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

Nikolau Group - Postdoctoral Research Associates

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Postdoctoral Research Associates

(listed alphabetically)

Geng DING photo



Research project summary: Understanding the cutin structure of plant cells

Hometown: Gidhni, West Bengal, India. Degrees: B.Sc in Microbiology, Vidyasagar University, India; M.Sc in Applied Microbiology, VIT, India; PhD in Plant Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India. Thesis title: Genetic engineering of fatty acid biosynthetic pathway to improve the nutritional quality of sesame oil. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: People are friendly, and ready to help at any time. Fun fact: I am passionate about playing cricket and have been match-winner for my team many times. Bonus Fact: I am a big foodie and love eating chicken.

Jennifer Chmielowski photo



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. Degrees: BS in Forensic Biochemistry, Western Illinois University; PhD in Biochemistry, Iowa State University Thesis title: The identification of the GLOSSY1-like gene family and their involvement in Zea mays surface lipid production..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.

Xiaochen YU photo

Xiaochen YU


Research project summary: Optimize the culture conditions and develop the culture strategy in a large scale to increase the yields and productivities of new fatty acids.

Hometown: Hubei, China. Degrees: BS in Biotechnology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; MS in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Washington State University; PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Washington State University. Thesis title: Microbial oil production by oleaginous yeast and fungi using the hydrolysate from the dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of wheat straw. Research interests: Process development and optimization of microbial fatty acid production. Likes best about working with the Nikolau group: Working in an open and friendly atmosphere with a group of people who are passionate about their research. Fun fact: I delivered my baby girl ONE day before the deadline for turning in all the required materials for PhD graduation!