Current Fellows

Marcus Arieno


B.S. 2010, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Olaf G. Wiest

Research Project:
Marcus’ project is centered on the design of new drugs that inhibit epigenetic readers, specifically bromodomains by means of: analysis of protein dynamics by MD simulation to gain atomic-level understanding of drug binding and protein flexibility, computationally docking libraries of drug-like molecules against bromodomain receptors and rescoring docked poses by MD simulation and MM methodologies to obtain relative binding energies for predicting which compound libraries to assay experimentally, and quantifying the shape complementarity of drug-receptor complexes in order to relate overall shape fit of drugs with different scoring functions.

May – August 2012 University of Oxford, Structural Genomics Consortium, Headington, Oxford, UK: Mentor: Panagis Filippakopoulos

The goal of Marcus’ internship is to use technology and resources available at the Structural Genomics Consortium, to express and purify various bromodomains to perform binding assays of virtually screened compounds and to grow protein crystals to obtain X-ray structures. Aim is to use results to apply toward the design of more potent binders and improved predictive models.


  • Byrd, KM, Arieno, MD, Kennelly, ME, Estiu, G, Wiest, O, Helquist, P, Design and Synthesis of a crosslinker for studying intracellular steroid trafficking pathways. Bioorg Med Chem 2015 Jul 1;23(13):3843-3851

Katie Del Vecchio


B.S. in Biochemistry 2012, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Robert V. Stahelin

Research Project:
Katie’s project involves investigating the biophysical interactions between cellular membrane lipids and the Ebola Virus Matrix protein, VP40.

February – April 2014 Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA: Mentor: Erica Olmann-Saphire

The goal of Katie’s project was elucidating lipid-rotein interactions of Ebola virus protein 40 (VP$) with lipids found in the plasma membrane. The three major techniques explored were lipid-protein crystallography, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and electron microscopy (EM).


  • CBBI Symposium Best Oral Presentation (May 2015)
  • CBBI Symposium Best Poster Award (May 2014)


  • Del Vecchio, K, Stahelin, R.V. Using surface plasmon resonance to quatitatively assess lipid-protein interactions. Methods Mol. Bio., (2016), 1376, 141-153.

David Dik


B.S. in Chemistry 2013, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Shahriar Mobashery

Research Project:
David’s Project focuses on the mechanisms of cell-wall recycling and antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. One mechanism of resistance in many Gram-negative bacteria is the inducible AmpC βlactamase, which hydrolytically degrades the β-lactam ring of β-lactam antibiotics. The induction of AmpC β-lactamase is regulated by the protein AmpR. When β-lactam antibiotics are administered to a bacterial organism physiological changes occur in cell-wall peptidoglycan. A component of the altered cell wall is believed to derepress AmpR allowing for the transcription and translation of AmpC β-lactamase. His research aims to elucidate both the structure and function of this key regulatory protein in antibiotic resistance."

May 2015 – July 2015, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Institute of Physical Chemistry “Rocasolano”, Madrid, Spain. Mentor: Juan Hermoso

David’s project involves co-crystallizing AmpR bound by both the transcriptional repressor and derepressor muropeptides. Focus on preparing samples for crytallization, diffracting cryatals, and solving protein structure. At conclusion will identify the ligand, which binds to the AmpR EBD resulting in the conformational change that activates of ampC transcription.


  • B.S. Honors, 2013
  • Beta Beta Beta Honor Society
  • Sigma Zeta Honor Society


  • Dominguez-Gila, T., Lee, M., Acebron-Avalosa, I., Mahasenan, K.V., Hesek, D., Byun, B., Lastochkin, E., Dik, D.A., Fisher, J.F., Mobashery, S., Hermoso, J.A. Activation by allostery in cell-wall remodeling by a modular membrane-bound lytic tranglycosylase from pseudomonas aeruginosa. 2015. In preparation.

Stefan Freed


B.A. Biology, 2010, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
Discipline: Biology
Mentor: Shaun W. Lee

Research Project:
Stefan’s project focuses on the characterization of Propionilysin S, a secreted toxin recently acquired by select strains of the human skin colonizer Propionibacterium acnes

June 2015 Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN: Mentor: James Reilly

Stefan’s internship project uses mass spectrometry (including ultraviolet photofragmentation) to characterize the heterocycle modifications made to substrate peptides from an in vitro synthetase reaction. Specific goal is to determine which of the potentially heterocyclizable residues in each substrate peptide are converted in the final product.


  • DePauw Faculty Distinguished Scholar Award, DePauw University (2006-2010)
  • Faculty Development Award for Merit, DePauw University (2009)
  • Delta Chi Scholarship Award, DePauw University (2009)


  • Fernandez-Pol S, Souka Z, Bhattacharjee S, Fedotova Y, Freed S, An X, Holder AA, Campanella E, Low PS, Mohandas N, Haldar K, A Bacterial Phosphatase-like Enzyme of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium Falciparum Possesses Tyrosine Phosphatase Activity and is Implicated in the REgulation of Band 3 Dynamics During Parasite Invasion Eukaryotic Cell. 2013 Sep;12(9): 1179-91.
  • Flaherty R, Freed S, Lee S. The Wide World of Ribosomally Encoded Bacterial Peptides PLoS Pathogens. 2014 Jul 31; 10(7):e1004221.
  • Ugrinov KG, Freed S, Thomas CL, Lee SW. A Multiparametric Computational Algorithm for Comprehensive Assessment of Genetic Mutations in Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIA (Sanfilippo Syndrome) PLOS ONE. 2015 Mar 25;10(3);e0121511.
  • Morton, J.T., Freed, S.D., Lee, S.W., Griedberg, I. A large scale prediction of bacteriocin gene blocks suggests a wide functional spectrum for bacteriocins. BCM Bioinformatics, 2015, 16, 381.

Cary Frick


B.S. Biology and Chemistry, 2011, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Robert Stahelin

Research Project:
Cary ‘s research on viral matrix protein 40 (VP40) of the Ebola Virus (EBOV). It remains unknown how and when VP40 interacts with these host cell factors, which is key to understanding how EBOV achieves egress from the cell to infect new cells. Cary’s goal is to elucidate the spatiotemporal nature of VP40 interactions with the host cell as well as the role of specific VP40 conformations in this process.


  • Whitworth University Presidential Scholarhsip, 2008-2011
  • Whitworth University Biology Departmental Scholarship, 2010, 2011
  • Whitworth University Biology Talent Award, 2009, 2011
  • Whitworth University Chemistry Departmental Scholarship, 2011


  • Stahelin, RV, Scott, JL, Frick, CT, Cellular and Molecular Interactions of Phosphoinositides and Peripheral Proteins, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 182, 3-18.
  • Frick, CT, Stahelin, RV, The ebola virus matrix protein VP40 interacts with several host protein networks to facilitate viral replication. Curr Clin Micro. 2015 Aug;2:137-141.

Eve Granatosky


B.S. 2008, Biochemistry and Dance, Stonehill College, Easton, MA
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Richard Taylor

Research Project:
Eve’s project is concerned with investigating the polyketide natural product herboxidiene (GEX1A), including biosynthesis and therapeutic potential in the context of the lysosomal storage disorder Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease.

January 2014 – April 2014 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego, LaJolla, CA, Mentor: Pieter C. Dorrestein

Eve’s focus during her project were to develop elementary mass spectrometry skills by collecting and analyzing spectra for a know compound (GEX1A or another standard). Additionally to apply the Dorrestein group’s ambient electrospray ionization flow-probe methodology to living S. chromofuscus colonies on petri dishes and observe the organism’s metabolic output. Analyze both the bald and sporulating S. chromofuscus phenotypes, as well as co-cultures of S. Chromofuscus with other studied streptomycetes, to identify differences in metabolite production.


  • John J. Reilley Center for Science, Technology, and Values Mini-Grant, support for the Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame, 2015
  • ASBMB Graduate Travel Award, ASBMB 2015 Annual Meeting, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2015
  • Capitol Hill Invitee, Public Affairs Advisory Committee, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Washington DC, 2014
  • Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society Inductee, 2012
  • William C. LaPlante Memorial Scholarship, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA, 2012
  • Travel Grant-in-Aid, Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society, 2012
  • Moreau honors Scholarship, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA, 2008-2012

Giselle Jacobson


B.S. 2007, Chemistry, Grand Valley State University, MI
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Patricia Clark

Research Project:
Giselle’s research is to better understand the factors that affect translation rate in the cell and to investigate the conformations of the nascent chain on the ribosome. She looks at hydrogen-deuterium exchange measurements of co-translational protein folding.

May 2012 – June 2012 Department Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Mentor: James Reilly

Giselle aimed to utilize H/D exchange to probe the conformations of the nascent GFP polypeptide on the E. coli ribosome. Additionally, her project was to develop a hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectometry methodology that can be applied to the ribosome-nascent chain complex. Using the lab’s synthetic skills, he worked to obtain a label that can enter bacterial cells for in vivo labeling and probing nascent chain conformations in the cell.


  • Graduate School Professional Development Award, Notre Dame, 2014
  • Transfer Award for Excellence, Grand Valley State University, 2007
  • Dean’s List, Grand Valley State University, 2009-2010
  • Dean’s List, Northwestern Michigan College, 2006-2007
  • Michigan Merit Award, Michigan Education Assessment Program, 2006

Trevor Kane


B.S. 2006, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
Discipline: Biology
Mentor: Shaun Lee

Research Project:
Trevor’s focus is on determining the function of a potential new virulence factor, The streptolysin-S associated gene cluster (sag) that has been acquired by specific strains to methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


  • Fellowship, Eck Institute for Global Health, Notre Dame, 2015
  • Sprenger Memorial Scholarship in Chemistry for excellent academics and service
  • Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, undergraduate

Kevin Kastner


B.S. 2006, Informatics, Baylor University, Waco, TX
M.S. 2008, Computer Science, Baylor University, Waco, TX
Discipline: Computer Science
Mentor: Jesus Izaguirre

Research Project:
Kevin’s project is oriented to the design of new, more efficient and safer insecticides. His focus is on the inhibitions of receptors that are present in mosquitoes but not in humans, as it is the case of the octopamine receptors, classified as a G-Protein Couples Receptor
August – September 2012 Department of Chemical Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Mentor: Roger Sunahara

Kevin’s goal for his internship is to focus on experimental techniques used in the laboratory, such as doing x-ray crystallography, performing binding assays, and executing transfections as well as learning about protein-ligand interactions concerning GPCRs. He will also run and discuss results of simulations and dockings.


  • Kastner, KW, Shoue, DA, Estiu, GL, Fuerst, MF, Markely, LD, Izaguirre, JA, McDowell, MA, Characterization of the anopheles gambiae octopamine receptor and discovery of potential agonists and antagonists using a combined computational-experimental approach. Malar J. 2014 Nov 18;13:434.
  • Kim, YH, Kastner, K, Kennelly, ME, Estiu, G, Wiest, O, Helquist, P, Design and synthesis of a crosslinker for studying intracellular steroid trafficking pathways. Bioorg Med Chem. 2015 Jul 1;23(13);3843-3851

Xin Liu


BS, Biological Sciences, 2007, Nankai University, People’s Republic of China
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Amanda B. Hummon

Research Project:
Xin’s research uses 3D culture MALDI imaging system and serial trypsinization nLD-MS/MS approach to evaluate if a drug, with certain chemical features can efficiently penetrate into a solid tumor. Moreover, by performing dynamic dosing of spheroids to mimic clinical PK curves of drugs, the properties of therapeutics can be more accurately evaluated.

April 2014 – May 2014 Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Mentor: Dana M. Spence

Xin’s project used microfluidic-based systems combined with mass spectrometry techniques in three-dimensional (3D) multicellular spheroids model to study pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) properties of drugs. In collaboration with Dr. Spence’s lab, Xin optimized the membrane based fluidic device for drug loading and clearance in dosing the 3D cell culture systems to simulate simplified chemotherapy treatment regimes on the in vitro system. Xin learned to use quantification analytical method to control the drug concentrations in the dynamic system and analyze drug distribution in spheroids model. Proteomic analysis in spheroids was then performed to evaluate the changes in protein level caused by drug treatment.


  • Tian Jin College of Life Science Basic Experimental Skills Contest, 2nd prize, 2009
  • 1st Class School Scholarship, 2010
  • “3-Good Student” (with good morality, a good intelligence, and good health) of Nankai University, 2010
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry Graduate Student Award, 2015


  • Liu, X., Weaver, E.M., Hummon, A.B., Evaluation of therapeutics in three-dimensional cell culture systems by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry. Ana. Chem. 2013, 85, 6295-6302.
  • Ahlf Wheatcraft, D.R., Liu, X., Hummon, A.B., Sample preparation strategies for mass spectrometry imaging of 3D cell culture models. J. Vis. Exp., 2014, 5, 94.
  • Liu, X., Hummon, A.B., Quantitative determination of irinotecan and the and the metabolite SN-38 by nanoflow liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in different regions of multicellular tumor spheroids. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 26, 577-586.
  • Liu, X., Hummon, A.B., Mass spectrometry imaging of therapeutics from animal models to three-dimensional cell cultures. Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 9508-9519.
  • Feist, P.E., Sun, L., Liu, X., Dovichi, N.J., Hummon, A.B., Bottom-up proteomic analysis of single HCT 116 colon carcinoma multicellular speroids. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 29, 654-658.

Brendan Mahoney


B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2009, Boston University, Boston, MA
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jeffrey W. Peng

Research Project:
Brendan’s project is focused on the effects of post-translational modifications on the modular protein function.

January – March 2016 Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA: Mentor: Peter G. Shultz

The goal of Brendan’s internship is to learn the chemical synthesis of the analog, p-Carboxymethyl-L-phenylalanine, which requires 4 steps from the commercially available 4(Bromomethyl)phenylacetic acid. Additionally, would would receive training on teh incorporation of this unnatural amino acit into E. coli and the Pin1 protein by means of the modified codon system.


  • Roger K. Bretthauer Graduate Teaching Award (2015)
  • Kaneb Center Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award (2013)


  • Wang X, Zintsmaster JS, Mahoney BJ, Zhang M, Peng JW. Negative Regulation of Peptidyl-Prolyl Isomerase Activity by Interdomain Contact in Human Pin1. Structure 2015, Submitted
  • Mercedes-Camacho AY, Mullins AB, Mason MD, Xu GG, Mahoney BJ, Wang X, Peng JW, Etzkorn FA. Kinetic Isotope Effects Support the Twisted Amide Mechanism of Pin1 Peptidyl-Prolyl Isomerase. Biochemistry. 2013 Nov 5;52(44):7707-13.

Trung Nguyen


B.A. 2006, Biochemistry, California Lutheran University
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang

Research Project:
Trung’s research investigates and elucidates the roles of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in wound healing. He uses the novel inhibitor-tethered resin technology from the lab to identify specific and active MMPs that are involved in human chronic wounds, as has been accomplished with the mouse model. Profiling MMPs from chronic wounds will open the doors for pharmacological intervention in this disease for which there is no approved drug.


  • Dean’s List, California Lutheran University, 2008-2010
  • Swenson’s Scholar of Research Recipient, California Lutheran University, 2009
  • Cum Laude and Departmental Research Honor, California Lutheran University, 2010
  • Research Honors Award, California Lutheran University, 2008-2010


  • Gao, M., Nguyen, T.T., Wolder, W.R., Gooyit, M., Mobashery, S., Chang, M. Acceleration of diabetic wound healing using a novel protease-anti-protease combination therapy. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. In Press
    Semple, B.D., Noble-Haeusslein, L.J., Gooyit, M., Tercovich, K.G., Peng, Z., *Nguyen, T.T., Schroeder, V.A., Suckow, M.A., Chang, M., Raber, J., Trivedi, A. Early gelatinase activity is not a determinant of long term recovery after traumatic brain injury in the immature mouse. PLoS One. In press

Richard Pinapati


BSc, Biotechnology, 2004, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India
MSc, Biotechnology, 2006, Bangalore University, Bangalore, India
Post-Graduate Diploma, Intellectual Property Rights, 2007, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India
MS, Bioinformatics, 2010, Indiana University, Bloomington
Discipline: Biology
Mentor: Michael T. Ferdig

Research Project:
Richard’s research focuses on understanding the genetics of drug resistance in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. He studies the global metabolite regulation in the parasites using mass spectrometry and employs experimental genetic crosses, linkage analyses, quantitative trait loci mapping and network theory to address questions regarding the evolution and strategies to circumvent antimalarial resistance.

January 2014 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Mentor: Manuel Llinas

Richard’s internship project focused on the global metabolomics of Plasmodium falciparum using quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and analysis of the metabolites by LC-MS mass spectrometry. He worked with Prof. Llinas and his group to learn and improve extraction methodology for metabolites from the malaria parasite and mass spectrometry protocols for their analysis.


  • Best performer at the DREAM6 Systems Biology Challenge for Gene Expression Prediction, 2012
  • 17th Annual Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG) Travel Award, 2012
  • Best Poster at CBBI Symposium, 2012 & 2013


  • Vaughan AM, Pinapati RS, Cheeseman IH, et al. Plasmodium falciparum genetic crosses in a humanized mouse model. Nature Methods. 2015 Jul;12(7):631-3. doi:10.1038/nmeth.3432.
  • Siwo GH, Tan A, Button-Simons KA, Samarakoon U, Checkley LA, Pinapati RS, Ferdig MT. Predicting functional and regulatory divergence of a drug resistance transporter gene in the human malaria parasite. BMC Genomics. 2015 Feb 22;16(1):115. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1261-6.
  • Champion MC, Williams EA, Pinapati RS, and DiGiuseppe Champion PA. Correlation of phenotypic profiles using targeted proteomics identifies mycobacterial Esx-1 substrates. Journal of Proteome Research, 2014, 13 (11), 5151-5164. doi:10.1021/pr500484w.
  • Rider AK, Milenković T, Siwo GH, Pinapati RS, et al. Networks’ characteristics are important for systems biology. Network Science, 2014, 2, pp 139-161. doi:10.1017/nws.2014.13.
  • Meyer P, Siwo G, Zeevi D, Sharon E, Norel R, Rider AK, Tan A, Pinapati RS, et al. Inferring gene expression from ribosomal promoter sequences, a crowdsourcing approach. Genome Research. 2013 Nov; 23(11):1928-37. doi:10.1101/gr.157420.113.

Felicia Roland


BS, Chemistry, 2009, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Bradley Smith

Research Project:
Felicia’s project aims to use molecules and nanoparticles to absorb near-infrared laser light and generate heat that leads to cancer cell death without toxicity to the healthy surrounding tissues. Her goal is to use croconaine dye-labeled molecules and nanoparticles to control the pathway of cell death through photothermal therapy (PTT).

June 2015 – July 2015 Department of Imaging Physics, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, TX. Mentor: Richard Bouchard

Felicia’s internship measured the photoacoustic properties of a library of dyes developed by the Smith Lab and monitor tumor temperature and volume after photothermal treatment using L/P/CR nanoparticles.


  • Harris E. Phipps Chemistry Scholarship, Department of Chemistry, Eastern Illinois U., 2012
  • Scholars in Undergraduate Research and Eastern Award, Eastern Illinois U., 2012
  • Senior Recognition Award, Eastern Illinois U., 2013
  • First Place Award at the Graduate Student Union and Office for Postdoctoral Scholars Research Symposium, 2015


  • Guha, S., Shaw, S.K., Spence, G.T., Roland, F. M., Smith, B.D., Clean photothermal heating and controlled release from near-infrared dye doped nanoparticles without oxygen photosensitization. Langmuir 2015, 31, 7826-7834.

Danialle Ronnow


BA, Biochemistry, 2007, The Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Richard Taylor

Research Project:
Danialle’s research focuses on the total synthesis of novel ATPase inhibitors based off of the natural product apoptilidin. In addition to chemical synthesis, she has focused her chemical biology skills on the mutasynthesis for the analogs.

March 2013 – June 2013 Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Mentor: Brian Bachmann and Gary Sulikowski

Danialle’s internship project worked to accomplish the mutasynthesis by generating genetic knockouts of the apoptolidin producer Nocardiopsis fulvus.


  • Barnes Scholar, The Colorado College, 2007-2011

Scott Shaw


BS, Chemistry, 2006, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Bradley Smith

Research Project:
Scott’s research focuses on membrane recognition, nanoscale heating, and membrane manipulation. This is accomplished by using light to activate dye molecules that are endowed with molecular recognition capabilities, and the photophysical response is harnessed to image or manipulate biomembranes.

May 2015 – June 2015 Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN Mentor: Miguel A. Morales

  • The aim of Scott’s internship was to measure the toxicity of ZnDPA compounds towards Leishmania parasites in culture and within infected macrophages, which are the primary Leishmania replication sites in humans. He also performed proteomics analysis to investigate the toxic mode of action. Additionally he conducted organelle viability assays in combination with fluorescence microscopy to determine subcellular localization of the ZnDPA and its effects on organelles.


  • Florida Academic Scholars Award, 2006-2009
  • Chemistry Department Scholarship, 2007-2009
  • Alumni Scholarship, 2006-2009
  • Seligman Honor’s Scholarship, 2007-2009
  • Honor’s Research Grant, 2009
  • FAME Poster Presentation, 3rd Place, 2010
  • SEASTARs Poster Presentation, 1st Place in Chemistry, 2010
  • Chemistry Departmental Service Award, 2010


  • Busschaert, N., Elmes, R.B., Czech, D.D., Wu, X., Kirby, I.L., Peck, E.M., Hendzel, K.D., Shaw, S.K., Chan, B., Smith, B.D., Thiosquaramides: pH switchable anion transporters. Chem. Sci.. 2014, 5, 3617-3626.
  • Devadas, M.S., Devkota, T., Guha, S., Shaw, S.K., Smith, B.D., Hartland, G.V. Spatial modulation spectroscopy for imaging and quantitative analysis of single dye-doped organic nanoparticles inside cells. Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 9779-9785.
  • Peck, E.M., Liu, W., Spence, G.T., Shaw, S.K., Davis, A.P., Destecroix, H., Smith, B.D. Rapid macrocycle threading by a fluorescent dye-polymer conjugate in water with nanomolar affinity. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 137, 8668-8671.
  • Guha, S., Shaw, S.K., Spence, G.T., Roland, F.M., Smith, B. D. Clean photothermal heating and controlled release from near-infrared dye doped nanoparticles without oxygen photosensitization. Langmuir, 2015, 31, 7826-7834.
    Draganov, A., Wang, D., Holmes, J., Kaili, J., Wang, B., *Shaw, S.K., Smith, B.D., Synthetic receptors for carbohydrates. In: Smith, B.D. ed. Synthetic Receptors for Biomolecules. London: RSC, 2015, p. 177-203.

Kaveesha Wijesinghe


BSc (Honors), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Robert V. Stahelin

Research Project:
Kaveesha’s research is investigating the membrane binding properties of Marburg virus matrix protein – VP40. She aims to discover the molecular basis of MARV VP40 lipid selectivity that regulates membrane association and subsequent budding from the host cell. Additionally she is working to design and synthesize all hydrocarbon staples alpha-helical peptide to disrupt dimerization of MAVP40 monomers.


  • Certificates of Merit, Class: Distinction for the Australian National Chemistry Quiz, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2006
  • Certificates of Achievement for General Proficiency (Class prize – Ordinary Level) Annual prize giving, Anula Vidyalaya, 2005
  • Certificates of Achievement for General Proficiency (Class Prize) and Biology (Grade prize – Advance Level). Annual prize giving, Anula Vidyalaya, 2008


  • Oda, S., Noda, T., Wijesinghe, K., Halfmann, P., Bornholdt, Z., Abelson, D., Armbrust, T., Stahelin, R., Kawaoka, Y,. Saphire, E., Crystal structure of Marburg virus VP40 reveals a broad, Basic patch for matrix assembly and requirement of the N-terminal domain for immunosuppression. J. Virol. In press.

Laura Woods


BSc (Hons), Chemistry, 2011, University of Otago, New Zealand
Discipline: Chemistry
Mentor: Richard Taylor

Research Project:
Laura’s project focuses on combination therapy with epothilone and aurora kinase inhibitors induces a novel form of cell death

April – May 2015 Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. Mentor: Kevin Vaughan.

The goal of Laura’s internship is to assess the biological activity of the modified aurora kinase inhibitors. She has synthesized a range of inhibitors with carbonyl and alkyl functionality. The results will determine if the slight structural change to the inhibitor alters activity, and will provide information on types of linkers to incorporate into their end structure.


  • International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) of the National Science Foundation 2014, Supervised by Prof. Jan Backvall, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Graduate Student Symposium Program Committtee for ACS Colorado Meeting 2015, Part of a graduate student group chosen to organize a day long symposium
  • United States New Zealand Pacific Partnership Forum Future Partners Programme, Selected as one of 20 New Zealand Future partners to participate
  • Fulbright-Ministry of Science and Innovation Graduate Award Recipient 2011

Meiling Zhang


BS, Biotechnology, 2012, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
Discipline: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jeffrey W. Peng

Research Project:
Meiling’s research is focused on the allosteric regulation of a modular protein, Pin1, by conformational dynamics, Pin1 consists of a substrate binding domain-WWdomain, and catalytic domain – PPlase domain. It has been proposed that a substrate binding at the WW domain can regulate the catalytic activity of the PPlase domain through an intra-molecular pathway connecting the two domains across the domain interface. Her aim is to use liquid-state NMR techniques to elucidate how the domain interface bridge the pathway and enforces regulation.


  • National Scholarships Inspirational, Shanghai, China, 2009 and 2011
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship (Third-class) of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2010 and 2011
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship (Second-class) of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2009


  • Xinsheng W, Mahoney, B, Zhang, M, Zintsmaster, JS, Peng, JW, Negative Regulation of Peptidyl-Prolyl Isomerase Activity by Interdomain Contact in Human Pin1. Structure 2015, Submitted