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

Nikolau Group - Graduate Students

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Contact us at
nikolau.research@iastate.edu

Graduate Students

(listed alphabetically)


Liza ALEXANDER  photo

Liza ALEXANDER

Publications

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: 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.


Troy BUNCH photo

Troy BUNCH

Research project summary: My research is directed toward better understanding the role of Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase genes in Arabidopsis.

Hometown: Runnells, IA. Previous degree: BS in Agricultural Biochemistry and Agricultural Genetics, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) MS program. Research interests: Plant genetics and metabolomics. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Seeing the results of the botanical and metabolomics research project and possibly seeing an "end" result. Fun fact: I enlisted in the army at 17 and have taken one tour of Afghanistan.


Elizabeth CHATT photo

Elizabeth CHATT

Publications

Research project summary: Study nectar secretion and composition and the development of nectaries in dicots

Hometown: River Falls, Wisconsin. Previous degree: BS in Biotechnology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Plant Biology PhD program. Research interest: Biochemistry. Fun fact: I survived a week long camping trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and would love to go again.


Keting CHEN photo

Keting CHEN

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

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.


Kayla FLYCKT photo

Kayla FLYCKT

Research project summary: Cloning and characterization of maize 3-ketoacyl-CoA synthase genes through heterologous expression in yeast.

Hometown: Johnston, IA. Previous degree: BS in Biology, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: MCDB MS program. Research interests: Plant genetics and biochemistry. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: I like the up-beat environment in the lab and all the people I work with! Fun fact: I was a marching band section leader at my high school. Bonus fact: I am an only child.


Xinyu FU photo

Xinyu FU

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.


Kenna GOODLAXSON photo

Kenna GOODLAXSON

Research project: Exploring genetic redundancies in plants by bioengineering a system in yeast for the production of designer chemicals. This research will help in the understanding of enzyme specificity and contribute to the fundamental knowledge base in the area of acetyl-CoA metabolism.

Hometown: Ames, IA. Previous degree: BS in Microbiology, Iowa State University. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: I enjoy the variety of research backgrounds the group has, and how this allows collaboration within such diverse fields. I also like the educational outreach and development that I have been a part of with the lab group. Fun fact: I used to work at Fareway in the meat department. People typically don't think a girl will last in that environment, but I worked there for five years.


Troy BUNCH photo

Sara HAZINIA

Research project summary: Metabolomic study of the extrafloral nectar in ant acacia and parasitic plants

Hometown: Tehran, Iran. Previous degree: BSc in Food Science, Shaheed Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran. ISU graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) PhD program. Research interests: Plant metabolomics and biochemistry. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: It's a very big research group with different research areas, friendly and helpful people and a positive atmosphere. Fun fact: I enjoy cooking and baking, and I used to be known as a "head chef" among my friends!


Stephanie IKEDIOBI photo

Stephanie IKEDIOBI

Research project: Extraction, fractionating and metabolical characterization of the phytochemical makeup of metabolic constituents in various medicinal plants.

Hometown: Houston, TX. Previous degree: BS in Biology-Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, San Antonio. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Genetics MS program. Research interests: Epigenetics, nutrient-gene interactions, metabolism. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: I llike the positive energy; it makes ideas and experiments flow. Fun fact: I used to be a competitive gymnast.


Adarsh JOSE photo

Adarsh JOSE

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 was named 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 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

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.


Kiran-Kumar SHIVAIAH photo

Kiran-Kumar SHIVAIAH

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.


Nazneen SOFEO photo

Naazneen SOFEO

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

Hometown: Kolaghat, India. Previous degree: B.Tech in Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India. ISU graduate program: Biochemistry PhD program. Research interests: Protein structure, function and regulation. 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.


Bri VIDRINE photo

Bri VIDRINE

Research project summary: My research focuses on uncovering the causes of extracellular surface lipid diversity in maize silks. With metabolomic chemotyping we observe distinct extracellular surface lipid accumulation patterns in maize silks across genetic backgrounds and environmental conditions. However, the reason for this variation remains largely a mystery as does the underlying genetic network that governs these metabolite traits. My goal is to utilize this natural variation to shed light on the underlying network so we can better understand the purpose of this diversity and potentially utilize this information in the production of biorenewable chemicals.

Both of my primary projects try to meet the stated goal by using distinct approaches. In one project I am trying to characterize two putative maize desaturase genes that were identified through mQTL mapping using molecular and biochemical techniques. For my other project I am studying the protective capacity of extracellular lipid profiles in maize silks relative to abiotic environmental stresses such as water loss and temperature stress using controlled growth experiments and metabolomic profiling.

Hometown: Dana Point, CA. Previous degree: BS in Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz. ISU graduate program: Interdepartmental Genetics PhD program. Research interest: 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.