Lab Members


Principal Investigator
Daniel Gonzalez
Management Assistant II
Loren Karp
Senior Research Project Advisor

Loren Karp joined the Targan Lab in 1985. Since that time she has served in multiple roles, participated in numerous projects and authored many articles and book chapters. Her bibliography includes numerous articles, chapters and books, including "Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Translating Basic Research to Clinical Practice, which she coedited with Stephan Targan, MD, and Fergus Shanahan, MD. Karp is involved in supporting the evolving careers of young researchers and optimizing the potential of basic, clinical and translational research to advance the rate of scientific discovery and to benefit the lives of patients with IBD.

Carol Landers
Senior Research Project Advisor

Carol Landers joined the Targan Lab in 1987 and has more than 30 years continuous research and research laboratory management experience in IBD. She directly oversees the Serotyping Unit as well as serving as liaison with the Translational Unit. Her expertise is documented in more than 80 articles published in high impact journals. She is credited with inventing the antibody detection assays currently used by Serotyping Unit. Landers has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Iowa State University.

Jesse Lerner, MS
Research Associate II

Jesse Lerner received both her bachelor of science and master of science in general biology from the University of California, San Diego. She began her career in microbiology, working in various capacities studying bacteria in both academia and industry. Her interest in cell biology and immunology led her to her current position in the Targan Laboratory studying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She currently works on a project studying the role of T cell plasticity in the immunopathogenesis of IBD.

Maninder Sidhu-Varma, PhD
Project Scientist

Maninder Sidhu-Varma, PhD, received her doctorate in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Dakota in 2009. Her first postdoctoral research work was at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School from 2009 to 2011. She joined the Targan Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai as a postdoctoral scientist in 2011. Sidhu-Varma's research interests include studying the immune cell interactions and mechanisms that regulate the adaptive immune system in response to chronic inflammation. Her current research is studying the role of TL1A in the generation and function of regulatory T cells.

Melissa Thrower
Senior Administrative Services Associate

Melissa Thrower has a science and business background with a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering and an MBA with an emphasis in finance. She has more than 10 years experience in research administration, which has encompassed a range of responsibilities including grant and fund accounting, proposal preparation, contract negotiation and federal audits. Thrower provides support for the administrative and business systems for the inflammatory bowel disease programs’ finances, including planning, communicating, drafting and preparing documents, reporting and general project oversight.

Christy Velasco
Program Manager

Christy Velasco has a bachelor of science in business administration. Since 2001, she has acquired extensive experience and knowledge in research administration, encompassing several research programs ranging from clinical to translational to basic laboratory research, with approximately 80 employees. Her responsibilities include ensuring operational efficiency and compliance and overseeing the day-to-day operations within the overlapping programs.

Contact the Targan Lab

110 N. George Burns Road
Davis Building, Room D4063
Los Angeles, CA 90048