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

Nikolau Group - Graduate Students

Questions or comments?

Contact us at
nikolau.research@iastate.edu

Graduate Students

(listed alphabetically)


Liza ALEXANDER  photo

Liza ALEXANDER

liza@iastate.edu

Research project summary: Characterization of GLOSSY 2 protein

Hometown: Kerala, India, often called "God's Own Country." Previous degree: MSc, Biotechnology, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. ISU graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology PhD program. Research interest/s: Gene regulation and functional studies. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Any worries I had coming from an animal research background were easily alleviated by the comradery that exists within the lab. Having worked in other labs, it was important to me that I experience the lab to be a place that I would love going back to, and I'm glad that I found just the right place. Fun fact: My husband and my three brothers are all IT engineers. Bonus fact: I like trying out new crafts.


Keting CHEN photo

Keting CHEN

kchen@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: Explore computational methods to identify metabolites detected by FT-MS; establish the metabolic networking of hydrocarbons on plant surfaces

Hometown: Qingdao, Shandong Province, China. Previous degrees: BS in Biotechnology, Shandong Agriculture University, Taian, Shandong, China. PhD in Horticulture, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology PhD program. Research interests: FT-MS and metabolomics. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Very friendly research team, with people from diverse backgrounds. It is a great enjoyment to work with people who are so different from me. Fun fact: I have done simultaneous translation from Chinese into English on several occasions, both private and public; it is one of my hobbies.


Jennifer Chmielowski photo

Jennifer CHMIELOWSKI

jnc104@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: My research project is to learn about the role of cobalt and nickel in plants and algae. It is believed that these trace metals are needed for survival, but little is known of their biochemical significance in plant systems. Cobalt’s function in plants especially is not well known since they do not use Co in the production of vitamin B12, which is the main function of this metal in other organisms. I am isolating and characterizing for Co and Ni dependent proteins and determining whether they have an effect on the production of unusual lipids.

Hometown: Lake Zurich, Illinois Previous degree: BS in Forensic Biochemistry, Western Illinois University. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Proteomics and pharmaceuticals. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: The friendliness of group, and people's interest in other projects and helpful advice. Fun fact: I am the youngest of three siblings and the only one who went to college.


Xinyu FU photo

Xinyu FU

xinyufu@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: Better understand the role of acetyl-CoA synthetase in plants

Hometown: Nanchang, China. Previous degrees: BS in Horticulture, South China Agricultural University (SCAU), Guangzhou, China; MS in Pomology, SCAU. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Plant Biology PhD program. Research interests: Biochemistry and physiology of plant metabolism. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: The diversified research fields, friendly working atmosphere and well-established resources. Fun fact: In the past five years at SCAU, I did many studies in a nice campus orchard, where I gained a passion for plant science. One of the fun things was to have picnics there with my teammates and look for the season's best fruits.


Xin GUAN photo

Xin GUAN

xguan@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: My research project is to predict and validate Arabidopsis gene functions. In the Arabidopsis genome, around 90% of genes have unknown functions. To formulate data-driven hypotheses on them, I am contributing to the Metabolomics 2010 project in which metabolomics is applied as a functional genomics tool to decipher Arabidopsis gene functions. To further validate the predicted functions, I am focused on the functional characterization of AtLpxA and AtLpxD, significant homologs of two bacterial genes encoding acyltransferases of lipid A biosynthesis.

Hometown: Jinan, Shandong Province, China. Previous degree: BS in Biochemistry, Shandong University, Jinan, China. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Plant biochemistry. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: The friendly people and various research fields in the Nikolau group encourage me to learn, think and communicate. I benefit a lot from the research environment as a growing researcher. Fun fact: I love sports, like swimming and many kinds of ball games. I also enjoy using my camera to record the beautiful world and colorful life.


Adarsh JOSE photo

Adarsh JOSE

ajose@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: Currently, I am doing the bioinformatics part of a project to identify the mechanism by which biological systems generate simple hydrocarbons.

Hometown: Kerala, India, which is one of National Geographic's 50 Places of a Lifetime. Previous degrees: B-tech in Electrical & Biomedical Engineering, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Cochin, India; MS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Akron, Ohio. ISU graduate program: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology PhD program. Research interests: System biology and Next-Gen sequencing methods. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: I am new here, but I like the high energy level in the group. There is genuine enthusiasm about the research. Website: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/adarsh-jose/16/858/473 Fun fact: I started off as an electrical engineer, designed electrical circuits and analyzed biological signals during my undergraduate and masters studies. If someone had told me three years ago that "In three years, you will be working toward your PhD in computational biology in a biochemisty group and you will have fun," I would have laughed it off!


Jennifer ROBINSON photo

Jennifer ROBINSON

jenrobin@iastate.edu

Research project summary: Analysis and comparison of metabolites for the first 8 Arabidopsis ecotypes to have their genome sequenced grown under different temperatures. Microscopy work for the Metabolomics 2010 project: analysis of Arabidopsis seeds under stereoscope and SEM.

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA. Previous degree: BS in Biochemistry, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry MS program. Research interests: Plant metabolomics; plant biochemistry. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Friendly work environment, connecting with other scientists and learning about their research interests.


Christopher SEVERN photo

Christopher SEVERN

cjsevern@iastate.edu

Research project summary: My project involves the combinatorial integration of novel biocatalysts for the fermentative production of innovative bi-functional carboxylic acids of specific chain lengths.

Hometown: Glenwood, IA. Previous degree: BS in Kinesiology and Health, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Genetics MS program. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Being on the frontlines of science. I am learning so much from this experience, and I am thankful to have this opportunity. Fun fact: I play goalkeeper for the ISU Soccer Club.


Kiran-Kumar SHIVAIAH photo

Kiran-Kumar SHIVAIAH

kkshiva@iastate.edu

Research project summary: Structure and function studies.

Hometown: Bengaluru, India. Previous degree: MSc in Biochemistry, Bangalore University, Bengaluru, India. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Structure and function studies. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Working with scholarly people who share their knowledge and experience. Fun fact: I can perform major Indian dance styles even though I am not trained in any one of them. Bonus bit: I like learning about new culture and languages.


Lucas SHOWMAN photo

Lucas SHOWMAN

lshowman@iastate.edu

Publications

Research project summary: Many poorly characterized genes are predicted to encode enzymes, the substrate(s) and products of which are unknown. The gene2function (g2f) project aims to determine the functions of such putative enzymes in the methanogenic Archaea, Methanosarcina acetivorans. This organism has the largest genome of any Archaea (5.8 Mb) with 4524 predicted coding sequences, and is one of the most metabolically diverse Archaea. Approximately half of these genes fall into the putative enzyme category and include genes possibly involved in processes such as methanogenesis, nitrogen fixation, and carbon assimilation. Given the importance of methanogens in global carbon flow and as a potential source of energy, a complete understanding of gene function in these organisms is essential. Project webpage: Gene 2 Function (G2F).

Hometown: Shellsburg, Iowa. Previous degrees: BS in Agricultural Biochemistry, Iowa State University; MS in Biochemistry, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Biotin network, gene annotation in Methanosarcina acetivorans. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Enjoying the company of lab members who are willing to take the time to let you bounce ideas off them. Fun fact: I participated in 11 intramural championships....and lost 11 intramural championships...before winning in the 12th one...Thank God for dodge ball....


Nazneen SOFEO photo

Naazneen SOFEO

nsofeo@iastate.edu

Research project summary: Characterization of the Arabidopsis thaliana acetyl-CoA synthetase

Hometown: Kolaghat, India. Previous degree: B.Tech in Biology, National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Protein structure and function. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Friendly work environment with lot of opportunity to learn new things every day from experienced and knowledgeable labmates. Fun fact: I was a working software professional for 4.5 years before I gave up my job to pursue my dream of being a researcher in the field of biology. At a point I had almost given up on that dream! But eventually I made it to here! Bonus fact: I love reading story books and dancing.


Bryon UPTON photo

Bryon UPTON

bau@iastate.edu

Research project summary: I am researching biotin dependent carboxylases from Arabidopsis thaliana, specifically heteromeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase and 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase. My goal is to understand the structural/functional significance of alternative splicing and gene isoforms within these enzymes. This may lead to the understanding and development of novel catalysts to be implemented into bioengineered metabolic pathways.

Hometown: Burlington, Iowa. Previous degree: BS in Biochemistry, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Enzyme structure/function relationships. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Interacting with so many intelligent people. Fun fact: I enjoy the Cubs and everything that is Chicago (except for the White Sox).


Bri VIDRINE photo

Bri VIDRINE

bvidrine@iastate.edu

Research project summary: Profiling hydrocarbon phenotypes in maize silks to identify regulatory gene candidates for further characterization in order to shed light on hydrocarbon biosynthesis. Additionally, I am looking at cotton surface lipid profiles to investigate changes in regulation with respect to polyploidization and domestication.

Hometown: Dana Point, CA. Previous degree: BS in Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Genetics PhD program. Research interests: Gene regulation. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: The collaborative environment and the exposure to a breadth of experience in multiple fields. Fun fact: I grew up making wine with my dad and worked at a French winery for a summer.