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Yana Kamberov Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Yana joined the Departments of Genetics and Dermatology at Penn in 2016 where her lab's research focuses on the genetic mechanisms governing the development and evolution of the skin and its appendages.


Yana is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania from which she received her Bachelor's degree in Biology and Anthropology.  She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. Upon completing her doctorate Yana became a post-doc in the lab of Cliff Tabin in the Genetics Department of Harvard Medical School. Yana's research focused on the genetic basis for the  evolution of adaptive human skin traits and the biological mechanisms that control the development and patterning of skin appendages. In pursing this interdisciplinary endeavor Yana was co-mentored by Pardis Sabeti an evolutionary geneticist  at Harvard and the Broad Institute, Dan Lieberman an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University and Bruce Morgan a developmental biologist specializing in skin appendage formation.


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Blerina Kokalari V.M.D.

Research Specialist

Blerina is a  graduate of the University of Tirana and holds a degree in veterinary sciences. Her project focuses on the physical and genetic cues governing the morphogenesis of ectodermal appendages.


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Daniel Aldea Ph.D.

Post-doctoral fellow

Daniel is a graduate of the University of Concepcion in Chile from which he received a Bachelor's  degree in Biochemistry with Honors. He continued his studies at the University of Concepcion to complete his M.Sc. in the laboratory of Sylvain Marcellini where he studied the genetic changes leading to the evolution of the vertebrate bone matrix. Daniel was awarded a CONICYT Becas Chile Scholarship to undertake his doctoral studies in France under the mentorship of Hector Escriva at the University Pierre and Marie Curie at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-Mer. Here Daniel's research focused uncovering the origin of the vertebrate head through studies in the chordate amphioxus. Reflecting his long-held interest in evolutionary biology, Daniel's post-doctoral research focuses on the role of non-coding elements in the development and evolution of derived human skin traits.


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Heather Dingwall Ph.D.

Post-doctoral fellow

Heather received a B.S. with honors in Biological Anthropology from The George Washington University. She completed her Ph.D. in Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University under the guidance of Terence Capellini and Jenna Galloway. For her dissertation, Heather focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms that control tendon growth, and how evolution may have shaped the growth process to yield the highly variable tendon morphology observed among primates. As a postdoc in the Kamberov lab, Heather is investigating the molecular pathways that underlie the development and evolution of ectodermal appendages.


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Reiko Tomizawa

Ph.D. Candidate

Developmental Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Graduate Group

Reiko is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross from which she received a B. A. in Biology with a minor in Studio Art. She subsequently joined the Tabin lab at Harvard Medical School as a Research Associate where she studied genetic factors contributing to the regulation of mammary gland epithelial growth, and investigated how changes to membrane potential regulate the morphogenesis of the vertebrate limb bud. In 2022, Reiko joined the Kamberov lab for her doctoral training. Reflecting her keen interest in developmental biology, Reiko's research leverages single transcriptomics and genetics to define the developmental circuits that control the specification and differentiation of sweat glands and hair follicles, and the implications of manipulating these circuits to understand human evolutionary traits and clinical regeneration of skin appendages.


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Bailey Warder

Rotation student - Fall 2018

Genetics and Epigenetics graduate group

Dan Ju

Rotation student -Spring 2018

Genetics and Epigenetics graduate group


Jessica Chotiner

Rotation student - Winter 2018

Cell Physiology and Metabolism graduate group

Adam Aharoni

Undergraduate student - 2016 - 2019

Isabel Breier

Undergraduate student - Spring/Summer 2018

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