The Cristea Lab: Beyond the Bench

Group outings, personal accomplishments, worldwide travelers, and community at the Cristea Lab.

The Cristea Lab: Beyond the Bench

  • 2022_bokai-cao-wedding

    Bokai & Cao are married!

    We're so happy for both of you!

  • 2022_dawei-shiyi-wedding_crop

    Dawei & Shiyi are married!

    Congrats to the happy couple!

  • 202111_lab_pottery_trip

    Lab pottery extravaganza!

    Wine and art with friends—doesn't get better than that!

  • 2021 Lab BBQ Group Photo

    End of summer Lab BBQ!

    The lab took a break from grilling to pose for another great group photo.

  • 2021 surprise party ileana

    The lab throws Ileana a surprise party!

    To honor her recent endowed professorship, we surprised her with cake, champagne, and a round of labmate speeches. Cheers!!

  • ileana and louie on a walk in PA

    Ileana and Louie hit the trail

    Dodging (Ileana) or snacking on (Louie) some of those Brood X cicadas

  • 2021 hopewell

    Celebration of our fully-vaccinated reality at Hopewell Valley Vineyards!

    Doubling as Xinlei's PhD graduation party, we spent a few hours basking in the sun, wine, and joy of a new life chapter.

  • michelle matt engaged

    Michelle and Matt are engaged!

    The proposal happened on the Big Island of Hawaii (pictured: Pololu Canyon, minutes after). So excited for you guys!!

  • 2021 march picnic

    Sun's out, buns out

    (Hotdog buns, of course) -- can you spot the puppy?

  • Louie doggo

    Meet our newest lab member: the paw-some Louie!

    Ileana & Juha adopted this handsome doggo, obviously selected for his potential as a data scientist.

  • picnic 2020

    The lab gathers for a socially-distanced picnic at Mercer County Park

    Members both in-person and virtual (see Laura's phone) spent an afternoon of much-needed company in the beautiful NJ outdoors.

  • 2020-utah

    Ileana and Juha escape to Moab, Utah for some outdoor adventures

    They even drove across the entire country to get there!

  • cat-paper

    Cristea Lab pets become multi-disciplinary virologists

    It's one way to absorb the material... (pictured: Copper - Katelyn, Tim, & Michelle's household cat)

  • hopewell 2019

    Everyone stops and admires our fabulous leader, Ileana

    Because she's the best.

  • kt-wedding

    Lab heads to Colorado for Katelyn & Tim's wedding!

    Lab members from across the years traveled across the country to celebrate with the two Cristea Lab grad students

  • apples

    Our annual apple-picking trip was filled with fat cats, cider donuts, and parades of pea hens

    It also was over 80 F, but we'll pretend it felt like fall anyways.

  • todd wedding

    Todd & Liz get married!

    Pierre, Carla, Ileana, Juha, Krystal, Joel, & Ava pictured at the celebrations

  • laura-bryan-wedding-group

    Congrats to the newlyweds - Laura & Bryan!

    The lab headed out to the Princeton cathedral to celebrate our labmate's big day

  • group-2019

    The lab takes a group photo outside of their lab

    Just because... why not?

  • 2019winepaint

    Cristea Lab gets artistic once again

    Our paintings of the Blair Arch in Princeton were slightly improved by a bit of wine.

  • terhune 2018

    The lab looks absolutely adorable in their fall flannels

    Captured during a trip to Terhune Orchards for some very fall-festive farm life.

  • Universal 2018

    Tim, Katelyn, Krystal, Laura, and Joel & Ava (not pictured) experience the magic of Harry Potter World in Orlando!

    To bookend the HUPO 2018 World Congress, they spent a day exploring Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley - butterbeers in hand!

  • lab bbq 2018

    Lab BBQ 2018

    Friends, family, and lab mates at the annual Cristea Lab BBQ at Ileana and Juha's house, July 2018

  • Tim and Bokai in DC

    Tim, Bokai, Cora, and Katelyn explore Washington, D.C.

    A patriotic follow-up to the ASV 2018 conference at the U of Maryland.

  • engagement

    Laura and Bryan are engaged!

    We are so excited for your future - congrats, you two! June 2018

  • Reunions2018

    The lab hits up Princeton Reunions

    Katelyn (left), Elizabeth (center), and Tim (right) shared beers with Clayton and Caroline, former undergrads from the lab!

  • pranav_cape town

    Pranav participates in a medical internship in Zimbabwe

    and gets some traveling done to bookend the experience (pictured: Cape Town, July 2018)

  • Cristea Lab painting event

    Can you paint a herpesvirus?

    And you have to use neon paint underneath blacklights. It's open for interpretation...

  • 100 Papers Dinner

    Cristea Lab 100 Papers Celebration!

    Complete with matching t-shirts (design by Katelyn). February 2018

  • apple picking 2017

    Apple picking, Cristea Lab style

    Selfies at Terhune Orchards, NJ, November 2017

  • K&T engagement

    Katelyn & Tim get engaged in Germany!

    Even graduate school can't keep these PhD students apart. June 2017

  • laser tag

    Laser battle of the decade

    The lab pitted themselves against each other in an epic battle of wills, cardio, and sharp-shootin' madness

  • Lab photo

    The lab goes wine tasting

    Hopewell Valley Vineyards (our favorite), April 2017

  • wedding

    Pierre and Carla tie the knot!

    At a beautiful wedding in Puerto Rico. What a gorgeous couple! February 18th, 2017

  • GNP

    Ileana & Juha explore Glacier National Park

    Ileana and Juha added Glacier to their National Parks checklist - complete with absolutely stunning views!

  • Ileana's full professor

    Ileana advances to full professorship at Princeton University!

    Ileana addresses the lab at Masa Sushi in celebration of her advancement. Cheers!

Graduations and Farewells

  • Tim FPO Group Photo

    Dr. Timothy Howard graduates with his PhD!

    Tim defended his thesis and will now begin a career in consulting. We're excited for you, Tim!

  • Tim FPO Cake

    The Howard Cake: IFI16 indiscriminately binds viral genomes to suppress infection

    We celebrated by indiscriminately devouring this cake--delicious!

  • xinlei grad montage

    Dr. Xinlei Sheng graduates with his PhD!

    We celebrated Dr. Sheng's accomplishments all weekend long with family and friends.

  • Xinlei cake

    The Sheng Cake: HCMV-driven modulation of the mitochondrial acetylome

    It was a carrot cake shared cheerfully together with some champagne. Cheers, Xinlei!

  • laura grad collage

    Congratulations, Dr. Laura Murray-Nerger!

    Laura defended her PhD and will soon leave us for Harvard Medical School in Boston. We're excited for you, Laura!

  • Dr. Murray-Nerger cake

    The Dr. Murray-Nerger graduation cake: acetylation of the nuclear lamina

    (it also tasted delicious, with raspberry filling)

  • lum

    Congratulations Dr. Krystal Lum!!

    Krystal defended her thesis and was awarded her PhD, soon to head to her Post Doc at U Penn. Congrats!!

  • lum-cake

    The Lum cake - the dynamics of nuclear DNA sensing

    Dr. Lum had a good mix of her favorite protein (IFI16) and (one of) her favorite bunnies, Smoosh

  • pierre's grad

    Pierre becomes Dr. Jean Beltran!

    Congrats Pierre - and good luck in Boston!

  • pierre's cake

    The Jean Beltran cake - viruses manipulate cellular organization

    Pierre's cake featured the cover design art (painted by his wife, Carla) from one of his papers.

  • ElizabethGrad_Lab

    Elizabeth officially becomes Dr. Rowland!

    Lab members past & present gathered to wish Elizabeth farewell and good luck. Cheers!

  • rowland cake

    The Rowland Cake - SIRT4 evolutionary conservation!

    Elizabeth's cake was decorated with a figure from her recent review.

  • marni grad

    Congrats! Marni defends her thesis and becomes Dr. Crow!

    Marni has accepted a position at Precept Medical Communications in NJ and promises to return for the annual BBQ!

  • marni_cake

    The Crow Cake - Nuclear DNA Sensing (in 3D)

    Marni's grad cake was printed with an impressive 3D figure that she had made and often included in her presentations.

  • bens_grad

    Congrats to Dr. Benjamin Diner!

    Ben heads to Boston for a position at Editas Medicine. We'll miss him!

  • bens_cake

    The Diner Cake - IP-MS Interactome

    Ben (AKA Dr. BAD) had his cake decorated with an exquisite IP-MS interactome that was his crowning achievement of grad school.

November 2021 - Lab attempts pottery

To take a break from a hectic fall, the lab decided to let out their "right-brains" and try their hands at pottery. Some were better than others, but everyone had a great time!

September 2021 - Lab BBQ!

As summer comes to an end, the Cristea Lab went "camping." This brief escape from civilization was met with good food, good drinks, and good company. Time to break out the flannel!

August 2021 - Good donuts for healthy brains

Ileana brings the lab out-of-this-world delicious donuts from the Amish farmers market (multiple times), and the science gets noticeably better. A direct result, to be sure.

June 2021 - Lab happy hour returns!

Thanks to Cora, our spontaneous lab happy hours have returned, beginning with Wisconsin Old Fashioneds --making evening bench work just a bit more exciting ;)

June 2021 - Fully-vaxxed party at Hopewell Valley Vineyards (+ celebrating Xinlei's PhD defense)

Complete with beautiful summer weather, we spent an afternoon of wine, pizza, and mask-less fun at the local Hopewell Valley Vineyards celebrating Xinlei's accomplishments and our fully-vaxxed privelege. Yay!

March 2021 - Spring celebration of Laura's graduation

The sun emerged and so did our picnic blankets, ready to celebrate Laura's PhD defense and gain some well-earned quality time together. Congrats, Laura, and happy spring!

March 2021 - Ileana and Juha welcome Louis to the family!

To clarify, Louis is an entirely-too-adorable black laborador puppy. 

February 2021 - Dawei and Shiyi are engaged!

It was an adorable Valentine's Day scavenger hunt proposal, and we could not be more thrilled you guys have found each other! Cheers!

January-February 2021 - Virtual lab gatherings, continued

When it's too cold to meet outside, we can entertain ourselves by fabulous attempts at online pictionary and Cityguesser (an especially wonderful event hosted by our lovely undergrads, Elene & Julia).

December 2020 - Lab Trivia Night, So you call yourself a scientist...?

Katelyn & Tim put together 4 rounds of science trivia, ranging from science history, geological time scales, and genomics. An excellent use of Zoom for a Friday night! 

October 2020 - Picnic Number Two Electric Boogaloo

Featuring even more lawn games and personalized MolBio picnic blankets!

September 2020 - Todd & Liz introduce a new little one into the world!

Their baby boy was born this month, and we are SO so happy for them! We look forward to hearing about all their adventures as new parents, and anxiously await the day when he can use a pipette... ;)

August 2020 - Socially-distanced picnic at Mercer County Park

Toting our folding chairs, favorite canned beverages, and lawn games, we gathered in the great green outdoors to enjoy some truly valued company and compare our mask styles.

July 2020 - Celebrating independence (and the mostly-over social quarantine) 

Multiple lab members gathered for a socially-distanced outdoor picnic, complete with groundhog visitors and non-virtual (yay!) interactions

April 2020 - Lab members' pets become expert virologists

Or at least we assume they are, as they keep disrupting our virtual lab meetings with their cute furry faces

March 2020 - Hiking at Sourland Mountain Preserve

Well, we planned to challenge our hamstrings and lungs with an early spring hike, but COVID-19 had other ideas... we encouraged each other to take walks outside instead :)

February 2020 - Cora continues her hamster-mediated grad school therapy

What we mean by this is that she adopted her second hamster, Sebastian, and is NOT using him for MERS research. Sebastian is much more fitness-conscious than her first hamster, Wilson, and loves spinning on his wittle hamster wheel all night long.

December 2019 - Holiday party extravaganza

The dancing competition was fierce this year, and we successfully provided more "real food" than desserts (for perhaps the first time ever)

November 2019 - Third Annual Gingerbread Competition

With some of the most intense competition and spectacular presentations to date, Room #3 won this year with an alien archeological dig of the Cristea Laboratory.

October 2019 - Farewell to Krystal & Joel at Hopewell Valley Vineyards

As two of our absolute core lab members head to their futures, the lab copes with the impending loss by having a winery party.

October 2019 - Katelyn & Tim's wedding!

The third and final Cristea Lab wedding of the year was between two of our graduate students, and many lab members traveled to Colorado to celebrate.

October 2019 - Annual Terhune Orchards visit

Xinlei narrowly avoided a pea hen massacre, and we opted for some iced cider this year in the face of 85 degree heat.

August 2019 - Cora and Ileana bookend FASEB with a European adventure

As FASEB was held in Portugal this year, both Cora and Ileana took advantage of the location with some post-conference travel.

July 2019 - Laura & Bryan are married!

For lab wedding #2 of 2019, many labmates celebrated with Laura & Bryan in the pristine Princeton Chapel and later at Hopewell Vineyards (a lab favorite).

July 2019 - Todd & Liz tie the knot!

Many lab members attended the festivities, which was set in the beautiful summer hills of Connecticut.

July 2019 - Michelle, Tim, Katelyn, & Matt spend the weekend in Brooklyn

The three lab mates and Matt took some time to explore Williamsburg and celebrate the US Women's National Team's World Cup victory!

June 2019 - Cristea Lab & Friends Summer BBQ

The rain held off long enough for us to get in some pretty intense rounds of badminton, listen to Bokai's amazing guitar skills, and eat & drink to our hearts' content!

May 2019 - Jaime, Tim, & Katelyn embark on their summer pool adventures

The fitness junkies plan to take full advantage of their gym's pool through September.

March 2019 - Todd & Liz are engaged!

We are so excited for you two! Cheers and best wishes!

March 2019 - Wine & Paint Round #2

This time we applied our paintbrushes to capturing the Blair Arch, a famous Princeton landmark - hosted again by the absolutely excellent Painter's Loft in Pennington, NJ.

March 2019 - Entire lab travels to Washington, D.C.!

Though there for lots of learning and networking at US HUPO, the lab members found time to get soup dumplings, play Mario Kart, celebrate with drinks, and eat way too much BBQ in downtown D.C.

December 2018 - Annual holiday party!

Highlight this year was definitely the charades, though it turns out some of the lab members have never seen Star Wars *gasp*

December 2018 - Gingerbread house contest 2.0, bigger and better!

This year saw gingerbread representations of a resort in the Riviera Maya and Ileana and Juha's hosue under construction, complete with a bear in the backyard (?!) - and Lab Room 2 took home the cup again!

October 2018 - Annual apple picking (and East Coast Autumn Extravaganza) excursion to Terhune Orchards

Our apple sacks were fat, but not quite as fat as the Farm Store cats...

October 2018 - the enjoys a night of music and wine to celebrate Pierre's graduation with his family at Hopewell Vineyards

Warm pizza, wines of all types, a live jazz band, family, and friends! Sending Pierre off in style.

October 2018 - Joel, Krystal, Laura, Katelyn, and Tim experience the magic of Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando after HUPO 2018

Broomsticks, butterbeers, wand shops, dragons, chocolate frogs... and Mickey Mouse, princesses, Space Mountain, dinosaurs, and lions! Oh my!

July 2018 - Cristea Lab Annual BBQ

Brats, ribs, beer, wine, mochi, and badminton - plus a surprise car show courtesty of Todd.

July 2018 - Tim, Bokai, Cora, and Katelyn explore Washington, D.C. after the ASV 2018 conference

Smithsonians, the Capitol, Library of Congress, and (of course) some street gyros.

July 2018 - Laura and Bryan take a trip to London and Stockholm

And just in time for the unusually warm (and dry) London weather, in addition to celebrating their engagement.

May-July 2018 - Pranav travels through Africa and Europe on his way to a medical internship in Zimbabwe

He hit up Heidelberg (Germany), Cape Town (South Africa), and Abu Dhabi, as well as places like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. 

June 2018 - Laura and Bryan are engaged!

We are so excited for you two - congratulations, love is in the Cristea Lab air!

March 2018 - Michelle joins the lab

Welcome to our newest graduate student, Michelle Kennedy, who continues the Coloradoan trend in the lab and also enjoys fancy coffee.

February 2018 - 100 Papers Celebration!

The Cristea Lab hit the 100 published papers mark, and celebrated with some matching festive t-shirts, wine & paint (artistic representations of herpesviruses), Italian cuisine, and cake in Lambertville, NJ.

February 2018 - Pranav performs in the Princeton Breakdancing Group

Complete with handstands and lots of talent - Laura (his mentor) went to cheer him on!

December 2017 - Christmas Party

The dance competition had an upset this year, with Laura hailed as our reigning champion (Elizabeth finally dethroned).

December 2017 - Gingerbread house contest

The guest judges (Juha, Liz, and Ava) awarded the Lab Cup to Room 2 for their exquisite gingerbread rendition of their lab space and the MS orbitrap, leaving Room 1 (a perfectly-constructed gingerbread village made with great attention to detail) with 2nd place and Room 3 (the Two Towers from Lord of the Rings, complete with steaming dry ice) with 3rd place.

November 2017 - Apple picking at Terhune Orchards

Including lots of interesting selfies involving apples on heads. 

September 2017 - Katelyn wins design for the Princeton MolBio Retreat t-shirt and Confocal Imaging Facility logo

With a focus on model organisms (t-shirt) and pixelation (microscopy core). Congrats!

August 2017 - Annual Lab BBQ

Delicious food and excellent company, plus a surprise dirt pit in the yard.

July 2017 - Krystal adopts her 4th bunny

It was arguably a questionable choice, but at least this one isn't handicapped.

June 2017 - Katelyn and Tim backpack Europe and get engaged!

The engagement happened in the middle of Lake Konigssee, Germany (congrats you two!), but they also saw Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich, Wurzburg, and Prague. 

March 2017 - Cora, Katelyn, and Tim join the lab

This year we get 3 new graduate students - Cora (from Minnesota and loves her hamster, Wilson), Katelyn (from Colorado and loves her cat, Copper), and Tim (also from Colorado and loves memes).

March 2017 - the Lab has an epic laser shootout @ Colonial B&E

There was some cardio involved, and a lot of shrieking, but mostly well-honed sharpshootin' *pew pew*

Feburary 2017 - Pierre and Carla get married in Puerto Rico!

Ileana, Juha, Todd, and Liz flew down for the occasion - it was quite the celebration! Warmest wishes and congratulations to the absolutely beautiful couple.