Current Lab Members

  Yasemin Sancak
Assistant Professor
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.
  Jennifer Cabarrus
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 to 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 role 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 MacEwen
Graduate Student
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.
Timothy Locke
Graduate Student
Tim graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014 with a B.A. in Chemistry with a Neuroscience focus and a Music minor. He came back to his hometown of Seattle and worked in Dr. Larry Zweifel’s lab under Dr. Erik Carlson as a lab manager and research technician investigating dopamine-mediated cerebellar cognitive behaviors. In 2018 he joined the UW Pharmacology Ph.D. program and is currently focused on understanding calcium-regulation of mitochondrial functions
    Henok Ermias
Research Technician
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!
  Ethan Le
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Ethan is an undergraduate currently obtaining his B.S. in Molecular Biology. As someone new to research, he looks forward to utilizing his classroom learning and experimental techniques in a real lab. He is currently working towards a career in medicine and hopes to eventually become a pediatric doctor. When he’s not in the lab, Ethan enjoys long walks on the beach while contemplating his GPA.
Ameena Romani
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Ameena is an undergraduate senior working to earn a BS in Microbiology. She started her journey as a part of the Sancak lab in Spring quarter of her junior year. She enjoys learning new techniques and carrying out experiments to help contribute to the lab’s main goal. She is also part of the McLean lab which works with new generation sequencing technology to culture new organisms. In the future, Ameena would like to pursue dentistry to help patients that face dental problems and improve their lives holistically. Aside from academics, her hobby is to do henna art by hand on special occasions.
  Forrest Bradford
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.