Esser-Kahn Group

Changing the world, one site at a time…
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Graduate Students in the Esser-Kahn lab cover a diverse range of interests including Chemists. Materials Scientists, Biologists and Physicists. The group encourages and thrives on interdisciplinary. Those thinking so are welcome. Send Aaron an email if you are a current or prospective UC-Irvine student in any of these disciplines.
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Janine Tom
NSF GRFP Fellow


B.S.
University of California, Santa Barbara; 2011

Dr. Armen Zakarian

Research Interest

Organic Synthesis; Immune Programming

Bio
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Due to my incredible high school science teachers, I decided to pursue a B.S. in Chemistry at UC Santa Barbara. I had an amazing undergraduate experience there and discovered how exciting and rewarding chemical research can be. Now, I am excited to start my graduate career and a new adventure here at UC Irvine.

Scientific Hero
Marie Curie

Quote
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow”
-Albert Einstein

Email
janinet1 at uci.edu

Nari Ryu


B.S.
Calvin College; Grand Rapids, Michigan; 2011
Prof. Carolyn Anderson

Research Interest
Biomaterials; Organic and Materials Synthesis

Bio
Spending too much time in the arctic winters of Michigan during her undergraduate career, Nari became acclimated to dismal weather conditions and came to despise the sun. Nevertheless, she has found her home in sunny southern California. Her likes include studying materials for tissue engineering, drinking boba, and impressing the group with her mad Kendo skills. Her dislikes include writing her own website biography. Go team California!

Scientific Hero
Albert Einstein

Quote
"I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing…" -Unknown

Email
karyu at uci.edu

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Kyle Brubaker


B.S.
Hope College; Holland, Michigan; 2012


Research Interest

Mechanoradicals

Bio
Kyle was born in the great (to some) state of Michigan, and grew up in the little burgh of Alto. As a youth, he spent his days exploring the surrounding expansive wilderness. Now, Kyle investigates much smaller dimensions: small molecules for materials chemistry. He began his research path at Grand Rapids Community College, moving on the Hope College, a small liberal arts school on the "other west coast." Through the mentorship of several wonderful professors, he decided to pursue a career in chemistry. The excellent chemistry and abundance of outdoor activities year-round were the proverbial linchpins for his decision to attend UCI. To date, Kyle is the tallest graduate student to grace the EK lab.

Scientific Hero
Isaac Newton

Quote
"Just keep swimming." - Dory

Email
brubakek at uci.edu

Alfred Chon


B.S.
Brandeis University; Waltham, Massachusetts; 2014
Prof. Isaac J. Krauss

Research Interest
Organic Synthesis, Immune Programming

Bio
I was born and raised in New York City. Leaving the busy city life behind, I went to Brandeis University, where I worked with Isaac Krauss on a variety of projects. I also interned at Biogen Idec, both medicinal chemistry and process chemistry, and Novartis, giving me a broad synthetic background. After completing my undergraduate studies, I moved to UCI, where I am now a graduate student working on immune programming.

Scientific Hero
Galileo Galilei

Quote
"Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take the things as they come with patience and equanimity." - Carl Jung

Email
acchon at uci.edu

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Tyler Albin


B.S.
Western Washington University; Bellingham, Washington; 2014
Prof. Amanda Murphy


Research Interest

Chemical Biology, Immune Programming, Biomaterials

Bio
Tyler grew up in Washington State (Go Hawks!) where he discovered his passion for chemistry in high school. He began his research career at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. There, he spent several years encouraging conducting polymer/silk-peptide conjugates to self-assemble under the mentorship of Professor Amanda Murphy. Tyler has emerged from the Washington clouds to study chemical biology and immune programming at UCI. So far, Tyler has learned to love the sunny winters, amazing hikes, and avocados of California.

Scientific Hero
Linus Pauling

Quote
"Follow your passion--you'll be surprised you can change the world. So my advice is: pursue that--leave the world better than you found it..." - Bill Nye

Email
talbin at uci.edu

Amanda Dark


B.S.
University of Texas, Arlington; Arlington, Texas; 2014
Prof. Frank W. Foss Jr.

Research Interest
Organic Synthesis, Chemical Biology, Immune Programming

Bio
Amanda was born and raised in the great state (and former nation) of Texas. She first became interested in chemistry when she taught her entire 8th grade class how to balance chemical equations. She double majored in biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she worked in Prof. Frank W. Foss Jr.'s organic chemistry lab. Now at UC Irvine, Amanda is investigating innate immune responses to adjuvants using bioluminescent imaging as a joint student in the Esser-Kahn and Prescher labs.

Scientific Hero
Marie Curie

Quote
"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." - Wernher von Braun

Email
adark at uci.edu

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Brittany Moser


B.S.
Purdue University; West Lafayette, Indiana; 2012

Prof. Paul Shepson
Prof. Mikhail Shapiro

Research Interest

Immune Programming, Protein Engineering

Bio
Brittany was born and raised in Indiana. Her amazing high school teachers inspired her to study chemistry at Purdue University. There, to escape the long winters, Brittany stayed inside and conducted research in atmospheric chemistry with Prof. Paul Shepson. After graduation, she worked with Prof. Mikhail Shapiro designing gene circuits to probe neuronal function. After trudging through the snow for the first two decades of her life (uphill both ways) she is glad that sunlight and palm trees are a daily feature at UCI.

Scientific Hero
Rachel Carson

Quote
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's way of looking at a life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." - Dr. Seuss

Email
bamoser at uci.edu

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Seong-Min Kim


B.S.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Urbana, Illinois; 2013


Research Interest

Immune Programming, Organic Synthesis

Bio
I grew up in a little town in the middle of cornfields in southern Illinois. Inspired by my awesome high school chemistry teacher, I decided to study chemical engineering at University of Illinois. While working in a lab as an undergrad, I discovered my passion for scientific research. I hope to learn more about the immune system and organic synthesis, and am looking forward to working with a great team of scientists here at UC Irvine.

Scientific Hero
Albert Einstein

Quote
"Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That's why we call it the Present."

Email
seongmk3 at uci.edu

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