currently: Postdoctoral fellow, University of Utah

Suzy Szumowski NSF GRFP fellow
Currently: Product Support Scientist, Illumina

Tiffany Dunbar Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recipient
Currently: Postdoctoral fellow, San Diego State University

Lianne Cohen
Currently: Postdoctoral fellow, UC Irvine

Master’s Students:
Theresa Bui
Currently: College of Medicine, University of Arizona

Crystal Chhan: PhD Candidate at the University of Washington Seattle

Bretta McCall

Ivana Sfarcic

Erin Daniels

Tal Dror

Zhi (Jean) Yan, MD

Visiting Scholars:
Cheng-Ju Kuo

Tian Li, PhD

Undergraduate Researchers
and Assistants:
Ian Baick

Michael Blanchard

Kealia Attaway

Chris Pham

Vanessa Lei

Lakshmi Somasundaram

Noelle Ying

Jennie Huynh

Aelita Meng

Fengting Wu

Grace Sek

Cristina Monterroza

Sirena Louie

Chelsea Herrmann

Chris Probert

John Popovich

David Nguyen

Vicky Cao

Peter Nguy




Click for an interactive map of UCSD!

Lab Address: UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr, #0349
4205 Bonner Hall
La Jolla, CA 92093-0349
Lab Phone: (858) 246-0882

Professor Troemel received her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1992, and her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of California, San Francisco in 1999. For her PhD thesis work she identified and characterized the first chemosensory receptors in the nematode C. elegans and used them to understand the logic of behavioral responses to odors, as well as how neuronal identity is established. After a brief postdoc studying visual motion detection in Drosophila, she helped launch a start-up biotech company in South San Francisco where she studied questions of neuronal identity, neuroinflammation and performed drug screening in mammalian systems. After this company went public, she returned to academic research to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Mass General/Harvard Med, where she identified the first natural pathogen of C. elegans. She named this pathogen Nematocida parisii, and it defined a new genus and species of microsporidia, which are priority pathogens of medical and agricultural significance. Here in her own lab at UC San Diego, she is using this natural host/pathogen system to investigate the host response to intracellular infection. Recent findings include describing how a common transcriptional response to N. parisii and a natural RNA virus constitute a new immune/stress response.


Outside of lab Prof. Troemel enjoys swimming in the ocean and taking videos of turtles, sharks and other sea life, as well as heading to the mountains or desert for climbing. She also has an active meditation practice and has taken teacher training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness.
Vladimir is currently working on two projects that will improve our knowledge about regulation of the innate immune response in C. elegans. In the first project, he is characterizing the function of the predicted transcription factor ZIP-1, to understand how it regulates the intracellular pathogen response. In the second project, Vladimir is uncovering the roles of uncharacterized pals gene family members in immunity.
Spencer is working on two projects in the lab. In one, he is investigating how the IPR-induced CUL-6 cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase complex promotes enhanced proteostasis capacity in response to stress. In the second, he is trying to understand the pals gene family, which have unknown biochemical functions, and their importance in regulation of the IPR and potential role in innate immune response to intracellular pathogens.
I’m currently investigating how host purine metabolites and the adenosine deaminase (adah-1), a metabolic enzyme of the purine salvage pathway, regulate the Intracellular Pathogen Response (IPR). In my main project I will look into the transcriptional regulation of the IPR and hope to identify transcription factors and regulators involved in the regulation of this response.
Lakshmi is interested in uncovering the immune signaling components that regulate host-virus interactions at the epithelial barrier. During viral infection in C. elegans, activation of the Intracellular Pathogen Response (IPR) is dependent on DRH-1, a homolog to mammalian pattern recognition receptor RIG-I. By defining how DRH-1 mediates viral detection and IPR activation, Lakshmi is excited to elucidate the evolutionary conservation or rewiring of RIG-I signaling in epithelial cells. 
In addition to lab maintenance and reagent prep, Mario is working to characterize the role of autophagy in the increased thermotolerance of pals-22 mutants. Furthermore, he is researching the effects of lysosomal inhibition on the increased resistance of pals-22 mutants to N. parisii.
Katie is a lab assistant in the Troemel lab, and fulfills requests for reagents, plates, and other consumables. Katie employs sterile technique in reagent prep to facilitate downstream experiments conducted by other lab members.
Deevya is working with Spencer, a postdoc in the lab, to further characterize how and when pals-25 activates IPR gene expression in the absence of pals-22.