Current Fellows

Luis Avila

Luis Avila

B.S. 2017, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Shahriar Mobashery

Research Project:
Luis’s research focuses on the bacterial cell-wall degradome. Luis will receive training in biochemistry as his major area, but he will integrate his biochemical research with analytical chemistry and physical-chemical analyses of proteins. He is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Prof. Juan Hermoso at CSIC, Spain to analyze the crystal structures of the proteins that he works with and the putative binding partners.

Verodia Charlestin

Verodia Charlestin

B.S. 2016, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Laurie E. Littlepage

Research Project:
Verodia’s research focuses on alteration of metabolism of tumor cells in the tumor microenvironment of using mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI). She plans a research internship with Prof. Jeremy Baskin at Cornell University to learn new approaches in molecular imaging of lipids. Verodia’s project involves novel correlation-based network analysis of breast tumor metabolism identifying the glycerol channel protein Aquaporin-7 as a regulator of lipid and arginine metabolism during breast cancer.

Hannah Corman

Hannah Corman

B.A. 2016, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
Discipline:Biological Sciences
Mentor: Mary Ann McDowell

Research Project: Hannah’s project is centered on development of novel anti-leishmanial agents: structure-activity relationships of heteroaromatic scaffolds.

Honors

  • Indiana CTSI Predoctoral Training Award (July 2019)
  • Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research Fellow (May 2018)

Homero Dominguez

Homero Dominguez

B.S. 2017, Universtiy of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Shahriar Mobashery
Research Project
Homero’s project is centered on targeting allostery in proteins for design of antibiotics.

Internship
Department of Crystallography and Structural Biology. Institute of Physical Chemistry “Rocasolano” CSIC, 28006 Madrid, Spain

Honors

  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2015)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher (2019)
  • GEM Associate Fellow (2019)

Elizabeth Harper

Elizabeth Harper

B.A., 2015,Earlham College, Richmond, IN
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Sharon Stack

Research Project
Elizabeth’s project involves working on how aging affects ovarian cancer metastatic success. Elizabeth will assess age-related changes to metastatic sites using a variety of imagining and biochemical techniques with in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro models.

Internship
Elizabeth will be interning the summer of 2020 working with Dr. Amanda Hummon at Ohio State University, an expert in mass spectrometry-based proteomics.

Honors

  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program Recruitment Committee Member (2019)
  • Interdisciplinary Interface Training Program(IITP) Grant, Harper Cancer Research Institute, Universtiy of Notre Dame (2018)
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences program GSU Representative, University of Notre Dame (2018)
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program Professional Development Chair, University of Notre Dame (2018)

Publications:

  • Harper, E.I.; Sheedy, E.F.; Stack, M.S. With Great Age Comes Great Metastatic Ability: Ovarian Cancer and the Appeal of the Aging Peritoneal Microenvironment. Cancers(Basel), 2018, 10, 230.

Jeffrey Henry

Jeff Henry

B.S. 2015, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Discipline: Organic Chemistry
Mentor: Richard Taylor

Research Project:
Jeff’s research focuses on the synthesis and investigation of the biosynthesis of microtubule stabilizing agent, (-)-zampanolide. He is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratories of Dr. Dan Sackett at the NIH to assess the biological activity of analogs in cancer cell lines. He also plans a second research internship with Prof. Cole Stevens at University of Mississippi to learn chemoenymatic systhesis.
Jeff’s project also involves synthesis, conformational preferences, and biological activity of conformational analogues of the microtuble-stabilizing agents, (-)-Zampanolide and (-)-Dactyolide.

Internship
University of Mississippi. Mentor: Dr. Cole Stevens. Jeff’s internship provided experience in protein expression, isolation, purification and the development of cells, cell lysate, and isolated protein-based oxidation reactions for studies in the transformation of ambruticin J to ambruticin F.

Honors:

  • NSF-IRES Fellowship (Summer 2016)
  • Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellowship in Science and Engineering (2015- present)
  • 2019 Medicinal and Bioorganic Chemistry Foundation Scholar (2019)
  • 2019 Harper Cancer Research Day Exceptional Trainee: Exceptional Team Science (2019)
  • 2019 H.C. Brown Lecture Poster Award: Advances in Organic Synthesis (April 2019)

Publications

  • Henry, J.; Posevins, D.; Yang,B.; Qiu, Y.; Bläckvall, J.E. Highly Selective Olefin-Assisted Pd(II)-Catalyzed Oxidative Alkynylation of Enallenes. Chem Eur J, 2017, 23, 7896-7899. PMID: 28440882
  • Henry, J.; Wilson, M.; Mulligan, M.; Quinn,T.R.; Sackett, D.E.; Taylor, R.E. Synthesis, Conformational Preferences, and Biological Activity of Conformational Analogues of the Microtubule- Stabilizing Agents, (-)-Zampanolide and (-)-Dactylolide. MedChemComm, 2019, DOI: 10.1039/C9MD00164F.

Jeffrey Jones

Jeff Jones

B.S. 2014, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Mayland Chang

Research Project:
Jeff’s research focuses on the role of matrix metalloprteinases (MMPs) in pressure ulcers. He is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Prof. Chris Overall at the University of British Columbia to conduct global proteomic studies on the effect of selective MMP inhibition. Jeff’s project also involves matrix metalloproteases and their roles in chronic wounds.

Honors: GRC Poster Preview Award (2019)

Publications:

  • Jones, J.I.; Nguyen, T.T.; Peng, Z.; Chang, M. Targeting MMP-9 in Diabetic Foot Ulcers. Pharmaceuticals, 2019, 12(2), 79. doi:10.3390/ph12020079.
  • Nguyen, T.T.; Ding, D.; Wolter, W.; Pèrez, R.; Champion, M.M.; Mahasenan, K.V.; Hesek, D.; Lee, M.; Schroeder, V.A.; Jones, J.I., Lastochkin, E.; Rose, M.K.; Peterson, C.E.; Suckow, M.A.; Mobasher, S.; Chang, M. Validation of Matric Metalloproteinase-9(MMP-9) as a Novel Target for Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Humans and Discovery of a Potent and Selctive Small-Molecule MMP-9 Inhibitor that Accelerates Healing. J. Med. Chem., 2018, 61, 8825-8837.

Bradley M. Keegan

Brad Keegan

B.S. 2013, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem,NC
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Brian S.J. Blagg

Research Project:
Brad’s research focuses on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of novel AHA1/Hsp90 inhibitors for reduction of tau aggregation in Alzheimer’s disease.. He is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Prof. Ionnis Gellis at the University of South Florida to conduct NMR CSP docking experiments to evaluate their binding to AHA1.

Internship:
ICRM-CNR, Milan, Italy. Mentor: Dr. Giorgio Colombo. Brad’s internship provided experience in computational modeling, ligand docking, and dynamic simulation experiments to discover novel binding pockets and mechanisms for Aha1/Hsp90 disruption.

Honors:

  • Co-winner(EncepHeal Therapeutics), The Neuro Startup Challenge – National Institutes of Health (NIH) (2015)
  • Graduate Student Travel Award, Experimental Biology – The American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) (2014)
  • Certificate of Professional Education in Chemistry, The Committee on Professional Training – The American Chemical Society (ACS)

Charlotte Kunkler

Charlotte Kunkler

B.A., 2016, Biochemistry, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jessica A. Brown

Research Project:
Charlotte’s project involves understanding the structural properties of triple helices and a triple-stranded RNA-binding protein.

Honors:

  • Ewha-Luce Internation Seminar (ELIS) Participant, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea (2018)
  • Roger K. Bretthauer Graduate Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame (2017-2018)

Publications:

  • Kunkler, C. N.; Hulewicz, J. P.; Hickman, S. C.; Wang, M. C.; McCown, P. J.; Brown, J. A. Stability of an RNA•DNA–DNA triple helix depends on base triplet composition and length of the RNA third strand. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019, 47 (14), 7213–7222.

Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara

Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara

Degree: B.S. 2007, Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Instituto de Biotechnologia UNAM,Puebla, Mexico
Discipline: Biology
Mentor: Laurie E. Littlepage

Research Project:
Maria Cristina’s research focuses on investigating the tumor and microenvironment roles of matrix metalloproteinase-3(MMP-3) during breast cancer. She has identified antagonistic roles for MMP-3 when produced by the stromal tissue comparted to the epithelial cells. She is currently conducting a research internship in the laboratory of Prof.Ulrich auf dem Keller at Technical University of Denmark to identify in vivo substrates and/or binding partners of MMP-3 by mass spectrometry.

Internship:
Ulrich auf dem Keller, Technical University Denmark DTU.

Honors
AAUW Doctoral Fellowship, Sigma Xi grant-in-aid

Publications:
Romero-Moreno, R.; Curtis, K. J.; Coughlin, T. R.; Miranda-Vergara, M.C.; Dutta, S.; Natarajan, A.; Facchine, B.A.; Jackson, K.M.; Nystrom, L.; Li, J.; Kaliney, W.; Niebur, G.L.; Littlepage, L.E. The CXCL5/CXCR2 Axis is Sufficient to Promote Breast Cancer Colonization During Bone Metastasis. Nature Communications. 2019, doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12108-6.

Taylor Quinn

Taylor Quinn

B.A. 2015, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Discipline: Theoretical/Computational Chemistry
Mentor: Olaf Weist and Paul Helquist

Research Project:
Taylor’s research focuses on understanding the mechanism of Pseudomonas mevalonii HMG-CoA reductase. By using classical ground-state molecular mechanics as well as Q2MM transition state force fields, the enzyme mechanism is elucidated with atomistic detail across the entire protein. She is currently conducting a research internship in the laboratory of Prof. Cynthia Stauffacher at Purdue University to express, purify, and crystallize HMGCoA reductase; she will mutate residues outside the active site to determine their effect on the rate of the reaction.

Publications:

  • Huang, X., Quinn, T.R., Harms, K., Webster, R.D., Zhang, I., Wiest, O., Meggers, E. Direst Visible -Light-Excited Asymmetric Lewis Acid Catalysis of Intermolecular [2+2] Photocycloadditions. J Am Chem Soc 2017, 139, 9120-9123. PMID:28644024.
  • Rosales, A.R., Quinn, T.R., Wahlers, J. Tomberg, A., Zhang, X., Helquist, P., Wiest, O., Norrby, P.O. Application of Q2MM to Predictions in Steroselective Synthesis. ChemCommun(Camb) 2018, 54, 8294-8311. PMCID: PMC6069518.

Cynthia Schreiber

Cynthia Schreiber

B.S. 2015, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Bradley Smith

Research Project:
Cynthia’s research focuses on fluorescence-guided surgery of ovarian cancer by utilizing fluorescent probes to target overexpressed proteins on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. She also explores multivalency in order to increase probe binding affinity and specificity toward these cancer cells. She conducted a research internship with Prof. Jan-Erling Bläckvall at Stockholm University, Sweden to evaluate enzyme binding in the active site of lipases for enhanced enantioselectivity. She studied kinetic resolution (KR) and dynamic kinetic resolution (DKR) to create these enantiomerically pure compounds.

Publications:

  • Schreiber, C.L., Smith, B.D. Molecular Imaging of Aminopeptidase N in cancer and Angiogenesis. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2018, 5315172. PMCID:PMC6036854.
  • Shaw, S.k., Liu, W., Gόmez Durán, C.F.A., Schreiber, C.L., Betancourt, Mendiola, M.L., Zhai, C., Roland, F.M., Pandanilam, S.J., Smith, B.D. Non-Covalently Pre-Assembled High Performance Near-Infrared Fluorescent Molecular Probes for Cancer Imaging. Chemistry, 2018, 24, 13821-13829. doi: 10.1002/chem.201801825. Epu 2018 Aug 19.
  • Shaw, S.k., Schreiber, C.L., Roland, F.M., Battles, P.M., Brennan, S.P., Padanilam, S.J., Smith, B.D. High expression of integrin αvβ3 enables uptake of targeted fluorescent probes into ovarina cancer. Bioorg Med Chem. 2018, 26(8), 2085-2091. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2018.03.007. Epub 2018 Mar 6. PMID: 29548784.

Robert Stanley

Robert Stanley

B.S. 2016, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jeanne Romero-Serverson

Research Project:
Robert’s research focuses on the isolation and characterization of antimicrobial compounds from Quercus rubra(northern red oak) acorns. He is currently conducting a research internship with Prof. Daniel Jones at Michigan State University in metabolomics of northern red acorns and isolation of compounds with anitmicrobial activity. He is also conducting a second research internship with Dr. Jennifer Koch at the USDA Forest Service to collect green ash samples and analyze of defensive metabolites that resist attack by emerald ash borers.

Kathryn Trentadue

Kathryn Trentadue

B.S. 2017, Hope College, Holland, MI
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Richard Taylor

Research Project
Kathryn’s project involves biosynthesis of the ambruticins.

Yuanyuan Qian

Yuanyuan Qian

B.S., 2013, Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, Xi’an, China
M.S., 2016, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Discipline: Organic Chemistry
Mentor: Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang

Research Project:
Yuanyuan’s research focuses on the structure-activity relationship of quinazolinone class of antibacterials. He plans to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Prof. Juan Hermoso to crystalize his quinazolinones with penicillin-binding proteins(PBPs) 1 and 2a. Yuanyuan’s project also involves design, synthesis, biological evaluation and mechanism elucidation of antibacterial agents against MRSA or C. diff.

Publications:

  • Speri, E., Kim, C., De Benedetti, S.,Qian, Y., Lastochkin, E., Fishovitz, J., Fisher, J. F., Mobashery, S. Cinnamonitrile Adjuvants Restore Susceptibility to β-Lactams against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2019. doi:10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00169.