Skip to main content

Lab Members and Collaborators

Lab Members

Leslie 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


Silvia Vicenzi, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher


Dr. Silvia Vicenzi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Crews Lab at the University of California, San Diego. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology from the University of Trento in Italy with an internship in cancer biology in the UK. She then completed a Master of Molecular Medicine in Sweden from Uppsala University and recently obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Tasmania, Australia. She is also a motivated advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UCSD, intending to make the university a safe place accessible to everyone.

Research Interest: Dr. Vicenzi studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie the onset of human disorders ranging from neuroscience, cancer, and aging. Her expertise is in molecular biology, microscopy, signaling mechanisms, and she enjoys developing novel methods, in vitro assays, and in vivo models. Twitter: @VicenziSilvia ORCID: 0000-0001-5670-7169.




Trung Tran, B.S.

Master's Student

Trung has been part of the Crews Lab since December 2020. He obtained his bachelor's degree in Human Biology and is currently working towards his master's degree in biology as part of the BS/MS program at UCSD. He also serves as an administrative assistant in the Division of Regenerative Medicine and a research assistant in the Crews Lab. After finishing his degree, he plans on attending medical school and specializing in translational medicine with an emphasis in oncology. 




Joshua Hartman

Undergraduate Volunteer

Joshua is a second year undergraduate student studying for his bachelor's degree in Human Biology at UCSD. He hopes to eventually attend medical school and pursue a surgical career path.




Anna Rapp

Undergraduate Volunteer

Anna is a second year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in public health, and a volunteer at the Crews lab.





Clinical Experts

Caitlin Costello, M.D. 

Moores Cancer Center, UC San Diego

Research Collaborators

Raffaella Chiaramonte, Ph.D.

University of Milan, Italy




Ashni Vora, B.S.

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 as a full-time staff member. She now attends attends Rockefeller University where she is completing her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences.


Sruti Malay, B.S.

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, B.S.

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.



Kseniya Malukhina, M.S.

Kseniya joined the Crews Lab in Spring 2020. She completed her master's degree in Bioengineering and volunteered in the Crews Lab to participate in studies on tissue engineering and stem cell aging.



Lara Avsharian, M.S.

Lara has been part of the Crews lab since September 2020. She has a B.S. in Microbiology from Cal Poly Pomona and an M.S. in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Regenerative Medicine from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is interested in translational research with a focus on the development of novel cancer therapeutics. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at City of Hope. 


Elizabeth Diaz, B.S.

Elizabeth joined the Crews Lab in Summer 2018 as part of the NCI-funded training program "Creating Scientists to Address Cancer Disparities." She obtained her bachelor's degree in Neurobiology at UCSD in Spring of 2021 and is completed her master's degree in biology as part of the BS/MS program in Fall of 2022.