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People – Nair Lab


Saidas Nair, PhD

He received PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Mumbai, India. During his PhD, Sai studied the role of cell surface receptors in regulation of neutrophil effector functions. He was trained in Dr. Simon John’s laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory. He worked extensively on characterizing both spontaneous and chemically induced mouse mutants that recapitulate features of human glaucoma. He has identified genes contributing to glaucoma, generated new mouse models of human glaucoma and has utilized them to gain insight into the underlying pathological causes of the disease. His research utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach by integrating the use of animal models, genetics, genomics, molecular biology, cell-biology and physiology based experiments to gain mechanistic insight into disease pathogenesis.


Hassan Paylakhi, PhD

Hassan completed his Ph.D. in University of Tehran, Iran working on congenital glaucoma. During his Ph.D, he identified genes and pathways that work downstream of important congenital glaucoma genes including Foxc1 and Ptx2. After his graduation Hassan worked as an Assistant Professor at Damghan University (DU) Iran and continued with his passion for research, teaching and mentoring. At UCSF, Hassan is combining genetics and genomics to understand common and complex ocular diseases, including glaucoma.


Cassandra Labelle –Dumais, PhD

Research Scientist

Cass received her PhD from McGill University, where her research focus was in the area of Development and Reproductive biology. Her postdoctoral training was in Dr. Flores Laboratory at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, where her work focused on understanding how perturbations in developmental molecular processes can modulate the organization of the neuronal circuitry and influence susceptibility to neurobehavioral disorders. Subsequently she joined the laboratory where she studies how genetic alterations of basement membrane components leads to diseases. In Nair lab, Cass’s major interest is to understand factors contributing to ocular growth and refractive development.


Yusuf Seyman

Research Assistant

Yusuf is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree from the City College of San Francisco, majoring in Biology. He contributes to various projects under the supervision of other scientists in the lab.


Dorenda Itzkowitz

Research Assistant

Dorenda manages our mouse colony.


Gerardo Medina

Administrative Assistant

Gerardo has an extensive background in administrative and operations support in the nonprofit sector including immigration, substance abuse, legal assistance and philanthropy. He is currently seeking his MFA in Consciousness and Writing at CIIS in San Francisco. His writing emphasis is in fairy tales and fables that are inspired through his observations in nature and with his practice in yoga and the fiber arts.