Alzoray D. Rojas Altuve

Research Specialist
Alzoray is a Venezuelan Biologist with a Masters Degree in Structural Biology from the Universidad Menedez Pelayo of Madrid. She has worked as a Lab Manager, Research Fellow and Research Assistant. Before joining our lab she was in charge of the High-throughput Crystallization Platform in the Department of Crystallography and Structural Biology of the CSIC in Spain for six years where she performed research on several projects related to host-pathogen interactions and antibiotic resistance in Gram-positive bacteria.  Alzoray works as a Research Specialist in the Avalos lab.

Rachel Barocio

Graduate Student
A proud Los Angeles native, Rachel wants to bring California vibes to Princeton. 

She earned a B.S. in Molecular Biology at UC Santa Cruz and worked on synthetic biology research at Harvard Medical School. Rachel's current research focuses on engineering bacteria for natural product synthesis, with different pretty color lights.

Additional interests of hers include: herb gardening, vintage shopping, practicing espanol, and continuously searching for local tea spots.

Jeremy D. Cortez

Graduate Student

Jeremy is inspired by the genomic and structural diversity of the microbial world, particularly the many neat molecular tools we, as humans, can utilize in our own biotechnological and research adventures.

He received his B.S. from the University of Texas-Arlington, where he studied microbiology and investigated the molecular biology of non-LTR retrotransposons. After graduation, Jeremy worked in quality control as a food microbiology specialist, and later researched endometrial cancer in beautiful Dallas, TX at UT-Southwestern Medical Center. During his free time he enjoys playing his trumpet/cello, cooking, and foraging for microbes around the local environment.

Follow him on twitter: @JeremyCortez3

Lisset A. Duran Rosario

Graduate Student

Lisset’s research involves understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to resistance in different extremophiles.


She received her B.S from John Jay College at CUNY in molecular biology. There she studied DNA Methylation in Breast Cancer. She has also done summer internships at Brown University studying Acute Lung Injury and at National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants at Morocco studying the medicinal property of plants.


On her free time, she enjoys painting and taking videos of waterbears.

Sergio Garcia Echauri

Postdoctoral Fellow
Sergio Garcia Echauri

Sergio's research focuses on synthetic biology for the production of recombinant proteins in cells and microorganisms such as microalgae. He is interested in understanding mechanisms that regulate transgene expression and applied sciences. In the Avalos Lab, Sergio has been establishing microalgae-based research and synthetic biology tools for the production of commodity chemicals and biofuels.

Sergio is originally from Ensenada, Mexico, He received his PhD in Engineering, with a specialization in biotechnology, from Instituto Tecnológico Y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico.

Chris Gonzalez

Graduate Student

Chris works on developing new technologies to control engineered metabolisms in yeast at the protein level.

Shannon Hoffman

Graduate Student
Shannon's research focuses on using yeast to more sustainably and efficiently produce proteins that we traditionally source from animals. She is originally from Ohio, where she received her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton.  Out of the lab, she enjoys hiking, playing the piano, and popping off in League of Legends.  She is a proud guinea pig mother.

Therese (Tess) Kichuk

Graduate Student

Tess is an MD/PhD student interested in mitochondrial dysfunction as a common feature of both metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Her research applies metabolic engineering approaches to studies of cellular and organelle function.

Tess received a B.A. in biochemistry from Barnard College and attended Robert Wood Johnson Medical School prior to joining the Avalos Group. Outside of the lab, she enjoys performing and spending time with her family.  

José Montaño López

Graduate Student

José currently works on systems biology of yeast branched-chain alcohol production. He is originally from Mexico where he received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He likes hiking, watching soccer and eating authentic Mexican tacos.

Saurabh Malani

Graduate Student

Saurabh is a Singaporean chemical engineer with a Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He is interested in the intersection of computation and experiments in biology, and currently works on developing neural network models for metabolic engineering. He's most commonly found at a quaint little coffee shop or aimlessly wandering through the city. He is co-advised by Dr. Yannis Kevrekidis.

Allison Tang

Graduate Student
Allison is interested in engineering protein systems for applications in metabolic engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Caltech. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, solving puzzles, and exploring the city.

Mack Walls

Graduate Student

Mack is interested in designing controllable clustering systems in vivo to perturb cellular processes. He is co-advised by Dr. Cliff Brangwynne.

Outside of lab, he is interested in beer brewing, board games, hiking, and climbing.

Scott Wegner

Graduate Student

Scott’s research interests involve genomic and protein engineering in the context of metabolic engineering, with a particular focus on the production of complex molecules from microorganisms. Scott received his bachelors from Arizona State University where he double majored in psychology and biochemistry. Following graduation, Scott worked as a research associate at UCSF, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of drugs of abuse focusing on rodent models of alcohol addiction.

Kevin Xu

Graduate Student

Kevin is interested in engineering multiphase synthetic organelle systems. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Outside of lab, he likes fencing, skiing, and enjoying good food. He is co-advised by Dr. Cliff Brangwynne.