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Lab Members and Collaborators

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Leslie Crew in the lab

Leslie A. Crews, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Crews received her bachelor's degree in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. After that, she embarked upon an exciting research career in stem cell biology, completing her PhD in Molecular Pathology at UC San Diego.

Her passion for understanding stem cell function and dysfunction in age-related and malignant disorders has been a driving force in her research. Her diverse background covers a range of topics from cancer and hematology to neuroscience and infectious disease, and she has co-authored over 65 peer-reviewed research articles in these areas. In her (infrequent) spare time, she also enjoys travel, cooking, reading, creative writing, and Scottish Highland dancing.

Research & Leadership Awards: 2017 Lund Stem Cell Center Award for Novel Conceptual Advance in Stem Cell Biology, 2015 Association for Women in Science San Diego Chapter Award for Leadership Service, 2013 Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Fellow Award Recipient, The San Diego Foundation Science & Technology Grant Recipient


Ashni Vora

Ashni Vora

Staff Research Associate and Lab Manager

Ashni graduated from UCSD in 2019 in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology program. She has previously been working with the Crews Lab since Fall 2017, and has made major contributions to the lab's studies as a BISP199 student and now as a full-time staff member.

Graduate Students

Kseniya Malukhina

Kseniya Malukhina

Masters Student and Lab Volunteer

Kseniya joined the Crews Lab in Spring 2020. She is a masters student in Bioengineering and started volunteering in the Crews Lab to participate in studies on tissue engineering and stem cell aging.


Lara Avsharian

Masters Student and CIRM Intern

Lara joined the Crews Lab in Fall 2020. She is a masters student at Cal Poly SLO and is carrying out research in stem cell biology at UC San Diego.

Undergraduate Students

Elizabeth Diaz

Undergraduate Researcher (BISP199)

Eli joined the Crews Lab in Summer 2018 as part of the NCI-funded training program "Creating Scientists to Address Cancer Disparities." She is a fourth-year student at UC San Diego.

Ethan Harding

Undergraduate Researcher

Ethan joined the Crews Lab in Fall 2019. He is a third-year student at UC San Diego working towards his degree in General Biology.

Anna Rapp

Undergraduate Researcher

Anna joined the Crews Lab in Fall 2020. She is a first-year student at UC San Diego.


Clinical Experts

Caitlin Costello, M.D. 

Moores Cancer Center, UC San Diego

Research Collaborators

Raffaella Chiaramonte, Ph.D.

University of Milan, Italy



Sruti Malay

Sruti Malay

2018-2019 Undergraduate Researcher (BISP199)

Sruti graduated from UCSD majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She joined the Crews Lab in Summer 2018 and completed a BISP199 research project studying inflammation-response genes in multiple myeloma. She is currently a Clinical Trial Assistant at a company in La Jolla, CA.

Kylie Paul

Kylie Paul

2018-2019 Undergraduate Researcher (BISP196 Honors)

Kylie completed her Honors Thesis research studying RNA splicing in multiple myeloma. She joined the Crews Lab in Fall 2018 and graduated from UC San Diego in 2019.