Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Nikolau Group - Former Lab Members

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Former Lab Members

 

Ph.D. GRADUATES

(in reverse chronological order)

Daolin CHENG photo

Xin GUAN

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Spring 2014
Thesis:

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Daolin CHENG photo

Bryon UPTON

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Spring 2014
Thesis:

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Daolin CHENG photo

Daolin CHENG

Ph.D. in Interdepartmental Genetics, Fall 2013
Thesis: Wax ester biosynthetic pathway

Current position: PhD student, Iowa State University


Shivani GARG photo

Shivani GARG

Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Fall 2013
Thesis: Exploring and understanding the substrate diversity of 3-Ketoacyl-ACP-Synthase III enzymes

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Fuyuan JING photo

Fuyuan JING

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 2013
Thesis: Characterization of acyl-ACP thioesterases for the purpose of diversifying fatty acid synthesis pathway

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Wenmin QIN photo

Wenmin QIN

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 2012
Thesis: Chemical characterization of hydrocarbons and transcriptome profiling to elucidate pathway(s) of hydrocarbon biosynthesis in maize, pea, Botryococcus braunii and Emiliania huxleyi.

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Alexis CAMPBELL photo

Alexis CAMPBELL

Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Fall 2011
Thesis: Fatty acid elongase (FAE) systems: An investigation of genetic redundancy

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Huanan JIN photo

Huanan JIN

Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Spring 2010
Thesis: Genetic, biochemical and physiological studies of acetyl-CoA metabolism via acyl-condensation

Current position: Associate professor, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Free atmosphere.


Geng DING photo

Geng DING

Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Spring 2008
Thesis: Molecular, genetic, physiological and biochemical studies of 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase and biotin carboxyl carrier protein-like proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikolau research group


Joel SCHMIDT photo

Joel SCHMIDT

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Spring 2008
Thesis: Functional analysis of paralogous genes in acetyl coenzyme A metabolism

Current position: Research Analyst, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Manages software development projects to design and create innovative tools for statistical analysis of large amounts of molecular genotypic and phenotypic data to permit crop breeders to select and advance superior hybrids and varieties through pre-commercial trials. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: As graduate students, we were always well-supported. Basil ensured our research projects had funding and provided us with opportunities to present our work. In addition, he prepared us well to do so, whether for a preliminary oral exam, a dissertation defense, or a talk at an international research conference. Finally, Basil fostered a collaborative, non-competitive laboratory environment which allowed us to do our best work, both individually and as a group. Fun fact: Ran the 2010 Dam to Dam 20K race.


 

Yuqin JIN

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Summer 2007
Thesis: Biotechnological improvements of bio-based fuels and lubricants characterization of genes for branched chain fatty acids and mono-acyl esters


 

Xu LI

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 2005
Thesis: Cross-section study of ion-molecule reactions of planetary importance

Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University


Ann PERERA photo

Ann PERERA

Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Summer 2005
Thesis: Molecular and chemical characterization of genes involved in maize cuticular wax biosynthesis

Current position: Facility Manager, W.M. Keck Metabolomic Research Laboratory, Nikolau research group.


Ping CHE photo

Ping CHE

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 2000
Thesis: Biochemical and molecular genetic studies of the metabolic role of methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase

Recent Publications

Current employer: Pioneer Hi-Bred International


Tuan-Nan WEN photo

Tuan-Nan WEN

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 1997
Thesis: Molecular characterizations of regulatory and structural properties of plant biotin-containing enzymes

Current position: Assistant Research Specialist, Institute of Plant and Microbial biology, Academia Sinica,Taiwan. Works in the Proteomics Core lab as a manager and specialist helping people with proteomics work; uses 2-DE or 2-D LC to separate proteins/peptides and uses mass spectrometer to do protein analysis and identification. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Nikolau's beard.


Joong-Kook CHOI photo

Joong-Kook CHOI

Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Fall 1996

Thesis: Molecular characterization of the chloroplastic acetyl-CoA carboxylase of Arabidopsis thaliana

Recent Publications

Current position: Associate Professor, Chungbuk National University, City of Cheong-Ju, Chungbuk Province, Korea. His lab is trying to find a link between the intracellular calcium signaling and TNF-alpha production/secretion; they hope to understand the molecular signaling network that may lead them to develop a therapeutic tool to control the TNF-alpha mediated inflammatory diseases. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: When I felt tired during my graduate school years, he kindly guided me to finish it with pride. Fun fact: After work, I like to play tennis with colleagues.


Joel Hansen photo

Joel HANSEN

Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Fall 1996
Thesis: Induction of the 22-kilodalton potato proteinase inhibitor genes

Deceased


 

James CAFFREY

Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular & Develomental Biology, Spring 1995
Thesis: Biochemical and molecular biological characterization of plant acetyl-CoA carboxylases


 

Tomas DIEZ

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Summer 1994
Thesis: Biochemical characterization of plant biotin-containing enzymes

Current employer: University of Panama


 

Jianping SONG

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Fall 2003
Title: Molecular cloning and characterization of 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase from soybean


Xun WANG photo

Xun WANG

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Summer 1993
Thesis: Characterization of beta-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase of tomato, a newly identified biotin enzyme in plants

Current position: Vice President, R&D, Sapphire Energy, Inc., San Diego CA.


 

Charles DIETRICH

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Spring 2002
Thesis: Molecular and genetic characterization of genes involved in maize cuticular wax biosynthesis

Current employer: The Monsanto Company


M.S. GRADUATES

Lucas SHOWMAN photo

Jason HART

M.S. in Plant Biology, Spring 2013
Thesis: Characterization of the Arabidopsis thaliana acetyl-CoA synthetase putative carboxylate binding pocket

Current position: Ph.D. student, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

 

Jennifer GRAY

M.S. in Plant Biology, Fall 2009
Thesis: Biotin biosynthetic enzymes and the metabolic control of biotin biosynthesis

Current position: Ph.D. student, University of California, Davis.

Lucas SHOWMAN photo

Lucas SHOWMAN

M.S. in Biochemistry, Fall 2009
Thesis: Identification and molecular characterization of the Arabidopsis homolog to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae BIO5 gene

Current position: Ph.D. student, Nikolau research group.


Stephanie MOON photo

Stephanie MOON-QUANBECK

M.S. in Plant Biology, Fall 2008
Thesis: Metabolomics based annotation of novel genes in Arabidopsis thaliana

Current position: Research Associate, Molecular Characterization, Regulatory, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Ankeny, IA. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: What I liked about working in the Nikolau group was the working environment. Within each project there was a sense of independence with the knowledge that we could collaborate with everyone else in the lab for help with techniques, ideas or just to bounce our ideas off of each other.


 

Elve CHEN

M.S. in Biochemistry, Fall 2006
Thesis: Molecular and genetic characterization of a biotin biosynthetic gene in Arabidopsis encoding both 7,8-diaminopelargonic acid aminotransferase and dethiobiotin synthetase


 

Liwei CUI

M.S. in Biochemistry, Summer 2001
Thesis: Molecular biology of ATP citrate lyase


 

Devlina LAHIRI

M.S. in Biochemistry, Fall 1997
Thesis: Biochemical characterization of branched chain fatty acid biosynthesis


 

Angela McKEAN

M.S. in Biocemistry, Fall 1996
Thesis: Molecular biology of the 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase subunits

Current position: Regulatory Affairs Manager, BASF Plant Science, Research Triangle Park, NC.

 

Michael McDOWELL

M.S. in Biochemistry, Fall 1992
Thesis: Free radical reactions of some transition and organotransition metal complexes

 

 

Terrence Hung-Wa HUI

M.S. in Biochemistry, Summer 1992
Thesis: Biochemical characterization of stearoyl-ACP desaturase in soybeans

 

 

Hsiao-po CHENG

M.S. in Biochemistry, Fall 1991
Thesis: Structures of seed triacylglycerols containing petroselinic acid or erucic acid

 

POSTDOCS

Huanan JIN photo

Huanan JIN

Publications

Research project summary: Acetoacetyl-CoA thiolase (AACT) catalyzes the condensation of two acetyl-CoA molecules to form acetoacetyl-CoA. The fate of acetoacetyl-CoA depends on the biological context in which it is generated.  In the cytosol of higher plant cells, it is the precursor of mevalonate-derived isoprenoids. In microbes, such as Rhodospirillum rubrum, acetoacetyl-CoA is the precursor of the storage polymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). My research was to genetically, biochemically and physiologically characterize acetyl-CoA metabolism via condensation in plant Arabidopsis and bacteria Rhodospirillum rubrum.

Hometown: Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, China. Degrees: BS in Biology, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou, China; MS in Genetics, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou, China.; PhD in Plant Biology, Iowa State University. Research interest/s: Genetic, biochemical and physiological studies of Acetyl-CoA metabolism via Acyl-condensation. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Free atmosphere.


Lankun WU photo

Dr. Lankun WU

Publications

Research project summary: Worked on a project entitled “A Genetically Tractable Microalgal Platform for Advanced Biofuel Production," which was to genetically modify Chlamydomonas alga to produce desirable traits that could result in an alternative biofuel source. She used a combination of LC-MS, GC-MS and HPLC-ELSD for lipid analysis and total metabolite profiling of Chlamydomonas to screen for lipid-hyper accumulating strains.

Hometown: Hubei Province, China Degrees: B.S. and M.S. in Plant Science, China Agricultural University, Beijing, P.R. China; Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Iowa State University. Thesis title: Constituents and receptor-mediated calcium signaling underlying bioactivities of Echinacea. Research interest/s: Medicinal plants, biorenewables, lipids, systematic biology. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Very friendly and intelligent lab people, active and collaborative research environment.


SCIENTISTS

Tyrell CARR, Visiting Professor

carrt@chowan.edu

Publications

Summer research project summary: I studied the hydrocarbon profiles of maize silks in response to environmental stresses. This project largely involved gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and statistical analyses.

Hometown: Plymouth, NC Degrees: BS, Biology, Elizabeth City State University; MS, Genetics, ISU; PhD, Genetics, ISU. Current position: Assistant Professor, Chowan University, Department of Biology & Physical Sciences, Murfreesboro, NC. Website: http://www.chowan.edu/academics/school-arts-sciences-dept-biology.htm. Research interest/s: I have a broad interest in plant biochemistry and molecular biology research. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Having the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of scientists, including biochemists, molecular biologists, computational biologists and chemical engineers at different stages in their careers. Fun fact: I enjoy fishing.


Jung Tae KIM photo

Jung Tae KIM, Visiting Scholar

Project summary: Developing integrated metabolomic and transcriptomics methods

Hometown: Seoul, Korea. Degrees: BS in Crop Science, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea; MS in Crop Breeding, Konkuk University; PhD in Crop Science in progress, Konkuk University. Professional position: Researcher, Upland Crop Research Division, National Institute of Crop Science, Research Development Administration, Suwon,South Korea. Research interests: Co-analysis of genetic and environmental regulators of plant metabolism. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Meeting many people working in various fields. Fun fact: I enjoy travel.


Stephanie MOON photo

Stephanie MOON-QUANBECK, Assistant Scientist
Coordinator, Arabidopsis Metabolomics Project

Publications

Responsibilities summary: Worked on a multi-laboratory metabolomics based annotation of unknown genes in Arabidopsis. The group set up a pipeline for production of Arabidopsis tissue of multiple individual mutant lines to be analyzed using different metabolomics based technologies. Specifically, I was involved in the set-up and execution of tissue growth and harvest along with carrying out targeted metabolite profiling.

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa. Degrees: BS in Agricultural Biochemistry, Iowa State University; MS in Plant Biology, Iowa State University.. Thesis title: Metabolomics based annotation ofnoel genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Research interest/s: Plant metabolism, high-throughput technologies, GC-MS, plant growth and development. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The working environment. Within each project there was a sense of independence with the knowledge that we could collaborate with everyone else in the lab for help with techniques, ideas or just to bounce our ideas off of each other. Fun fact: I enjoy playing, coaching and learning about softball.


Xiaobin ZHENG photo

Xiaobin ZHENG, Laboratory Technician

Research project summary: Eceriferum (cer)2 plays an unknown role in very long chain fatty acid biosynthesis that is destined for epicuticular deposition.  My research sought to define the specific biochemical function of the CER2 protein, by expressing it in a heterologous microbial system.

Hometown: Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China. Degrees: MS in Biochemistry, Iowa State University. Thesis title: The CER2 protein co-localizes to the nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum and is required for the accumulation of surface lipids in Arabidopsis. Research interest/s: Plant genetics, metabolic profiling. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I liked to work with other graduate students who had different majors.


UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Morgan BECKER photo

Morgan BECKER

Hometown: New Berlin, WI. Major: Biology and Mathematics. Responsibilities in the lab: Worked with Shivani Garg on experiments involving KASIII. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Learning new things about biochemistry and other subjects all the time. Fun fact: I have a twin sister who is also majoring in Mathematics! Bonus fact: I was a member of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society as well as Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Mathematics Honorary Society.


Riley BRIEN photo

Riley BRIEN

Major: Electrical Engineering. Research project: I had two projects: The first project was to conduct metabolite profiling with the archaea Methanosarcina acetivorans; this project seeks to identify new metabolic functions by expressing the Methanosarcina acetivorans genes in E. coli and profiling the metabolism of the resulting strain. The second project was called Genetic-based metabolic diversity influenced by environmental modifiers – in this project I conducted metabolite-profiling studies of different Arabidopsis ecotypes grown at two different temperatures.


Natasha BROHIER

Hometown: Selangor, Malaysia. ISU major: Biochemistry. Responsibilities in the lab: Worked with Zhihong Song, growing wild type arabidopsis plants and mutants and extracting cuticule wax, and with Huanan Jin, extracting genomic DNA and sterilizing seeds. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I always learned new things, be it different techniques of doing one experiment or a simpler way of doing a particular step; having helpful and patient people in the lab. Fun fact: I once had pet Madagascar cockroaches, large hissing roaches, named Bond and Clyde.


Ai CHEN photo

Ai CHEN

Hometown: Wuxue, Peoples Republic of China. ISU major: Biochemistry. What he did in the lab: Data analysis. Career goal: To become a scientist. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The friendly atmosphere. Fun fact: I read a novel for 12 hours straight.


Ting CHEN photo

Ting CHEN

Hometown: Des Moines, IA. Major: Biology. Academic classification: Junior. What she does in the lab: Assisted Libuse Brachova on various projects. Career goal: To be a great lab technician. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The friendly atmosphere and the opportunity to learn more things everyday. Fun fact: I'm bilingual!


Reid CLAUSSEN photo

Reid CLAUSSEN

Hometown: Bettendorf, IA. ISU major: Biology. Research project: Elucidating the control of fatty acid biosynthesis in yeast. How can we plump up yeast? This multidisciplinary project is the combined effort of Dr. Basil Nikolau's and Dr. Eve Wurtele’s laboratories. Recently a family of uncharacterized yeast genes was identified through bioinformatics, and was hypothesized to affect fatty acid biosynthesis. An effort began to investigate and validate each of the 21 genes’ function within yeast and how they influence fatty acid metabolism. The project involves the use of yeast shuttle vectors and the transformation of multiple genes into wild-type and the respective knock-out yeast strains. Lipid accumulation studies include: TLC analysis of polar and neutral lipids, fatty acid content measured by GC-MS and visualization of lipids within individual yeast cells by fluorescence microscopy. Career goals: I plan on working on research in a laboratory, whether that means going to graduate school or not is still a question I am actively trying to answer. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the opportunities that the Nikolau group has offered me. I found myself working harder than I ever had before, and I attribute this to the community of researchers with whom I interacted. Fun fact: I am part of a family-run cattle business called 4RC. It stands for Ron, Ross, Ryan and Reid Claussen. My sister and I created a website for the business.


Sam CONDON photo

Sam CONDON

Hometown: Waterloo, IA. ISU major: Biochemistry. Responsibilities in the lab: I helped extract hydrocarbons from maize silk and analyze the samples via GC/MS to determine their biosynthesis pathway. I also worked to streamline the extraction protocol so we could extract more samples with less effort. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I liked the low-stress atmosphere and learning about everyone else's projects! Fun fact: I love to hike and play a card game called Magic: the Gathering, preferably at the same time. Other: My work in the Nikolau group played a large part in my earning the Robert Stupka Memorial Scholarship and the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.


Eric FRISCHKORNphoto

Eric FRISCHKORN

Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL. ISU major: Biochemistry, Genetics. Responsibilities in the lab: Setting up the new lab in the Biorenewables Lab, making solutions, doing dishes, cleaning, etc. Career goals: I plan on going to law school to become a patent attorney. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Everyone was very friendly and willing to teach you things you didn't know how to do. Fun fact: I wrestled all four years in high school.


Ruben GARCIA

Hometown: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Major: Microbiology. Academic classification: Junior. What he did in the lab: Assisted Shivani Garg in her research, whose main purpose was to identify, characterize, and define the role of the KasIII enzyme in bacterial cells. Career goal: My goal as a student is to go to graduate school in immunology/virology. I believe that my way of giving back to society is by doing research and giving a different point of view in my field. My ultimate goal is to work with disease control. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The best part was that I got to share my passion for research with many other amateurs. It made me feel like part of a learning community. Fun fact: I believe in expressing yourself in the best possible ways and my way is by drawing, painting, and writing poems. I consider myself a "Hopeless Romantic" and I try to interpret that into my pieces. Bonus fact: There are many different perspectives to see the world and research is the only one that can tie up those perspectives. I like to think about the bigger picture and later focus on the details. Every single part of a project is important and I believe that it is not about being perfect but about being as close as possible.


 

Zak GEIGER

Hometown: Clinton, IA. ISU program: Chemistry. Responsibilities in the lab: Worked with lab manager Libuse Brachova, preparing yeast samples, making standard solutions and collecting and analyzing data from HPLC. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Learning new things and working with friendly people who were always available if I had a question about anything. Fun fact: I originally planned to be a music major before coming to ISU, and I am still very active in the music community. I play the snare drum for both local and national music ensembles.


Nick HICKMAN photo

Nick HICKMAN

Hometown: Sioux City, IA. ISU program: Mathematics. Responsibilities in the lab: Assisted Zhihong Song with experiments and data analysis of results. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The friendly environment and people. Everyone was very approachable. Fun fact: I love to snowboard, especially in Steamboat Springs, CO.


Colin HUESER photo

Colin HUESER

Hometown: Davenport, IA. Major: Biochemistry. What he did in the lab: Characterization of novel acyl-ACP thioesterases: identifying acyl-ACP thioesterases that produce distinct fatty acids with high specificity and yield. Career goals: Pursue higher education and work in a research lab. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I loved seeing how the research process works and actually applying what I've learned in school. Fun fact: My home is right alongside the Mississippi River. In the summer, I love nothing more than to slalom ski and spend the entire day on the boat.


Jennifer JENSEN photo

Jennifer JENSEN

Hometown: Des Moines, IA. Major: Environmental Science. Academic classification: Junior. What she did in the lab: I assisted in research on a specific protein stand in bacteria. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I was grateful that I had this awesome opportunity to learn and to work with great people. Fun fact: I'm scuba certified!


Dallas JONES photo

Dallas JONES

Hometown: Kansas City, MO. ISU major: Genetics. Responsibilities in the lab: Worked with Luda Rizshsky extracting and characterizing alkamides from Echinacea. Research interests: Synthetic biology. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: My supervisor and the graduate students in the lab were extremely friendly and helpful, even when one was asking mundane questions. I liked the size and atmosphere of the lab.Fun fact: The first ISU football game I attended was during my last year as an undergraduate. (I tend to prefer reading books.) Bonus fact: I loved that I got to play with chemicals!

VJ KWAN photo

Vone Jeat (VJ) KWAN

Hometown: Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. ISU major: Genetics. What he did in the lab: General lab assistance, samples collection and extraction. Career goals: I hope to get into biotechnology and gain more experience in the field of genetics. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: There are a lot of good people in the lab. Fun fact: I like social activities and travel. Bonus fact: I can speak five languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hakka (dialect).


 

Joseph LOMOTI


Yelena MALYCHEVA Photo

Yelena MALYCHEVA

Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Russia; moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in 2003. ISU major: Biology. Responsibilities in the lab: Assisted Stephanie Moon with the metabolomics project and Geng Ding with the hycrocarbon project; cleaned and prepared materials. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The people I worked with. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Made me feel right at home. Fun fact: I love late 80's and all 90's music.


Kelly MARKHAM photo

Kelly MARKHAM

Hometown: Iowa City, IA. ISU major: Chemical Engineering, Mathematics. Research project: Hunting for "Obese Yeast": mutagenesis and identification of yeast cells with increased oil content. Career goals: Become a professor of engineering and conduct research at a university. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I loved everyone's positive attitude! Achievements: Presented research poster at 2010 NSF site visit of CBiRC; was awarded First Year Honors Program Grant to support her research. Fun fact: I could eat breakfast cereal for every meal and be totally happy. Other: I appreciate the chance to be a part of such an amazing group, and I think that what the Nikolau group strives for is really outstanding.


Niibari MENEGBO photo

Niibari MENEGBO

Hometown: Des Moines, IA. I came here from Nigeria when I was six. Major: Biology. Academic classification: Junior. What she did in the lab: I worked on building a plant based Fatty Acid Elongase system in yeast to understand redundancy in the system as a whole. Career goals: I plan to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Everybody was really patient and friendly. Fun fact: My name means "God's Own." Bonus fact: I come from a big family, the second of six children.


Sara PEDERSON photo

Sara PEDERSON

Hometown: Des Moines, IA. Major: Biochemistry. Research project: Directed Evolution of the acyl-ACP thioesterase gene. Career goals: Doing research for a biorenewables firm or continuing in school and becoming a pharmacist. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The relaxed atmosphere and the fact that when I was confused with something, there was always someone there that I could ask for help, or someone I could help out if they were confused. Fun fact: I watch old 80's and 90's cartoons specifically because they're really bad ("He-man" and "She-ra" are my favorites). Bonus fact: I really like watching shows based in the Victorian era like" Emma" and Beatrix Potter's"The World of Beatrix Potter."


 

Dee PHIPPS


Julia REIMAN photo

Julia REIMAN

Hometown: Utica, MN. ISU major: Biological Systems Engineering. What she did in the lab: Assisted graduate students with research projects as needed; helped the lab run smoothly by keeping materials stocked. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: The people were really nice, friendly, and would explain something if I didn't understand it. Fun fact: I enjoy hockey.


Robyn ROURKE photo

Robyn ROURKE

Hometown: Mason CIty, IA. ISU major: Biochemistry. Responsibilities in the lab: Worked with Geng Ding on the hydrocarbon research project. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: I liked learning new things, and the people who worked in the lab. Fun fact: My favorite color is pink.


Christopher SEVERN photo

Christopher SEVERN

Hometown: Glenwood, IA. ISU major: Kinesiology and Health: Pre-Physician Assistant. Responsibilities in the lab: I worked with Alexis Campbell on fatty acid regulation within yeast. The project title wss Elucidating the control of fatty acid biosynthesis in yeast. How can we plump up yeast? My work focused on the characterization of gene candidates that may have a role in fatty acid metabolism. Career goals: Pursue a graduate degree in either physician assistant studies or biochemistry. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Being on the frontlines of science. I learned so much from this experience, and I am thankful to have had this opportunity. Fun fact: I play goalkeeper for the ISU Soccer Club.


Yelena MALYCHEVA Photo

Kelsey SIMPKINS

Hometown: Ames, IA. Luther College major: Art, with minor in Environmental Studies. Responsibilities in the lab: Data mapping for Alexis Campbell. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Working with Alexis and other fun people in the lab. Fun fact: I sang and toured with the Luther College Nordic Choir for two weeks along the west coast. Another fun fact: This was the third ISU lab I've worked in.


Akul SINGHANIA


Garrett SMITH photo

Garrett SMITH

Hometown: San Diego, CA. ISU major: Genetics and Microbiology. Research project: Worked with Alexis Campbell to build the vectors and cell lines focusing on bringing current research into the BIOL/GEN 313L classroom. His project stemmed from an HHMI sponsored educational module Alexis designed in collaboration with CBiRC and the bioinformatics efforts in the Wurtele Lab. Career goals: Possibly looking into pharmacy school or laboratory work in general. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Enjoyed the friendly attitude of those I've met as well as their dedication and knowledge. Fun fact: I caught a fish as big as I, in Alaska. Other: Contrary to Alexis’ beliefs, I do not hate fun. Also, I fell off a couch and broke my arm when I was 5.


Ning ZHANG photo

Ning ZHANG

Hometown: Beijing, China. ISU major: Double major in Environmental Science and Geology. Research interests: Hydrology and mineralogy. What she did in the lab: Cleaned lab area, made solutions, washed equipment, stocked shelves, helped grow plants and collect seeds. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: People were friendly and taught me how to make solutions etc. Fun fact: I love rocks and sports.


Yinan ZHAO photo

Yinan ZHAO

Hometown: Beijing, Peoples Republic of China. ISU major: Biochemistry. Academic classification: Senior. What she did in the lab: Collect and analyze plant data. Career goals: To be a lab assistant for a professor and have my own research program. Liked best about working with the Nikolau group: Having a chance to meet people and make new friends, and learn more about things relevant to my major.