Barber Lab Members

Diane Barber

Diane, a central California native, completed her undergraduate degree at UC Davis and her PhD at UCLA. To pay her move away dues, she was a postdoctoral fellow at U Mass Medical Center for two years and then an Assistant Professor at Yale University for four years. Longing to return to California and the Pacific Ocean, she joined the UCSF faculty in 1992. Diane has a long-standing interest in signal transduction, GTPases, and how changes in intracellular pH regulate cell behavior. She is thrilled to work with the bright, talented, and fun-loving group of international investigators in her lab.

Francesca Aloisio

The latest batch of BMS graduate students are as interesting as they are brainy. Perhaps the most shining example of this fact is the Barber lab's very own Francesca Aloisio. Born in N'Awlins (New Orleans) and raised in Houston, Texas, this brunch-loving, reality TV-watching, punny dad-joke enthusiast obtained her BS in Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Following a hilariously traumatic white water rafting trip, Francesca swore off the outdoors and abandoned the rural Texan landscape for the concrete jungle that is San Francisco. When she isn't studying actin cytoskeleton dynamics during early embryonic stem cell differentiation, you can find Francesca dancing the night away or at home enjoying a good horror flick.

Cambria Chou-Freed

Cambria is the newest BMS graduate student to join the Barber lab and the intracellular pH dynamics crew. Born and raised in San Francisco, she returned home to the Bay Area after completing an Sc.B. in Biology at Brown University and doing research in La Plata, Argentina. Outside of lab, she loves to dance, draw, and hike. Her favorite places to be in San Francisco (besides HSW6) include the many hills with amazing views around the city.

Joy Gittins

Joy is our lab tech extraordinaire. Originally from Leyete, Philippines, Joy has worked for the Barber lab since 2007. While small in stature, Joy makes a giant impact in the Barber lab: keeping it clean, stocked, and happy and you don't want to cross her when she's in organizing mode. Not only does she keep the Barber lab running smoothly, Joy also supports the neighboring Wittmann, Goga, Dumont, and Chang labs. After being superwoman at work, Joy takes on the role of supermom at home and enjoys relaxing with her two kids on the weekends. 

Kyle Kisor

Kyle Kisor

After completing his B.S. in Biological Sciences at UC Irvine, Kyle Kisor decided to take his talents up the coast to San Francisco as a BMS graduate student, bringing his delightful Jim Halpert goofball aesthetic to the Barber lab in summer 2018. Born in Los Angeles, Kyle also brings to the lab a dedicated love for the LA Lakers, LA Angels, and… Seattle Seahawks? If he’s not watching sports or studying how increased intracellular pH in cancer cells impacts protein dynamics, you’ll probably find Kyle spending time with friends, watching The Office on Netflix, or trying to find the best carnitas in San Francisco (**El Techo de Lolinda in the Mission**). Lastly, despite his unwavering support for the Seahawks, Kyle is a true California man at heart: the only thing he loves more than unexpected football loyalties is inhaling In-N-Out faster than you can say “intracellular pH.”

Christos Kougentakis

Christos is originally from Brooklyn, NY. He received his B.A. concentrating in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry at Bennington College, and after a 2-year stint as a technician decided to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics at Johns Hopkins University. His doctoral work on pH-dependent structural changes in proteins convinced him of the importance of pH in regulating biological processes on the molecular scale. To understand how pH regulates biological processes on the cellular level, Christos joined the Barber lab in August 2020, where he currently studies the role of lysosomal pH dysregulation in promoting cancer cell behaviors.

Yi Liu

Yi is originally from Wuhan, historically known as one of the Four Furnaces in China. After getting his bachelor’s degree from Wuhan University, he then went to Marquette University at Milwaukee for his PhD, where the snow almost never melted in early spring. In 2017, he joined the Barber lab at UCSF in San Francisco where there are literally no seasons.  His current research is to investigate intracellular pH dynamics in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and intestinal epithelium. In his spare time, he is fond of motion graphics design, video editing, and photography.

Nathaniel P. Meyer

Nate was born in Hawaii and raised all over the western United States. He quickly realized the superiority of California’s weather, moved there, and has yet to leave. He completed his BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Humboldt State University, worked a short stint at Stanford’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and completed his MA in Stem Cell Biology from Sacramento State University. He joined the Barber lab in 2018 and his current work focuses on studying the cytoskeletal dynamics of human embryonic stem cells during differentiation and the role of intracellular pH on hedgehog signaling. When he isn’t in lab, Nate enjoys gardening, playing tennis poorly, and jamming out on his cello. He has horrible taste in music, so never give him the auxiliary cord on road trips.

Harnoor Virk

Harnoor is a Bay Area native who recently received her BS in Molecular Biology at SJSU. At SJSU she was studying how changes in intracellular pH can alter cell behavior. In her free time, it is only natural she is rooting for the best teams which are the Warriors, 49ers, and the Giants of course. Aside from sports, Harnoor is a coffee connoisseur who enjoys trying new coffee places. She officially joined the Barber lab in summer 2021 and is excited to continue studying intracellular pH.


Most Recent Barber Lab Emeriti and Current Positions

Katharine White, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Notre Dame
Sagar Manoli, PhD
Research Scientist
Syngene International
Bradley Webb, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
West Virginia University
Bree Grillo-Hill, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
San Jose State University
Manish Rana, PhD
Research Associate
University of Michigan
Changhoon Choi, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
Samsung Medical Center
Seoul, Korea
André Schönichen
Project Manager
Thermo Fisher Scientific