MEMBERS 2017-10-04T15:57:18+00:00

Luis Zirnberger Batista

Principal Investigator

Luis received his PhD from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Menck), working in close collaboration with Dr. Bernd Kaina at the University of Mainz, Germany. After his postdoctoral training with Steve Artandi at Stanford, Luis joined Washington University in St. Louis as an Assistant Professor in 2014.

When not in lab Luis enjoys playing tennis, cooking, watching soccer and spending time with his daughter!

Alexandre Vessoni

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alex joined the lab in 2016, shortly after completing his PhD at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and University of California San Diego. During his PhD, Alex focused on developing a novel human induced pluripotent stem cell model to study syndromes of premature aging. Alex is interested in understanding the impact of telomere shortening on the metabolism of human stem cells, and how these processes impact tissue aging. Alex has received the Majerus Fellowship for Postdoctoral trainees in 2016 and the Adel Yunis Award for scientific achievements.

Outside the lab, Alex enjoys watching a good movie, reading a book, and having a nice meal.

Wilson Fok

Postdoctoral Fellow

Wilson defensed his PhD at the University of Texas Health and Science Center under the supervision of Arlan Richardson, where he focused on characterizing the mechanisms underlying lifespan-extension of rapamycin treatment in mice. Wilson joined the lab in 2014, where he has been studying how telomere dysfunction affects human hematopoietic development, using in vitro differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells as a model. Wilson has received an NIH  T32 postdoctoral fellowship and the Adel Yunis Award for his scientific achievements during his postdoc.

In his spare time Wilson enjoys cooking, reading, listening to classical music, and playing the violin.

Kirsten Brenner

PhD Student

Kirsten graduated from the University of Missouri and joined the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) at Washington University in 2013. She then joined the Batista Lab in 2014 where she has been working with potential “non-canonical’ roles of telomerase components in human stem cell biology. Kirsten is the recipient of a PhD fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Kirsten’s “outside” interests include drawing, white wine, her dog, and brunch.

Jason Colasanti

Post-baccalaureate student

Jason graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2017, and joined the Opportunities in Genomic Research program at Washington University in St. Louis soon after that. He joined the Batista Lab in August 2017, as a post-bac student. Jason is planning to and preparing himself for graduate school application this upcoming cycle. In lab, Jason is working in creating a cellular system to easily and quickly determine if mutations in different components of telomerase are pathogenic or not.

Outside the lab Jason enjoys hiking, running and training for triathlons!

Gabby Perez-Garcia

Undergraduate student

Gabby is a third year undergraduate student at WashU and joined the lab initially as a Summer student in 2017. Gabby plans to build her skills and expand her experiences within scientific research. She plans to attend medical school after graduating.

Edward Zhu

Undergraduate student

Ed is a third year undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the lab in 2017, and plans to learn lab techniques and increase his knowledge on aging research. Ed plans to apply for medical school and pursue a MD/PhD.


Evandro Niero

Leonardo Cruz

Marquet Minor