Current Lab Members
Yasemin received her undergraduate degree from Bogazici University, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in Turkey in 2002 and her Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. Her thesis work focused on understanding how cellular growth is regulated and how mammalian cells sense the availability of amino acids to regulate growth. After completion of her thesis work, she joined Dr. Vamsi Mootha’s laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital where she made important contributions to understanding mitochondrial calcium uptake machinery. She is the recipient of Abraham J. Siegel Fellowship Award, Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award and Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. She joined the UW Pharmacology faculty in 2017.
Lab Manager/Research Scientist
Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Department of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in 2003. At that time she believed she would be going on the save the world’s oceans. Instead she’s saving the sanity of PIs, post docs and graduate students, one lab at a time. She strives to combine her love of theatre stage management with her love of science to maintain a smooth running lab while playing an active roll in the research of the lab. Jennifer’s current focus is trying to identify the molecular players that help establish and maintain mitochondrial heterogeneity.
Melissa graduated from Tufts University in 2014 with a double major in Biology and English. She moved to Seattle shortly afterwards and immersed herself in research in the Imaizumi Lab of the University of Washington’s Biology department, and then at Stratos Genomics. She helped Stratos optimize their 4th generation, nanopore-based DNA sequencing technique – a technique that is now approaching commercilization. Melissa joined the University of Washington’s Pharmacology Department as a graduate student in 2017. In the Sancak Lab, Melissa’s projects center on understanding the mitochondrial calcium uniporter’s role in calcium homeostasis, cell signaling, and disease. She is currently exploring the interplay between different uniporter proteins, and how the overall structure of the uniporter impacts its functionality. Melissa is a firm believer in the power of and importance of science communication, and she moonlights as an exhibit designer at the Pacific Science Center. When not in lab, Melissa spends her time outside, appreciating the spectacular biota of the Pacific Northwest through hiking and foraging, check this out to learn more.
Henok graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) with a double major in Chemistry 2009 and Mathematics 2010. While at SWOSU he worked in Dr. Kelly’s Lab studying the effect of flexible heteroarotinoid compounds on A2780 human ovarian cancer cell respiration. Upon moving to Washington Henok discovered Dr. Sancak at the University of Washington and knew her research on the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism by calcium ions was a perfect fit for him. Since day one he has appreciated coming into a lab where he learns something new each day, growing more confident in his work and making contributions to the team. His near future goals include applying to the Pharmacology graduate program at UW. Henok is eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn and do amazing research. He would like to give a big shout out to his team Jen, Melissa, and Forrest, for making this lab one of the best places to work at UW and for their never-ending patience as he learns, and of course to Dr. Sancak for all of her hard work and for giving him this opportunity. Thank you!
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Forrest is an undergraduate currently obtaining his B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in French. Just starting in research, Forrest finds everyday at the bench an amazing learning experience. After graduation Forrest hopes to move to France and either find work in industry or continue doing academic research.