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January 24th  2024 - Manya Kapoor joins the lab for her Phd

Manya Kapoor, who is in the Bioengineering Program, decided to join us for her PhD work!


January 5th  2024 - Julia Martini is visiting us as part of the Researchers of the Future Program

Julia who is a medical student at Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas Santa Casa SP (FCMSCSP) in Sao Paulo Brazil is visiting for 2 months to gain research experience at CHOP

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December 20th  2023 - Annual Lab Holiday Dinner

We had a Dim Sum Feast for our Annual Lab Holiday Dinner

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December 13th  2023 - Alex Adigun joins the lab

Alex decided to join the lab for her PhD after a successful rotation!

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December 11th  2023 - Basketball game

We had a great time watching the 76ers demolish the Wizards.

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October 31st  2023 - Happy Halloween!

The lab dressed up as their very scary PI. Mustafa was a Banana. 


October 24th  2023 - Derene Darkwah FERBS scholar joins us

Derene, a Freshman majoring in Neuroscience at U Penn and a FERBS Scholar has joined us for her first research experience.  Welcome to academic research!


October 23rd  2023 - Alex Adigun joins us for her 3rd Rotation

Alex is an MD PHD student in the DSRB graduate group. She has already completed 2 years of medical school and is doing her 3rd rotation with us. Prior to coming to Penn she completed her B.S in Biology at Howard University. 


September 12-14 2023 - S and Mustafa present at HHMI science meeting

S Fallacaro and Mustafa attended the lab's first HHMI science meeting at the HHMI Headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD. S presented a poster on a large interactive touch screen and Mustafa gave a talk. 


September 4th, 2023 - Labor day party at Mustafa's House

The lab got together to celebrate labor day and the many accomplishments this year with a feast at Mustafa's house.


August 31st, 2023 - S and Ella presented posters at the DSRB retreat. S won 2nd place in the poster competition!

S Fallacaro and Ella Hayward-Lara presented their work at the annual DSRB Graduate Group retreat. S was awarded 2nd place in the poster competition.


August 29th, 2023 - Manya Kapoor is Rotating with us

Manya Kapoor, a bioengineering PhD student joined the lab for her first rotation. Manya recently completed a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University. 


August 16th, 2023 - Kyle Ferguson joins the lab for his PhD

Kyle Ferguson, a bioengineering PhD student joined the lab for his thesis work. He just completed his M.S. in Medical Physics from Duke University. 

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August 10th, 2023 - Kareena Shankta presented at the SUIP Poster Session

Kareena Shankta, a sophomore at Penn participated in the IDEAL Research SUIP summer program interning with our lab this year. She presented a poster on her work studying changes in chromatin mobility during development using single-molecule tracking

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August 7th, 2023 - New postdoc-Matthew Fischer

Welcome Matthew Fischer who joined us for his Postdoc today, Matthew just finished his PhD work in Dr. Leslie Pick's lab at the University of Maryland.

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August 4th, 2023 - Siani Elliot presented a poster on her summer work

Siani Elliot, a recent high school graduate, who interned with us this summer through the Penn Office of Outreach, Education, & Research (OER) program presented her work on investigating if the fluorescent tags we use for live imaging influence fly lifespan & fecundity.  She concluded that they don't in the lines she quantified. 

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August 2nd, 2023 - Workshop for high school students

We had a great time hosting Penn Office of Outreach, Education, & Research (OER ) summer students. They learned about optics, fly genetics, image segmentation, and regenerative medicine. 

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July 24th, 2023 - Mustafa gave a talk at 2023 SDB annual Meeting

Mustafa gave an invited talk at the Satellite Symposium titled" Outside of Exomes: Enhancers in Development and Congenital Disorders" at the 2023 SDB Annual Meeting in Chicago. There were lots of great discussions on how enhancers work!


July 20th, 2023 - Collaboration paper published

Our collaborative work with Mellissa Harrison's group is now published in Developmental Cell ( We show that GAF nuclear foci form through binding to AAGAG satellite repeats in an IDR independent manner. 

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July 17th, 2023 - New lab Members

We welcomed Yara Haloush a new Research Technician and Siani Elliot a recent highschool graduate who is interning with us for the summer. 


July 12th, 2023 - Kaeli Mathias awarded a NCI F31 Fellowship

Kaeli was awarded a NIH-National Cancer Institute F31 Predoctoral fellowship to pursue her work on Mechanisms of pathogenic gene activation by aberrant transcriptional hubs formed by mutant ENL. 

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June 16th, 2023 - Raymond Carter Joins the lab for his PhD work

Raymond will be co-mentored by Gerd Blobel and will be working on questions related to the dynamics of nuclear organization and genome folding. 


June 12th, 2023 - CHOP created a video about life in our lab

Check out this video about life in our lab made by the very talented 
CHOP Research  Creative Services team as part of their "lab life" series

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May 26th, 2023 - Ella and S passed their prelim exams

Ella and S passed their exams in spectacular manner and are now PhD candidates!


May 22nd, 2023 - Mustafa gave a talk at the Stem Cell Niche Conference in Denmark

The Stem Cell Niche conference is sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and hosted in Favrholm, Denmark just outside of Copenhagen


May 9th, 2023 - Mustafa was selected as a HHMI Freeman Hrabowski Scholar

Mustafa was selected as part of the inaugural class of Freeman Hrabowski Scholars, 31 outstanding early career faculty in science who have potential to become leaders in their research fields and to create diverse and inclusive lab environments.

Read more here :


March 29th, 2023 - Ella Hayward-Lara and S Fallacaro were awarded the NSF GRFP

S Fallacaro and Ella Hayward-Lara, 2nd year students in DSRB, were both awarded the prestigious NSF GRFP Award to support their doctoral work.


March 27th, 2023 -Raymond Carter is rotating with us.

Raymond Carter (BMB) is doing his third rotation with us. He is interested in applying single molecule tracking to study transcription regulation.


March 1st, 2023: We attended the 63rd annual fly meeting in Chicago

We attended the 63rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago. Mustafa gave a plenary talk, Appy, Alan, S, and Net presented posters on their latest and greatest work!

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January 30th, 2023, Mustafa gave a talk at the Keystone Symposium on Biomolecular Condensates, Vancouver, Canada

The Keystone Symposium on Biomolecular Condensates was held in Vancouver, Canada this year. There was lots of interesting debate especially on the role of condensates in transcription regulation. 

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November 28th, 2022: Mustafa presented at the Biophysics Seminar series at Princeton

Mustafa presented a seminar and met with students, postdocs, and faculty in the Center for the Physics of  Biological Function

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November 19th, 2022: Kaeli Mathias wins 2 poster awards!

Kaeli won both the best application and peoples choice awards at the CCGM retreat!


November 16th, 2022: Mustafa gave a seminar in the Department of Biology at Drexel University

Mustafa visited the department to give a seminar, meet with students, and faculty.

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October 31st, 2022 -Happy Halloween!

Highlights this year included "Drosop-Leia" and "Polycomb-repressed graduate student"

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October 25th, 2022 -Mustafa gave a seminar at Rutgers University, Camden

Mustafa gave a seminar and met with students and faculty in the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Rutgers University, Camden Campus


October 21st, 2022 -Publication with Liling Wan Lab

We contribute to work on oncogenic condensates formed by ENL spearheaded by our close collaborators in Liling Wan's lab. Read the paper here. co-authors from our lab are Alan Boka and Kaeli Mathias.


September 9th, 2022 -Sena Sarıkaya is rotating with us!

Sena Sarıkaya (DSRB) is doing her 1st rotation with us. She wants to push the limits of in vivo imaging!


December 1st, 2022: New preprint with Harrison Lab!

We contributed to work led by Melissa Harrison's lab (U. Wisconsin) on understanding how GAF foci are formed:

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July 25, 2022 -Santosh Adhikari joins the lab as a postdoc

Santosh Adhikari joins the lab as a postdoc, He just completed his PhD in physics from U. of Minnesota.


July 18, 2022 -Mattisen Dimmler joins the lab as a tech

Mattisen Dimler joined us a research technician, she will be supporting the labs mission and learning to do research.


July 6, 2022 -Ella Hayward-Lara joins the lab for her PhD

Gabriela Hayward-Lara joined the lab after rotating with us last fall. We are very excited to have her on board. 

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June 21 2022 -Mustafa gave a talk at the workshop on the Complexity of Dynamics and Kinetics from Single Molecules to Cells, Telluride, CO

The talk was a part of the Telluride Science Reearch Center workshop series


June 13, 2022 -Welcome Anna Crombie-Summer Intern

Anna Crombie, a student at the University of Leicester has joined us for an internship this summer


June 3, 2022 -Alan Boka selected as a SBMB T32 Fellow

Alan Boka was selected to be on the Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics training grant!

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May 16, 2022 -Welcome Sapna Krishnakumar

Sapna Krishnakumar, a sophomore in Biological Sciences at IISER Mohali has joined us for an internship this summer


May 12, 2022 - CDB Lab Olympics Champions!

Our team "MS2 good to lose!" (named by S Fallacaro) won the lab Olympics at the CDB Retreat! 

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May 10, 2022 - Alan Boka passed his PhD candidacy exam

Congratulations Alan Boka on becoming our second PhD Candidate! 

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May 5, 2022-Kaeli Mathias passed her PhD candidacy exam

Congratulations Kaeli Mathias on becoming our first PhD Candidate! 


March 28, 2022 - New Lab Member: Samantha "S" Fallacaro

S returned to our lab for their PhD after rotating with us last summer. They will be working on questions related to the mechanotransduction of gene regulation


March 3rd, 2022 - Mustafa presented at the Zygotic Genome Activation Symposium

The ZGA symposium is a virtual series held once a month and hosted by the Giraldez Lab at Yale University. 

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January 25, 2022 - New Lab Member: Ernesto Gamauf

Ernesto is a sophomore majoring in Biology at UPenn and has a keen interest in embryonic development!

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January 11, 2022 - Cornerstone Blog News Story

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November 23rd, 2021 - New microinjection system!

We received and installed our new Femtojet microinjection system and our new Lecia DMi8 inverted microscope. Lots of poking embryos coming up!

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November 19th, 2021 - New grant from Margaret Q. Landenberger Foundation!


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November 5th, 2021 - Microscope enclosure installed

As our light-sheet microscope is near ready for prime time we had an all hands on deck effort to install a enclosure to protect the optics and shield the instrument form air currents in the room!

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November 4th, 2021 - Microscope main hardware construction done!

Al l the major components of our MOSAIC microscope are finally in place and now its time for fine-tuning!


November 1st, 2021 - New lab member: Sarah O' Konski

Sarah is a freshman majoring in Biochemistry at UPenn. She comes to our lab through the Penn Freshmen Exposure to Research in Biological Science (PennFERBS) and we are very happy to have her start her scientific career with us!


October 31st, 2021 - Happy Halloween!

We celebrated Halloween with a "meet and treat" with the whole CHOP CCGM! Fun and silly festivities ensued. 

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October 8th, 2021 - DP2 Celebration with Wan Lab!

We celebrated getting the NIH New Innovator award with our close collaborators and fellow awardee Liling Wan and her lab. Our co-mentored student Kaeli Mathias is guaranteed/mandated to have a super innovative thesis project! 

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October 5th, 2021 - NIH Directors New Innovator Award!

The lab was awarded a NIH Directors New Innovator Award (DP2). This $2.4 million award will fund our efforts to develop new approaches to quantify the molecular dynamics of gene expression and nuclear organization during early embryonic development.
NIH Press Release | Awardees | CHOP Press Release | Penn Press Release


October 4th, 2021 - Puttachai Ratchasanmuang AKA Net joins the lab as a Research Associate

We are very happy to have Net on board. Net brings with him tons of experience working with flies and lots of enthusiasm. He has previously worked as a Research Technician with Shawn Little at Penn and Thomas Gregor at Princeton. 


September 20th, 2021 - Gabriella Hayward Lara joins for her 1st rotations

Gabriella Hayward Lara who is in the DSRB program and recently graduated from Princeton joins the lab for her first rotation. Welcome!

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August 20th, 2021 - Lab Happy Hour

We celebrated the end of summer rotations and welcomed some new folks on a beautiful Philly day!

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August12th, 2021 -First image processing workshop

We kicked off our image processing workshop series. We discuss how to write code to analyze imaging data quantitatively while minimizing manual intervention. This workshop is led by Alan Boka and Tomer Lapidot (Ophir Shalem's lab).


June 30th, 2021 - Kaeli gets selected for Genetics T32 training grant

Congratulations to Kaeli Mathias for being selected for the Genetics T32 grant. lots of exciting discoveries ahead!

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June 28th, 2021 - Cody Eskandarian joins the lab as an undergraduate researcher

Cody Eskandarian  is an undergraduate in biochemistry and biophysics at UPenn.

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June 24th, 2021 - New Optical Table!

We received our second optical table (thanks Melike Lakadamyali's lab), nothing like the feeling of putting the first piece on a blank optical table. We will be using this one for prototyping new optical setups.  

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June 22nd, 2021 - Lab Happy Hour

We celebrated the end of Kaeli Mathias's and Adam Jabak's rotations and welcome Guzel and Patrick with libations and games at "The Commons" 

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June 4, 2021 - Guzel Naik joins as a Research Intern

Guzel Naik is joining us for 6 months as a research intern. He has a BSc in Biology and previous research experience in epigenetics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences


June 3rd, 2021 - Patrick Samaha joins as a Research Intern

Patrick Samaha joins us for the summer. He is currently an undergraduate student in Bioengineering at the University of Toronto.


June 2nd, 2021 - S Fallacaro joins as a Rotation Student

S Fallacaro joins the lab for their first rotation. They are a student in The Developmental, Stem Cell, and Regenerative Biology division within the Cell and Molecular Biology graduate group. 

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May 26th, 2021 - Its taller than Appy now!

I think he may need a ladder soon


May 26, 2021 - Kaeli  Mathias joins the lab for her PhD, co-mentored with Liling Wan's lab in Cancer Biology

Kaeli Mathias decides to be co-mentored by Mustafa and Dr. Liling Wan. She has boundless enthusiasm, energy, and deep curiosity! 

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May 24, 2021 - Birthday celebration

The lab surprised Mustafa with a birthday cake. What a great group of people! :)

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May 21st, 2021 - The microscope is rising

Its growing!


May 14th, 2021 - Alan Boka joins the lab for his PhD!

Super excited that Alan Boka has decided to join the lab for his PhD work. He is a fantastic young scientist with a fearless attitude. Looking forward to lots of creating and exciting science.

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May 11th, 2021 - Ultrafast laser is installed

Good progress for one day! After receiving our room we have our optical table, two photon laser, and server rack setup!

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May 10th, 2021 - We have our microscope room!

The renovation of our microscope room is  complete. After 5 months of anticipation we can finally start on our microscope. Thanks to CHOP for facilitating this large rennovation


May 2021 - Mustafa featured in the CAMB Newsletter


April 23rd, 2021 - Mustafa presented at the Biological Physics/Physical Biology Virtual Seminar Series

This is a weekly virtual series. Watch a recording of the talk here:

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April 19th, 2021 - New rotation students

Kaeli Mathias and Adam Jabak from the BMB graduate group joined the lab for their third rotations.  The flies still outnumber us significantly.

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April 10th 2021 - First lab party

Weather was warm, vaccines were in arms and our first rotation student Alan Boka's time was up. We had a cookout and some libations to celebrate!


April 6th 2021 - Mustafa gave a virtual talk at the Phase Separated Systems in the Nucleus Conferece in Pune, India

It was fantastic to interact with leading researchers from across the world in this virtual forum

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March 16th 2021-First lasers are on

Its so pretty!

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March 9th 2021-We received our Chameleon laser

Looking forward to lots of photons

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March 2nd 2021-Nick Gattone produces our first data

We ran a gel and learned something. Science!

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January 29th 2021-First group meeting

And we are off! first group meeting.


January 25th 2021-New lab members

Today we welcome our first postdoc Apratim Mukherjee who is a mechanical engineering PhD from Virginia Tech where he studied how cells sense their extracellular matrix using synthetic nanofiber networks. We also welcome Alan Boka a rotation student from BMB Graduate Group. The lab is growing!

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January 20th 2021-Our flies have a home!

Today our environmental chambers to house our flies from Darwin Chambers were installed. Now they have a nice cozy place to grow!

Watch a video of the installation here:

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January 11th 2021-New lab member.

We are a "we" now. Our first lab member Nick Gattone has joined us as the labs first Technician! Nick has just finished his Masters working with Nir Yakoby at Rutgers where he worked on the role of tRNA fragments in regulating gene expression. Welcome Nick!

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January 5th 2021- Lab is officially open.

The lab is officially open! 

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