2018 Spring


Professor James S. Nowick


Research Advisor


-A.B., Columbia University (1985)

-Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990)

-NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989-1991)



Link to Dr. Nowick's Profile



Dr. Adam Kreutzer


Postdoctoral Scholar


-B.S., Biology, University of Utah (2006)

-M.S., Oncological Sciences, University of Utah (2008)

-Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California-Irvine (2017)


Adam Kreutzer is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. Adam received both his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Utah and was fortunate to do research in many different molecular biology and biochemistry labs during this time. After working in a developmental biology lab for an additional four years after earning his M.S., Adam decided to change fields (kind of) and pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. Adam joined professor Nowick’s group in 2012 and earned his Ph.D. in 2017. Adam’s Ph.D. research focused on elucidating the structures of oligomers formed by macrocyclic β-hairpin peptides derived from the Alzheimer’s disease-related β-amyloid peptide Aβ. Adam is currently a postdoctoral scholar working on characterizing polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies generated against Aβ oligomer mimics, with the goal of developing better biological probes and therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr. Michał Wierzbicki


Postdoctoral Scholar


-M.S., Organic Chemistry, Warsaw University of Technology (2011)

-Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Institute of Organic Chemistry (Polish Academy of Sciences) (2016)


Michał was born in a small city of Milanówek in Poland. Since his high school days his scientific interests have been focused on organic chemistry and biological impact of chemical compounds. He acquired a Master’s degree at Warsaw University of Technology in the field of antituberculosis antibiotics, at which time crystallography emerged as his second area of interest. After that he started working on his PhD at the Institute of Organic Chemistry (Polish Academy of Sciences) in Warsaw under the supervision of Professor Agnieszka Szumna. He defended his thesis (concerning synthesis and structure of molecular capsules and cavitands) in 2016. In 2017 he was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Republic of Poland and joined the Nowick research group at the University of California, Irvine. Michał likes to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Although he might not look like that at first sight, his favorite activity is by far salsa dancing. So far he has done this with some minor successes, including performing in dancing shows at international festivals in Europe.


Patrick Salveson


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemical Biology, University of California-Berkeley (2013)


Patrick Salveson was born in Bishop CA and spent most of his younger years on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain. After moving with his family to southern California, he completed two years of community college at Riverside Community College before transferring to University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!) where he graduated with honors with a degree in Chemical Biology. He joined the Nowick lab in the winter of 2014. He is currently studying the structural impacts of familial mutants in chemical models of alpha-synuclein.


Michael Morris


Graduate Student


-B.S., Biochemistry, Union College (2014)


Michael Morris was born and raised outside Boston, MA (go Red Sox!). He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. At Union, Michael worked with Prof. Laura MacManus-Spencer, where he investigated the binding mechanism of perfluoroalkyl acids to human serum albumin using analytical methods. After graduation, Michael moved out to beautiful southern California and began his graduate career at UC Irvine by working in the Nowick lab during the summer. Upon joining the Nowick lab this past fall, Michael is excited to use synthetic and peptide chemistry as well as X-ray crystallography to study amyloidogenic proteins. In his free time, Michael enjoys hiking, eating Chipotle, and expanding his tea collection.


Hyun Jun Yang


Graduate Student


-B.S., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013)


Hyun Jun Yang was born in Seoul, South Korea. As a Wisconsin-Madison Badger, he worked under Dr. Samuel H. Gellman and Dr. Younghee Shin, where his research focus was on the  peptide foldamer interaction. First project was backbone thioester exchange (BTE) studies where the goal was to calculate the folding/binding energy of natural/unnatural α-helix. Second project was to synthesize α/β/γ-amino acid α-helix mimicry that binds to Bcl-xL inducing apoptosis. As he moved to University of California-Irvine, he started his career as graduate student under Dr. James S. Nowick. He is currenly working to study β-sheet amyloid peptide interaction and peptidic antibiotic teixobactin. Yang has an ambitious goal to master peptide science and peptide interaction.


Stan Yoo


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley (2012)


Stan went to Berkeley where he found organic chemistry fun and enjoyable! There, he worked on synthesizing photoswitch ligands for neurobiology studies in the Isacoff lab. After graduation, he worked in the Zuckermann lab researching on peptoid nanosheets and became interested in biopolymers. He is excited to learn all about chemistry at Irvine and pass along his excitement while teaching classes. Outside of lab, he likes to explore good food and music.


Kate McKnelly


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemical Biology, University of California-Berkeley (2013)

-M.S., Chemical Biology and Drug Design, University of Leeds (2015)


Kate McKnelly was born in Camarillo, California and discovered her love of chemistry while an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. While pursuing a B.S. degree in Chemical Biology, she had an internship at EMBL in Monterotondo, Italy under Dr. Paul Heppenstall, which exposed her to the world of neuroscience. After graduating, Kate worked as a laboratory technician at UC San Francisco, studying the pathology of lung diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis with Dr. Stephen Nishimura. After deciding to continue her career in academic research, Kate received an M.S. degree in Chemical Biology and Drug Design while researching the ability of stapled α-helical peptides to bind target proteins with respect to their wild-type counterparts. Having experience in both molecular cell biology and peptide chemistry, Kate hopes to apply what she has learned to research in the Nowick Group at UC Irvine.


William Howitz


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemistry and Biology, Hamline University (2015)


Will grew up in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota where he completed his undergraduate studies at Hamline University with degrees in both chemistry and biology. His research at Hamline focused on the synthesis of cell-penetrating peptides as cancer therapeutics and isocyanides for multicomponent reactions under Professor Rita Majerle. After braving the cold winters for many years, he moved out to California to pursue a Ph.D. with an emphasis in chemical biology at UCI. He joined the Nowick lab to develop and validate peptide models of amyloid beta and elucidate their immunological effects on microglia. In his free time, Will practices taekwondo (going on 12 years now) and competes at the national level. If he is not in the lab or the gym, he is probably out exploring. Ask him what he has been up to lately!


Tuan Samdin


Graduate Student


-B.A., Molecular and Cell Biology: Biological Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley (2016)


Tuan was raised in the high deserts of Palmdale, CA where the average temperature in the summer was rarely below 90ºF. He attended UCB for the opportunity to explore his fascination with proteins and to experience a climate with fewer similarities to the Martian surface. While at Berkeley, Tuan investigated nanostructures formed by genetically modified bacteriophage and their use as biosensors for volatile organic compounds. He joined the Nowick Group at UCI in 2016 to explore the structures formed by the intrinsically disordered proteins Aβ and Tau, and to understand their role in neurotoxicity.


Sheng Zhang


Graduate Student


-B.S., Biotechnology, East China University of Science and Technology (2014)

-M.S., Biotechnology, California State University, Fresno (2016)


Sheng Zhang was born in Nanyang, China and finished his undergraduate studies in Shanghai, China. While working in a lab at ECUST, Sheng was fascinated by the molecular biology of bacteria and protein biochemistry. Wanting to explore the field of biotechnology, he joined a master’s program at CSU, Fresno (go bulldogs!). He did research in Dr. Qiao-hong Chen’s lab in the field of bio-organic chemistry. He enjoyed splitting his time between organic synthesis and cell assays. He realized chemistry is just as exciting as biology! He left his master’s program seeking opportunities to explore chemistry at the interface of biology. He soon found himself joining the Nowick lab at UCI (go anteaters!) investigating peptides.



Gretchen Elise Guaglianone


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemistry, University of California-Los Angeles (2016)


Gretchen Guaglianone grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. She made the move to southern California to attend UCLA and graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 2016. Following graduation, she accepted a job with GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina as an analytical scientist. There, she developed methods for new Raman spectroscopy instruments and helped validate procedures for metered dose inhaler analysis. She is excited to be back in southern California pursuing her Ph.D. doing research in the Nowick group. In her free time she likes to ski, hike, and hanging out at the beach!



Xing Li


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014)


Xing was born in China, and at a young age of 8, moved to the United States.  He lived in 3 different states (Florida, Illinois, New York) before finally settling in Minnesota. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked under the guidance of Younghee Shin in the Samuel H. Gellman lab. After graduating, he decided to take a few years off to work in the industry. His role at Sigma-Aldrich involved large scale organic synthesis of biopharmaceutical drugs. In 2016, he moved on to working at PPD, where he practiced his analytical instrumentation skills in the biopharmaceutical development. The culmination of his experiences has led him to being fascinated by peptide chemistry, and he hopes to apply his knowledge of organic chemistry to making interesting peptides! In his free time, he is an avid fan of card and board games with a bit of deception (Avalon, Coup, Resistance, Mafia, Catan, etc).



Max Lumetzberger


Undergraduate Student from Lund University (Sweden)


-Chemistry Undergraduate, Lund University, Sweden (2018)


Max Lumetzberger was born in the Swedish city Gothenburg and is pursuing a B.S. degree at Lund University with plans of going into gradschool. He came to UCI as part of an exchange program to focus on research and organic chemistry. He enjoys swimming, climbing and meeting up with friends.



Khalil Bassam


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2018)


Khalil was born and raised in Beirut Lebanon and moved to California to pursue an American college education a week after his 18th birthday. He attended Irvine Valley College for 2 years as a Chemistry major with a fascination towards Biochemistry. In UCI, he is currently a Chemistry major with a Biochemistry concentration. He joined the Nowick lab because he finds that the research joins his favorite aspects of both Biology and Chemistry.



Sepehr Haerian


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2018)


Sepehr Haerian was born and raised in Mashhad, north east Iran. He moved to California when he was seventeen. He attended saddleback college for three years. He joined Dr. Mark Madou lab half way through his third year at saddleback. His research was mainly focused on near field electrospin (NFES) nanowire production. He transferred to UCI in the Fall 2016. He joined Nowick research group in the Spring of 2017. He is currently working under mentorship of Patrick Salveson. He loves chemistry, biochemistry and bioinorganic chemistry. He wishes to study medicine after graduation and become an oncologist. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, history, numismatics, and Persian literature.


Melody Malek


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2018)


Melody was born and raised in Milpitas, California. Although she is a bio major, she has been passionate about chemistry since freshmen year. Upon taking organic chemistry, she realized she wanted to join a chemistry lab. So, Melody is currently working under Mike Morris to study β-sheet amyloid peptide interaction, as well as peptidic antibiotic teixobactin. In her free time, Melody  enjoys reading, writing, and trying new foods.


Michelle Noel Diab


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Pharmaceutical Sciences Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2019)


Michelle is a 2nd year pharmaceutical sciences undergraduate student at UCI who was born and raised in Orange County. In her free time, Michelle loves to swim, dance, bond with friends, and go on food adventures. She is very interested in biology and organic chemistry and how they interact. This is one of the many reasons why she is extremely excited to work under the guidance of Adam Kreutzer, trying to use antibodies to probe the structure of amyloid beta oligomers in biological systems.



Mohamed Laayouni


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2018)


Mohamed was born in San Mateo California and grew up in Morocco where he attended elementary school for 5 years. He then moved back to Los Angeles where he continued his education. He graduated high school his sophomore year and attended Santa Monica community college with the intention of studying chemistry. He transferred to UCI perusing a chemistry degree in 2015 with the intention to study medicine after graduation. He is currently working on amyloidogenic peptides with Kate McKnelly in the Nowick lab.


Ariana Motavalli


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry and Biological Sciences Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2019)


Ariana is from San Ramon, California in the Bay area. She is a 3rd year Chemistry and Biological Sciences major with hopes of studying dentistry after graduation. Ariana loves to play tennis and is Vice President of Tennis Club at UCI. Her other hobbies include eating all foods, watching television, and riding roller coasters. She is excited to be a part of the Nowick lab working under Will Howitz studying oligomer formation in amyloid diseases, like TSE and dialysis related amyloidosis, and their immunological modes of action.



Ngoctran Tran


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Biological Sciences Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2018)


Ngoctran was born in Vietnam, but moved to Southern California with her family when she was eight. She is currently a fourth-year Biological Sciences major with an interest in Biological Chemistry. She joined the Nowick lab in the Fall of 2017 and works under the mentorship of William Howitz. There, she helps synthesize peptide models of amyloid beta for immunological studies.



Mohammad Hossein Hashemian


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Biological Sciences Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2020)


Mo was born in Tehran, Iran, where he lived before moving to the US at age 5. After attending elementary school in Columbus, Ohio for three years, he moved to California where he finished his primary education in Irvine. As a 2nd year Biological Sciences major with an interest in understanding biological sciences through the application of Organic Chemistry, he began research in the Nowick Lab under Mike Morris to study β-sheet amyloid peptide interactions, as well as those of teixobactin.


Graduate Students

Adam Kreutzer

Amy Sue Grant (Waldman)

Chris Gothard

Chun-Ching Huang

EJ Pone

Eric Smith

Evelyn Khamou

Jared Kuemmerle

Jeffrey Stocker

Jim Tsai

Johnny Pham

Jose Zavaleta

Kevin Chen

Kevin Hsinwen Chen

Kim Le

Laura Pena

Linda Waldman (Schechinger)

Mandy Zheng

Mason Pairish

Matt Klun

Matt Koutroulis

Michael Chung

Mick Soth

Nick Truex

Omid Khakshoor

Paramjit Arora

Pin-Nan Cheng

Ryan Spencer

Sang Woo Kang

Sergiy Levin

Tuan Tran

Ye Sun

Yilin Wang



Undergraduate Student Researchers

Aaron Lin

Andrew Lam

Anne-Marie Carole Leiby

Arya Baghkhanian

Candace Hart

Chuong Bui

Derek Du Bois

Dylan Simpson

Eduardo Martinez

Edward Wang

Hanan Wali

Hao Li

Jaime Frias

Jeff Huon

Jennifer Heemstra (Cary)

Jennifer Love

Jenny S. Chen

Kelsey Corro

Kevin (Hao Tham Ho) Mee

Kevin Huang

Leo Takaoka

Long Phan

Mike Guttman

Muna Abdi

Ngoc Vo (Nicole)

Noel A. Powell

Ornella Nelson

Robert Bernstein

Roxanne Massoumi

Sami Mahrus

Stephanie Tran

Stephanie Le

Steve Marchenko

Thang Nguyen

Thomas Cao

Tram Nguyen

Valerie Brunell (Antonovich)

Xuan Han (Tiga)



Postdoctoral Scholars

Balraju Vadla

Bill Kemnitzer

Byungwoo Yoo

Darren Holmes

Glenn Noronha

Hong Woo Kim

In Quen Lee

Jeremy Woods

Ji Yang

Jian Liu

Justin Brower

Kalyani Maitra

Kim Lavoie (Stigers)

Mark Wilson

Nooshin Hashemzadeh

Santanu Maitra

Shabana Insaf

Steve Holmgren

Suchitra Datta

Tania Khasanova

Wade Russu



Visiting Scholars

Alexander Kvitsinski (Sasha)

Alexander Thuy-Boun


Azzurra Stefanucci

Elena Castellanos Santiago

Elena Junquera González

Guido Lutterbach

Katie Ferrick

Nosheen Akber (Rao)

Pin-Nan Cheng

Saleha Khan

Sebastian Clementson

Shafiullah Khan