Christoph Rau, Principal Investigator
  • Ph.D, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA
  • B.S., Mathematical Biology, Harvey Mudd College

Christoph joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill one week before the campus shut down due to COVID-19.  Prior to his time at UNC, he completed his PhD at UCLA under Jake Lusis followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Yibin Wang.  There, he studied the genetic regulation of heart failure in mouse models, with a focus on DNA methylation, GWAS, and gene co-expression networks.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Computational Medicine Program and the Department of Genetics.  He is a member of the McAllister Heart Insitute at UNC, and a faculty member in the GMB and BCB Graduate Programs.


Abbey Hockett, Research Technician

Following graduating from  Furman, Abbey spent 9 months living in Honduras working in children’s homes.  The pandemic brought her back and she got her Masters in Cell and Molecular biology at App State doing developmental biology with zebrafish. Now she’s learning about the heart and taking pretty pictures! (or at least trying to) Non-work related, she loves knitting, running and her cat Finneas.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sriram Ravindran 

Ph.D. Myocardial revascularization injury, Mitochondrial Biochemistry and Pharmacology

M.Pharm. Pharmacology

B.Pharm. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Sriram is here to figure out the complex etiology of heart failure by studying the genetic codes that are miscued to progress the diseases. His interest lies in identifying the genetic interactions (cross-talk) between the nucleus and mitochondria, which have a code of their own and multiple copies. Prior to his time at UNC, he trained at the Vascular Biology Lab at SASTRA University under Prof. Gino A. Kurian. There he studied the effects of myocardial revascularization injury on the outcome of cognition, with a focus on mitochondrial function and its relation with cognition. He has translated his research from animal models to patients undergoing CABG surgery to explain the mitochondrial damage associated molecular patterns (mtDAMP’s) associated with the incidence of mild cognitive impairment. Beyond research, he loves teaching and motivating young students.


Todd Kimball  



Graduate Students

Brian Gural

Brian is interested in investigating the functional mechanisms of genes we have found to be implicated in heart failure. After completing his B.S. in Biochemistry/Toxicology at Rutgers, he utilized CRISPR/Cas9 to generate and characterize zebrafish models of rare muscular dystrophies. Outside of the lab, Brian loves cycling, bouldering, trying new recipes, and caring for his 57 plants.


Anh Luu

Anh is a Pharmacology graduate student interested in investigating the inter-cellular communication that underlies heart failure pathophysiology to uncover new potential therapeutic targets for HF. Before UNC, Anh completed a PharmD at Ohio Northern University, where she accidentally discovered research was cool. As she studied the role of RGS5 in hypertension and oxidative stress, Anh started to hold a soft spot in her heart for… the heart. Anh hopes to keep studying cardiac diseases, and slowly working through her hiking/books/video games bucket list.

Rotation Students 2024-2025

Maybe you?


Undergraduate Students

Aryan Dalal

  • Sophmore, Major: Biostatistics
Aryan joined the lab in August 2021. He is interested in in vitro analyses of genes associated with heart failure within primary isolated cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts as well as the regulation of heart failure in mouse models.   Aryan enjoys playing basketball and cheering on his favorite NBA team, the Toronto Raptors.



Riya Jayanthi




Caitlin Lahue – Now a grad student at UW- Madison!

Undergraduates – 

Chia Hsuan Chou

Sarah Albert

Tijia Fuller – Edge Student 2023

Rotation Students

Nina Nishiyama, Will Lee, Abdalla Alkhawaja, Kwame Forbes, Teresa McGee, Madeline Gillman, Sam Ardery, Isabela Gerdes Gyuricza, Micah Hysong, Tiffany Riascos