THE NOWICK RESEARCH GROUP

THE NOWICK RESEARCH GROUP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2021

 

 

 

Professor James S. Nowick

jsnowick@uci.edu

 

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

akreutze@uci.edu

 

Assistant Project Scientist

 

-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 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.

 

Maj Krumberger

maj.krumberger@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Arizona (2016)

 

Maj is originally from a small country on the sunny side of the Alps – Slovenia. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona where he fell in love with organic chemistry and its applications to biology. He conducted chemistry research in the lab of Dr. Victor J. Hruby, discovering novel peptides for preferential binding to the Melanocortin 4 Receptor. In the Nowick laboratory Maj is designing and synthesizing small molecule probes for detecting and studying neurotoxic oligomers. He is consistently trying to walk a thin line between synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology. In his free time, he loves to travel, try new places to eat (as well as exciting coffee shops and Boba places), and he thoroughly enjoys watching both new and old movies – he considers himself a cinephile.

 

 

James Griffin

jhgriffi@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Chemical Biology, University of California-Berkeley (2018)

 

James Griffin was born in San Diego, California (the superior SoCal city) and grew up watching reruns of Bill Nye and Battlebots that his mom recorded for him on VHS. After being inspired to study molecular biology in high school, he completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Biology at UC Berkeley. While there, he worked in the laboratory of Felix Fischer optimizing the synthesis of strained alkyne macrocycles for ring-opening alkyne metathesis polymerization of graphene nanoribbons. Deciding he needed a little more biology in his chemistry, James joined the Nowick lab in order to master new techniques related to peptide synthesis and to perform research with relevant applications to living systems. He enjoys discussing and explaining his many interests and hobbies, which include watching esports and playing Magic: The Gathering.

 

 

Chelsea Parrocha

cparroch@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Biological Sciences and Chemistry, University of Alaska-Anchorage (2018)

 

Chelsea was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. While pursuing her double major in biological sciences and chemistry in the University of Alaska, Anchorage she worked in Dr. Frank A. von Hippel’s ecotoxicology lab as an undergraduate researcher developing standard operating procedures for thyroid, gonad, and kidney histomorphological and histopathological analysis on stickleback fish and performing statistical analysis. Chelsea aspires to become a well-rounded individual and use her music minor she obtained as an undergraduate to become a “singing scientist.” She’s excited to start her career as a UCI PhD graduate student and about California’s “year-round gardening!”

 

Sarah Ruttenberg

sruttenb@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Chemistry, University of Miami (2019)

 

Sarah is from just outside our nation’s wonderful capital, Washington, D.C. She moved to Miami in 2015 to complete her undergraduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Miami where she did research with carbon dots before developing a passion for neuroscience and moving into a position studying spinal cord injury at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She drove from Miami to Irvine in 2019 to pursue a PhD in chemistry at UCI and joined the Nowick lab to pursue her ultimate goal of combining chemistry and neuroscience to study neurodegenerative disorders. Sarah has fallen in love with California despite being an east coast girl, and spends her free time playing rugby and enjoying the SoCal weather. She looks forward to developing her skills as a chemist and independent researcher.

 

Chelsea Jones

crjones1@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Chemistry, Biological Emphasis, University of Utah (2018)

 

Chelsea was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended the University of Utah (go Utes!) where she graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry, Biological Emphasis. Here she began doing research in the Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry Core and continued her research at the U after graduating. She worked on developing a first-in-class noninvasive therapeutic agent for the treatment of glaucoma. With a desire to continue her education and delve deeper into the world of chemical biology she came to UCI. Here, she joined the Nowick lab with hopes to broaden her skills in the lab with the goal to improve the quality of life for those around the world. In her free time, she loves to explore the outdoors, play board/card games, do puzzles or rewatch The Office.

 

Chris Dicksion

cdicksio@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.A., Anthropology, University of California-Santa Cruz (2004)

 

While roaming through the old orange groves of El Toro, Chris found a pathway that led to the redwoods of Santa Cruz. After earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, he was fortunate to learn the art and science of tending a small vineyard. Deep engagement with the soil and the plants allowed him to glimpse the complex, synergistic spirals of chemistry, biology, and physics that drive all forms of life to survive and thrive. Having always been attracted to natural science, he felt compelled by his experiences at the vineyard to take the next step in his education toward a graduate degree in chemical biology. Alas, his pathway back to Orange County has been long and convoluted, often rerouted by fallen trees but nourished by bountiful streams. His pathway has allowed him to become an educator, a farmer, a small business owner, a spouse, and a parent. Now, he is fortunate to be part of the Nowick Lab in the Chemistry Department at UCI, where he has met many wonderful, inspiring, funny, smart, dedicated, and genuinely-caring people. He is excited to learn from them as he explores the environs of advanced chemical biology, to which he hopes to contribute something meaningful to the scientific understanding of oligomeric amyloid beta.

 

Jason Zhu

jasonz13@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S., Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University (2021)

 

Jason was born in Seattle but lived in Shanghai for a few years. After turning 5, he moved back to Seattle, Washington, where he grew up before attending Northwestern University. He double majored in chemistry and chemical engineering. There, Jason worked in Professor John Rogers’ lab on developing thermal sensors for monitoring acute kidney transplant rejection. He also synthesized reference molecules for the organic teaching labs under the guidance of Professors Derek Nelson and Katie Gesmundo. Realizing that he wanted more biology and organic chemistry in his work, Jason enthusiastically joined the Nowick group to study the assembly of amyloid beta using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He hopes on utilizing the skills cultivated through the Ph.D. to contribute to the understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Outside the lab, Jason enjoys exploring new food places, playing video games, and scuba diving.

 

Jackson Brunicardi

jbrunica@uci.edu

 

Graduate Student

 

-B.S.P.S, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Toledo (2021)

 

Jackson was born in Houston, Texas but spent most of his formative years in beautiful, sunny Laguna Beach, California. The genesis of Jackson’s passion for translational chemical research began in high school as he worked to develop cost-efficient, electrochemical, bacterial sensors to aid third-world countries in identifying sources of sanitary water. His desire to develop translational therapies would later manifest as he completed his degree in medicinal and biological chemistry at the University of Toledo, Ohio. While there, he developed as a medicinal chemist - synthesizing a plethora of novel photo-affinity labeling (PAL) probes to investigate the proteomics and pharmacokinetics associated with schedule I drug targets in the Schiefer Lab. Now at UCI, Jackson hopes to further foster his passion for chemical research and education under the direction of Dr. James Nowick - with aim to investigate the multifaceted molecular basis of amyloidosis and explore potential therapies to its associated disease states. In his free time, Jackson enjoys skim-boarding at local beaches, exploring new spots to eat with friends, and meditating.

 

Yucheng Jiang

yuchj11@uci.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2023)

 

Yucheng was born and raised in Shandong, China. She graduated from a high school in China and joined UC Irvine as an undergraduate student in Fall 2019. She started working in the Nowick lab in Fall 2021 under Sarah Ruttenberg’s mentorship. Yucheng is currently interested in chemical biology. She is learning what a chemist does every day and gaining valuable experience from undergraduate research. Yucheng plans to continue doing research in graduate school. She hopes she will be able to join a chemical biology lab in the future. In her free time, Yucheng loves traveling and watching anime (Fate is one of her favorites).

 

Andrew Mason Cunningham

cunnina1@uci.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2023)

 

Andrew was born in Orange and raised in Fountain Valley, California. Ever since he was little, he has loved science. However, it wasn’t until his first chemistry class in high school that he realized chemistry was what he wanted to pursue a career in. He began working in the Nowick lab during the summer of 2021 under the guidance of Maj Krumberger. With Maj, Andrew focuses on small molecule synthesis and is gaining a large breadth of experience in both chemistry and biology research. He greatly enjoys working in a research environment, something that he had been looking for in chemistry lab courses. Andrew’s current goal is to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in chemistry and then finish school with a J.D. in order to become a chemical patent attorney. Other than school, Andrew’s interests include reading, spending time with friends, playing video games, and collecting playing cards.

 

Grant Lai

ghlai@uci.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2025)

 

Grant grew up in the quintessential suburban city: Irvine, California. He is currently an assistant in the Nowick lab under the direction of Chelsea Jones. Although Grant currently saturates his time with chemistry and biology, for a long time, he did not have a particular interest nor investment in school; seeing it merely as an activity to check off. However, in the advent of the COVD-19 pandemic, he began to appreciate the insights from his high school chemistry class. Even though he is not certain about his future career, he is certain about inculcating himself with a conceptual and fundamental understanding of chemistry during his time at UCI. Thus, Grant is excited and grateful to have an experimental opportunity to research chemical biology. Aside from his academic pursuits, Grant enjoys continuing his childhood hobby of creating pottery; naturally with an understanding of chemistry.

Graduate Students

Adam Kreutzer

Amy Sue Grant (Waldman)

Chris Gothard

Chun-Ching Huang

EJ Pone

Eric Smith

Evelyn Khamou

Gretchen Guaglianone

Hyunjun Yang

Jared Kuemmerle

Jeffrey Stocker

Jim Tsai

Johnny Pham

Jose Zavaleta

Kate McKnelly

Kevin Chen

Kevin Hsinwen Chen

Kim Le

Laura Pena

Linda Waldman (Schechinger)

Mandy Zheng

Mason Pairish

Matt Klun

Matt Koutroulis

Michael Chung

Michael Morris

Mick Soth

Nick Truex

Omid Khakshoor

Paramjit Arora

Patrick Salveson

Pin-Nan Cheng

Ryan Spencer

Sang Woo Kang

Sergiy Levin

Sheng Zhang

Stan Yoo

Tuan Samdin

Tuan Tran

William Howitz

Xingyue Li

Ye Sun

Yilin Wang

 

 

Undergraduate Student Researchers

Aaron Lin

Alberto Smith Olivas

Andrew Lam

Andrew Lucas Sabol

Anne-Marie Carole Leiby

Ariana Motavalli

Arthur Vladimirovich Pishenko

Arya Baghkhanian

Betty Nguyen

Candace Hart

Chuong Bui

Cindy Saliba

Denise Bui

Derek Du Bois

Dylan Simpson

Eduardo Martinez

Edward Wang

Emily Eileen Beard

Grace Huizar

Hanan Wali

Hannah Jusuf

Hao Li

Jaime Frias

Jeff Huon

Jennifer Heemstra (Cary)

Jennifer Love

Jennifer Thulien Nguyen

Jenny S. Chen

Khalil Bassam

Katelyn Haduong

Kelsey Corro

Kevin (Hao Tham Ho) Mee

Kevin Huang

Leo Takaoka

Long Phan

Matt Watkins

Melody Malek

Michelle Noel Diab

Mike Guttman

Mike Valenzuela

Mohammad Hossein Hashemian

Mohamed Laayouni

Muna Abdi

Ngoc Vo (Nicole)

Ngoctran Tran

Noel A. Powell

Ornella Nelson

Robert Bernstein

Roxanne Massoumi

Samer Saleh

Sami Mahrus

Sepehr Haerian

Shareen Naomi Ashby

Stephanie Tran

Stephanie Le

Stephanie Eliette Rios

Steve Marchenko

Thang Nguyen

Thomas Cao

Timothy Matthew Bierlein

Tram Nguyen

Valerie Brunell (Antonovich)

Victoria Sahrai

Will Cabanela

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

Michał Wierzbicki

Nooshin Hashemzadeh

Santanu Maitra

Shabana Insaf

Steve Holmgren

Suchitra Datta

Tania Khasanova

Wade Russu

 

 

Visiting Scholars

Alexander Kvitsinski (Sasha)

Alexander Thuy-Boun

Atia-tul-Wahab

Azzurra Stefanucci

Elena Castellanos Santiago

Elena Junquera González

Guido Lutterbach

Jonathan Lin

Katie Ferrick

Max Lumetzberger

Mia Russo

Nosheen Akber (Rao)

Pin-Nan Cheng

Saleha Khan

Sebastian Clementson

Shafiullah Khan

Silvi Lybbert

Takayuki Nakamuro