Elisa grew up in a number of places, including China, Germany, and Scottsdale, Arizona, before heading off to Harvard College. Fascinated with biology from a very young age, Elisa found the opportunity to pursue her passion as a molecular and cellular biology major. In between her hours in the laboratory, she also found time to pursue her second passion in music, playing in the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and in chamber music groups. After earning her degree, Elisa went on to perform research as a Fulbright student in Heidelberg, Germany where she reconnected with her German childhood and regained fluency in the German language.
After returning to the U.S., Elisa completed her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology as a UC Berkeley Distinguished Fellow in Robert Tjian’s lab, graduating with a top honor of the Alan J. Bearden Award for the outstanding dissertation on a biophysical topic. Her dissertation work on embryonic stem cells inspired her to work on the incredible and important biology behind the placenta, the organ responsible for supporting a healthy pregnancy as the connection between the fetus and the womb. A more urgent impetus to work in her current field came as friends of hers nearly lost their or their infant’s lives to placental disorders. Elisa is currently an A.P. Giannini postdoctoral fellow in Julie Baker’s lab at Stanford. Her research focuses on placental development and disease, especially as it relates to uterine injury stemming from a history of prior C-section. Her broader interests span many topics related to women’s health, and she is eager to share her expertise in molecular biology and female reproductive health as a scientific advisor to Avestrias Ventures.
In her spare time, Elisa enjoys playing chamber music with her string quartet, as well as cooking, hiking, traveling, and learning how to dance flamenco.
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