Meet Our Team

Principal Investigator

Flora Rutaganira

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Developmental Biology

Flora received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Davis and her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from UC San Francisco under the mentorship of Prof. Kevan Shokat. In 2017, she became fascinated by choanoflagellates and joined the laboratory of Prof. Nicole King at UC Berkeley as an HHMI Hanna Gray Postdoctoral Fellow. Based on her research on choanoflagellate kinase signaling in the King lab, Flora started her lab, the FUNR lab (from Flora’s government name: Florentine Uwamahoro Novotny Rutaganira) to study the origin of cell communication in animals at Stanford University in the departments of Biochemistry and Developmental Biology. She hopes that the work in her lab will uncover how molecule sensing was integrated with core signaling pathways during the evolution of animals, and uncover core principles of animal cell signaling.

Email: FUNR[at]stanford.edu

Fellows

Scott Berger

New Science Fellow

I am a Biophysics PhD candidate that studies cell cycle timing & genome replication in ichthyosporeans and choanoflagellates.

Open Position

Postdoc / Staff Scientist

We have an open position for a postdoc or staff scientist in the laboratory. Email Flora (FUNR[at]stanford.edu) with a CV and cover letter if interested.

Graduate Students

María Nguyễn

Biology

I study the role of Src signaling in choanoflagellate biology.

Jia Zheng Woo

Biochemistry

I study the functions of lectins in choanoflagellate biology.
My favorite protist: Symbiodinium
Email: jiazwoo[at]stanford.edu

Nils Dormanns

U.Hannover-Microbiology

I am uncovering the ancestry of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Receptor signaling in Salpingoeca rosetta with structural biology and dominant negative mutants.
My favorite protist: Lacymaria olor
Email: dormanns[at]stanford.edu

Open Positions​

Stanford Rotations

We have positions open for Stanford graduate students in the biosciences and chemistry. Email Flora (FUNR[@]stanford.edu) to schedule a meeting.

Post-Baccalaureate Researchers

Yvette Morales

Life Sciences professional

I study choanoflagellate-bacterial symbioses.

Iliana Hernandez

Life Sciences assistant

I am developing protocols to study Src in choanoflagellates.

Viky Villanueva

CHEM-H/IMA Postbac

I study the function of SH2 signaling domains in choanoflagellates.

I am developing selectable transgenic markers in choanoflagellates.

Rotation Students

Hannah Reeves

Biochemistry

I study the role of focal adhesion kinase in choanoflagellate biology
Email: hlreeves[at]stanford.edu

Open Positions

Stanford Rotations

We have positions open for Stanford graduate students in the biosciences and chemistry. Email Flora (FUNR[at]stanford.edu) to schedule a meeting.

Former Team Members

Name (Position, Academic Year)

Emma Esterman (Graduate Student Rotation, 2023)

© Florentine Rutaganira

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