Dr. Cash

Dr. Jennifer Cash

Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator

B.S. in Zoology – Kent State University

Undergraduate research advisor:  Dr. Gail Fraizer

Ph.D. in Structural Biology – University of Cincinnati

Graduate advisor:  Dr. Thomas Thompson

Postdoc in Structural Biology – University of Michigan

Postdoc advisor:  Dr. John Tesmer

Postdoc advisor:  Dr. Michael Cianfrocco

Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Dr. Cash has had a career-long interest in understanding signaling pathways from structural biology and mechanistic perspectives.  Her interests in this began as an undergraduate in the lab of Dr. Fraizer studying VEGF signaling.  She began her training in structural biology as a graduate student by joining the lab of Dr. Thompson, there learning X-ray crystallography and studying regulation in TGF-ß signaling pathways.  She furthered her training as a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Tesmer, learning mechanisms in downstream GPCR signaling, including RhoGEF pathways.  She also extended her pallet of structural biology methods in the lab of Dr. Cianfrocco, picking up the technique of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).  In starting up her own lab here at UC Davis, she plans to continue work on the P-Rex subfamily of RhoGEFs and to expand out to study other Dbl RhoGEF family members and how their signaling is regulated.  Dr. Cash has a passion for structural biology and making it accessible to a wide audience and user base.  She takes mentoring seriously and is looking for new members who want to join the lab in the near future.


Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson

Graduate Student, BMCDB

B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – UC Davis







Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Lauren Anderson is a BMCDB graduate student in the Cash Lab. Her research interests lie within the realm of cell motility and how the cytoskeleton plays a role in cell movement. During her undergraduate research, she studied microtubule inner proteins in T. thermophila cilia with the guidance of Dr. Mark Winey (UC Davis) where she looked at protein domain structure-function relationships from a molecular biology perspective. Currently, her work in the Cash lab primarily focuses on how RhoGEFs, like PRex proteins, are regulated to drive appropriate levels of cellular movement through activation of small GTPases. Using a structural and biochemical perspective, she aims to uncover the intricacies of how PRex2 is regulated by PTEN and other signaling molecules.


Picture of Brandon BartelmieBrandon Bartelmie

Junior Specialist

UC Davis





Personal Bio:  Brandon will be graduating from UC Davis Spring 2022 and will pursue an M.D./Ph.D with the goal of understanding how we can develop new therapeutics involving gene editing for people affected by genetic diseases. Brandon is currently spending his gap year in the Cash lab and is hoping to learn more about structure, function, and mechanisms of signaling proteins, their implications in cancer, and how we can design therapies for cancers that develop because of them.


Photo of Jonathan KwokJonathan Kwok

Undergraduate Student at UC Davis

Studying for B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology





Pronouns:  He/Him/His

Personal Bio:  Jonathan will soon be a 4th year in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major and recently joined the Cash Lab. He is interested in learning about the imaging techniques for proteins as well as molecular techniques to isolate and purify proteins. He plans to pursue optometry in the future and he is glad to be able to get hands on experience in molecular biology techniques in the Cash Lab. He is excited to learn more about structural biology, as well as protein structure and function which he learned about in MCB 124.


Cuc HuynhCuc Huynh

UCDGAP Summer Student






Personal Bio:  Cuc is a rising senior undergraduate in Dr.Diana Chu’s lab at San Francisco State University studying male infertility in C. elegans. She is part of the UC Davis Graduate Admissions Pathways (UCDGAP) program for the summer of 2022 which gives her an opportunity to join the Cash Lab. She is interested in researching more about the mechanisms that regulate carcinogenesis and the role of protein interactions in cancer drug developmental processes. Cuc will be working with Alex and Lauren, learning to build nanodiscs and how cryo-EM works to study the structure of P-Rex protein and its regulation. She plans to go to graduate school in the future and is really excited to explore more about the structural biology field while in the Cash Lab.

Picture of Chi PhanChi Phan

Undergraduate student at UC Davis

Studying for B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology





Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Chi is a third year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major who joined the Cash Lab during Summer 2022. She is interested in learning about protein signaling and regulation, especially in relation to the causation of diseases like cancer. Chi is excited to gain experience working in a lab and learning about different lab techniques. She is thrilled to learn about structural biology during her time at the Cash lab.


Alex Missman

Alex Missman

Junior Specialist

B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology – UC Santa Cruz







Pronouns:  they/them/theirs

Personal Bio:  Alex is a recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz who is spending their gap year researching in Dr. Cash’s lab before applying to Ph.D. programs in Genetics and MCD Biology. Their research interests include underlying mechanisms that dictate the unifying qualities of auto-immune diseases, complex inheritance patterns, and identifying therapeutic targets for chronic illnesses. They hope to bring a disabled perspective to medical research, challenge ableist norms that are upheld in academic spaces, and help build resources for other disabled peoples in STEM.  In the Cash lab, Alex will be helping to get our research program up and running and to put our building blocks in place for us to grow as a lab.  Alex will be working on research projects focused on understanding P-Rex regulation from a mechanistic perspective.

Picture of Nikesh Thadani

Nikesh Thadani

Undergraduate Student at UC Davis

Studying for B.S. in Genetics and Genomics







Pronouns:  he/him/his

Personal Bio:  Nikesh is an undergraduate student who recently joined the Cash lab. He has always been interested in the mechanisms underlying cell signaling and the implications of this on the treatment of cancer. Nikesh will be working with Lauren, assisting her to understand the regulation and mechanisms of the P-Rex2 protein. He enjoys learning more about structural biology, including the novel procedures and instruments used to determine the function of various domains on the protein. He wants to go to graduate school in the future and is really excited about getting an opportunity to volunteer in the Cash lab.


Picture of Steven Decker

Steven Decker

Rotating Graduate Student, BMCDB

B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology – San Diego State






Pronouns: He/Him/His

Personal Bio:  Steven Decker is a PhD student in the BMCDB graduate group rotating in the Cash lab during winter quarter 2022. His research interests lie in understanding the relationship between protein structure and function. During his undergraduate research at UCSD Steven worked with Dr. Gene Yeo to understand translational regulatory properties of the ALS associated protein Ataxin-2. Steven is excited to learn about the field of structural biology while in the Cash lab.


Picture of Sara HaririSara Hariri

Rotating Graduate Student, BMCDB








Pronouns: She/her/hers

Sara Hariri is a Ph.D. student in the BMCDB graduate group rotating in the Cash lab during the winter quarter of 2022. Her interest focuses on how mutations can affect the structure and function of proteins. During her undergrad, she studied cells’ natural characteristics impact on FTIR scattering correction (bio-spectroscopy). Before starting grad school, she worked as a junior specialist in the lab of Dr. JoAnne Engebrecht, where she studied the function of the 53BP1 tumor suppressor in the C. elegans germline. Sara is excited to learn about structural biology while in the Cash lab.

Picture of Nicole RodriguesNicole Rodrigues

Rotating Graduate Student, BMCDB

B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology – San Francisco State University


Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Nicole is a BMCDB graduate student who is interested in how living organisms work. How do healthy cells work the way they do? What can lead cells down the cancerous or problematic route? Could that route be avoided? Can current treatments be improved? With research into cancer causing factors, better treatments could be created in the future. Thus, she is excited to work in the Cash Lab on P-Rex due to its links to metastatic cancer. She is looking forward to working with everyone.

Picture of Julie LearnJulie Learn

Rotating graduate student, BMCDB

B. S. in Cell and Developmental Biology – UC Santa Barbara





Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Julie Learn is a BMCDB graduate student and is rotating in the Cash lab during Winter quarter 2022. Her research interests include the molecular mechanisms underpinning cancer progression, and creative approaches to treating cancer more safely and effectively. During her undergraduate research at UCSB, Julie worked with Dr. Zach Ma and focused on elucidating functional differences among isoforms of the RhoGEF ARHGEF2. Julie is excited about continuing research in the RhoGEF field during her rotation in the Cash lab, while getting an introduction to structural biology.

Photo of Jacob Wurster

Jacob Wurster

Undergraduate Student at UC Davis

Studying for B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology





Personal Bio:  Jacob is a graduating biochemistry undergraduate who joined the Cash Lab in August 2021. He is interested in research regarding the identification of chemotherapeutic targets within cell signaling and metabolic pathways as well as the design of novel therapeutics through rational drug design. Jacob is currently practicing various biochemical lab techniques under the mentorship of Lauren and Alex. He is excited to work with the team as they continue to learn more about the domain structures and regulation of P-Rex1 and P-Rex2.

Picture of Angela Ly

Angela Ly

High School Student Volunteer/Intern








Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Personal Bio:  Angela is an upcoming junior at Natomas Charter School interning/volunteering in the Cash lab for the 2021 summer.  She is currently exploring different scientific pathways and the topics’ respective scientific research to further advance in her science knowledge.  As of right now, she is currently interested in biochemistry/biology sciences. In the Cash lab, Angela is excited to experience the depths of scientific literature, such as the structure and function of P-Rex1 and P-Rex2, signalling pathways, etc, as well as the fundamentals of lab work.