The Utz Lab In The Department of Medicine

Utz Lab Members

Click here for emeritus members.

Utz Lab Members. Back row (L to R): Rohit Gupta, Mike Wong, Jordan Price, PJ Utz, Chih Long Liu, Mel Balboni, Wedge Cheung. Front row (L to R): Cindy Limb, Sarah Kongpachith, Jessica Ye, Gloria Yiu, Robin Castel Navarro, Jamie Haddon, Justin Jarrell, Stephanie Tangsombatvisit, Jake Rosenberg

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Paul J. Utz, M.D.

joined the Stanford faculty in 1999 and was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 2013. P.J. was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains near Scranton, PA. In 1986, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Biology from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, with minors in English and Chemistry. While earning his M.D. degree in 1991 from Stanford University School of Medicine, he codiscovered the transcription factor Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (NFAT) with J.P. Shaw in Dr. Gerald Crabtree's laboratory. As noted on Dr. Crabtree's website, P.J. incorrectly named the transcription factor (it is not Nuclear, and it is not specific for Activated T Cells). P.J. completed his internal medicine residency, rheumatology fellowship, and post-doctoral training at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston prior to joining the Harvard Medical School Faculty in 1996. He left Dr. Paul Anderson's lab in 1999, and his lab at Stanford began experiments in the Spring of 2000.

P.J. has expertise in the study of human and murine autoantibodies and autoantigens, apoptosis signaling pathways, animal models of autoimmunity, proteomics and microfluidics. Members of his laboratory are developing several cutting-edge proteomics technologies for immunological applications, including multiplex planar-based autoantigen microarrays and microfluidic CE assays. P.J. is actively involved with many educational programs within the University. He is faculty director of the SIMR Summer High School Research Program, and he provides formal lectures to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering. He is director of the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program. He also teaches medical students, residents and fellows in the clinics and on the in-patient wards. Professor Utz is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of several Bay Area biotechnology companies. He is also actively involved in consulting with biotechnology companies.

When not in the lab or clinic (or much more realistically in his office writing research grants or performing mundane administrative tasks), P.J. spends most of his free time with his wife and 2 children, in their ridiculously-overpriced cottage in Portola Valley. He also enjoys travel, golf, hiking, biking, laying on the beach, watching Red Sox baseball, and performing ANY non-grant writing activities whatsoever.

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Vivian K. Diep

is originally from Arlington, Virgina, but spent most of her childhood in the San Joaquin Valley of California. She completed her undergraduate studies at University of California, San Diego, where she majored in human biology and psychology. Vivian joined the Utz Lab in April 2012 and is currently involved with multiple projects including the study of antigen reactivity profiles in pediatric lupus patients with severe proliferative nephritis. Outside of lab, Vivian participates in many health fairs, volunteering her phlebotomy skills to non-profit organizations that provide free blood tests throughout the Bay Area community. In addition, Vivian enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, and coming up with the best combinations for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.

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Mel Balboni, M.D., Ph.D.

grew up in Manchester Connecticut. In 1990 she received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Colby College (Waterville, ME) and entered the University of Connecticut MST Program. She received her M.D. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Science in 1999 and completed her Residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (Orange, CA) in June 2002. She joined the Utz lab in 2003, during her pediatric rheumatology fellowship, to study autoantibody profiles of pediatric lupus patients. She is now an Instructor of Pediatrics and continues her studies of pediatric rheumatic diseases in the Utz laboratory. When not in the lab or taking care of patients, Mel can be found enjoying happy hour with friends, rescuing stray wildlife from the jaws of death, cycling around the bay area, or training for her next marathon (of sleep that is).

Jamie Haddon

grew up in the Great White North and received his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Victoria. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in medical genetics in Dr. Kelly McNagny's lab at the University of British Columbia. Jamie has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Utz Lab since December 2010. He is interested in developing and using new technologies to learn about the mechanisms underlying autoimmune disease. Currently he is investigating the role of autoreactive T helper cells in the pathogenesis of sytemic lupus erythematosus. Away from work, Jamie likes to spend time with his family, travel, mountain bike, play soccer and read.

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Cindy Limb

lived most of her life on the east coast and came out to sunny California in 2000 with her husband and three active daughters. She grew up in Philadelphia and then went to Boston for college where she received her bachelors at M.I.T. and a masters at Harvard. She loved Boston so much that she spent 13 years there, doing research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and then teaching freshmen biology at M.I.T. for several years. Now on the west coast, she joined P.J.'s lab where she hopes to get back into research and to gain experience in the newest technologies in bio research.

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Tue Kruse Rasmussen

Tue joined the lab in 2013 as a visiting researcher. Tue's research focuses on IL-21 and Follicular T helper cells and how they control (auto-)antibody production. Although currently back in Denmark again he continuous to work on projects in the Utz lab, while plotting his return to Stanford. In collaboration with Gloria Yiu he is studying the role of type I interferons in SLE and their impact on autoantibody production.

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Jake Rosenberg

is an MD/PhD student who is currently in clinical clerkships. He is interested in studying the relationship between infection and autoimmunity.

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Gloria Yiu

is an MD/PhD student in the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program. She grew up in Saratoga, California and earned her bachelors at Pomona College (CHIRP!) where she studied molecular biology and contemporary Chinese literature. She is currently interested in the roles of type I and type II interferons in systemic lupus erythematosus pathogenesis and antigen specific T cell populations in autoimmunity. Outside of lab, Gloria promotes medical and graduate student wellness and serves on a variety of Stanford Medical School committees dedicated to developing programming for student happiness and advocacy. Additionally, she is an avid practitioner of Bikram Yoga and enjoys jamming (vocals, piano, guitar), creating culinary feasts, antiquing and figure art using a variety of media. As the lab social coordinator, she also facilitates merriment through consumption of food and spirits.

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Sharon Dickow

is a seasoned Administrative Associate in the Division of Rheumatology. She helps PJ extricate himself from all of the many administrative fiascos he creates. She can be reached at (650) 723-7038, by Fax at (650) 723-7509, and by email at

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