Jan Karlseder


Jan Karlseder received his Ph.D. from the Institute for Molecular Biology in Austria and completed postdocs at both the Center for Applied Genetics (Austria) and Rockefeller University. He is currently a Professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and holder of The Donald and Darlene Shiley Chair.

Adriana Dias Lisboa Correia

Research Associate

I got my undergraduate degree in Human Genetics from the University of Nottingham, UK. I then moved to Lisbon, Portugal, and completed my master’s studies in the lab of Susana Constantino at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, studying a potential role for low-dose ionizing radiation in inducing therapeutic neovascularization in a setting of peripheral arterial disease.

In 2015 I joined the Karlseder Lab, worked on DNA repair pathway choice regulation over the cell cycle with Nausica Arnoult; and I’m currently interested in understanding the molecular mechanism that leads to telomere deprotection following mitotic-arrest in mammalian cells.


Laura Mainz

Research Associate

Originally, I come from Germany, where I did my undergraduate studies and PhD at the University of Wuerzburg. On the one hand, my main focus of research was the characterization of new inducible shRNA mouse models targeting the autophagy-related gene Atg5 or Atg7 with regard to functionality and toxicity. On the other hand, I investigated the effect of arginine deprivation via rhArgI-PEG5000 in arginine auxotrophic pancreatic cancer cell lines. Alterations in response to arginine deprivation are potential genetic vulnerabilities that can be used as targeted therapy. In November 2020, I moved to San Diego and joined the Karlseder lab.

Sara Priego Moreno

Research Associate

I am from Spain and did my PhD in the laboratory of Aga Gambus at the University of Birmingham (UK), where I used the cell-free system “Xenopus laevis egg extracts” to study the mechanisms of replisome disassembly during DNA replication termination as well as in the response to replication stress. After completing my PhD and a short Post-Doc in the Gambus lab, I decided to join the Karlseder lab to study replication mechanisms required for telomere maintenance in human cells.

Sara Przetocka

Research Associate

I completed my undergraduate studies in Biotechnology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Then, I pursued a Ph.D. degree in Cancer Biology at the University of Zurich in the group of Prof. Alessandro Sartori. My thesis explored the role of homologous recombination factors in response to replication stress, focusing on mechanisms governing replication fork protection. I joined the Karlseder laboratory as a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow in November 2020, intending to investigate the response to replication stress at telomeric repeats and its consequence for telomere function and genome integrity.

Tobias Schmidt

Research Associate

Following my bachelor’s and master’s studies in Molecular Biotechnology at Heidelberg University, Germany, I did my PhD in Hans Hombauer’s lab at the German Cancer Research Center. During my PhD I worked on different aspects of DNA replication fidelity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in particular, how NTP and dNTP pool alterations affect DNA replication fidelity. In March 2019, I joined the Karlseder lab. I am interested in how cells escape from replicative crisis and activate telomere maintenance mechanisms.

Joe Nassour

Research Associate

My research trajectory has been guided by a longstanding interest in studying the connections between aging and cancer. In particular, I have focused on deciphering the mechanism(s) that regulate a cell’s ability to escape critical barriers to tumor development: replicative senescence and crisis. My doctoral work at the Pasteur Institute, France, provided me with extensive knowledge of the relationship between senescence and tumorigenesis and resulted in one of the earliest studies describing a mechanism of senescence escape. I joined the Karlseder lab in January 2016 to capitalize on their research expertise and the training opportunities provided by the Salk and neighboring research centers. I proposed to decipher the mechanism of cell death activated during replicative crisis, a central question that has been ignored among scientists in the telomere field. I was soon able to discover an unrecognized function for autophagy in the clearance of cells in crisis. I identified a novel autophagy related-pathway linking telomeres to cell death. My findings established autophagy as an integral component of the tumorigenesis barrier imposed by crisis and suggested that loss of autophagy function is required for cancer initiation. I am currently studying the link between telomere and innate immunity with a particular focus on cytosolic nucleic acid-sensing pathways.

Lucia Gutierrez Aguiar

Research Assistant

I come from Uruguay where I got my degree in Biochemistry and then moved to Mexico and did a Masters in Biotechnology at the UNAM (Univ. Autonoma de Mexico) studying the trithorax gene tonalli in Drosophila. After that, I took a couple of years off science to take care of my daughters and moved to San Diego. In 2017, I joined the Karlseder Lab as a Research Assistant and am very happy to help and participate in fascinating projects studying telomere biology.

Candy Haggblom

Lab Manager

I started with the first class of undergraduates at UCSD in 1964, got hooked on molecular biology in my junior year and have enjoyed doing research ever since. I came to the Salk in 1970 where I learned the basics of tissue culture from Marguerite Vogt and worked with her for 30 years. During that time I helped to develop a working telomerase assay for primary cells and enjoyed reading all the newest telomere papers. So, it seemed like the perfect fit to go to work with Jan Karlseder and to continue with all the exciting telomere research. When I am not involved in solving all the usual lab manager problems you can find me at home in my garden.

Pablo and Yuma Karlseder