Meet The Team

Manuel Amieva - Principal Investigator

Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases) and Microbiology and Immunology

Education: B.A., Biology, Dartmouth College (1986)
M.D./Ph.D., Medicine and Cancer Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine (1997)
Fellowship, Pediatric Infectious Disease, Stanford University School of Medicine (1999-2002)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Stanley Falkow, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine (2000-2004)

Manuel’s research focus is on understanding how bacterial pathogens colonize epithelial surfaces and how epithelial colonization leads to infection and disease. He grew up in Mexico City and fell in love with the wonders of biology as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, where he was taught multiple skills in microscopy and studied the development of marine invertebrates. Afterwards, Manuel returned to Mexico and wrote children’s books that were recorded as radioplays and retold his countless adventures in science and biology. He then moved to California to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. at Stanford University. During his Ph.D., Manuel studied how cytoskeletal proteins aid in cell movement in the laboratory of Heinz Furthmayr. Following completion of a residency in Pediatrics at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, Manuel became a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow at Stanford and further trained as a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Stanley Falkow. An avid microscopist, Manuel loves to hide in the microscope room where he can spend countless hours on the confocal looking through the porthole at microbes interacting with cells and tissues.

Outside of the lab, Manuel enjoys spending time with his family, drinking tequila, and scuba diving, though not necessarily all at the same time.

Jessica Klein - Walter V. and Idun Berry Postdoctoral Fellow

Education: B.S., Microbiology, University of Washington (2011)
Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Washington State University (2018)

Jessica is from Washington and joined the Amieva lab in August 2018. She is interested in evolutionary and ecological relationships between gastrointestinal pathogens and their hosts on a molecular scale. During her Ph.D., she studied how Salmonella co-opts different intracellular niches to grow within the epithelium and escape back into the intestinal lumen to transmit infection. Now in the Amieva lab, she wants to study bacterial and host factors that enable Helicobacter pylori to colonize microniches in the gastric glands and how this specialized population influences pathology, disease outcomes, and treatment options.

Having a life-long background in various painting mediums and graphic design, Jessica spends much of her free time in her "backup job". Interested in the interface between art and science, she enjoys approaching scientific communication and education challenges through art and design.

Sophia Parks - Propel Postdoctoral Scholar

Education: B.S., Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside (2013)
PhD, Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Riverside (2021)

Sophia is from southern California and recently joined the Amieva lab in January, 2022. In her graduate education, she focused on host-parasite interactions of entomopathogenic nematodes and their effects on host immunity. She now wants to investigate H. pylori’s colonization niche regarding the metabolomic profiles utilizing organoid and mouse models.

Sophia is also passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Outside of lab, Sophia is a yoga instructor and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and rock climbing.

Benedikt Geier - Postdoctoral Scholar

Education: B.Sc. Biology, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich/Germany (2013)
M.Sc. Biology and bioimaging, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich/Germany (2015)
Ph.D., Animal-Microbe Symbioses, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen/Germany (2020)

Benedikt joined the Amieva Lab from Germany in 2022. During his B.Sc. and M.Sc. program in zoology, he became fascinated with 3D imaging approaches to study small animal microanatomy. He spent his PhD developing in situ imaging approaches to study deep-sea symbioses and fell in love with studying host-microbe interactions. In the Amieva Lab, Benedikt will advance his previously developed correlative chemical imaging techniques to resolve metabolic and cellular interactions that drive H. pylori pathogenesis in the gastric glands.

Although Benedikt has left marine research, moving to the Bay allows him to stay close to the ocean and to combine his two favorite hobbies: photography and diving, resulting in more beautiful pixels.

Youlim Kim - Graduate Student

Education: B.S., Biology, Minor in Chemistry, and Certificate in the Arts of the Moving Image Program, Duke University (2019)

While an undergraduate, Youlim worked in Dr. Lingchong You's lab studying conjugation dynamics in spreading antibiotic resistance and antibiotic resistance prevalence on a university campus. Since then, she has been interested in any and all things related to bacterial pathogens. In the Amieva Lab, she is interested in using organoid models to better understand Helicobacter pylori colonization and migration in the human stomach.

Outside of the lab, she is active in several student mentorship programs such as the First-gen/Low-income Mentorship Program and Stanford Biosciences Student Association's Fellowship Mentoring Program. She also enjoys producing and crewing short films, so check out her IMDb!

Rachel Cooper - Research Technician/Lab Manager

Education: B.S., Biology (concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology), Santa Clara University (2009).

Born and raised in San Jose, Rachel is a Bay Area native. She joined the Amieva Lab in 2013 and manages the lab's day-to-day operations and also assists the graduate students and post docs with their research. While completing her undergraduate studies, Rachel was part of a small research collaboration that studied the ecological and molecular effects on color polymorphisms in the arctic mustard, Parrya nudicaulis.

When not in lab, Rachel daydreams about being on the back of a horse. She rode and competed for many years, and also had the pleasure of coaching the Santa Clara University equestrian team for two years. Her other interests include spending time with her family and friends, road trips to the Sierras, and volunteering in her community groups.