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 associate Associate Dean for Medical Student Research, 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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Erika Bongen

Bongen is a PhD student in the Immunology program. She earned her bachelors at the University of Illinois, where she studied molecular biology, chemistry, and Japanese tea ceremony. She currently uses both traditional and computational immunology techniques to explore the role of epigenetics in autoimmunity.

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Sarah Chang

is a Research Assistant in the Utz Lab who is from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelorís in Human Biology at the University of California San Diego. She went on at UCSD to earn her Masterís degree in Biology studying receptor targets in pancreatic cancer. Sarah

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Mai Dvorak

grew up in the Bay Area and earned my bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where I studied biology. I joined PJ's lab as a Life Science Research Professional with hopes to gain more research experience. I currently use immunological techniques to understand the epigenetics of various immune diseases.

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Mariko Foecke

, who was born and raised in the Bay Area, is a research assistant in the Utz lab. She earned her B.A. from Colorado College in 2017 where she majored in Molecular Biology and in French. She is excited to be gaining research experience as she develops her career in biology.

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Avani Khatri

works as a Data Scientist in the Utz lab. She grew up in India and earned her Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Gujarat University. She went to United Kingdom to pursue her master’s degree in Software Engineering from University of Hertfordshire. After moving to United States she studied bioinformatics and earned another master’s in Computer Science from Wayne State University. She likes to spend her free time with her daughter and husband. She also enjoys travel, nature hikes and cooking.

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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. She is also the SIMR director.

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Rong Mao

Rong Mao received her B.A. magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Prior to joining the Utz lab, she worked as a grants manager/strategist at UCSF and more recently a scientific writer and program manager at Stanford.

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Kelly McGill

is a PhD student in the Immunology program. She grew up in Pennsylvania and earned her bachelorís degree at the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University where she studied biochemistry and molecular biology and nutrition. She is interested in learning and applying both computational and traditional immunology methods to explore the interaction between sex and autoimmune diseases, specifically Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

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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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