Opportunities for Research
Doctoral students pursue their course needs and research interests with supportive confidence among faculty whose work is recognized through funding by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Students also can leverage the department’s size and collaborative nature to take part in interdisciplinary research groups in faculty labs as well as partnerships with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Graduate students publish their work in scientific journals and present their work at conferences including The Protein Society’s annual symposium and Clark’s Graduate Student Multidisciplinary Conference, among others, with funding assistance available from the department and professional organizations.
Funding for Research
Research assistantships are available as funding allows. The department also provides funding for graduate students to attend conferences at which they present their research. Students are encouraged to seek additional support for research and travel expenses as well.
Doctoral Student Research Interests
Our Ph.D. students conduct research in a variety of areas, from ubiquitin ligases to amyloid fibrils to ion-conducting polymers to polymer-based heat reservoirs, which often lead to publication in journals. This scholarly work often becomes the basis of their dissertations.
- Ahmed Alamoudi: “Functionalization of Linear Poly(ethylenimine) as DNA-Binding Polymer for Gene Therapy Application” (advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil)
- Steven Beasley: “On the structure and function of HECT E3 ubiquitin ligases, with a focus on G2E3” (advisor: Donald Spratt)
- Ariane Borges: “Developing KRas G12V protein inhibitor” (advisor: Arundhati Nag)
- Valeria Gutierrez Venegas: “Silica-Based Mesoporous Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Electrolytes” (advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil)
- Rene Kandler: “Exploring optimal cyclization parameters for peptide libraries” (advisor: Arundhati Nag)
- Emma Kane: “Structural and biochemical characterization of the ankyrin repeat domain in HECT-dependent ubiquitylation and neurodevelopment” (advisor: Donald Spratt)
- Merc Kemeh: “Chemical Exchange Underlies the Enhancement of IDE-dependent degradation of Insulin by Anionic Membranes” (advisor: Noel Lazo)
- Pramod Mishra: “Synthesis of Ion Conducting Coploymer Via ATRP and Click Chemistry” (advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil)
- Wendy Nason: “Synthesis of layered niobates in a modular and controllable fashion” (advisor: Luis Smith)
- Kelly Waters: “Structural and functional investigation of HERC2: identifying key protein-protein interactions involved in the DNA damage response and neurodegenerative disease”
- Muyun (Tony) Xu: “Hydrazine-Functionalized Peptide Inhibitor for Lysyl Oxidase” (advisor: Charles Jakobsche)
- Tianyi (Teddy) Yang: “Computational Study of Mechanism of Insulin Receptor Activation by Insulin Binding” (advisor: Shuanghong Huo)
- Yuxin (Evans) Yang: “Lithium-Ion conducting Polymer Blend Electrolyte” (advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil)
- Qingzhe Tan, pub. 2020, “Development of Novel Methods for Protein Folding Analysis and Study of Amyloid Oligomer-Lipid Interaction”, Advisor: Shuanghong Huo
- Valerie Anne Ivancic, pub. 2020, “Biophysical and Biochemical Studies of the Detection, Inhibition and Degradation of Amyloid Assemblies”, Advisor: Noel D. Lazo
- Qiuchen Zheng, pub. 2019, “Biophysical Chemistry of Amyloidogenic Peptides and Proteins in the Absence and Presence of Polyphenols”, Advisor: Noel D. Lazo
- Jeffrey C. Monroe, pub. 2019, “The Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Low-Dimensional Antiferromagnetic Materials”, Advisor: Mark M. Turnbull
- Yaya Wang, pub. 2017, “Structural and functional studies of HERC6 and HERC5: HECT E3 ubiquitin ligases”, Advisor: Donald E. Spratt
- Michael Blair Reardon, pub. 2017, “Syntheses of a Natural Product and Rationally Designed Organic Molecules with Biological and Magnetic Properties”, Advisor: Charles E. Jakobsche
- Joshua Ross Boykin, pub. 2017, “Characterization of Local Structures in Layered Niobates Using Solid-State NMR and Rapid Microwave-Assisted Synthesis and Exfoliation of Their Alcohol Grafted Derivatives”, Advisor: Luis J. Smith
- Kai Peng, pub. 2016, “Lysyl Oxidase: Expression, Purification, Characterization and Studies of Inhibition by βAPN” Advisor: Frederick T. Greenaway
- Hanzhong Liu, pub. 2016, “Solvent Effect on Protein Folding and Network Presentation of Protein Kinetics”, Advisor: Shuanghong Huo
- Jia Wei, pub. 2015, “Controlled ROMP of cyclobutenes by tuning the steric bulk of the monomer pendant chains: An efficient route towards well-defined cyclobutene-based diblock copolymers”, Advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil
- Xiaorui Chen, pub. 2015, “Study of Ion-conducting Block Copolymers for Battery and Fuel Cell Applications”, Advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil
- Robert Paul Doyle, pub. 2014, “Improvement of Poly(Ethylene Imine) Ion Conduction Through Selective Polymer Design”, Advisor: Sergio Granados-Focil
- Kevin J. Robbins, pub. 2013, “Ligand-detected 1H NMR Studies of Thioflavin T – Amyloid Fibril Complexes” Advisor: Noel D. Lazo
- Jue Fan, pub. 2013 “Exploration of Novel Kinetic Tools to Study Protein Folding and Conformational Space of IAPP”, Advisor: Shuanghong Huo
- Jhashanath Adhikari Subin, pub. 2013, “Structural Investigation of Layered Niobates by DFT Calculations”, Advisor: Luis J. Smith