Anindita Bandyopadhyay, PhD

Anindita Bandyopadhyay, PhD

STAFF SCIENTIST

My interest lies in unraveling the biology behind the working of an enigmatic group of unicellular cyanobacteria called Cyanothece. The members of the genus Cyanothece are capable of accommodating the antagonistic processes of photosynthesis (an oxygen evolving process) and atmospheric N2 fixation (an oxygen sensitive process) within the same cellular platform. In addition, the different Cyanothece strains harbor many interesting metabolic traits such as high levels of hydrogen production under aerobic conditions. I use these organisms as a model system to explore their potential in sunlight-driven targeted product formation.

Maitrayee Bhattacharyya, PhD

Maitrayee Bhattacharyya, PhD

STAFF SCIENTIST

My current interest is on how various forms of biological stress induce responses in a photosynthetic organism. The current emphasis is to document differences in the redox related chemistry and gene expression in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 that allow survival in the presence of various applied stresses. These stresses include changes in light availability, water, salt, and micronutrient content of the environment.

Gaurav Bingi

Gaurav Bingi

VISITING GRADUATE STUDENT

I am a graduate student at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India, participating in the Student Exchange Program as a short-term scholar. My current research project focuses on the cultivation of phototroph-heterotroph co-cultures and the genetic engineering of Vibrio natriegens to enhance the production of specific biologics. My goal is to leverage my dedication, research skills, and hard work to make significant contributions to the field of therapeutics, ultimately contributing to the improvement of the healthcare system.

Sandeep  Biswas, PhD

Sandeep Biswas, PhD

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Having completed my Ph.D. studies on the role of low-molecular-weight proteins associated with Photosystem II, I aim to further explore the in vivo Photosystem II assembly process in cyanobacteria. Owing to the oxidative nature of water splitting, the enzyme (Photosystem II) constantly gets damaged.  The current model suggests that following damage the reaction center protein D1 gets selectively replaced in a process that constitutes the Photosystem II repair cycle. In my current project, I explore the processes related to Photosystem II damage and repair.

Nancy  Duan

Nancy Duan

LABORATORY TECHNICIAN

I am a technician in the lab and enjoy working here with a group of energetic and passionate people! I am responsible for maintaining cyanobacterial cultures and assisting other lab members in addition to performing independent experiments such as PCR, subcloning, and plasmid preparation. I am very interested in working in the field of renewable energy, which will ultimately have a global impact.

Chris Jones, PhD

Chris Jones, PhD

STAFF SCIENTIST

My interests are in developing cyanobacteria as a carbon-neutral biotechnology platform. Cyanobacteria and algae have higher areal productivity rates compared to terrestrial plants, i.e. they fix more carbon per unit time per unit land. Moreover, many strains grown in salt water thus obviating the need to use arable land and fresh water to make carbon-neutral fuels and chemicals. However, in terms of basic genetic systems and metabolic engineering workflows, cyanobacteria lag far behind their heterotrophic counterparts. Therefore, a lot of my energy is spent on developing new genetic tools, efficient strain construction techniques as well as novel bioreactor designs

Michelle Liberton, PhD

Michelle Liberton, PhD

STAFF SCIENTIST

My research interests focus on understanding the structure-function relationships between cellular architecture and biological processes.  Cyanobacteria are ideal model systems for this work because of their diverse metabolic lifestyles, which in some strains can include photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, and hydrogen production, often coordinated with storage body accumulation and mobilization.  My work uses a variety of experimental approaches, including biochemistry, molecular biology, and imaging methods including light and electron microscopy.

Matt Lima

Matt Lima

GRADUATE STUDENT

Taking inspiration from the remarkable things nature can do, my research interests are in synthetic biology and engineering biological systems to perform novel functions. After majoring in biomedical engineering in undergrad and subsequently learning about the promise of synthetic biology, I am excited by how biology can be leveraged to help people and society. My current research is focused on engineering the bacterium Vibrio natriegens, a chassis organism that shows encouraging ability for synthetic biology. Outside the lab, I like to go running, read good (and some bad) books, eat lots of baked goods, and pet every dog that I am allowed to.

Tania Mejia

Tania Mejia

EnTER RESEARCH TRAINEE

Victory  Obele

Victory Obele

SFEE SUMMER INTERN

I am an international undergraduate student at The Alabama State University from Nigeria. I am very excited and honored to take part in the DOE-SFEE summer project as an intern at WUSTL for eight weeks culminating in the All Hands Meeting in August 2024. I hope to learn a lot of microbiology lab skills and the use of various lab equipment in Pakrasi lab. I love Science so much and I hope one day to impact the world positively with my burning zeal for knowledge and research.

Alexandra Siemer

Alexandra Siemer

LABORATORY ASSISTANT

Khadijah Taite

Khadijah Taite

SFEE SUMMER INTERN

My name is Khadijah Taite and I am an undergraduate student studying biological science at Alabama State University. I am participating in cyanobacteria focused research in Dr. Pakrasi’s lab. For 8 weeks, I aim to gain pertinent training regarding the use of different cyanobacteria strains and the production of biofertilizers. This training in the Pakrasi lab that will equip me in my future research endeavors. Outside of research, I enjoy crocheting, baking, painting, and playing the flute

Previous Lab Members

Deng Liu

Research Scientist

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Cory Knoot

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Aaron Medina

Rotation Student

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Amanda Groziak

Rotation Student

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Daniel Weisz

Research Scientist

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Po-Cheng Lin

Graduate Student

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Virginia Johnson

Graduate Student

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Jingjie Yu

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Bertram Berla

Graduate Student

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Haomeng Yang

Visiting Researcher

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Max Schubert

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Jesús Barrera Rojas

Visiting Grad Student

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Jonathan Borowsky

Undergraduate Researcher

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Cynthia Chia-Yun Lee

Rotation Student

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Leslie Olson

Undergraduate Researcher

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Michelle Cho

Rotation Student

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Miguel Vazquez Pufleau

Rotation Student

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Steven Hui-Yuan Chen

Graduate Student

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Yuehui Zhu

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Jorge Guío

Visiting Graduate Student

Annesha Sengupta

Postdoctoral Researcher

Patricia Walker

Graduate Student

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Kristen Wendt

Graduate Student

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Amelia Nguyen

Graduate Student

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Haijun Liu

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Abhay Singh

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Andrew Ng

Undergraduate Researcher

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Caroline Focht

Undergrad IGEM Researcher

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Hanayo Sato

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Hongyi Li

Undergraduate IGEM Researcher

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Kim Wegener

Graduate Student

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Jagdeesh Kotapalli

Undergraduate IGEM Researcher

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Lawrence Page

Graduate Student

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Lingxia Zhao

Lab Tech

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Mau Fossas

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

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Zi Ye

Visiting Scientist

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Ralf Oelmüller

Visiting Researcher

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Rebecca Shih

Undergraduate IGEM Researcher

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Ron Stebegg

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Adrienne Brauer

Rotation Student

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Justin Ungerer

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Aparna Nagarajan

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Alicia Lohman

Lab Tech

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Cynthia Koehler

Lab Tech

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Jana Stockel

Research Scientist

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Jeff Cameron

Graduate Student

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Chase Hubbart

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

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Mary Peyton Boyd

Undergraduate Researcher

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Jack Mao

Undergraduate Researcher

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Marisa Coury

Undergraduate Researcher

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Brian Landry

Lab Tech

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Michael Wilkinson

Rotation Student

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Rajib Saha

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Sarah Rommelfanger

Rotation Student

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Thanura Elvitigala

Postdoctoral Researcher

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Vivian Kitainda

Rotation Student

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William E. McHargue

Rotation Student