Brian Ikkanda

Hometown: Chino Hills, California

Undergrad: University of California, Berkeley

Joined: 2009

    Originally from Chino Hills, California, I graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Chemistry.  During my senior year at Cal, I conducted research under the direction of Professor Richmond Sarpong in developing synthetic routes to natural products.  I then participated in a summer internship at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories under Dr. Ron Zuckermann doing research on developing functionalizable peptoid nanosheets.  Enjoying science/chemistry ever since elementary school, I have decided to pursue a career somewhere in the realm of chemistry and education.  While trying to acclimate to the Texas heat, I have been enjoying running, playing basketball, and seeing the very cool nature-y spots in Austin!  Currently, I am working on exploring the properties of a nucleic acid directed assembly of NDI and DAN units.

Chris Wight

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Undergrad: The University of Texas at Austin

Joined: 2015

Maria Lambousis

Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming

Undergrad: University of Wyoming

Joined: 2010

Born and raised in good ol’ Cheyenne, WY, I left the nest and landed in nearby Laramie. There I obtained my B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wyoming. At UW I was introduced to research by Dr. Mark Mehn before conducting nucleic acid chirality studies and spectroscopic detection of Z-DNA under Dr. Milan Balaz. Now at UT, my research project focuses on DNA-binding molecules known as intercalators. More precisely, I am trying to see if we can find sequence specific binding of DNA with pendant form bisintercalators. In addition to cooking in the lab, I am attempting to improve my cooking in the kitchen, which of course, must be balanced every so often with some running and volleyball.

Elizabeth Gratton

Hometown: Kensington, Maryland

Undergrad: Pennsylvania State University

Joined: 2011

I grew up in Kensington, MD and graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Chemistry (Spanish minor) in 2009.  While at PSU, I did my undergrad research under Dr. Philip Bevilacqua investigating the activity of a catalytic RNA sequence found in the human genome.  After graduation, I worked at NIH in the lab of Dr. Richard Veech on the large-scale synthesis of a ketone body ester that may have a variety of therapeutic applications.  Here at UT, I will initially be studying the binding specificity of polyintercalators with novel peptide linkers.  In my free time, I like to watch sports, eat lots of food, and explore Austin!

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University of Texas at Austin

Dept, of Chemistry & Biochemistry

105 E. 24th St. Stop, A5300

Austin, TX 78712-0165