Nilsson Group Alumni

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Dr. Jade Welch

Graduate Student (2013-2020)
jwelch16@ur.rochester.edu
  • B.A. Chemistry (2013), Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2015), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Jade Welch grew up in the small town of Arcade, NY. She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Buffalo State College in 2013 where she worked on the synthesis of Indian Yellow. Jade now studies the assembly of amphipathic peptides and disulfide-constrained peptides for applications in biological systems.

Dr. Danielle Raymond

Graduate Student (2011-2019)
draymon6@ur.rochester.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2010), Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2012), Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2014), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Danielle grew up in Buffalo, NY and received a B.S. in Chemistry at Niagara University and an M.S. in Chemistry at the Rochester Institute of Technology where she worked on the synthesis of a cross-membrane difluorometric probe for the characterization and kinetic study of reverse micelles. She traveled to Melbourne, Australia in the summer of 2010 to work in the Materials Science division at CSIRO under Dr. John Tsanaktsidis. Danielle's research was focused on the study of the coassembly of enantiomeric amphipathic peptides into rippled beta-sheet materials. She completed her Ph.D. in February 2019.

Dr. Jennifer Urban

Graduate Student (2012-2019)
jurban4@ur.rochester.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2012), College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ
  • M.S. Chemistry (2014), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Jen, originally from Cinnaminson, NJ, received her B.S. in chemistry with a double major in mathematics from the College of New Jersey in 2012. She began her graduate studies at the University of Rochester in 2012 and was a member of both the Nilsson and Krauss groups. Jen studied the combination of semiconductor quantum dots, which possess size-tuneable optical and electronic properties, with peptide hydrogels and analyzed their combined properties. Such hybrid materials could be useful as temperature sensors, as charge storage/transfer materials, as well as other similar applications. She completed her Ph.D. in June 2019.

Dr. Annada Rhajbandary

Graduate Student (2010-2016)
arajbhan@z.rochester.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2010), Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL
  • M.S. Chemistry (2012), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D Chemistry (2016), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Annada Rajbhandary is orginally from Nepal. She received her B.A. degree in Chemistry from Lake Forest College, IL in 2010. She began her graduate studies at University of Rochester in 2010. Annada worked on the preparation and characterization of small molecules that form self assembling hydrogels for biological applications. She completed her Ph.D. degree in August 2016.

Paul Rubeo

Graduate Student (2014-2016)
prubeo@ur.rochester.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2012), Nazareth College of Rochester
  • M.S. Chemistry (2016), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Paul grew up in Ulster Park, New York and received a B.S. in Chemistry with Inclusive Adolescence Education from Nazareth College of Rochester in 2012. After teaching high school for two years, Paul began graduate school at the University of Rochester and joined the Nilsson group in the fall of 2015. His work with the group involved the synthesis of small molecule fluorescent probes for cationic amyloid fibrils as well as studying the coassembly of amyloid peptides.

Dr. John DiMaio

Graduate Student (2008-2015)
john.dimaio@rochester.edu
  • B.A. Chemistry (2008), Alfred University, Alfred, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2010), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2015), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Originally from Cranston, RI, John attended Alfred University and received his B.A. in chemistry with a minor in anthropology. John began his doctoral studies in 2008 at the University of Rochester. John's projects included studying the mechanism of assembly for semen derived enhancer of viral infection (SEVI), the use of self-assembled peptide nanofibrils for multivalent display of biologically active molecules, and probing the thermodynamics of self-assembly in peptides. He completed his Ph.D. degree in October of 2015.

Dr. Wathsala Liyanage

Graduate Student (2009-2015)
wathsalanillushighmliyanage@rochester.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2005), University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • M.S. Chemistry (2009), New Mexico State University, Department of Chemistry
  • M.S. Chemistry (2011), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2015), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Wathsala Liyanage is originally from Sri Lanka and became interested in chemistry as a high school student. She received her B.Sc. (Special) degree in chemistry from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. After, she moved to the United States and completed her M.S. degree in organic chemistry at New Mexico State University, focusing on synthesis using alpha, beta-Proline Enolates (Thesis title: Synthetic Studies and Applications to Biologically Relevant Targets). In 2009 she started her PhD studies in bioorganic chemistry at University of Rochester. Her research in the Nilsson lab focused on design and synthesis of self-assembling peptidomimetics for biological applications. She completed her Ph.D. degree in the spring of 2015.

Dr. Ria Swanekamp

Graduate Student (2008-2014)
ria.swanekamp@gmail.com
  • B.S. Chemistry (2008), Grove City College, Grove City, PA
  • M.S. Chemistry (2010), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2014), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Ria Swanekamp is originally from Buffalo, NY and acquired her undergraduate degree in 2008 at Grove City College with a major in chemistry and a minor in business. She began graduate studies at the University of Rochester in 2008. Ria studied the coassembly of D and L peptides into hybrid fibrils, modifications of self-assembling peptides to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms of self-assembly, and the exploitation of reversibly cyclized peptides for stimulus-responsive self-assembly. She completed her Ph.D. degree in the Fall of 2014.

Dr. Naomi Lee

Graduate Student (2006-2012)
naomi.lee@nih.gov
  • B.S. Biochem. (2005), Rochester Institute of Technology
  • M.S. Chemistry (2007), University of Rochester
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2012), University of Rochester
Naomi Lee spent her childhood on the Seneca Cattaraugus Indian reservation located south of Buffalo, NY. She attended Rochester Institute of Technology where she received a B.S. in biochemistry with a minor in criminal justice in 2005. After, she began her graduate education and the University of Rochester. In 2007, she received her M.S. in chemistry then joined the NY Army National Guard. She served as a logistics officer while pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry with a focus on amphipathic peptides and exploiting their self-assembling properties to create novel biomaterials. She completed her Ph.D. degree in December 2012 and subsequently initiated postdoctoral studies with Dr. Steve Jacobsen at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Bethesda, MD).

Dr. F. Timur Senguen

Graduate Student (2006-2011)
ftsenguen@gmail.com
  • B.A. Biochem. (2005), Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2011), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
F. Timur Senguen was one of Prof. Nilsson's first graduate students. He studied the kinetics and thermodynamics of the self-assembly of A-beta 16-22 peptide variants to reveal the importance of the small hydrophobic patch within its sequence and to further our understanding of amyloidogenicity. He subsequently conducted postdoctoral fellow at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute under Dr. Zenon Grabarek.

Dr. Charles Bowerman

Graduate Student (2007-2011)
charles.j.bowerman@gmail.com
  • B.S. Chemistry (2007), Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA
  • M.S. Chemistry (2009), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2011), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Charles received his BS in Chemistry from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA where he synthesized cyclic aromatic molecules. His graduate studies at the University of Rochester with Professor Bradley Nilsson focused on the different roles aromatic and hydrophobic interactions play in self-assembly and hydrogelation of amphipathic peptides. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Joseph DeSimone working on the design of nanoparticles for chemotherapeutic delivery.

Dr. Todd Doran

Graduate Student (2007-2011)
TDoran@scripps.edu
Curriculum Vitae
  • B.S. Chemistry (2005), University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • M.B.A. (2007), University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2009), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2011), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Todd received his BS in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, where he performed research with Prof. Richard P. Cheng. He remained at University at Buffalo to complete an MBA in finance. Drawn back to chemistry he conducted his thesis research with Prof. Bradley L. Nilsson at the University of Rochester where he investigated the role of aromatic and hydrophobic interactions in amyloid peptide systems. He also examined the role of turn nucleation on the self-assembly properties of amyloid peptides involved in disease and biomaterials. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Prof. Thomas Kodadek.

Dr. Derek Ryan

Graduate Student (2007-2011)
dryan11@live.unc.edu
  • B.S. Chemistry (2007), State University of New York, Geneseo; Geneseo, NY
  • M.S. Chemistry (2009), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D. Chemistry (2011), University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Derek Ryan conducted graduate studies at the University of Rochester working with Professor Bradley Nilsson. His research project focused on the self-assembly of modified amino acids to create hydrogel materials. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Marcey Waters.

Ethan Toriki

Undergraduate Student (2018-2020)
Ethan was born in Mililani, Hawaii, and is pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Rochester. He is currently studying the synthesis of cationic Fmoc-Phe hydrogels and their controlled release properties with Brittany Abraham.

Chen Chen

Undergraduate Student (2017-2018)
  • B.S. Chemistry (2018), University of Rochester
  • B.A. Biology (2018), University of Rochester
Chen was born in Wenzhou, China, and finished a double degree in Chemistry B.S and Biology B.A at the University of Rochester. For his senior research project, he studied disulfide-constrained amphipathic peptides with Jade Welch.