Holiday Party 2017

JingJing Zhang
Ph.D., Chemistry, Nanjing University, China, 2010
B.S., Chemistry, Nanjing University, China, 2005
Ana Sol Peinetti
Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2016
Licentiate (MSc) in Chemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2011
Reda Elshafey
Ph.D. in Material Sciences, Université du Québec–Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada, 2015
M.Sc. in Chemistry, Mansura University, Damietta-Egypt, 2008
Matthew Waugh
Ph.D. in Chemical Biology, University of Michigan, 2015
B.Sc. in Biochemistry, University of Virginia, 2010
Graduate Students
Ali Asghar "Sadra" Aghajani
Chemistry (Inorganic)
B.S., Chemistry, Sharif University of Technology, Iran 2016
Tracy Chan
Chemistry (Chemical Biology)
B.S., Chemistry, California State University, East Bay, 2016
Chang Cui
Chemistry (Inorganic)
B.S., Chemistry, Peking University, China, 2012
Sudharsan "Suds" Dwaraknath
Chemistry (Inorganic)
B.S., Chemistry, San Jose State University, 2013
Kevin Harnden
Chemistry (Inorganic)
B.S., Sonoma State University, 2013
Ryan Lake
Chemistry (Chemical Biology)
B.A., Chemistry, Earlham College, 2014
Claire McGhee
Chemistry (Materials)
B.S., Chemistry, Kalamazoo College, 2011
Claire Merchen
Chemistry (Inorganic)
B.A., Chemistry, Gustavus Adolphus College, 2016
Evan Mirts
B.S., Biology, Truman State University, 2012

"That is not a cigarette. It is an ice cream spoon."
Greg Pawel
Chemistry (Materials)
B. Chem. Eng. & B.S., Biochemistry, Auburn University, 2016
S. Nitya sai Reddy
Int. B.S.-M.S., Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Kolkata, 2013
Zhenglin Yang
B.S., Peking University, 2012
M.Sc., University of Toronto, 2015

Yiming Wang
Chemistry (Materials)
B.S., Chemistry, Anhui University, China, 2016
Mingkuan Lyu
Chemistry (Chemical Biology)
B.S., Chemistry, Renmin University of China, China, 2017
Quan Lam
MCB (Biochemistry)
B.S., Biochemistry/Chemistry, San Jose State University, 2016
Undergraduate Students
Shehani W. Gunawardena
Integrative Biology

Past Students

Ph. D. Conferred Year Thesis Current Position

Julian Reed


Characterizing a Structural and Functional Model of Nitric Oxide Reductase Performing NO and O2 Reduction in Engineered Myoglobin

Postdoc, DoD Construction and Engineering Research Laboratory

Ambika Bhagi


Understanding Structure-Function Relations in Heme-Copper Oxidase Using Myoglobin-Based Enzyme Models

Assistant Professor, U of Minnesota

Igor Petrik


Characterization and Design of Hydrogen Bonding Interactions in Oxygen Reduction by Engineered Myoglobins

Structural Biologist, Ambry Genetics

Kevin Hwang


Cellular Metal Ion Sensing Using DNAzymes

Postdoc, MIT

Shiliang Tan


Protein Engineering Using Azurin as the Scaffold: Capturing and Studying Novel Metal-Sulfenate and Metal-NO Species

Postdoc, Stanford University

Peiwen Wu


DNAzymes as Intracellular Sensors for Metal Ion Imaging and their Structural Characterization

Research Scientist, Gilead

Parisa Hosseinzadeh


Isolating, Characterizing, and Engineering Novel Cu-Proteins and Peroxidases

Postdoc, U. of Washington

Li Huey Tan


Studying the Interface Between DNA and Inorganic Nanoparticles to Control Shape and Anisotropicity

Research Scientist, Intel

Hang Xing


Bioinspired DNA-Nanomaterial Conjugates for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications

Professor, Hunan U

Seyed-Fakhreddin Torabi


In vitro Selection and Characterization of Mono-, Di-, and Trivalent Metal-Dependent DNAzymes and Their Biosensor Applications

Postdoc, Yale University

Yang Yu


Metalloprotein Engineering with Unnatural Amino Acids: Application in Functional Heme-Copper Oxidase And Azurin

Associate Professor Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Science

Ngo Yin Wong


Advances in Structural and Functional DNA Nanotechnology: Towards Complex and Dynamic Assemblies for In Vitro Applications

Research Scientist, Intel

Tian Lan


I. Isolation of aptamers for perchlorate and melamine
II. Attempts towards crystallization of DNAzymes
III. A new DNAzyme based sensor for lead detection

CTO, GlucoScentient, Inc.

Tiffany Diane Wilson


A Biosynthetic Approach to Understanding the Assembly of CuA Center

Postdoctoral researcher- U. of California at Berkeley

Ying He


Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Study of the Global Folding of Functional DNAs And Electrohydrodynamic Printing of Protein Arrays

Kyle Miner


Rational Design of Functional Heme Copper Oxidases in Myoglobin

Post Doctoral Fellow - UT San Antonio

Nick Marshall


Fine-Tuning the Reduction Potential of Cupredoxin Proteins by Altering Secondary Coordination Sphere Interactions

Post Doctoral Fellow - UT Austin

Zidong Wang


Bioinspired fabrication and assembly of hybrid materials for sensing and biomedical applications

Manager, Technical Operations at Siemens Healthcare

Eric L. Null


Functional DNS: Biochemical/biophysical characterization & sensing applications

Senior Chemical Measurement Scientist at Corning Incorporated

Weichen Xu


Smart MRI Contrast Agents and Label-Free Fluorescent Sensors Based on Functional Nucleic Acids and Mechanistic Studies of Metal-DNAzyme Interactions

Research Scientist, ANDalyze, Inc.

Nathan Sieracki


Toward engineering oxygenase activity into the electron transport protein azurin

Staff Scientist, Department of Pharmacology,
Univesrity of Illinois - Chicago

Kevin M. Clark


Probing the roles of Metal binding ligands in cupredoxins: Incorporating nonproteinogenic amino acids into azurin and CuA azurin

Attorney, Kilpatrick, Townsend, & Stockton LLP

Nandini Nagraj


Development Of Functional Dna-Based Sensors And Investigations Into Their Mechanism

Research Scientist, GE Research Center

Debapriya Mazumdar


Investigation of Metal-Dependence in DNAzymes and Applications of DNAzymes and Aptamers for Diagnostics

Vice President of Product Development, DzymeTech, Inc.

Jung Heon Lee


Bioinspired Assembly of Nanomaterials for Applications in Nanoelectronics and Biosensors

Assistant Professor, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea.

Natasha Yeung


Modeling the FeB site of bacterial nitric oxide reductase

Postdoctoral researcher- Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mehmet Veysel Yigit


Novel MRI contrast agents based on Functional DNA and nanomaterial conjugates for biomedical applications

Assistant Professor- University at Albany, SUNY

Masha Savelieff


Biosynthetic approach to protein models in long-range electron transfer

Assistant Prof, Michigan State Univ.

Dewain Garner


Metalloprotein Design and Engineering Using Unnatural Amino Acids and Nonnative Cofactors

Research Scientist, Clorox Company

Hee-Kyung Kim


Probing metal binding sites and metal ion-dependent conformational changes of a DNAzyme

Postdoctoral researcher- U. of California, Berkeley

Ningyan Wang


Exploring the Roles of Heme Type and Histidine-Tyrosine Cross-Link in Heme-Copper Oxidases Using a Myoglobin Model

Research Scientist, ImmuVen, Champaign, IL

Daryl P. Wernette


Immobilization of Catalytic DNA for Advanced Materials and Sensors

Research Scientist, Owens Corning

Thomas P. Pfister


Metalloprotein Engineering using Heme Protein Scaffolds to Investigate the Oxidation of Endogenous Aromatic Amino Acids and Exogenous Substrates

Research Scientist, SAIC-Frederick, Inc., Frederick, MD

James R. Carey


Design and Synthesis of Redox or Catalytically Active Artificial Metalloproteins Containing Non-native Inorganic and Organometallic Complexes

Associate Professor, National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Andrea K. Brown


In vitro Selection and Characterization of Highly Selective Metal-Dependent DNAzymes with Potential
 Biosensor Applications

M.D. program- UIUC

Hee Jung Hwang


Modulation of Metal Coordination and Redox Properties of the Engineered Purple CuA and Ferrocene Centers in Azurin

Postdoctoral Researcher- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Kevin E. Nelson


In vitro selection and metal selectivity of transition metal dependent DNAzymes

Assistant Professor (Clinical) of Pediatrics, University of Utah Health Care and Primary Children's Hospital

Juewen Liu


Fluorescent and Colorimetric Biosensors Based On DNAzymes and DNA Aptamers

Assistant Professor, U. of Waterloo

Peter J. Bruesehoff


In Vitro Selection and Characterization of Transition Metal-Dependent DNAzymes and RNAzymes

Research Scientist, Abbot Labs

Steven M. Berry


Designing Novel Blue Copper and Purple CuA Centers in Azurin with Natural and Unnatural Amino Acids

Associate Professor, U. of Minnesota at Duluth

Steven K. Ma


Encapsulation of Achiral Mn(Salen) Complexes into Cytochrome c Peroxidase: Spectroscopic Characterizations and Epoxidation Studies

Product Manager, Lonza, Inc.

Jing Li


In Vitro Selection of Highly Efficient DNA Enzymes as RNA Nucleases and Metal Biosensors

Staff Scientist, Genomic Institute of the Novartis Research Fdn.

Alan Gengenbach


The Protein Redesign Approach to Modeling Manganese Peroxidase

Assistant Professor, U. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Jeffrey A. Sigman


Metalloprotein Design

Professor, Saint Mary's College

Lynette A. Cunningham


Studies of the Catalytic-Metal-Binding site in the Hammerhead Ribozyme using the Phosphorothioate Approach

Research Scientist, Colgate-Palmolive

Michael T. Hay


Engineering a Purple CuA Site into the Blue Copper Protein Azurin: Construction Spectroscopy, and Metal Substitution Studies

Associate Professor, Penn. State Beaver

M.S. Conferred Year Thesis Title Current Position

Zhe Shen


Novel Methods for On-Site and Cost-Effective Quantification of Multiple Targets Using Functional DNA and Portable Instruments

Darius Brown


Ultrasensitive DNA Aptasensors Based on Exponential Amplification Reaction

Research Specialist- Cornel University

Hannah Ihms


The In Vitro Selection and Biochemical Characterization of MetalloDNAzymes

Bryant Kearl


Characterization and Catalytic Application of an Engineered Cupredoxin Possessing a Potential in Excess of 1 Volt

Ph.D. program- Arizona State U.

Lanyu Lei


Introduction and Modification of Hydrogen Bonding Network into the Active Site of an Engineered Myoglobin Model of Cytochrome c Oxidase

Qian Chen


Design and Engineering of Artificial Metalloenzymes for Asymmetric Catalysis: Investigation of Mn(Salen) Containing Myoglobin Catalyzing Sulfoxidation

Ph.D. program- Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne

Hyeon Keol Kim


Engineering and Characterization of Heme-Copper Binuclear Center in Sperm Whale Myoglobin

MBA program- UIUC

Caroline Marie-Brigitte Pavot



Metal Ion Interactions with Phosphorothioate and Phosphoroselenoate DNA/RNA and Biochemical Characterization of a Lead-Dependent Deoxyribozyme


Marjorie C. Ang


An Engineered Purple CuA Site in Azurin: Understanding a Novel Copper Site in Biology

Research Scientist, Genencor Inc., CA