Research Scientist

Stephen Hinshaw, PhD

Stephen earned his Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School in 2016. There, he studied chromosome segregation and was a member Stephen Harrison’s laboratory and the Program in Genetics and Genomics. As a postdoctoral fellow, Stephen used cryo-electron microscopy to determine structures of large inner kinetochore protein assemblies. During this time, he was an HHMI fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation at Harvard Medical School and a visiting postdoctoral fellow at Janelia Research Campus in the laboratory of Niko Grigorieff. Stephen, who is originally from the Bay Area, returned to join the Gray laboratory at Stanford in 2021. He is interested in developing tools and therapeutics to perturb mitosis.

Zhengnian Li, PhD

Zhengnian received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from GIBH, CAS (China) in 2016. After post-doctoral training focusing on the discovery of kinase inhibitors of TNK1/2, CDK11 and EGFR, and development of anti-viral inhibitors against Dengue and Zika, and degrader molecules for BTK, Wee1 in Nathanael Gray lab of Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine. Then, Zhengnian was promoted to research scientist in 2022. He is interested in developing of small-molecule inhibitors for cancer, as well as developing bifunctional small molecules induced proximity of the native system.

Wenchuan Liang, PhD

Wen received her PhD in biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After post-doctoral training in the Biochemistry Department at Stanford University, she worked for the Department of Developmental Biology, the Stem Cell Institute, and the Stanford Cancer Institute (as Senior Research Scientist). Wen has been interested in cancer research and worked on projects including exploring imaging markers for tumor boundaries, potential oncolytic viral therapies, and therapeutic targets for HER2+ breast cancer. She joined the Gray Lab in 2021 to help manage the lab.

Jinhua Wang, PhD

Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Utah State University in 2006 where her project involved development of carbohydrate-based antibacterial and anti-viral agents. After post-doctoral training focusing on synthesis of glycolipids and development of anti-HIV inhibitors in The Ohio State University and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Wang joined Gray lab in 2008 and was promoted to research scientist in 2012. Dr. Wang is working on developing and optimizing small molecule inhibitors of kinases, including mTor, ALK, EphA2, ERK5, and SIK.

Tinghu Zhang, PhD

Dr. Zhang is a senior scientist at Cancer Institute of Stanford. Dr. Zhang is an experienced medicinal chemist and chemical biologist. Dr. Zhang leads and supervises drug discovery projects with the targets of kinases and transcription regulators. His research focuses on the discovery of covalent modality and protein degradation. Prio to Stanford, Dr. Zhang was a senior scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he has led the discoveries of covalent inhibitor of CDK7, CDK12/13, JNK, PIP4K, MKK4, Src and TEAD and degrader molecules for CDK12, CDK4/6, FGFR1/2, CDK2/5 et al. Under his leadership, Dr. Zhang has contributed several prototype chemical leads for further drug development including THZ1. Dr. Zhang was also a chemistry group leader at the Center of Protein Degradation (CPD) of Dana-Farber from 2018 to 2021. Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D on chemistry from USTC (China) in 2004.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Xianmixinuer Abulaiti, PhD

Xianmixinuer received her PhD in Cell Biology from Peking University in 2017 under the supervision of Prof. Lingsong Li. Her Ph.D. works mainly focus on cellular processes that drive neurological disorders. After receiving her PhD, she worked on the dynamics of stress granules in the etiology and pathology of human disease. Xianmixinuer joined Gray lab in October, 2022 as a postdoctoral scholar. She is interested in development of protein degradation as a means of targeting undruggable proteins for inhibition.

Woong Sub Byun, PhD

Woong Sub received his Ph.D. in College of Pharmacy Seoul National University in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Sang Kook Lee. During his Ph.D., he focused on discovering anticancer agents from bioactive natural products or related synthetic compounds and further elucidating their underlying molecular mechanism in various cancers. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Seoul National University for a year and focused on research about cancer drug resistance and metastasis. He joined Gray lab in April, 2022 as a postdoctoral scholar, and he is interested in the development of small-molecule inhibitors and degraders as novel therapeutics for cancer and inflammation.

Brendan Dwyer, PhD

Brendan received his Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute in 2022 under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Adibekian. During his Ph.D., Brendan developed chemoproteomic methods for activity-based and reactivity-based protein profiling of photoswitchable serine hydrolase inhibitors and of kinetically tunable clickable cysteine probes. Furthermore, he also performed natural product target identification for novel anticancer and degradation-based therapeutic strategies. Brendan joined Prof. Gray’s laboratory as a postdoctoral scholar interested in developing novel cancer therapeutics through targeted chemically induced proximity strategies.

Qixiang Geng, PhD

Qixiang received his PhD in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, CAS in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Dawei Ma. His PhD studies mainly focused on the divergent synthesis of hetidine-type C20-diterpenoid alkaloids. Qixiang joined Prof. Nathanael Gray‘s lab in April 2022 and he is currently a postdoctoral scholar.

Muhammad Murtaza Hassan, MSc, PhD

Murtaza is a chemical biologist that joined the Gray Lab in July 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher. He developed his love for medicinal chemistry and chemical biology at the undergraduate level at the University of Toronto which then motivated him to pursue an MSc (York University, Supervisor: Prof. Edward Lee-Ruff, 2017) and PhD (University of Toronto, Supervisor: Patrick T. Gunning, 2021) in the field. His PhD work involved the development of some of the most potent and selective HDAC8 inhibitors known-to-date. It incorporated inhibitors with L-shaped conformational constraints to compliment the L-shaped HDAC8 pocket. His current work at the Gray Lab revolves around the development of first-in-class covalent inhibitors for recently discovered epigenetic targets that have been shown to synergize with anticancer immunotherapy. Additionally, he is interested in developing small-molecule chemoproteomic tools that can potentially expand our ability to target otherwise undruggable proteins, by using protein-protein interactions for cross-labelling/drugging interacting proteins.

Wenzhi Ji, PhD

Wenzhi received her Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from School of Pharmaceutical Science Tsinghua University in 2018 under the supervision of Professor Xuebin Liao. During his Ph.D. he focused on total synthesis of natural products and developing novel methodologies to access bioactive molecules. After post-doctoral training focusing on developing new protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors in Zhong-Yin Zhang’s lab in Purdue University, he joined Gray lab in 2020. Currently he is working on development new therapeutics targeting cancer treatment.

Tian Qiu , PhD

Tian was born in Wuhan, China. He did undergraduate study in Tsinghua University (B.SC., 2009-2013) and then served as a research assistant in Prof. Yan-mei Li’s lab (2014-2016). Then he did his Ph.D. studies at the University of Chicago in Prof. Bryan Dickinson lab (2017-2022), with the focus on developing chemical tools for protein S-palmitoylation studies and novel proximity dependent labeling techniques. He joined Prof. Nathanael Gray’s lab in October 2022 as postdoctoral researcher.

Roman Sarott, PhD

Roman earned his PhD at ETH Zürich in May 2021. His doctoral research under the supervision of Prof. Erick M. Carreira focused on the development of fluorescent and photoswitchable probes for the study of cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. Roman joined the Gray laboratory as a postdoctoral scholar in November 2021. He is interested in targeted, posttranslational protein modification using chemical inducers of proximity in the context of novel cancer therapeutics. 


Lushun Wang, PhD

Lushun received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the School of Chemical Biology and Biotechnology at Peking University under the supervision of Professor Tao Ye. During his Ph.D. he focused on total syntheses of marine natural products. After post-doctoral training focusing on photocatalysis and fluorescent probes in Ting Wang’s group at SUNY Albany and Han Xiao’s group at Rice University, respectively, he joined Gray lab in 2022. Currently, he is interested in the development of novel therapeutics for cancer treatment.


Yaning Wang , PhD

Yaning did her Ph.D. studies at Institute of chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015-2018) & Tsinghua University (2018-2021) in Prof. Sanzhong Luo’s lab, with the focus on asymmetric amino and transition metal catalysis. She joined Gray lab in April 2022 and is interested in the development of small-molecule kinase inhibitors and degraders.

Zhe Zhuang, PhD

Zhe Zhuang was born in Zhoushan, China. He received predoctoral training in Prof. Wei-Wei Liao’s lab (B.Sc., 2013, Jilin University) and Prof. Zhi-Xiang Yu’s lab (2014−2015, Peking University). He did his Ph.D. studies at Scripps Research in Prof. Jin-Quan Yu’s lab (2015−2021), with the focus on C−H functionalization of native substrates. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in Prof. Nathanael Gray‘s lab.


Graduate Student

Esther Elonga

Esther is an MD/PhD candidate at Stanford University. She is interested in not only caring for patients but also being at the forefront of discovering therapies that could help them. She graduated from Harvard University in 2021 where she studied chemistry and educational studies. At Harvard, under the supervision of Dr. Anna Greka at the Broad Institute, her undergraduate research focused on a rare kidney disease called Mucin 1 kidney disease (MKD) and the therapeutic effects of a newly discovered compound BRD4780. In the Gray lab, Esther is interested in the development of small molecule inhibitors and targeted protein degraders as novel therapeutics.

Basel Karim

Basel is a graduate student in the Chemistry Department at Stanford University. He graduated from Penn State, where he received his B.S. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Chemistry. During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Dr. Xin Zhang on the development of fluorescent probes to monitor protein aggregation processes. In the Gray lab, Basel is interested in using Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) to study cancer pathways, as well as develop other heterobifunctional proximity modulators to induce new post-translational modifications.

Meredith Nix

Meredith is originally from Oakland, California, and graduated from Scripps College in 2019 with a degree in biochemistry. She then worked at the National Cancer Institute as a post-baccalaureate fellow in Dr. Martin Schnermann’s lab. There, she focused on cyanine dyes and targeted drug delivery in pediatric liver cancer. She is now a graduate student in the chemistry department.

Hlib Razumkov

Hlib was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. After studying at the University of Toronto for two years he transferred to the University of Tokyo, where he worked under supervision of Prof. Eiichi Nakamura on iron- and chromium-catalyzed C-H activation reaction development. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in chemistry and joined Stanford Chemistry Department in 2020. He pursues his PhD studies in the Gray lab, focusing on covalent fragment library assembly and screening and mechanism-driven small molecules design for selective protein inhibition. In his free time, he likes to play volleyball and watch anime and movies.

Inchul You

Inchul You is a graduate student in the Chemical Biology Program at Harvard University, and currently a visiting student at Stanford University under the supervision of Dr. Nathanael Gray. Originally from Seattle, Washington, he received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry at Boston College. He is interested in the development of small molecule inhibitors, as well as proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs), in order to investigate biological systems.

Xijun Zhu

Xijun was born in Guangzhou, China. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2021 with a BS in Chemistry. Under the supervision of Prof. Liming Zhang, her undergraduate research focused on gold(I)-catalyzed stereoselective glycosylation. She joined the Stanford Chemistry Department in 2021 and is currently a graduate student in the Gray Lab.

Research Staff

Ani Chouldjian

Ani joined the Gray laboratory as a Life Science Research Professional in 2021. Originally from San Francisco, she graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021 with a BS in microbiology. She is studying small molecules that can be developed and used for cancer therapy.

Ivan Davidek

Ivan is a lab assistant in the Gray Lab. He graduated from UC Davis in 2022 with a BS in biochemistry and a minor in bioinformatics. His professional interests involve computational drug design and neuropharmacology, and he is interested in learning more about the fragment-based design of covalent inhibitors.

Christina Seo

Christina is a Life Science Research Professional in the Gray laboratory. She joined the group in 2021. Originally from Los Angeles, she graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2019 with a BA in Biology and Religious Studies. She is excited to learn more about protein biochemistry and is developing assays that can aid in the discovery of new protein degraders.

Jason Tse

Originally from Chicago, Jason graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Biochemistry. He joined the Gray Lab as a life science research professional in 2021. He is interested in studying how small molecule protein degraders can be used as therapeutics for cancer.

Former Group Members

Erhan Keles, PhD
Wenchao Lu, PhD
Sean Toenjes, PhD
Sihui Yang, PhD
Elena Chai
Ryan Golden
Xiaofan Liu, PhD
Mingxing Teng, PhD
Guangyan Du, PhD
Behnam Nabet, PhD
Eric Wang, PhD
Mengyang Fan, PhD
Nick Kwiatkowski, PhD
Jie Jiang, PhD
Ryosuke Ishida, PhD
Eriko Koide
Hojong Yoon, PhD
JaeHyun Bae, PhD
Christopher M. Browne, PhD
Quan Cai, PhD
Jae Won Chang
Spandan Chennamadhavuni, PhD
Hwan Geun Choi, PhD
Yongmun Choi, PhD
Dries De Clercq, PhD
Xianming Deng, PhD
Dennis Dobrovolsky, PhD
Zainab Doctor, PhD
Fleur Ferguson, PhD
Ben Fram
Yang Gao, PhD
Lara Gechijian, PhD
Brian Groendyke, PhD
Mingfeng Hao
Young Jin Ham, PhD
Zhixiang He
Nathaniel J. Henning
Hubert Hai-Tsang Huang,
Wooyoung Hur, PhD
Jaebong Jang, PhD
Baishan Jiang, PhD
Liv Johannessen, PhD
Sivapriya Kirubakaran, PhD
Alan L. Leggett
Pi-Chun Li, PhD
​Yina Li
Yanke Liang, PhD
Sang Min Lim, PhD
Qingsong Liu, PhD
Yao Liu, PhD
Theresa Manz
Chandra Miduturu, PhD
Mikaela Mohardt
Calla Olson, PhD
Michael Pacold, MD
Alexander Parent, MD, PhD
Benika Pinch, PhD
Chelsea Powell, PhD
Suman Rao, PhD
David Remillard, PhD
Carmen Sivakumaren, PhD
Mizutani Takashi, PhD
Chun Pong Tam
Li Tan, PhD
Carson Thoreen, PhD
Alyssa Verano, PhD
David L. Waller, PhD
Kenneth D. Westover, MD, PhD
Amy L. Wojciechowski
Ting Xie, PhD
Yuan Xiong, PhD
Mei Zeng, PhD
Jianming Zhang, PhD
Wenjun Zhou, PhD