Studying Evolution at Cellular Resolution

Welcome to the Gawad lab! We work at the interface of biotechnology, computational biology, cellular biology, and clinical medicine. We take pride in our ability to think creatively to devise innovative solutions to challenging biological questions. We are focused on studying how the genomes of individual cells evolve when placed under selection pressure, and aim to understand how that genetic diversity contributes to human health and disease.

Cancer Cloncal Evolution and Treatment Resistance

Cancer genome sequencing studies have shown clonal heterogeneity is the major cause of treatment resistance that ultimately causes cancer to recur. We are now studying the process of clonal evolution while patients are undergoing cancer treatment using single-cell sequencing methods we have developed in the lab. We aim to identify which cancer clonotypes are associated with resistance to specific drugs so we can better understand and predict treatment response.

The Evolution and Virulence of Human Pathogens

Infectious diseases continue to be one of the major causes of early mortality worldwide. We are using single-cell sequencing methods we have developed to understand how more virulent pathogens emerge from a population of bacteria or viruses. We are also using these methods to more deeply understand how antibiotic resistance develops.

Development of Novel Genomics Tools

Although we have made tremendous progress in our ability to interrogate genomes in the past twenty years, we can still do better. We are continuously thinking about ways to improve how we measure genomic variation within a cell. We are also developing novel computational methods for modeling the evolution of populations of cells using single-cell sequencing data.


A selection of recent publications and preprints


Developing Cerebellum

Cell Seek

Our Team

Charles Gawad

Lead Investigator

Veronica Gonzalez-Pena

Research Scientist

Yakun Pang

Postdoctoral Fellow

David Klein

Research Data Analyst

Athena Aragon

Life Science Research Professional

Brandon Cai

Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Mascots




Lab Alumni


Former Position


Current Position

Current Location

Yuntao Xia
Postdoctoral Fellow
Senior Scientist
Orchid Health
Vibhu Agarwal
Computational Scientist
Senior Director, Data Science
Medidata Solutions, Acorn AI
Sivaraman Natarajan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Staff Scientist
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Rob Carter
Bioinformatics Scientist
Associate Director of Bioinformatics
Anju Cherian
Research Technologist
Research Technologist
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Ousman Mahmud
Postdoctoral Fellow
Genomics Bioinformatician
IBM Watson Health
Yuki Inaba
Research Technologist
MD, PhD Student
University of Texas Southwestern
Morgan Carter
Pediatric Oncology Education Program
Predoctoral Trainee
National Institutes of Health
Ian Nykaza
Pediatric Oncology Education Program
Research Technologist
Sarah Youssef
MSc Student (Fullbright Scholar)
Clinical Pharmacist
57357 Pediatric Cancer Hospital
Greg Schwing
Pediatric Oncology Education Program
MD, PhD Student
Wayne State University
Shelby Lane
Medical Student Researcher
MD Student
University of Tennessee


Join the Lab

Our lab is located in the new, state-of-the-art Biomedical Innovations Building at Stanford University

New applicants to the lab are welcome!

Prospective collaborative partners should email our PI using the email below. We are always excited for opportunities for intellectual collaboration.

Prospective postdoctoral applicants should email their CV, a paragraph explaining your research interest, and a paragraph explaining why you are interesting in our lab to our PI using the email below.

Prospective graduate students should apply to the Stanford Biomedical Ph.D. programs at

Location and Email

Charles Gawad, M.D. Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Stanford Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
240 Pasteur Dr
RM2200 - BMI Building
Palo Alto, CA 94304