Irina Kufareva

Irina received a M.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science in 1994, and Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2000, both from Tomsk State University, Russia, the latter under the mentorship of Prof. Nina Yevtushenko. Having relocated to the US, Irina eventually arrived at computational biology as the discipline of great importance, great challenges, and great opportunities for scientific discovery using computer science approaches. As a postdoc under the guidance of Prof. Ruben Abagyan at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, she mastered molecular modeling and docking, as well as computational chemistry, bioinformatics, and cheminformatics. Following her transition to UCSD in 2009, she educated herself in experimental biology and pharmacology, which altogether gave her a unique research perspective at the interface of computational and experimental science. The long-standing goal of her work is to elucidate the structural, molecular, and architectural principles of cell signaling. In her leisure time, she enjoys hiking, music, and educated stargazing.

Tony Ngo, a postdoctoral fellow

Tony was born and raised in Sydney, Australia where he received his PhD in Pharmacology from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and the University of New South Wales. In his research career so far, he has been at the interface of computational biology, pharmacology and now structural biology, using both in silico and in vitro techniques to understand the structure-function of GPCRs, particularly orphan and protein-binding receptors and has broad interests in protein-protein interactions. He is currently a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow and is working on designing and developing various protein scaffolds as pharmacological tools to study chemokine receptor interactions. He enjoys exploring new places, hiking and live music.

See also:

Suchismita Roy, a postdoctoral researcher

Suchi graduated from University of Delhi, Dept. of Botany in 2011 and obtained her Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in Life Sciences in December 2016. She joined Kufareva group as a volunteer in March 2018, and as a postdoc in July 2018. Her research interests solely lie in protein biology, structure, evolution, function and mechanism. Her current research project is focused on structural and biophysical studies on heteromeric G protein with their non-canonical modulators. She is passionate about photography. Other than that - experimenting with food and painting at leisure.


Åge Aleksander Skjevik, a visiting postdoctoral fellow

Åge graduated as Master of Pharmacy from the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway in 2008 and received his PhD at the Department of Biomedicine, UiB in 2013. He spent the next four years as a postdoctoral fellow at San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD and has now returned to UiB for his second postdoc period. He is currently a visiting scholar in the Kufareva lab. His research field of interest is pharmaceutically relevant computational biology, with a main focus on molecular dynamics simulation methodology. In his spare time, Skjevik enjoys spending time with friends, watching soccer or a good Netflix series, live music, IPA tastings and travel.

Kirti Kandhwal Chahal, a visiting graduate student/junior specialist

Kirti obtained her Masters degree in Pharmacology in 2006 from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology (GJUS&T), India. Then she joined Ranbaxy Research Laboratories, India and worked there as a research scientist in the department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics until 2014. In 2013, while still in Ranbaxy, she started her Ph.D. to investigate repositioning of medicines for new therapeutic indication as Hedgehog pathway inhibitors using in-silico screening and in-vitro studies. She got trained in in-silico studies and in-vitro experiments while working as a volunteer in Abagyan Lab, UCSD under the guidance of Drs. Ruben Abagyan and Irina Kufareva. Since Dec 2017, she is a visiting graduate student in Kufareva group at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy, La Jolla, CA working on projects related to chemokine receptor and Hedgehog pathway. In her spare time, she likes to paint and make useful crafty things. Recently she started a small garden in our balcony which she wants to expand to full kitchen garden.


Adrian Carretero, staff research associate

Adrian has graduate from Mater Dei Catholic High School in 2019 and has been accepted to MIT where he is going to start as a freshman in Fall 2020. He is interested in all things STEM, especially in those areas where computation can be applied to solve problems. His hobbies include fencing (foil and sabre) and playing the guitar.


Ekta Khare, volunteer intern

Ekta completed her Masters degree in Microbiology from Bundelkhand University. She joined the Kufareva lab in November 2019 as a volunteer and assisting the lab members with their experiments. Currently, she is pursuing a course 'Basics of Biotechnology' from Miramar College, to brush up her basic skills. She is interesting in starting her career as a Lab Technician. In her free time, Ekta loves painting, listening music and cooking. She is also keen in investing her time with her kids.


Weijun Xu, a postdoctoral researcher

Weijun completed undergraduate studies (B.Sc. Hons. Biochemistry) from the University of Queensland in 2006 (full pay study leave sponsored by Singapore Polytechnic). He then undertook a lecturer position at the School of Chemical and Life Sciences (Singapore Polytechnic) from 2007-13. He received PhD from Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ in 2017 and continued his postdoc study at the IMB under the supervision of Prof. David Fairlie. His research interests include computational biology/chemistry, molecular pharmacology and structural biology. Weijun loves singing, swimming, cooking and travelling.


Alara Tuncer, an undergraduate intern

Alara is a third-year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Biochemistry/Chemistry and minoring in Biology and Political Science. Currently, she’s assisting lab members with their experiments. She is interested in Virology and Immunology and hopes to do research within these fields in the future. In her free time, Alara enjoys playing the piano, spending time outdoors and reading

Margaret Misyutina, a summer undergraduate intern

Margaret is a second-year undergraduate student at UC Berkeley in the College of Letters and Sciences, double-majoring in Data Science and Computer Science. Her summer project with the Kufareva lab involves writing Python and R computer code for effective visualization and presentation of reaction-contingency networks of GPCR signaling. In her free time, Margaret loves traveling, hiking, gymnastics, and volunteering with disadvantaged youth.

Alexis Lona, a high school intern

Alexis is a rising senior at Mater Dei Catholic High School. During his 2019 summer internship in the lab, he is developing ways of analyzing the quantitative mass-spectrometry data from the spatiotemporally resolved APEX experiments on G protein coupled receptors, using custom code that he is writing in Python. During his free time, Alexis enjoys reading, playing football, and spending time with his family.



There are no open salaried positions at this time. Openings will be posted as funding becomes available.

We always welcome unpaid interns and applicants with their own scholarship funding. Please send your CV and cover letter to