The Ott Lab publishes novel research on SARS-CoV-2 variants Read More

Our People


Institute of Virology

Senior Vice President, Gladstone Institutes

Professor of Medicine, UCSF 

Melanie Ott earned her MD degree from University of Frankfurt in Germany and a PhD from the Picower Graduate School of Molecular Medicine in New York. In 1998, she started her own research group at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, in the department headed by tumor virologist and Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen, studying HIV pathogenesis and a new emerging pathogen at the time, hepatitis C virus (HCV). 

In 2002, she moved her lab to the Gladstone Institutes, where she continued her work on HIV and HCV, and expanded her research into the host-virus interface in diseases such as Zika, influenza and SARS-CoV-2. She has focused much of her work on the role of reversible protein acetylation in HIV transcription (especially the viral Tat protein), and identifying new molecular targets for treatments and cure, new diagnostics and the potential for pan-viral therapeutics. 

Melanie is the Director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology Institute and Senior Vice President of the Gladstone Institutes, and a professor of medicine at University of California – San Francisco.  She is a recipient of NIH MERIT and DP1 Avantgarde Awards, an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. 


Taha trained in clinical pharmacy and medicinal chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and developed an interest in virology after completing a fellowship at the CDC. In the Ott lab, he is interested in establishing an HBV infection system to study the molecular mechanisms and viral-host interactions governing disease persistence. In his free time, Taha enjoys spending time with his family, exploring national parks, and playing chess and soccer.


Chia-Lin received her B.S. in agronomy from National Taiwan University, and her M.S. in genetics from UC Davis.  Before joining the Ott lab, she studied the role of chemokine receptor CCR2 involved in cell signaling and trafficking of monocytes, macrophages, hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells.  She is currently the lab manager, and works on generating viral proteome library and CRISPR-Cas13a SARS-CoV-2 detection assay.  In her free time, Chia-Lin enjoys experimenting new recipes in the kitchen, jewelry making, orchids growing, playing Chinese music instruments, and singing in a chamber chorus.


Rahul was born in India. After predoctoral research on HIV, Rahul did his Ph.D. in Biotechnology at North Maharashtra University, India. With prior experience on host-virus interaction his focus is to study the in-vivo aspects of coronavirus infection. In the spare time Rahul likes to travel the world and spend time with his family.


Hey, everyone! I’m Kanika, born and raised in New Delhi, the capital city of India. I did my undergrad at IIT Delhi in Biochemical engineering and Biotechnology. I then moved to the US in 2014 to pursue my PhD at UC San Diego, where I used massive electron microscopes to peek at tiny bugs! I uncovered novel mechanisms in bacterial cell division and jumbo phage replication in Pseudomonas. After that, I did my postdoc at Stanford and UC Berkeley, studying host-microbe interactions. I’m excited to be a part of the Ott Lab, managing scientific projects and collaborations in host-virus interactions. I am passionate about open science and scientific communication. Outside the lab, I enjoy hiking, yoga, Friday night Hindi movie marathons, reading non-fiction, and crocheting! During the pandemic, I took on a project close to my heart – making life-sized crochet portraits of Indian women scientists.


A San Francisco native, Jennifer left the Bay Area to study microbiology at UC Davis and subsequently UMass Amherst. During her PhD, she explored growth associated membrane domains Mycobacteria; in the Ott Lab, she studies viral protein-mediate alterations to host lipid metabolism. Outside of the lab, she enjoys eclectic cooking, hiking, and playing with all the dogs


Yusuke studied basic HIV research and clinical medicine at Kyoto University, Japan.

He then joined the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, where he was involved in the outbreak control of infectious diseases with molecular techniques.

At Ott lab, he is working on research to eradicate diseases caused by HIV and SARS-CoV-2 by studying them from the molecular level.

Outside of the lab, he enjoys participating in marathon races around the world.


Ursula received her P hD in Biochemistry from the University of Heidelberg in Germany and expanded into structural biology during her postdoc years at the Scripps Research Institutes in La Jolla, CA and at UC Berkeley. At Gladstone she is studying viral protein-host interactions including viral proteins from HIV, SARS-Cov-2, and enterovirus. In her free time she likes gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Zichong was born in China. After an M.S. research on shrimp White Spot Syndrome Virus, Zichong did his PhD in UC Berkeley exploring the functions of the human transcription elongation machinery in HIV infection. With prior experience on genome wide genetic screens, in the Ott lab, his focus is to derive unbiased comprehensive networks of validated gene pairs supporting critical biological and pathological processes, including chronic HIV infection. Outside of the lab, he enjoys binge-reading research papers, thought experimenting, and eating cheese salad.