Andrea Piunti, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Andrea is a Polycomb aficionado. Chromatin enthusiast, big fan of cell proliferation experiments, Andrea has been interested for many years in studying how chromatin deregulation promotes and sustains malignant transformation, especially in pediatric and rare cancers. When Andrea is not in the Lab (and also when he is in the Lab…) he likes to perform magic tricks. He is also a decent bartender and a former break dancer.

Adam Handen, M.S.


Adam constantly codes. Whether it be for the Piunti Lab, code collaborations, or just personal pleasure, he is almost always found behind a keyboard. While he is a jack of all trades, Adam’s primary research interests are in next gen sequencing analysis and interactomics.

Gabriel Lopez


Gabriel’s relatively short career has thus far been defined by his work with multi-protein histone-modifying complexes. Currently, he is working on projects that seek to elucidate the relationship between DNA hypomethylation (whether pharmacologically induced or otherwise), CATACOMB expression, and PRC2 activity in cancer. Outside of the lab, Gabriel spends most of his time playing or listening to music in the form of his guitar, his synthesizer, and his ever-growing record collection.

Chunkai Jin


Chunkai Jin graduated from the University of Michigan and majored in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He previously researched the gut-brain axis of neuroscience with the animal model of C. elegans. He is extremely curious about epigenetics and cancers and hopes to start a new journey by researching and studying in our lab. He is an unofficial but good Chinese poet and essayist outside the lab. (However, his English vocabulary is poor. So he does badly in English writing.) He loves sketching, Oil Painting, and he is currently practicing digital arts.

UChicago Undergraduate Students:

Emily Kang

Emily is a 3rd year undergraduate majoring in biology at UChicago. Since joining the Piunti lab, she has been studying the expression of CATACOMB in SKM1 leukemia cells and purifying recombinant CATACOMB from bacteria. Outside the lab, she enjoys biking around Chicago to find the best cafes.

Cailey Riggs

Cailey is an undergraduate student at UChicago who obsesses over computer science (her major), data science, and biology. She loves performing bioinformatics analysis on the CRI High Performance Cluster (supercomputer), which is an exciting intersection of all three! Her analyses investigate CATACOMB and PRC2 activity in several different cell lines, namely their effects on gene expression and histone modifications, and how these changes relate to cancer. In her free time, she dominates board game nights and explores hidden gems in Chicago.


Annette E. Mino


Shannon E. Tsai, Ph.D.