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 in March 2020 to analyze the crystal structures of the proteins that he works with and the putative binding partners.


Kurtis Breger 

Kurtis Berger

B.S. 2016, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO

Discipline: Biochemistry

Mentor: Jessica Brown

Research Project:

Kurtis's research project is focused on understanding the enzymes involved with RNA modifications and elucidating the disruptions to the transcriptome and epitranscriptome when these enzymes are impaired in human diseases.

Internship:

Kurtis will go to the University of Cincinnati to gain expertise in using mass spectrometry and other chromatographic techniques for quantifying RNA modifications and related metabolites from various sources.

Publications:

  • McCown, P.J.; Ruszkowska, A.; Kunkler, C.N.; Breger, K.; Hulewicz, J.P; Wang, M.C.; Springer, N.A.; Brown, J.A.  Naturally Occurring Modified Ribonucleosides. Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA.  2020, e1595, doi: 10.1002wrna.1595. [online ahead of print] PMID: 32301288.

 


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 Professor Costas Lyssiotis at the University of Michigan in January 2020 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.

Internship:
January 2020 – March 2020 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Mentor Professor Costas Lyssiotis. She will be learning how to use labeled substrates in metabolic flux analysis and incorporating other analytical techniques into my research.


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)

Publications:

  • Corman, H.N.; Shoue, D.A.; Norris-Mullins, B.; Melaconcon, B.J.; Morales, M.A.; McDowell, M.A. Development of a Target-free High Throughput Screening Platform for the Discovery of Antilesishmanial Compounds. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2019, 54, 496-501. pii: S0924-8579(10) 30193-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag. 2019.07.013[epub ahead of print] PMID 3232307.

Homero Domínguez

Homero Dominguez

B.S. 2017, University 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
Homero will be interning with Department of Crystallography and Structural Biology. Institute of Physical Chemistry “Rocasolano” CSIC, 28006 Madrid, Spain in the summer of 2020.

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

  • NIH F99 Predoc to Postdoc Transition Award(2020)
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program Recruitment Committee Member (2019)
  • Interdisciplinary Interface Training Program(IITP) Grant, Harper Cancer Research Institute, University 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. PMID: 29996539, PMCID: PMC6070816.

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:
March 2019- May [/]-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)

Publications:

  • Shi,T.; Wijeratne, E.M.K.; Solano, C.; Ambrose, A.J.; Ross, A.B.: Norwood, C.; Orido, C.K.; Grigoryan, T.; Tillotson, J.; Kang, M.; Luo, G.; Keegan, B.M.; Hu, W.; Blagg, B.S.J.; Zhang, D.D.; Guatilaka, A.A.L.; Chapman, E. An Isoform-Selective PTP1B Inhibitor Derived from Nitrogen-Atom Augmentation of Radicol. Biochemistry, 2019, 58, 3225-3231. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9600499. PMID: 31298844.

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:

  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral F31 Fellowship(2020)
  • Ewha-Luce Internation Seminar (ELIS) Participant, Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, South Korea (2018)
  • Roger K. Bretthauer Graduate Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame (2017-2018)

Publications:

  • McCown, P.J.; Ruszkowska, A.; Kunkler, C.N.; Breger, K.; Hulewicz, J.P; Wang, M.C.; Springer, N.A.; Brown, J.A.  Naturally Occurring Modified Ribonucleosides. Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA.  2020, e1595, doi: 10.1002wrna.1595. [online ahead of print] PMID: 32301288.
  • 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.

Guoqiang Liu 

Guoqiang Liu

B.S. 2017, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China  

Discipline: Biology

Mentor: Xin Lu

Research Project:

Guoqiang’s research project involves research on protein nitration and other mechanisms that MDSCs (myeloid-derived suppressor cells) contribute to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. He is also working on developing MDSC-targeted delivery strategy for tumor diagnosis and combinatorial immunotherapy.  

Internship:

Guoqiang is planning to take an internship in School of Life Science at Westlake University in Summer 2021 and work with Dr Feng Shan on proteomic screening of MDSCs and T cells in tumor microenvironment.

Publications:

  • Liu, G.; Jin, Z.; Lu, X.  Differential Targeting of Gr-MDSCs, T Cells and Prostate Cancer Cells by Dactolisib and Dasatinib. Intl J Mol Sci, 2020, 21(7):2337.  doi: 10.3390/ijms21072337.  PMID: 32230980. PMCID: PMC7178187.
  • Zhang, Y.; Liu, G.; Sun, M.; Lu, X.  Targeting and Exploiting Tumor-associated Neutrophils to Enhance Immunotherapy and Drug Delivery for Cancer Treatment. Cancer Biol Med, 2020, 17(1):32-43.  doi: 10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2019.0372 PMID: 32296575. PMCID: PMC7142839.

 


Taylor Lundgren 

Taylor Lundgren

                                                                          

B.S. 2019, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Discipline: Biochemistry

Mentor: Matthew Champion and Patricia Clark

Research Project:

Taylor's research project primary focus is in developing nascent chain proteomics, where unique biochemical methods are used to label and purify peptides during translation. Comparing nascent and mature peptides enables a more accurate quantification of mistranslation rates and could provide novel insight into the effect on translation by differential codon usage.

Internship:

Taylor is planning an internship at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD with Dr. Allan Buskirk as his mentor. Dr. Buskirk's work utilizes ribosomal profiling to characterize the interactions between ribosomes, mRNA, and the nascent polypeptide during translation in bacteria, with emphasis on the cause and effect of ribosomal pausing.

 

 


Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara

Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara

Degree: M.S. 2007, Instituto de Biotechnologia, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Discipline: Biochemistry
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.

Internship:
Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark. Mentor: Dr. Ulrich Auf dem Keller. She identified in vivo substrates and or/binding partners of MMP-3 by mass spectrometry.

Honors
2019 AAUW International Doctoral Fellowship
2019 Harper Cancer Research Institute, Research Day, Exceptional Team Science Award
2018 Sigma-Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research Program Awardee
2018 Exceptional Patient Advocacy Award. Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre

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.

Janeala Morsby 

Janeala Morsby

B.S. 2018, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina
Mentor: Bradley Smith
Discipline: Biochemistry

Research Project:

Janeala's research project focuses on developing an Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid, and robust, Equipment-free, and Deliverable (ASSURED) method for the early detection of chronic kidney disease. More specifically, she will design test strips that provide a colorimetric response in the presence of the NAG enzyme (a biomarker for kidney damage)In another aspect of her project, Janeala will utilize a standard glucose meter for a new NAG enzyme detection application using a novel NAG-Paracetamol probe.

Internship:

May 2021- June 2021, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. Mentor: Professor Suri Iyer. Janeala will learn the fundamentals in electrochemistry as well as how a glucose meter directly measures paracetamol levels. Additionally, in Dr. Iyer’s lab, she will acquire patient samples and perform further detection and analytical studies.     

Publications:

  • Morsby, J.; Dharmarwardana, M.; McGarraugh, H,; Smith, B. D. Supramolecular optimization of the visual contrast for colorimetric indicator assays that release resorufin dye.  Chem Commun, 2020. doi.org/10.1039/D0CC03551C.
  • Padilla-Coley, S.; Xu, H.; Morsby, J.; Gao, H.; Smith, B. D.  Supramolecular Loading of a Broad Spectrum of Molecular Guests Inside Hyperbranched Polytriazole Nanoparticles with Cores Containing Multiple Functional Groups. Biomacromolecules, 2020, 21(6):2165-2175. Epub 2020 Apr 10. Doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.0c00151.  PMID: 32227988.

Ansley Nemeth 

Ansley Nemeth

B.S. 2018, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Discipline: Chemistry

Mentor: Christian Melander

Research Project:

Ansley's research project involves the synthesis of small molecules that will be biologically evaluated for their use as antibiotic adjuvants. These molecules are tested using microbiological techniques to determine their activity in combination with different antibiotics against Gram-negative pathogens such as Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Internship:

Ansley is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Dr. Pradeep Singh at the University of Washington in the Department of Microbiology in the summer of 2021. The internship will include learning basic genetic and molecular biology techniques to evaluate the mechanisms by which my compounds work against various Gram-negative bacterial species. 

Publications:

  • Nemeth, A. M.; Basak, A. K.; Weig, A. W.; Marrujo, S. A.; Barker, W. T.; Jania, L. A.; Hendricks, T. A.; Sullivan, A. E.; O’Connor, P. M.; Melander, R. J.; Koller, B. H.; Melander,C. Structure-Function Studies on IMD-0354 Identifies Highly Active Colistin Adjuvants. ChemMedChem, 2020, 15, 210-218.   PMID: 31756025, PMCID: PMC69825450(available on 1/17/2021. Doi:10.1002/cmdc.201900560
  • Barker, W. T.; Nemeth, A. M.; Brackett, S. M.; Basak, A. K.; Chandler, C. E.; Jania, L.A.; Zuercher, W. J.; Melander, R. J.; Koller, B. H.; Ernst, R. K.; Melander, C. Repurposing Eukaryotic Kinase Inhibitors as Colistin Adjuvants in Gram-negative Bacteria. ACS Infectious Diseases, 2019, 5, (10), 1764-1771. doi.org/10.1021/acsinfecdis.9b00212 Epub 2019 Sep 4. PMID: 31434474 PMCID: PMC6944324(available on 2020-10-11)

     

 

Himani Patel 

Himani Patel

B.S. 2018, Mckendree University, Lebanon, IL

Discipline: Chemistry

Mentor: Olaf Wiest and Paul Helquist

Research Project: 

Himani’s research  project focuses on mechanistic study of HMG-CoA reductase from Pseudomonas mevalonii using computational methods such as density functional theory (DFT), quantum mechanics/ molecular mechanics (QM/MM), transition state force fields (TSFF), and long timescale molecular dynamics simulation. 

Internship: 

Himani  is planning a research internship in the laboratory of Dr. Cynthia Stauffacher at Purdue University in Fall 2020 to be trained in a range of experimental biological methods including protein expression in Pseudomonas mevalonii, protein purification, mutation, crystallization and kinetic studies of the HMG-CoA reductase mutants and wild type.

 


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 the design, synthesis, biological evaluation, and mechanism elucidation of antibacterial agents against MRSA or C. diff.

Publications:

  • Ceballos, S.; Kim, C.; Qian, Y.; Mobashery, S.; Chang, M.; Torres, C. Susceptibility of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to five quinazolinone antibacterials. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2019, doi:10.1128/AAC.01344-19 (in press).
  • Boudreau, M.A.; Ding, D.; Meisel, J.E.; Janardhanan, J.; Spink, E.; Peng, Z.; Qian, Y.; Yamaguchi, T.; Testero, S.A.; O’Daniel, P.I.; Leemans, E.; Lastochkin, E.; Song, W.; Schroeder, V.a.; Wolter, W.R.; Suckow, M.A.; Mobashery, S.; Chang, M. Structure-Activity Relationship for the Oxadiazole Class of Antibactericals. ACS Med Chem. Lett.  2019, doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00379 (in press)
  • 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.

Naviya Schuster-Little 

Naviya Schuster Little

B.A. 2017, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH

Discipline: Chemistry

Mentor: Rebecca Whelan

Research Project: 

Naviya’s research project  focuses on expressing, characterizing, and selecting aptamers for the ovarian cancer biomarker CA125 (MUC16). She will use bottom-up proteomics to digest MUC16 into peptides, and then will design a parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) assay to detect individual peptides that demonstrate potential for quantitation. Her ultimate goal is to develop a diagnostic test to detect the MUC16 protein in early-stage ovarian cancer.

Internship:

Naviya plans to spend the summer of 2021 working in Dr. Manish Patankar’s lab at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  Naviya will learn how to express and purify MUC16 and will select aptamers for the protein using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS).

Honors:

  • First Place Poster Prize Harper Cancer Research Day Notre Dame, IN (April 2019)

Publications:

  • Schuster-Little, N.; Madera, S.; Whelan, R.J. Developing a mass spectrometry-based assay for the ovarian cancer biomarker CA125 (MUC16) using suspension trapping (STrap). AnalBioanalChem, 2020. PMID: 32215689 doi: 10.1007/s00216-020-02586-9 (Online ahead of print).

 

 


 

Robert Stanley

Robert Stanley

B.S. 2016, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jeanne Romero-Serverson
CBBI Fellow: 2017-2019
Current Position:

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.

Internship:
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Mentor: Professor Daniel Jones. His research internship involved metabolomics of northern red acorns and isolation of compounds with antimicrobial activity. Second internship: USDA Forest Service Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Koch. He collected green ash samples and analyzed 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 investigating the biosynthesis of the ambruticin family of natural products, a class of antigungal agents extracted from a soil bacterium. She will be conducting a research internship in the lab of Dr. David Sherman at the University of Michigan where Kathryn will explore both chemical and enyzmatic methods of synthesis and learn the required biological techniques. Her project involves assessing the antifungal activity of any novel ambruticin analogs produced.


Alexander Weig                                                                 

Alexander Weig

B.A. 2017, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

DisciplineChemistry

Mentor: Christian Melander

Research Project:

Alex's research project involves the synthesis and evaluation of the structure-activity relationships of small molecules used to inhibit virulence factors in Staphylococcus aureus.

Internship:

Alex is planning to conduct a research internship in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Horswill at the University of Colorado in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology in the summer of 2021. The internship will further the work Alex does in the Melander lab by further probing the mechanism through which his compounds inhibit virulence factors.

Publications:

Nemeth, A. M.; Basak, A. K.; Weig, A. W.; Marrujo, S. A.; Barker, W. T.; Jania, L. A.; Hendricks, T. A.; Sullivan, A. E.; O'Connor, P. M.; Melander, R. J.; Koller, B. H.; Melander, C. Structure-Function Studies on IMD-0354 Identifies Highly Active Colistin Adjuvants.  ChemMedChem 2020, 15 (2), 210- 218. doi:  10.1002/cmdc.201900560 PMID: 31756025 PMCID: PMC6982545( available on 2021-01-17).