The Zamudio laboratory studies mechanisms of RNA regulation in health and disease.

Research Areas

  • Genetics & Genomics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer


  • Broad Stem Cell Research Center
  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Molecular Cell Developmental Biology


How are RNAs regulated in health and disease? How can RNA be manipulated to control cellular decisions?


The Zamudio lab uses biological systems and computational techniques to discover how RNAs function to promote healthy cellular behavior and to determine how their dysfunction contributes to human diseases. We fit mechanisms of RNA regulation into global gene expression programs with goals of predicting and altering cellular decisions. This fundamental research advances our understanding of gene regulation and will lead to new therapeutic approaches for disease treatment.

Our Mission

Our Core Values

About Jesse

Jesse received his Ph.D. in microbiology studying RNA capping and splicing in pathogenic parasites under the mentorship of Dr. David Campbell and Dr. Nancy Sturm. His postdoctoral studies were performed under the mentorship of Dr. Phil Sharp at the MIT Cancer Center. He joined the UCLA faculty in 2016. His research experience spans RNA biochemistry, enzymology, microbiology, cancer and stem cell biology. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, he is a first-generation college student graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry from UCLA. His research interests include characterizing regulatory RNA and RNA splicing in the gene networks that are critical to maintain healthy cells. If he is not in lab, he is likely outdoors: cooking, gardening, looking for an opportunity to build, fix or play something.


Jesse Martinez

Lab Manager


Jesse is a Los Angeles native who spent over twenty years in the healthcare logistics industry helping coordinate optimal patient care in the area. He moved to biomedical research to feed a natural passion for learning and teaching. Jesse has implemented several new systems for lab organization, efficient research and team communication. He earned an honorary doctorate degree in Getting Things Done from the Zamudio lab in early 2022. Outside of the lab, he has a well-respected record of community leadership and service in the San Fernando Valley. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and commutes daily to UCLA on one of his Harleys.

jessemartinez77 [at]


Emma Breen

Research Assistant

UCLA Class of '23

Emma finished the first year of her graduate studies at UCLA following an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University. During her time at Northwestern Emma worked in the Pinkett Labs with a focus in molecular biosciences and chemotherapeutics. Emma additionally spent time in the SONIC/ATLAS lab collaborating with NASA’s long-range space missions, working in both Russian and English as part of the HERA research project. Outside of the lab, Emma is pursuing an active career in trumpet performance whilst feeding a graduate-school-level caffeine addiction.

ecb1820 [at]

Rafael Sandoval

Graduate Student

BS, ’16, UCSD, San Diego, CA

Rafael is a native of Long Beach, CA and a PhD student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program. Before UCLA, Rafael received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego and a M.S. in Biology at California State University, Los Angeles where he conducted research in the Hayes lab studying RNA editing in plants. Currently, Rafael is interested in the RNAi machinery’s potential role in regulating the transcription of major satellite ncRNAs from the pericentromere in mESCs. Outside of lab, Rafael enjoys playing video games, playing basketball, visiting Disneyland, hiking, and going to the theaters.

rsandoval723 [at]


John Garcia

Undergraduate Researcher

UCLA Class of '23

John is a rising senior majoring in molecular, cell, and developmental biology with a minor in history. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, he came to UCLA as a freshman in 2019. Within the life sciences, John is interested in genetics, gene regulation, and molecular processes in the cell. He has been with the Zamudio lab since early 2022. When he's not in lab John enjoys camping, spending time with his family, playing guitar, whittling, playing video games, and sports.

jcgarcia24 [at]


Vincent Li

Undergraduate Researcher

UCLA Class of '22

Vincent is a Los Angeles native and 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Biomedical Research. Vincent is interested in both cellular and computational approaches to biomedical research. At UCLA, Vincent has conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Dan Cohn studying the cellular characteristics pertaining to X-linked chondrodysplasia punctata 2. Currently, Vincent is interested in the characterization of Argonaute and its function outside of the canonical RNAi pathway. In his free time, Vincent enjoys watching movies, playing video games, and playing table tennis.

vincentli [at]


Katherine McLinden

Undergraduate Researcher

UCLA Class of '22

Katherine McLinden is a fourth year undergraduate majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and Theater minor from Maryland. She has been a member of the Zamudio Lab since her sophomore year starting as a work study student and advancing to doing computational research. As an independent researcher in the lab she focuses on the characterization of Argonaute proteins and their function in the nucleus of mammalian cells. Outside of the lab, Katherine is part of one of UCLA’s student run theatre groups, HOOLIGAN Theatre Company, and enjoys riding horses and baking.

katmclinden [at]

Selected publications

Divergent roles for KLF4 and TFCP2L1 in naive ground state pluripotency and human primordial germ cell development.

Aug 8, 2021

PMID: 34399163

Hancock G.V., Liu W, Peretz L, Chen D, Gell JJ, Collier AJ, Zamudio JR, Plath K, Clark AT

The p53 transcriptional response across tumor types reveals core and senescence-specific signatures modulated by long noncoding RNAs.

Aug 3, 2021

PMID: 34326251

Tesfaye E., Bendor J., Martinez-Terroba E., Bendor J., Winkler L., Olivero C., Chen K., Feldser D.M., Zamudio J.R.*, Dimitrova N.*

Mitochondrial apoptotic priming is a key determinant of cell fate upon p53 restoration.

June 6, 2021

PMID: 34074758

Sánchez-Rivera F.J., Ryan J., Soto-Feliciano Y.M., Beytagh M.C., Xuan L., Feldser D.M., Hemann M., Zamudio J.R., Dimitrova N., Letai A., Jacks T

p53 activates the long noncoding RNA Pvt1b to inhibit Myc and suppress tumorigenesis.

Feb 20, 2020

PMID: 319738990

Olivero C., Martínez-T erroba E., Zimmer J., Liao C., Hooshdaran N., Tesfaye E., Bendor J., Schofield J., Simon M., Zamudio J.R., Dimitrova N.

Temporal control of the TGF-β Signaling Network by Mouse ESC microRNA Targets of Different Affinities.

Nov 26, 2019

PMID: 31775039

Kelly T.J., Brümmer A., Hooshdaran N., Tariveranmoshabad M., Zamudio J.R.

Related News

UCLA Riboforum becomes an official RNA Society Salon


Sep 1, 2022

Please join our monthly research in progress seminar series. They are held the second Wednesday of each month at 3:30p in Boyer 159

The Noncoding Regulators of the Brain


Sep 12, 2022

Read about the emerging critcal roles of noncoding RNA in brain development and evolution

Dean Tracy Johnson receives grant to launch undergraduate stem cell training program

Stem Cells

Nov 12, 2022

Open to sophomores and transfer students from two-year colleges

Contact us

Principal Investigator

Jesse R. Zamudio


610 Charles E. Young Drive East

Box 957239

Los Angeles, CA 90095

email: jesse.zamudio [at]

voice: (310)825-4176

Shipping Address

c/o Zamudio Lab at UCLA

Biomedical Sciences Research Building

615 Charles E Young Dr. South

Los Angeles CA 90095-8348

Undergraduate researchers

Jesse was a member of the first UCLEADS undergraduate researcher cohort at UCLA and would welcome any collaboration with serious young researchers. Please visit the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center for information on research at UCLA. Currently there are no openings to join the team. Openings will be updated each quarter here.

Graduate Researchers

We are excited that you are considering UCLA and the Zamudio Lab for your graduate work. Please apply directly to the UCLA Graduate Program in Bioscience. The Zamudio lab's associated home areas are: Gene Regulation · Cell & Developmental Biology

Postdoctoral and research positions

Inquiries are welcome from innovative and dedicated researchers. Please send your curriculum vitae, research statement and references to jesse.zamudio All complete applications will be considered.

Directions to the lab

We are located in the Biomedical Sciences Research Building (BSRB) on the UCLA campus. BSRB is located directly across from the Lot 2 parking lot. If driving, daily parking permits in Lot 2 may be difficult to find. Parking along a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus line and riding in is a good alternative since Lot 2 is a terminal stop on most routes.

To find us, enter BSRB through either the North or South side double doors and find the central stairway. Take the stairs to the fourth floor. As you reach the fourth floor, my office (450C) will be immediately through the central double doors on the North side. To reach the lab, turn right off the stairs and walk all the way to the end of the corridor to find BSRB 454. If you get lost, feel free to call. The lab phone number is (310) 825-9527 and Jesse's office phone is (310) 825-4176.