Zheng Lab Members

Principle Investigator

Sika Zheng Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Sika received his B.S. from Tsinghua University (Beijing) and Ph.D. from the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. Sika did his postdoc work at UCLA/HHMI. In 2014, Sika joined UCR as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences. Spoiled in southern California for many years, Sika misses snowy winter (occasionally). Awards: Sydney Finegold Award, Fine Science Tools Award for Excellence in Neuroscience Research, MBI Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pre-doctoral Fellowship (American Heart Association), Distinguished Graduate Award, Procter & Gamble Fellowship, NOVO NORDISK Fellowship, “12.9” Fellowship. Sika has served on multiple NIH study sections (MNG, NCF, and NDPR).

Graduate Students

Jeff Li

UCR GGB Ph.D. student

Hello my name is Jeff Li. I obtained my B.S. in General Biology(cum laude) at California State University, Los Angeles with an emphasis in molecular genetics. My current rotation project is in the field of nonsense-mediated RNA decay(NMD). I am interested in post-transcriptional regulations and ncRNAs. I also practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra and studying mixed martial arts is truly a passion of mine.

Cheryl Stork

B.A. UC Berkeley
UCR CMDB Ph.D. student

John K. Vuong

B.S. UC Riverside
UCR CMDB Ph.D. student

Postdoc Fellows

Volkan Ergin (Visiting Scholar)

B.S. Ankara University, Turkey
M.S. Gazi University, Turkey
Ph.D. Gazi University, Turkey

I received my PhD in Medical Biology and Genetics from Gazi University. My dissertation work focused on identifying molecular regulation of a neuronal protein shootin1. I am currently interested in the neuron-specific alternative splicing and non-sense mediated decay of mRNA variants during neurogenesis.

Lin Lin (joint with Dr. Liang Chen at USC)

B.S. China Medical University, Shenyang, China
M.D. Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

Hello, I am Lin Lin. Now I am a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Sika Zheng's lab. I come from Wuhan in China. I am interested in gene regulation such as alternative splicing during neuronal development.

Min Zhang

B.S. Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
M.S. Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
Ph.D. Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Hi, my name is Min Zhang. I am a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sika Zheng’s laboratory. I come from China and previously studied the functions of iNOS in optical nerve regeneration and the roles of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in left-right asymmetry. At present, I am interested in neuronal differentiation and maturation controlled by alternative pre-mRNA splicing.

Undergraduates & Volunteers

Ahmad Abulhasan

Harsh Patel

Hello, my name is Harsh Patel and I am currently a second year B.S. Neuroscience major here at UCR. I am a volunteer in Dr. Zheng's laboratory, striving to pursue a career in the medical field. I have recently gained an interest for the human brain, and hope to learn more about it. My hobbies consist of running, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.

Ruchira Puri

Hi, my name is Ruchira and I am currently a third-year B.S. Biology major at UC Riverside. I am a volunteer in Dr. Zheng's laboratory and hope to one day attend medical school and become a physician. I have always had a love for Biology and hands-on learning, and therefore am excited to be able to do both through research in this lab! In my spare time I love to sing, play guitar, go to new places, and spend time with family, friends, and my adorable dog.

Sonakshi Vatsa

I am a second-year Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology student with the goal of attending medical school. With the skills I acquire in this lab, I hope to learn more about how RNA plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders and maybe someday find a more effective ailment to diseases including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In my spare time I love to swim, stargaze, listen to music, hike, watch television, and read mystery novels.


James Randolph After leaving the lab: UCR GGB program
Jason Estep After leaving the lab: UCR CMDB program
Angela Reinert After leaving the lab : UCR GGB program
Wenny Wong After leaving the lab: UCR Neuroscience program
Nicole Margarit After leaving the lab : UCR School of Medicine Class of 2020
Jean Vidad After leaving the lab: UCR undergraduate
Lichao Li After leaving the lab: Ph.D. student, UCR GGB program
Albert Do After leaving the lab: Ph.D. student, UCR GGB program
Peng Sun After leaving the lab: Ph.D. student, UCR CMDB program
Alfredo Hernandez After leaving the lab: Ph.D. student, UC Davis, GGI
Ariani Vandini After leaving the lab: Bright Expectations, Inc