Katharine Chen

Graduate Rotation Student

Joined Winter 2019


I am a first year PhD student in the MCB program at the University of Washington. I got my bachelors at UC Berkeley where I majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minored in Conservation and Resource Studies. At Berkeley, I worked in an ecology lab under Drs. Justin Brashares and Douglas McCauley, where I studied the effects of hippos on their environment using stable isotope analysis. After that, I joined Dr. Andreas Stahl’s metabolic biology lab where I conducted my honors thesis on fatty acid circulation and clearance by ApoE and FATP5 in mice. Following undergrad, I worked as a lab manager and research specialist for Dr. Joanna Phillips, MD, PhD, at the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF. At the Phillips Lab, I was interested, broadly, in understanding the effects of the tumor microenvironment on glioblastoma multiforme, as well as the genetic landscape of a rare form of glioma called pleiomorphic xanthoastrocytoma. These experiences led me to seek a deeper understanding of genetics and genomics, particularly from the computational perspective, as it pertains to cancer and disease.

At the Ha Lab, I am working on understanding and developing methods to improve upon the detection of tumor-derived cell-free DNA in prostate cancer. I hope to become more proficient at coding and computational biology through this experience.

Outside of the lab, I like to go on hikes or long walks with my dog, play volleyball, and explore new places.


A framework for clinical cancer subtyping from nucleosome profiling of cell-free DNA