Karlseder Lab

Jan Karlseder

Senior Vice President, Chief Science Officer

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.

Samuel Bloom

Postdoctoral Fellow

I received my Bachelor’s of Science from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where I performed a senior thesis on the influence of age and obesity on telomere-related gene expression in adipose tissue. This experience piqued my interest in aging research and led me to pursue a PhD in the Nutrition and Integrative Physiology department at the University of Utah. At Utah, I worked in the Translational Vascular Physiology lab where my dissertation focused on the role of DNA damage, telomere dysfunction, and cellular senescence in vascular aging. In June 2023, I joined the Karlseder lab to explore the role of telomeres in cell fate choice, aging, and cancer initiation.

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.

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.

Corey Jones-Weinert

Postdoctoral Fellow


Melanie Kaiser

Exchange Student


Naomi Kelly

Lab Administrative Manager

After receiving my bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego, my early career path was markedly varied. I have since spent the last 15+ years in Executive Administration and Research Support at independent research institutes in San Diego. I joined Salk and the Karlseder lab in 2022.

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.

Joe Nassour

Research Associate

My research trajectory has been guided by a longstanding interest in studying the earliest stages of cancer development. I completed my PhD at the Pasteur Institute, France, where I studied the mechanisms allowing normal cells to escape from senescence and transition into a precancerous state. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, my interests center around developing novel multi-omics approaches and genetic screens to study the interplay between telomeres and autophagy in cellular aging and cancer initiation.

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.

Frank Spinos

Research Assistant I