• October 2023 – Sydney, Nilsa, and Colin present their research at the XXth International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration ( in Torremolinos, Andalusia!
  • October 2023 – Aparna gives a talk on “Cellular mechanisms that contribute to AMD” at the BrightFocus Foundation Macular FastTrack in Torremolinos, Andalusia.
  • September 2023 – Li Xuan’s Current Biology paper is in print! Click to view
  • Lunch at Lavash
  • September 2023 – Aparna speaks at the 6th Biennial Symposium on AMD at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard University
  • September 2023 – Barry Nguyen joins the lab as a Junior Specialist! Barry is also part of UCSF’s fantastic PROPEL program Welcome, Barry!
  • September 2023 – Yao Tong joins the lab as our newest postdoctoral associate. She comes to us from Tulane University. Welcome, Yao!.
  • The Entire Lab Tries Durian!
  • September 2023 – Sydney is selected as an UCSF Discovery Fellow! Congratulations, Sydney!
  • August 2023 – Sydney and Colin are awarded travel fellowships to the XXth International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration ( in Torremolinos, Andalusia!
  • August 2023 – Li Xuan’s paper is online at Current Biology on August 15 (India’s Independence Day!)
  • July 2023 – After a decade that garnered a PhD, 11 papers, and several awards, we say goodbye to Li Xuan! She was the first graduate student to join the lab and stayed on as a postdoctoral associate. Now she’s off to set up her independent lab. Congratulations and all the best, Li Xuan!
  • Li Xuan’s Going Away Lunch – July 2023
    Li Xuan breaks – ARVO
    Colin is good at pool!
    Parnassus Terrace
  • July 2023 – Nilsa is awarded the UCSF Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Fellowship! Congratulations, Nilsa!
  • June 2023 – Aparna speaks at Tampere University, Finland.
  • June 2023 – Sydney is the recipient of the UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership. Congratulations, Sydney!!
  • May 2023 – As expected, Sydney nails her qualifying exam!!
  • May 2023 – Colin wins a best presentation award at the 2023 Ophthalmology Research Day
  • May 2023 – Li Xuan wins the best poster award at the 2023 Ophthalmology Research Day
  • April 2023 – An Cheng joins the lab as a postdoctoral associate. He comes to us from Tohoku University, Japan. Welcome, An!
  • April 2023 – Colin and Li Xuan present their research at the ARVO Annual Meeting in New Orleans
  • March 2023 – Valencia Fernandes joins the lab as a postdoctoral associate. She comes to us from NIPER, India. Welcome, Valencia!
  • March 2023 – Connor is awarded the Rose Hill Summer Research Award. Congratulations, Connor!
  • March 2023
  • February 2023 – Sydney, Colin, and Aparna present the lab’s research at the ISER biennial meeting in Gold Coast, Australia.
  • February 2023 – Colin is awarded the Elizabeth Anderson Travel Award for ARVO


  • November 2022 – Calling creative scientists!
  • November 2022 – Li Xuan’s latest paper on advanced live imaging of mitochondrial dynamics in the living mouse retina is now online:
  • November 2022 – Sydney presents her work at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) in Anaheim
  • October 2022 – Nilsa and Sydney attend the SACNAS National Diversity in STEM conference in Puerto Rico

  • September 2022 – The lab welcomes Connor Tseng, a junior at UC-Berkeley!
  • August 2022 – We are awarded a DEIA supplement for excellence in mentoring!
  • August 2022 – Li Xuan’s paper is submitted!
  • July 2022 – Sydney (PSPG graduate student) joins the lab! Welcome Sydney!!!
  • July 2022 – We are awarded a grant from the Owen Locke Foundation for developing a small molecule therapeutic for AMD. More information here
  • June 2022 – The lab says goodbye to Tania, as she completes the PROPEL program
  • June 2022 – The lab wishes Thushara all the best as she heads back to India
  • May – Li Xuan, Nilsa, and Colin are speaking at the 2022 Research Day!
  • May – Nilsa is awarded the 2022 Copenhagen Award for the best paper in vision research. Congratulations, Nilsa!
  • April – Nilsa passed her qualifying exam with flying colors! Congratulations, Nilsa!
  • April – Welcome Sydney Williams (PSPG) as she begins her rotation in the lab!
  • March 2022 – Colin is a finalist for the UCSF Grad Slam. Congratulations, Colin!
  • March – we receive funding from the All May See Foundation to evaluate a new small molecule therapeutic for Stargardt disease and AMD!


  • December – Our grant application to the Reeves Foundation for Macular Degeneration Research to fund a super-resolution module for the spinning disk microscope is funded!
  • September – Welcome Nav Lally (BMS) and Sigal Eini (PSPG) as they begin their rotations in the lab.
  • August – Tania receives an NIH diversity supplement! Congratulations, Tania!
  • July – Tania Mancilla Aceves, a postbac student and UCSF PROPEL scholar joins the lab. Welcome, Tania!
  • June – Our JCI Insight paper is in print! Check out Li Xuan’s gorgeous cover image of 3D reconstruction of the mitochondria in the mouse RPE!
  • May – Colin gives a talk at the RPE Cell Biology and Metabolism Virtual Seminar Series
  • May – We receive the 2021 Lorraine Maresca Innovative Research Award for AMD from the BrightFocus Foundation
  • April – Neuroscience student Katerina Radermacher is rotating in the lab. Welcome, Katie!
  • April – Our latest manuscript is accepted in JCI Insight! Available online here: Congratulations, Nilsa and Li Xuan!

  • April – Colin passes his qualifying exam! Congratulations, Colin!
  • March – Thushara gives a talk at the RPE Cell Biology and Metabolism Seminar Series
  • March – Li Xuan speaks at the RPE Cell Biology and Metabolism Seminar Series
  • February – Li Xuan is awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from That Man May See! Congratulations, Li Xuan!!
  • February – Aparna gives a talk at the University of Colorado Department of Ophthalmology Seminar series
  • February – Aparna speaks at the Research to Prevent Blindness Lunch and Learn series on AMD. Video link here:
  • January – Aparna speaks at the National Eye Institute (NEI) Intramural Seminar Series at the NIH


  • December – Lakkaraju lab zoom holiday party! Two truths and a Lie!
  • October – New review out in Redox Biology! (link:
  • September – Aparna speaks at the University of Utah seminar series and grand rounds
  • August – New postdoctoral associate Renuka Chaphalkar joins the lab! Welcome, Renuka!
  • July – The preprint of Nilsa’s paper is now on biorxiv! (link:
  • June – Nilsa is awarded a Diversity Supplement Fellowship by the NEI!
  • May – The lab is now back at 25%!
  • May – Our new R01 on intracellular complement activation in AMD is funded!
  • May – Li Xuan gives a lightning talk at the Virtual Ophthalmology Research Day
  • March – Covid-19 and lab lockdown
  • February – New review out in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research: “The cell biology of the retinal pigment epithelium”
  • January – New collaborative paper with the Burkhard lab on centrosome amplification and autophagy in cancer published in Molecular Cancer Research


  • November – New postdoctoral associate Thushara Thamban joins the lab! Welcome, Thushara!
  • October – Aparna speaks at Columbia University
  • August – We are awarded the Catalyst Award for Innovative Approaches to AMD by the Research to Prevent Blindness/American Macular Degeneration Foundation (RPB/AMDF)
  • June – Aparna presents at the BrightFocus Foundation “Mind Sight Cure” Gala. Video here:
  • June – Aparna speaks at the FASEB Summer Research Conference on the Biology and Chemistry of Vision
  • May – Gul’s commencement in Madison – fun to catch up with friends from the Midwest!
  • May – Aparna speaks at the ARVO Annual Meeting in Vancouver
  • May – Li Xuan speaks at the Ophthalmology Research Day!
  • March – Li Xuan is awarded the Copenhagen Award for the Best Paper in Vision Research in 2018.


August 2018
Lab in SF – Sept 2018
LX graduation May 2018
  • December – Lakkaraju lab holiday party at Dosa!
  • October – Aparna speaks at the Harvard Medical School 5th Biennial Symposium on AMD
  • October – Gul successfully defends her thesis – another newly minted PhD from the lab! Congratulations, Dr. Kaur!
  • September – We are awarded a patent on the use of acid sphingomyelinase inhibitors to treat inherited and age-related macular degenerations!
  • September – Nilsa gives a talk and Colin presents a poster at the RD2018 meeting in Killarney.
  • September – Colin and Nilsa win travel awards to the XVIII international symposium on retinal degenerations in Killarney, Ireland.
  • August – Our latest paper in PNAS showing a link between organelle biogenesis and complement activation in aging and macular degeneration is online.
  • July – The Lakkaraju lab relocates to the University of California, San Francisco!

The University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • May 2018 – Li Xuan successfully defends her PhD thesis. Congratulations, Dr. Tan!!!
  • May 2018 – Girijha, Li Xuan and Gul win travel awards to attend the ARVO annual meeting in Hawaii – congratulations!!
Jan 2018

Tenure celebration – Feb 2017

  • December 2017 – Colin and Girijha join the lab as graduate students! Welcome back!
  • June 2017 – Girijha wins the Walsh Travel Award from MERI!
  • February 2017 – Aparna is promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure!
  • August 2016 – The PNAS paper on how the RPE protects itself from complement attack is published!
  • August 2016 – Kim is onto a new adventure with Zeiss Microscopy after 5 years in the lab as a post-doctoral associate and an assistant scientist.  Congratulations and all the best, Kim!
Kim farewell – Aug 2016
Kim farewell – Aug 2016
  • July 2016 – The popular press takes note of Li Xuan’s PNAS paper:
  • July 2016 – Gulpreet Kaur from the CMB graduate program joins the lab.  Welcome, Gul!
  • June 2016 – Li Xuan’s PNAS paper is accepted!!
  • April 2016 – Girijha Rathnasamy from the National University of Singapore joins the lab as a post-doctoral associate.  Welcome, Girijha!
  • March 2016 – Kim’s Retinal Research All-Stars wins the Cycle for Sight fundraiser for MERI!
  • October 2015 – Li Xuan wins the MERI Research Day poster award!
  • September 2015 – Li Xuan wins the Vilas Travel Award for a dissertator to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting in Seattle!
  • August 2015 – Nilsa La Cunza joins the lab as a Research Intern.  Welcome, Nilsa!
  • August 2015 –Kim wins the Best Presentation Award at the Midwest Eye Research Symposium!!
  • July 2015 – Colin Germer joins the lab as a Research Intern.  Welcome, Colin!
  • July 2015 – Our grant application to the Macular Society UK is funded for three years! Their first ever award outside the United Kingdom!
  • June 2015 – Sara Amirahmadi joins the lab as a Research Specialist.  Welcome, Sara!
  • May 2015 – Aparna receives the The Charlotte and Alexander Danilevsky Memorial Award from the BrightFocus Foundation at their ARVO breakfast.
  • March 2015 – Kim wins the Walsh Travel Award from the McPherson Eye Research Institute to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting in Denver!
  • March 2015 – Kim’s Retinal Research All-Stars wins the Cycle for Sight fundraiser for MERI!
  • March 2015 – Our BrightFocus Foundation grant application for macular degeneration research is funded!
  • January 2015 – Our Molecular Biology of the Cell paper is in press!
  • December 2014 – The Wisconsin Partnership Program awards us a New Investigator grant to identify FDA-approved drugs that can be repurposed for age-related macular degeneration.
  • June 2014 – Kim is awarded a National Eye Institute travel award to attend the XIV International Retinal Degeneration Symposium in Asilomar!
  • April 2014 – Our Methods in Eye Research paper is accepted by Experimental Eye Research!
  • March 2014 – Li Xuan wins the Walsh Travel Award from the McPherson Eye Research Institute to attend the American Society of Cell Biology Annual Meeting!
  • November 2013 – We are awarded a grant from the Reeves Foundation for Macular Degeneration Research!
  • June 2013 – Our American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) grant application is funded!
  • June 2013 – Charles is awarded a Fight for Sight Summer Fellowship!
  • June 2013 – Jin leaves for her residency program in Pathology at UW-Madison and Max is off to Optometry School in Memphis. Our first lab alumni!
  • December 2012 – Xu et al J Cell Science paper is in print and is featured in the journal’s “In this issue” write-up.
  • July 2012 – Kim wins a best presentation award at the Midwest Eye Research Symposium!
  • May 2012 – Aparna is named the Retina Research Foundation Rebecca Meyer Brown Professor.
  • October 2011 – Kimberly A. Toops joins the lab as a post-doctoral associate. Welcome, Kim!
  • June 2011 – Aparna speaks at the Wednesday nite @ the lab.  “Eyeing cells to understand age-related macular degeneration.”
  • April 2011 – Aparna speaks at the Women’s Health Series Initiative.  “Seeing clearly: exploring age-related macular degeneration.”
  • October 2010 – Jin Xu joins the lab as an associate research specialist. Welcome, Jin!