Past Graduate Students

Miguel Macias-Contreras

PhD, 2019

Miguel was involved in both the chemistry and the biology side of our research. In addition to the development of zinc-sensitive fluorescent indicators, he studied the substrate tolerability of a protein tag called "SNAP-tag", and developed a two-step labeling strategy that combines the powers of protein tag and bioorthogonal chemistry. Miguel now is a Postdoctoral Fellow to continue research in chemical biology in the Beatty Group in the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. 

Neda Arabzadeh

Now a graduate student in Hedi Mattoussi's group

Neda stayed briefly in the Zhu Group. She started the research on a class of excited-state intramolecular proton transfer compounds with the opposite solvent dependency from what was expected. She is now a graduate student in the Mattoussi group. 

Quinton Meinser

PhD, 2018

Quinton made major contributions to the studies on fluorophores possessing intramolecular hydrogen bonds. He was also the photographer of the group, and won an image award from the Chemical and Engineering News. Quinton took a year sabbatical at Argonne National Laboratory to participate in research on lithium-ion batteries. After graduation, Quinton returned to Argonne as a Postdoctoral Fellow to resume his research in the area of energy storage. 

Xiaoguang Zhang

PhD, 2017

Xiaoguang made major contributions to the mechanistic understandings of the copper-catalyzed formations of several classes of 1,2,3-triazole molecules. Xiaoguang is now a Process Engineer at Applied Materials in Santa Clara, California. 

Kirsten Daykin

PhD, 2017

Kirstin developed fluorescent indicators for zinc ions and hydrogen peroxide. She also applied her indicators in illuminating zinc and hydrogen peroxide in living cells using fluorescence microscopes. Kirsten was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Tennessee Wesleyan University.  She is currently a Lecturer at North Carolina State University. 

Chris Brassard

PhD, 2016

Chris spearheaded the development of a new method to make 5,5'-bistriazoles. He also made important contributions to our works in the syntheses of 5-iodotriazoles and 5-alkynyltriazoles. Chris is now a Scientist I at Leidos in Frederick, Maryland. 

Tyler Simmons

PhD, 2013

Tyler worked on the coordination chemistry of 1,2,3-triazoles and its application in developing zinc-sensitive fluorescent indicators. He also made significant contributions to the mechanistic work on copper(II) acetate mediated azide-alkyne cycloaddition reactions. Tyler is now the Chair of the Division of Science and Health at Enterprise State Community College in Enterprise, Alabama. 

Heather Michaels

PhD, 2012

Heather studied triazolyl-containing multidentate ligands as zinc-sensitive fluorescent indicators. She contributed to our work in copper(II) acetate-mediated azide-alkyne cycloaddition chemistry, in particular, the effect of ligands in the efficiency of this reaction, and the 5-iodotriazole synthesis. She also cleverly demonstrated the synthetic utility of 5-iodotriazole in producing polyheterocyclic organic molecules. Heather is a Principal Investigator at Smart Biomolecules, Inc. in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Ali Younes

PhD, 2012

Ali thoroughly studied and reported the zinc coordination chemistry and fluorescent properties of 2,2'-bipyridyl-containing fluorophores. He started the project of organic fluorophores capable of multiple emission, which has since been growing till this day. 

Wendy Brotherton

PhD, 2012

Wendy discovered the high reactivity of chelating azides in copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition reaction. This work has been applied by many in need of a rapid version of this reaction. She also reported a new, rather convenient method to make 5'-iodotriazole from terminal alkyne and organic azide. Wendy was a professor at Tennessee Wesleyan University. She is now a Laboratory Coordinator at Alltech in Kentucky. 

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Created by Lei Zhu, 2017

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