ñez Group Research

Overview
DNA Damage
Bacterial Biophysics
Research Students
Collaborators
Publications, Grants, and Presentations

 

Research Students

Lin Duong (Occidental College '03, Biochemistry) Atomic force microscopy of bacteria and DNA-protein complexes. Presented her work at the Southern California Council on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) conference October 2002 and the American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in March 2003. Lin is currently working on a doctorate in pharmacy at UC San Diego.

Elaine Ly (Occidental College '05, Chemistry) (right) Atomic force microscopy of bacteria and DNA-intercalator complexes. Presented her work at the SCCUR conferences in the fall of 2002, 2003, and 2004, at the "Seeing at the Nanoscale" conference in Santa Barbara in August 2003, at the Biophyisical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in February 2004, and at NCUR in April 2005.

 

Phyllis Chan (Occidental College '05, Biology) (left) Atomic force microscopy of bacterial biofilms. Presented her work at SCCUR in the fall of 2004. Phyllis pursued Master's in Bioscieces at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, CA.

Anne Malhowski (Wagner) (Mount Holyoke College '05, summa cum laude in Chemistry) Destabilization caused by DNA base lesions. Anne attended the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia in August 2004. Anne worked on protein aggregation as a research technician at Colorado State University after graduation, and is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Amber Rosenberg (Mount Holyoke College '05, High Honors in Biochemistry) Detecting DNA base lesions. Amber served as a CASCADE program research mentor. Amber worked on Nucleotide Excision Repair at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Ohio State University after graduation, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Wright State University.
Aleksandra Mihailovic (Mount Holyoke College '07, Biochemistry) Atomic Force Microscopy of DNA. Aleksandra learned new single-molecule techniques in the Physics Department at Northeastern University in the summer of 2005. After studying in Italy during the spring of 2006, she recently graduated and is working as a research technician at the Rockefeller University in NYC.
Catherine Volle (MHC '06, Biology w/ Chemistry minor, High Honors in Biochemistry) Catherine completed a senior honors thesis about Bdellovibrio binding to model lipopoly-saccharide membranes. She worked full-time after graduation to follow through with the Bdellovibrio experiments and generally keep the lab under control. She presented her work at meetings of the Biophysical Society, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Microbiology, and is first author on two manuscripts. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Brown University in the MCB program.
Amy Rumora (MHC '07, High Honors in Biochemistry) Amy's thesis explored DNA destabilization by base lesions using small molecule probes and the thermodynamics of DNA melting in the presence of thymine dimers. Amy attended the "Current Trends in Microcalorimetry" conference in Boston in August 2005 and presented a poster at the Biophysical Society Metting in Baltimore in March 07. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Vermont.

from left to right: Amy Rumora; Morgan Appleberry (MHC '08, Biology) Effect of DNA structure on rates of base excision repair; Elizabeth Marek (MHC '06, Biochemistry) DNA repair in chromatin. Beth earned a Master's Degree at Georgetown University in scientific methods to examine alternative therapies; and Catherine Volle.

Akriti Singh (MHC '08, Biochemistry) Biochemical characterization of lipopolysaccharide molecules from Bdellovibrio predators and prey.
Jacqueline Wade (MHC '08, Honors in Biochemistry) presented her work on DNA repair at the Biophysical Society Meeting in March 2007. She used NMR to examine the effect of damaged base lesions on double-helical DNA for her senior honors project. She is currently working as a research associate at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Stephanie Azan (MHC '08, Chemistry) Characterization of lipopolysaccharide molecules from Bdellovibrio predators and prey using Langmuir-Blodgettry and Atomic Force Microscopy. She presented her work at the Biophysical Society Meeting in March 2007.
Sara Barnes (MHC FP '08, Biochemistry) Sara helped to synthesize and characterize thymine dimer lesions as well as to design a new chromatography lab sequence for Organic Chemistry laboratory. She subsequently did a senior honors thesis with Lilian Hsu and worked as a research associate at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She returned to the lab as a full-time research associate to work on the base lesions in DNA, and is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts.
Courtney Branch (MHC '10) Courtney studied base excision repair by the BER enzyme Fpg (a.k.a. MutM).
Kasia Kolodziejczak (MHC '10, Biochemistry) studied DNA destabilization by thymine dimer lesions. She is currently working in a laboratory at Yale University.
Doris Tabassum (MHC '10, Biochemistry) Doris studied the bacterial predator Bdellovibrio. She is currently a graduate student at Harvard University, working at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Mya Steadman (MHC '10, Chemistry) Mya is interested in biofilms in the environment, and Bdellovibrio's effect on them.
Melissa K. Hart (MHC '08, Biochemistry) Missy studied biofilms of prey and Bdellovibrio using Atomic Force Microscopy.
Xiaowen (Wendy) Wang (MHC '11, Chemistry and Biology) Wendy examined DNA mismatches and DNA-binding small molecules using single molecule techniques. She completed an honors thesis with Professor Lililan Hsu and is studying medicine at Duke University.

 

Lindiwe Ndebele (MHC '09, Chemistry) Lindiwe examined the structure of supercoiled DNA containing base lesions by AFM. She is currently working at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute as a research assistant.

 

lin

 

Emily Harcourt (MHC '09, Biochemistry) Emily did organic synthesis research with MHC professor and organic chemist Darren Hamilton for several years, and one semester she designed experiments to test the DNA-binding and cleavage properties of her new family of heterocyclic, aromatic organic molecules. She is a Ph.D. student in the Kool group at Stanford University.

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Kelley Harpin (MHC '08, Biology) Kelley was a longtime PLUMS mentor who worked on DNA lesions as a laboratory associate.

 

Laura Bleyendaal ('09, Biology) Laura investigated quorum sensing in bacterial biofilms.

 

laura

 

Elisa Frankel ('11, High Honors in Biochemistry) prepared a thesis on the thermodynamics of DNA with lesions. She presented a poster on her work at the Biophysical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in March 2011. In the summer of 2010, she embarked on an HHMI summer research fellowship working with Joan Steitz at Yale University. She studied DNA spectroscopy at the Weizmann Institute in Israel as a Fullbright fellow in'11-'12, and is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

 

Elisa
clare and phuong

 

He (Clare) Xu ('12, Biochemistry), left and below, and Phuong Vo ('10, Honors in Biochemistry), right, worked together to examine Bdellovibrio's interaction with mixed-species biofilms.

Phuong earned an A.B. with Honors for her senior thesis, and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia. She presented her work at the New England Science Symposium at Harvard University in December '09, and at the Connecticut Valley Section ACS symposium at Amherst College in April '10. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia.

 

 

he He (Clare) Xu ('12, Biochemistry, summa cum laude) In the summer of 2010, He Xu worked on quorum sensing with Helen Blackwell at UW Madison as a summer REU student. She is currently exploring bacterial adhesion using AFM as a thesis project. Clare is working on her Ph.D. at Harvard University.

 

Martha Segovia ('13) worked with Elisa Frankel as a Science Scholar during the summer of 2009.

jess

 

Jessica McKenzie ('10, Biochemistry) designed and fabricated a microfluidic device to examine chemotaxis and quorum sensing in Bdellovibrio. She presented her work at the Connecticut Valley Section ACS symposium at Amherst College in April '10. She worked at a laboratory in the Chemistry department at Yale University after graduation, and is currently working on her Master's degree to be a high school chemistry teacher.

 

Catherine Dietrich ('12, High Honors in Biochemistry) is characterizing DNA assemblies containing base lesions in collaboration with the Williams lab at Northeastern and the Jamieson lab at Smith. She presented a poster on some of her work at the Biophysical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in March 2011 and won the poster prize at the ACS Connecticut Valley local section meeting in April 2011. She worked in Leipzig through an undergraduate summer research fellowship from the DAAD in the summer of 2011, and wrote an honors thesis on her DNA damage work. Katie is an M.D. student at the University of Florida.

Emma Garst ('13, Biochemistry) is continuing the work of Laura and Jess to examine chemotaxis and quorum sensing in Bdellovibrio using microfluidics. She presented a poster on her work at the Biophysical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in March 2011 and at the ACS Connecticut Valley local section meeting in April 2011. Emma did an REU at the University of Michigan in the summer of 2012, and she is currently working on an honors thesis on the chemotaxis project.

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Belinda Wenke ('11, High Honors in Biochemistry) used NMR to examine DNA lesions. She presented a poster on her work at the Biophysical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in March 2011 and at the ACS Connecticut Valley local section meeting in April 2011. Belinda is currently working as a research associate at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Biophysics.

Isa Wismann-Horther ('12) examined the interaction of Bdellovibrio with a decoy strain.

Kelsey Schramma ('12, High Honors in Chemistry) examined the somewhat puzzling interactions of Bdellovibrio with a decoy strain in the summer of 2010. She studied chemistry and music in Leipzig during the 2010-2011 academic year, and wrote an honors thesis on her organic chemistry experimental work from Leipzig on the Mannich reaction. She is currently TAing our summer Gen Chem class and synthesizing DNA-binding molecules in her "spare time." Kelsey is working on a Ph.D. in chemistry at Princeton.

Raquel Hernandez-Solis ('14) was a Science Scholar during the summer of 2010, helping Kelsey and Sara with projects in both the "bdello" and "DNA" sides of the aisle. She is currently working on the effect of the Sp lesion on DNA in collaboration with Betsy Jamieson at Smith College. Raquel did an REU at UCSF in the summer of 2012, and presented her work at the national Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

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Sarah Fleming ('15) worked with us in the summer of 2011 as a Science Scholar, and is currently learning protein biochemistry with the McMenimen lab.
Erika Norabuena ('12, Honors in Biology) worked on Bdellovibrio behavior in biofilms during the summer of 2011. She wrote an honors thesis in the biology deparment with Prof. Paola Sacchetti. She is currently working in this laboratory on the DNA lesion project as a full-time research technician while she applies to medical school.
sadf Eleanor Celeste L. ('28, undeclared) loves biology of all kinds, especially dinosaurs.
Veronika Kivenson ('13, Biochemistry) is working on Bdellovibrio motility.  
Diana Seminario-McCormick ('14) is working on interaction of DNA lesions with proteins.
Hube Zahra ('13, Chemistry) is working on Bdellovibrio behavior in biofilms.  
Emma Hughes ('13, Biochemistry) is working on Bdellovibrio motility.  
Leah Huiting ('13, Chemistry) is working on the effect of the thymine dimer on duplex DNA.

 

And here they are hard at work...(?)

I don't remember hiring that guy....

MHC Graduation 2005

Amber, Catherine, and Anne.

Wedding of Anne Malhowski '05. Bridesmaid Catherine Volle '06 is just to the left of the bride.

The whole group as of October '04: (clockwise from front center) Amy, Amber, Catherine, Beth, Morgan, Aleks, and Anne.

Group in June '06 (left to right): Amy, Jackie, Stephanie, Akriti, and Catherine. Not shown: Sara, Courney, and me. Yes, we wear sweatshirts in the summer here in Massachusetts.

Stephanie, Jackie, Amy, and Catherine at the Biophysical Society National Meeting in Baltimore in March 2007.

Jackie, me, and Missy at Mount Holyoke's 2008 commencement
Summer 2009 (Megan, Kelley, Martha, Elisa, Clare, Phuong. Not shown: Wendy).
Graduation 2010: Phuong and Megan.
Summer 2010: (Emma, Megan, Katie, Belinda, Anne, Raquel, Kelsey, Sara).
sdf Biophysical Society National Meeting, Baltimore, March 2011(Megan, Belinda, Anne, Emma, Sara, Elisa, Katie).
asdf Belinda and Elisa at their poster, Biophysical Society Meeting 2011
Emma at her poster at the Biophysical Society Meeting 2011 rrafs
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Mount Holyoke Graduation 2011

Belinda, Megan, and Elisa

Summer research requires application of ice cream! Summer 2011

top: Emma G, Belinda

bottom: Sarah F., Clare, Erika, Sara B.

Laser Tag, Jan 2012

(team DNA=purple;

team Bdello =blue)

June 2012: I have always wanted to stop at the Ice Cream and Arc Welding stand in Hadley, and finally we did! The ice cream was actually really good--I highly recommend it.

Katie, Emma H, Kelsey, Raquel, Clare, Leah, Diana, Veronika

January 2012

 


Megan E. Núñez, Department of Chemistry, Mount Holyoke College

50 College Street, South Hadley MA 01075.

phone (413) 538-2449. fax (413) 538-2327. email menunez at mtholyoke dot edu.