Lavoisier AkooloResearch Associate, Pompano Laboratory
Lavoisier Akoolo joined the Pompano Lab as an immunity research scientist in October. He trained and worked as a veterinarian at the University of Nairobi in Nairobi, Kenya before going on to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where he graduated with a PhD in Veterinary Pathology in 2015. Lavoisier went on to Rutgers New Jersey Medical School for post-doc training in microbial pathogenesis from 2015 to 2020. He has several publications in microbiology and is currently studying the use of live slices of lymph node tissue as a model of immunity in the Pompano Lab.
Meagan Belcher DufrisnePostdoctoral Fellow, Columbus Lab
Meagan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Linda Columbus. Her research aims to identify the molecular determinants of the interactions between neisserial Opa proteins and their human receptors in vitro, in order to gain a better understanding of pathogen-host interactions. She obtained a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Discrete Mathematics from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. Meagan received her PhD in 2018 from Columbia University, where she worked in the laboratory of Filippo Mancia using structural biology techniques such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM to study integral membrane enzymes involved in biosynthesis of the bacterial membrane.
Nathan CoutardResearch Associate, Gunnoe Lab
Nathan Coutard graduated in 2015 from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. His end of masters internship was in Pr. Kylie Vincent’s lab at University of Oxford where he studied the regulatory hydrogenase from R. eutropha using in operando spectro-electrochemistry. He then joined the Artero group at Université Grenoble Alpes for a PhD project that aimed to optimize and integrate bio-inspired catalysts in a functional proton exchange membrane fuel cell. In the Gunnoe group, he now works on light alkane oxidation.
Eduard DumitrescuResearch Associate, Venton Lab
Eduard graduated with a Ph.D. from Clarkson University in May 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Silvana Andreescu. His work there was focused on the use of zebrafish embryos as a biological model (1) for toxicological assessment of nanomaterials and chemical additives employed in industrial and consumer applications, and (2) for in vivo electrochemical monitoring of biomarkers related to oxidative stress and neurotransmission. Eduard joined Dr. Venton’s lab in June 2019 where he currently works on electrochemical detection of neurotransmitters in Drosophila neurological disorder models.
Yuan FangResearch Associate, The Stains Lab
Yuan received her Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry from Nanjing Tech University, China. Her Ph.D. work focused on synthesis and application of rhodamine-based small molecular chemosensors for sensing heavy toxic metal ions. She joined Professor Cliff Stains group as a research associate in 2017, currently, she is working on developing novel near-infrared fluorophore scaffolds as bioimaging reagents for proteins, small molecules, and post-translational modifications.
Mallikarjunarao Ganesana, Ph.D.Research Associate, Venton Laboratory
Ryan HollandResearch Associate, Gunnoe Laboratory
Ryan Holland has joined the Department of Chemistry as a Research Associate in the Gunnoe Lab. Ryan obtained his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Idaho, then went on to earn his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His graduate work consisted of studying the small molecule reactivity of Werner-type uranium complexes and the synthesis and characterization of stable metallacyclobutenes and vinylcarbenes. In the Gunnoe lab, Ryan will be engaged in the development of catalysts relevant to selective chemical oxidations, including the design, preparation and study of new catalysts.
Tao HuangResearch Associate, Hsu Lab
Tao received his B.S. from Wuhan University in China and earned his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Virginia, under the supervision of Professor Timothy Macdonald. His Ph.D. work focused on chemical biology study of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate (S1P) receptors and Sphingosine Kinases for immune modulation, which is directly relevant to human diseases such as autoimmune disorder and cancer. During his post-doc training in UVA’s School of Medicine, he extended his expertise into molecular imaging and nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and therapy. In the Hsu lab, Tao will be working on immunotherapy for cancers.
Ranjit MondolResearch Associate, The Gilliard Group
I am from West Bengal, India. In 2012, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira (under Calcutta University), Belur Math, West Bengal, India. In 2014, I earned my master”s degree in chemistry at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Uttarpradesh, India. Then, in 2015, I moved to Groningen, Netherlands and joined as a graduate researcher in the Prof. Dr. Edwin Otten’s group at the University of Groningen, Netherlands where I studied extensive synthesis and characterization of redox-active ligand frameworks and molecular metal complexes with detailed analysis of electrochemical properties aiming towards development of catalysts with abundant and cheap main group elements based complexes. In 2019, I obtained my doctorate degree in chemistry at the University of Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Edwin Otten. Then, from January, 2020, I have been appointed as a postdoctoral research associate in the group of Dr. Robert J. Gilliard at the University of Virginia, USA. At Prof. Gilliard’s lab my research focuses on chemical synthesis and the development of methods to incorporate p-block elements into conjugated small molecules and polymers for optoelectronic applications (e.g., polyaromatic hydrocarbons, heterocycles, metallacycles).
Tochukwu OzulumbaResearch Associate, Pompano Lab
Tochukwu Ozulumba has joined the Department of Chemistry as a Research Associate in the Pompano Lab. Tochi obtained her BSc and MSc degrees in Biochemistry at the University of Nigeria and then completed a PhD in Biomaterials Science at the University of Brighton, United Kingdom. Her PhD project investigated the potential of two-dimensional graphene and titanium carbide MXene nanomaterials to target biological toxins and the incorporation of these materials into composite systems for use in medical devices. In the Pompano lab, Tochi will be working on controlling immune cell interactions with biomaterials in a spatially organized microphysiological model of a human lymph node.
Amirus SaleheenResearch Associate, Pompano Lab
Amirus Saleheen has joined the Department of Chemistry as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Pompano lab in August 2020. Amirus obtained his B.S. in Applied Chemistry & Chemical Engineering at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His Graduate work consisted of developing a novel microfluidic chip to mimic rotary tube culture of rodent brain slices to improve the temporal resolution of downstream perfusate analysis. He also developed a smartphone based quantitative analysis method of Epinephrine in expired and discolored commercial auto-injectors to measure drug availability. In the Pompano lab, Amirus will be engaged in robust fluidic control and stimulation of a lymph node-on-a-chip.
Mehrdad ShadmehrResearch Associate, Cliff Stains Lab
Mehrdad Shadmehr received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. His Ph.D. project was mainly about the design and synthesis of fluorogenic triazabutadiene probes for the labeling of electron-rich aromatic systems. M.S from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he worked on the synthesis of bioactive fluorinated heterocyclic small molecules. B.S from Tehran University. He started his career as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Professor Cliff Stains research group in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Virginia working on design and synthesis of organic small molecule fluorogenic fluorophores, and design and synthesis of second window near-infrared fluorophores.
Pargat SinghResearch Associate, Pompano Lab
Pargat did his Ph.D. from CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology in collaboration from Panjab University, Chandigarh (India). His Ph.D. work focused on development of low cost nanomaterial-based detection strategies for pathogens in water and typhoidal antigens in blood serum. Here at UVA he is associated with the Pompano Lab for detection of signaling proteins in live tissues.
Gwendoline Stephan, Ph.D.Research Associate, Garrod Laboratory
Blake WhittResearch Associate, Marilyne Stains Laboratory
Blake Whitt joined the Department of Chemistry in August as a Research Associate in Dr. Marilyne Stains' lab. Blake earned his B.A. in Psychology at Arkansas Tech University, a Master's Degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Science Education at the University of Georgia. His doctoral work examined the efficacy of various professional development programs designed to support university STEM faculty's adoption of evidence-based instructional practices. In the Stains lab, Blake will be investigating the influence of course coordination and department-level initiatives on instruction in undergraduate STEM.
Zhiyong “Jerry” Zhang, Ph.D.Research Associate, Zhang Laboratory
Yin ZhouyangResearch Associate, Zhang Laboratory
Yin Zhouyang obtained his Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Nanjing University in China. Then he came to U.S. and received his Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry at Brown University under the guidance of Professor Shouheng Sun. He joined Professor Sen Zhang's group in 2020 as a postdoc associate with a focus on electro-catalysis and biomass conversion.