Our Team!

We strive to build a diverse team that welcomes all and works together to do the science of our dreams.
See our and philosophy.

Willow Coyote-Maestas, Ph.D.
Willow Coyote-Maestas, Ph.D.
he/him/his
Principal Investigator
willow.coyote-maestas (at) ucsf.edu
0000-0001-9614-5340
Willow's Citations
@willowcoyote
coywil26

Willow graduated from the Evergreen State College with degrees in Chemistry and Environmental studies. As an undergraduate in Dr. Anitra Ingalls’s lab at the University of Washington, he studied how B vitamins mediate microbial interactions and diversity in the open ocean. For graduate school, Willow did his Ph.D. in Dr. Daniel Schmidt’s lab at the University of Minnesota, where he developed massively parallel sequencing-based methods to study and engineer membrane proteins proteins. Willow found mutational and insertional scanning methods can be useful for identifying regions of a protein involved in functionally meaningful conformational changes, developed mechanistic models for how to assemble protein domains to create useful multi-domain protein tools, and studied the evolution of ion channel regulation.

Near the end of his PhD, Willow moved to the SF Bay Area to be close to family for personal reasons and took up residence as a visitor in Dr. James Fraser’s lab at UCSF. Within mere weeks the Covid pandemic struck leading Willow to become stuck in the Bay Area and was convinced to stick around for a bit longer at UCSF as an HHMI Hanna Gray and QBI Fellow. In this role, Willow further developed mechanistic genetic screening approaches for studying how membrane proteins fold, traffic, function, and are regulated. This experience was a tremendous amount of fun and convinced both Willow and the UCSF community to make it an even longer term journey together when Willow was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF.

Overall, Willow is inspired to develop a deep and comprehensive molecular, cellular, and physiological understanding for how membrane proteins allows us to interact with the world around us, how they break to cause the diseases that ail us, and how we can better treat these diseases with therapeutics. More broadly Willow wants to keep growing, learning, and having fun through the scientific endeavor!

Outside of lab Willow enjoys spending time with dear friends and family, creating and listening to music, enjoying and making delicious food, and meandering through nature.


Shirlyne Ong
Shirlyne Ong
she/her/hers
Junior Specialist
Shirlyne.Ong (at) ucsf.edu

Shirlyne graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Microbiology. During her undergraduate studies, she did research abroad at Academia Sinica with Dr. Erh-Min Lai to understand the role of E. coli proteases in modulating the DNase toxins from Type VI secretion systems in A. tumefaciens. Other research projects include developing a cell-to-cell communication platform in tobacco plants using synthetic viruses that deliver CRISPR-designed gRNAs and using EcoFABS to study microbiome interactions in B. distachyon. Currently, Shirlyne is studying how mutations can impact the assembly of NMDA receptors in the neuron, which are essential for learning and memory. These mutations can lead to insight on how various neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with the receptor function.

Outside of lab, Shirlyne likes to explore new hiking trails, develop her food politics blog, and grab coffee with friends.


Rosa Sanchez
Rosa Sanchez
she/her/hers
Junior Specialist
Rosa.Sanchez (at) ucsf.edu

Rosa Sanchez received her bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As an undergraduate student, she worked in a Biochemistry and Chemistry Lab, under Michael Stone. Here, she learned about the telomeres and telomerase. One of her favorite parts was learning about shelterin proteins and purifying them!

Rosa really enjoys going on long walks, conversations over a cup of tea, and watching comedy. Her favorite foods are pozole and tacos.


Priyanka Bajaj, Ph.D.
Priyanka Bajaj, Ph.D.
she/her/hers
Postdoctoral Scholar
priyanka.bajaj (at) ucsf.edu
0000-0001-8474-6149
priyanka-bajaj-a81a40104
Priyanka's Citations
@Priyank67495046

Priyanka did her Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi and her Master’s in Biochemistry at the University of Hyderabad. She completed her Ph.D. from Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science under Prof. Raghavan Vardarajan. Her Ph.D. work involved developing high-thoughput screens for measuring the mutational sensitivity of the toxin component of the toxin-antitoxin system of E. coli. She carried out deep mutational scans of the site-saturation mutagenesis library and single-site synonymous mutant library of the toxin gene in operonic context.

In the Coyote-Maestas lab, Priyanka will perform deep mutational scanning on cancer-related proteins co-mentored by Dr. James Fraser.

Outside the lab, Priyanka likes to dance, go on adventurous trips and explore the city.


Matt’s research focuses on developing and using mutational scanning platforms to study GPCR biology with the goal of generating holistic models for how receptors work at the protein level, and how perturbations propagate across cell biology and physiology. Prior to UCSF, Matt graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in chemistry and biology. At WashU, Matt worked in the Jackrel Lab studying structure- function relationships in the disaggregase Hsp104 and strategies for disrupting biofilm- associated amyloids.


Christian Macdonald, Ph.D.
Christian Macdonald, Ph.D.
he/him/his
Postdoctoral Scholar
christian.macdonald (at) ucsf.edu
0000-0002-0201-8832
Profile
Christian's Citations
@protostasis
odcambc

Christian graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Mathematics and Biochemistry, where he conducted research in the total synthesis of marine natural products with Dr. George Pettit. Afterwards, he attended the University of Michigan for his Ph.D. in Biophysics. In Dr. Randy Stockbridge’s lab, he studied the evolution and function of a number of membrane protein families. As a postdoctoral fellow Chris is co-mentored by Dr. James Fraser working on developing deep mutational scanning molecular biology and computational pipelines and applying these to study the evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Outside of lab, he enjoys books, music, being outdoors and/or on a bike, and drinking too much coffee.


Catherine H. Shin
Catherine H. Shin
she/her/hers
Graduate Student, CCB
catherine.shin (at) ucsf.edu
0000-0001-7937-1338
Profile
Catherine's Citations

Catherine attended Simon Fraser University for her undergraduate studies and worked in the Warren lab investigating redox reactions in the blue copper protein azurin. For her PhD, she is co-mentored by Dr. Brian Shoichet and studies the mechanism of ligand-dependent GPCR activation to develop better therapeutics. When she is not thinking about science, Catherine enjoys taking photos, listening to podcasts, and visiting the different store cats throughout the city.


Donovan Trinidad
Donovan Trinidad
he/him/his
Graduate Student, BMS (F31 NRSA)
donovan.trinidad (at) ucsf.edu
0000-0002-1439-9927
donovan-trinidad-b97a3511b
Donovan's Citations

Donovan graduated from CUNY John Jay College with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, he worked under Dr. Nathan Lents to help develop a computational model that determined an individual’s time of death based on changes in the cadaver’s skin microbiome. Donovan is studying the structure-function relationship of the ESX-3 secretion system in M. smegmatis using mutational scanning approaches.

Outside of lab, Donovan enjoys watching movies, gaming, reading, and listening to music. He promises he isn’t ignoring you, he’s just wearing headphones and they’re hidden by his hair.

Donovan is supported by a Kirschstein NRSA (F31) fellowship from NIH/NIGMS.


Affiliates


2015 2020 Willow Jenna Donovan Christian Patrick Henry Matthew Priyanka Nicholas Shirlyne Rosa Catherine Principal investigator Postdoctoral fellow Graduate student Staff scientist Research specialist Summer student Visitor

Coyote-Maestas Lab Alumni


Patrick Rockefeller Grimes
Junior Specialist
he/him/his
2022 - 2023
Subsequently: Phd student at UCSF in Biophysics
0000-0002-5946-2926
patrick-rockefeller-grimes-851a14144


Nicholas Campbell
Summer Student
he/him/his
2023
Subsequently: Undergraduate @ Stanford University


Jenna Pellegrino, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, Biophysics (NSF GRFP)
she/her/hers
2021 - 2022
Subsequently: Scientist @ ArrePath
0000-0002-6212-395X
jenna-pellegrino-562ab2190
jepellegrino


Undergraduate Interns


Henry Gatica-Gutierrez - SRTP Student
he/him/his
2022
Subsequently: Phd student at Rice University in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology


Coyote-Maestas Lab Visitors