Sam sternberg
PRincipal investigator

Sam Sternberg is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center. Read more here.

Contact Sam: shs2107[at]columbia.edu


Leslie Beh
Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a postdoc in the Sternberg lab, focused on the mechanistic analysis of nucleoprotein complexes. I earned my B.A. from Harvard and my M.A. and PhD from Princeton, being trained in classic biochemical techniques and modern genomic analyses. I have gathered various life experiences in my journey, having served active duty in the military for two years and being certified as a pastry chef in the ultra-competitive food industry.

Contact Leslie: lyb2113[at]columbia.edui


Sanne Klompe
PHD STudent

I’m a first-year PhD student in the Integrated Program at Columbia. I obtained both my BS and MS in Molecular Life Sciences from Wageningen University, in my home country, the Netherlands. During this time, I had the pleasure of researching different CRISPR-Cas immune systems and contributing to the development of related genome editing tools. Intrigued by the wide variety of CRISPR-Cas systems present in nature, I am excited to explore the mechanistic foundations of these systems and the evolutionary pressures that drove them. In my free time I enjoy playing water polo, riding my bike when it’s sunny, exploring the city with my camera, and hanging out at live music venues.

Contact Sanne: sk4475[at]cumc.columbia.edu


Leo Vo
Phd student

I’m originally from Saigon, Vietnam, but I got my BS in Chemistry from Wittenberg University in the wonderful state of Ohio. I’m a second-year PhD student in the Pharmacology & Molecular Signaling program and recently joined the Sternberg Lab after a rotation. My current interests are in developing novel methods for genetic engineering and targeted gene expression. When not in lab, I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching movies, playing various sports and generally exploring the lovely city of NYC!

Contact Leo: phv2108[at]cumc.columbia.edu


Tyler Halpin-Healy
PHD Student

Born and raised in NYC, I graduated from Columbia College in 2011 with a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior.  Afterwards I travelled the world and worked in R&D at Regeneron. There I was convinced to pursue a Ph.D. in lieu of an M.D. and as such, I began the Integrated CMBS PhD program in September 2016.  In the Sternberg lab, I am working to elucidate the mechanism of novel prokaryotic defense mechanisms and interrogating the genomic organization of these same systems. Outside of lab I spend my time cooking, traveling, skiing, and reading things less difficult than biochemistry journals.

Contact Tyler: tsh2112[at]cumc.columbia.edu


Ethan Chen

I’m currently an undergraduate student in Columbia College pursuing a B.A. in Biochemistry with a minor in Statistics. My past research interests have included studying 3D cancer cell migration in biopolymers. In the Sternberg lab, I am excited to learn about and work with CRISPR. My goal is to better understand how CRISPR-Cas systems function mechanistically and how that knowledge can be applied for genome engineering. In my spare time I enjoy playing Ultimate, biking, cooking, and exploring the city with friends.

Contact Ethan: eec2173[at]columbia.edu


Marcus Hogan
Undergraduate Student

I'm currently pursuing my B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior at Columbia University. My previous interests in the fields of software, finance, and law reflect a genuine passion to understand our world. Philosophical curiosity has led me to my current major and research in molecular biology, which examines the threshold where matter becomes life. I'm eager to explore how the molecular components encoded by CRISPR-Cas immune systems reveal mechanistic trends that further elucidate the various ways in which cells maintain genomic integrity in the fact of foreign genetic elements. Outside of the lab I like to style clothes, skate, and have existential conversations.

Contact Marcus: mih2121[at]columbia.edu



I’m currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. I am interested in applying engineering principles to the field of systems biology and utilizing bioinformatic methods to better understand our genetic code. With a pipette in one-hand and a keyboard in the other, I look forward to parsing through the data generated by the increasingly computational nature of genomics. I’m excited to create useful drylab pipelines for the lab and to learn relevant wetlab skills along the way. In my spare time I enjoy reading Caribbean literature, playing with my cat, and urban exploring New York City.

Contact Jason: jm4590[at]columbia.edu


Nora Jaber
Research Technician

Born and raised in rural New Hampshire, I made my way to the Big Apple and received my B.A. in Biological Sciences from CUNY Hunter College. I’ve always had a love for immunology and after taking certain classes in college, I developed a passion for understanding the manipulation of immune systems. This led me to join the Sternberg Lab, as CRISPR can be used as a tool in immunological research. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, exploring new places, and experimenting in the kitchen!

Contact Nora: nj2422[at]cumc.columbia.com


Florian Hoffmann
Undergraduate Summer Intern

I’m currently pursuing my BSc in Biochemistry across the pond at University College London. Since future CRISPR-Cas technologies will reshape medicine, industry and agriculture, I am excited to have the opportunity to dive deep into the biochemical world of programmable, RNA-guided molecular tools this summer. In my free time I will find the greatest views in the city, see at least one musical, and absorb the cultural treasures that are on display in New York.

Contact Florian: florian.hoffmann.17[at]ucl.ac.uk

Lab Alumni

BA student, Cornell University

PhD student, Columbia University

PhD student, Columbia University

Abby Fisher 

Chrystal Mavros

Abigail Reed