Lab Members


Simon Knott, Ph.D

Simon received his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Computational Biology at the University of Southern California, with Dr. Oscar Aparicio and Dr. Simon Tavaré acting as his mentors. Subsequently, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Hannon at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In the Hannon lab, he developed computational and molecular tools to study gene function in mammalian cells. In addition, he applied these tools to identify novel drivers of breast cancer progression. Now, as the Principal Investigator of the Knott lab, Simon leads the our team. He is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Cedars Sinai Medical Institute and he also serves as the Assosicate-Director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics.


Project Scientist


Oliver Braubach, PhD

Oliver is a neurobiologist with a long standing interest in microscopy and optogenetics. He obtained his doctorate from Dalhousie University in 2011 his work on the zebrafish brain. He then completed postdoctoral appointments at Yale and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology doing in vivo calcium imaging in mice. Oliver joined to Knott lab in 2019 so that he can partake in the development of MERFISH and CODEX imaging platforms. These platforms enable highly multiplexed optical analysis of gene and protein expression in intact tissue samples. Oliver’s goal is to make these platforms widely available to researchers at Cedars Sinai.


Post Doctoral Scientist


Bassem Ben Cheikh, PhD

Bassem Ben Cheikh, PhD, is combining computational genomics and machine learning to study the heterogeneity in tumor cell populations and the heterotypic cellular interactions using next generation sequencing data. He joined the Knott Laboratory in early 2018 after completing his doctorate in the Biomedical Imaging Laboratory (LIB) at Sorbonne Universités - Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France. His doctoral research focused on quantifying the spatial distribution of cells in tissue and the spatial interactions in the tumor microenvironment using new approaches of spatial point pattern analysis that combine graph theory, mathematical morphology, pattern recognition and machine learning. Ben Cheikh had started his PhD program at LIB in 2014 after completing his telecommunication engineering studies at the Higher School of Communication of Tunis, Tunisia, and completing his engineer training in the ICube Laboratory, University of Strasbourg, France, where he developed algorithms for 3D specimen reconstruction from cryo-electron microscopy projections.



Ph.D Students


Kenneth Gouin

PhD Student (3rd Year)

Kenneth received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in Regenerative Medicine at the California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. Through the CIRM Bridges program he did an internship at Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. in the Process Development department, and upon completing his M.S. he returned as a Process Development Associate before joining the Cedars-Sinai Ph.D. program in the fall of 2016.




PhD Student (3rd Year)

An LA native, Felicia Surjono received her B.S in Biology from Azusa Pacific University. She completed her Post-Baccalaureate at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore. Currently, she is a PhD student at Cedars Sinai's Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine program.
Felicia joined the Knott-Lab in April 2017


Florian Raths

PhD Student (2nd Year)

Florian was born in Germany and holds a B.Sc in Biology from the University of Marburg and a M.Sc. in Biotechnology from the University of Münster. He gained experience at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology (Marburg), the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm) and the Institute for Plant Biology and Biotechnology (Münster). He worked on projects related to molecular genetics, polymer science, microbiology and plant-pathogen systems.
Florian joined the Knott-Lab in Oct. 2016





Research Associate I

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Andrew received his B.S in Biochemistry from California State University of Los Angeles. Through being a recipient of the MARC-USTAR honors program, the CSU-LSAMP, and the MBRS-RISE program, he worked with Dr. Robert M. Nissen in conducting research on the molecular mechanisms involved during neural crest cell development. His research background focused on molecular biology, tissue culture, and various techniques involved with screening the animal model Danio rerio (zebrafish). Andrew Joined the Knott-lab in early December 2018”Andrew joined the Knott lab in December 2018.