Student Life

Stanford is a robust residential campus and community providing a great place to live and learn. The University is in the heart of Silicon Valley between San Francisco and San Jose and is within 20 miles of high-tech companies such as Genentech, Google and HP. In addition to Stanford, there are 11 major research universities and labortories in the Bay area. A spirit of innovation, high standards of performance and entrepreneurship as well as the many networking resources are what makes Stanford University an exciting and opportune graduate school.


Student groups are also very active and involved here at Stanford. There are several graduate student groups geared towards diversity as well as groups geared towards post-doctoral fellows. Through these groups, many students find the support and advice they seek when coming to a new university graduate program. These groups initiate workshops, career-networking events, and social events as a way to bring students together to pass on lessons learned that aren't necessarily from a textbook. We invite you to learn more about the many groups you can join on the diversity resources page.

Jonathan Lynch

Jon started his graduate career at Stanford in 2008 and became interested in pursuing a PhD in Biosciences after doing a summer research internship his sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania. Jon applied to Stanford after his PI suggested Stanford University for it’s great microbiology department. Following interviews he realized and states, “Stanford just felt like the right choice. I didn’t really have to make a conscious decision about it.” His parent’s, both from the South, are college educated but most of his family is not nor as he kindly stated, “scientifically inclined.” However, he believes he is truly blessed and lucky to have a family that supports his academic endeavors and feels he brings parts of them with him to Stanford.

Jon hopes to get his PhD in 2013 and work in the education policy sector focusing on STEM education. In his free time Jon likes to watch and play sports, and teach science to middle and high school students in East Palo Alto.

Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Undergraduate College: University of Pennsylvania
Undergraduate Majors: Biology and Psychology
Stanford Program: Microbiology and Immunology
PI: Dr. Justin Sonnenburg
Research Area and Interest: “I study the function and localization of a class of signaling proteins that are commonly found in bacteria of the human intestinal micro biota. These proteins play an important role in sugar degradation and help the bacteria respond to the constant changes in the intestinal environment.”

Kim Kukurba

Kim started her graduate education at Stanford in 2011 and is currently in her 2nd year in the Genetics Program. Prior to attending Stanford, Kim was a pre-med major at Arizona State University however she felt that she was more passionate about Biomedical research and found it to be a more fulfilling.

Kim applied to Stanford for it’s great academics, culture, and the opportunity to work with a diverse collection of people. Growing up with Latino culture in Southern Arizona has provided Kim with a unique perspective that contributes to the diversity at Stanford that she is able to share amongst her colleagues.

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Undergraduate College: Arizona State University, B.S.
Undergraduate Majors: Biochemistry, Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology
Program: Genetics, PhD and Masters of Medicine Program
PI: Stephen Montgomery and Mike Snyder
Research Area and Interest: Characterization allele-specific expression (ASE) patterns and impact of loss-of-function variants in multiple tissues; Identification of molecular markers of insulin resistance using an omics approach.

Payal Joglekar

Payal was born and raised in India and began her graduate experience as an international student at Stanford in 2012. Payal has always been very interested in research and life sciences and applied to Stanford because it was the top school in microbiology. In Payal’s campus visit she experienced a very welcoming sense of community which made her transition much more comforting. One of the greatest hurdles she faced was when her husband moved to Johns Hopkins University just after her first year. Payal’s mentor at Stanford was extremely accommodating as he collaborated with Johns Hopkins allowing Payal to continue her PhD even after she moved.

In her free time Payal enjoys dancing, yoga and aspires to have her own research lab!

Hometown: Pune, India
Undergraduate College: M.S. University, Baroda India
Undergraduate Majors: Microbiology
Stanford Program: Microbiology and Immunology, PhD
PI: Justin Sonnenburg
Research Area and Interest: Gut microbiota and mucosal immunology. “I am interested in understanding how our gut microbiota shapes our adaptive immunity. My project mainly focuses on the interaction between gut CD4 T cell and their specific microbial antigens and study the factors that determine their differentiation into various subsets viz. Th1, Th17, tregs etc.”

Izumi Hinkson

Izumi, born and raised in Southern California is currently a 5th year student in Chemical and Systems Biology. Izumi works in a very multidisciplinary field and believes collaboration across fields leads to innovative approaches to answering biological questions.

As an undergrad at UC Davis she participated in the McNair Program. It was through the The McNair program that Izumi became excited about research and joined the lab as a research assistant .

Izumi has presented her work in Italy and has been the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and the competitive Stanford VPGE Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellowship..

In her free time, Izumi enjoys watching and playing soccer and is the President of the Stanford 49er Teaching Team and President of the Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS).

Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Undergraduate College: UC Davis, B.S
Undergraduate Majors: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Stanford Program: Chemical and Systems Biology, PhD
PI: Joshua Elias
Research Area and Interest: “I'm studying the kinetics of protein synthesis and degradation using omics techniques to establish a systems level view of turnover.’

Guadalupe Ruiz-Jones

Guadalupe began at Stanford in 2010 and decided to pursue graduate school because she wanted to become a scientist and use her science background to help protect natural environments and resources such as coral reefs. She decided to apply to Stanford because there was a faculty advisor doing research on corals that was also interested in conservation efforts.

Guadalupe is a first generation college student from a low-income background and believes that one of the biggest obstacles in pursuing graduate school was being unsure of herself. Guadalupe is very accomplished, she has lived in Mexico, the U.S., and briefly in Italy and knows 3 languages

Her long term goal is to continue doing scientific research that can be used to help address environmental conservation questions and to encourage students with a passion for the life and conservation to pursue careers in science.

Hometown: Sante Fe, NM
Undergraduate College: Chaminade University, B.s
Undergraduate Majors: Biology
Stanford Program:Biomedical Infromatics
PI:Steve Palumbi
Research Area and Interest:‘For my dissertation project I am studying two aspects of coral physiology: gene expression and growth. I am focusing on measuring these two physiological parameters in corals that live in a coral reef ecosystem with a high degree of environmental variability.’

Kun-Hsing Yu

Kun-Hsing Yu, an international student started graduate school at Stanford in 2012. He became interested in pursuing a PhD when he was a physician in Taiwan. During his practice Kun-Sing encountered many cancer patients without effective treatment and became increasingly interested in determining the genomics of cancer and wished to manage the disease, cure it, and prevent it.

He was attracted to Stanford University for it’s professors who conduct cancer genomic studies. He states, “it’s the dream place for every bioinformatician. Stanford is the best place that investigators incorporate biomedicine with computer science.”

As a first generation college student, grandson of refugees during the Chinese Civil War, Kun-Hsing Yu grew up in an economically disadvantaged family and absorbed the value of assiduity and frugality early in his life. He worked hard to secure his fellowship for PhD studies and received several scholarships to medical school.

His dream job is to be a physician scientist and to explore the ever expanding frontier of bioinformatics and personalized medicine.

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Undergraduate College: National Taiwan Univeristy, MD
Undergraduate Majors: Medicine
Stanford Program: Biomedical Informatics
PI: Russ Altman
Research Area and Interest:Biomaker discovery, decision support machine learning, molecular modeling, natural language processing, and translational bioinformatics.