Briggs Hall 101


May 2024 – Standing in front of Ben’s award winning photo in Briggs



Click here to see Lab Alumni



Principle Investigator


Celina Juliano, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. University of Miami
Ph.D. Brown University
Post Doc Yale University



Lab Manager


Malgosia Bzymek


Lab Manager

B.A. Bowdoin College

Ph.D. Brandeis University


I am a molecular biologist with a background in genetic recombination and a broad interest in everything related to Hydra. My current research in the Juliano Lab revolves around optimizing the ways we make transgenic animals and creating genetic tools in Hydra. Outside the lab I love reading, being outdoors, hiking and backpacking, yoga, art, tutoring math and spending time with family and friends.




Graduate Students


Hannah Morris Little

BMCDB Graduate Student
B.S. UC San Diego


I am interested in the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms controlling cell-fate decisions during development. My research in the lab utilizes high-throughput sequencing techniques to characterize the Wnt-responsive gene regulatory networks (GRNs) at cell-type resolution in the uninjured, adult Hydra. Characterizing these GRNs in the context of normal development will ultimately allow us to investigate how these pathways are redeployed during regeneration.



Iris Yoshiko Juanico

BMCDB Graduate Student
B.S. UC Davis


I investigate how injury drives regeneration and patterning. I leverage molecular biology techniques, high throughput sequencing, and human cell culture to uncover the gene regulatory networks triggered by injury. Outside of the lab, I love petting cats, strength training at the gym, exchanging letters with my pen pals, and drinking milk tea.



Jennifer Tsverov


BMCDB Graduate Student

B.S. UC Davis


My research interests include studying the development and maintenance of the nervous system in Hydra. Outside of lab I enjoy gardening, watercolor painting, camping, cooking and of course running into llamas!





Post-Doctoral Scholars


Ben Cox
Post Doctoral Scholar

B.S. University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. Duke University


I am interested in using Hydra to study whole-organism regeneration. Through advances in imaging and anesthesia methods, we hope to capture the entire process of animal regeneration in real time. In tandem, I aim to expand the toolkit of fluorescent reporters in Hydra to more thoroughly describe cell structures. We expect that these advances will lead to unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution of regeneration and reveal individual and collective cell behaviors responsible Hydra’s remarkable plasticity.




Undergraduate Researchers



Kamille B Maningding


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis

Pronouns: they/them


I am an undergraduate Molecular and Medical Microbiology major with interests in microbiomes and sexuality studies. In high school I had the opportunity to be introduced to biotechnology skills and topics early on for four years, so I was excited to work directly in the lab with the Hydra lab strains! Outside of lab I’ll be in the kitchen cooking or baking or starting a new craft project while watching YouTube videos.



Pranathi Puttha


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis


I am currently a fourth year Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior student at UC Davis. I am interested in the immunology aspect of Hydra and their innate immune system, which they use to detect and interact with microbes. I am also interested in the microbiome and how Hydra coexist with bacteria. Outside of lab I like to make sourdough bread.



Dinh Hieu Pham


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis


I am a fourth year UC Davis student majoring in Biochemistry. I am interested in embryogenesis and I would like to find out more about the genetic control of Hydra sexual reproduction. After graduating from UC Davis I would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry or Biochemical Engineering.



Jackson Crane


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis


I am a fourth-year Cell Biology major minoring in Computational Biology. I’m currently focused on familiarizing myself with Hydra care and other laboratory chores. However, in the near future, I aim to learn more about the bioinformatic techniques commonly used in research and to explore the cellular mechanisms that give Hydra their remarkable regenerative abilities. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, trail running, and rock climbing.



Zucy Virgen


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis


I am a Biological Sciences major at UC Davis with a strong interest in the mechanisms that aid in Metazoan development. I am especially interested in the protein cascades associated with regeneration and how these pathways lead to diverse phenotypes in Hydra. I am a part of the SURP and MARC research programs, which will prepare me to enter a PhD program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. Outside the lab, I like to play video games, paint my nails, and play with my cat, Lola.



Angel Perez


Undergraduate Student, UC Davis


I am a Biochemistry Major and a recent recipient of the Summer Undergrad Research Program (SURP) award. I am interested in the regenerative ability of Hydra and will soon be working on a project that investigates mechanisms in how Hydra vulgaris replenishes certain cell types during regeneration for a better understanding of tissue repair in Hydra. Outside of the lab, I like to hike, explore new areas, work on cars/motorcycles, and build things with my hands.