Fall 2021




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


Associate Researcher


-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.


James Griffin


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.



Sarah Ruttenberg


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


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.


Jason Zhu


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


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.


Sophie Lee Padilla


Graduate Student


-B.S., Biology and Chemistry, University of Saint Joseph (2022)


Sophie was born and raised in the sunny island of the Philippines. In 2019, she decided to pack her bags and move half way across the world to the East Coast. There she completed her undergraduate degree and received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Saint Joseph. During her time there, she got involved with research that looked at viral detection using IR spectroscopy. This project sparked her passion for interdisciplinary research in both biology and chemistry. She decided to continue pursuing this passion at the Nowick lab at UCI. Here she hopes to broaden her laboratory skills and discover innovative ways to overcome antibiotic resistance. During her free time, Sophie has been exploring and enjoying SoCal and all it offers with family and friends.


Jovanna Ivonne Carrera Plancarte


Graduate Student


-B.S., Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of California-Irvine (2023)


Jovanna was born and raised in Compton, California before moving inland to Riverside, California at the age of 7. She showed great interest in math and science from a young age, so she decided to pursue a Chemical Engineering degree at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). As her studies progressed, her interest moved towards chemical biology, health sciences, and pharmaceutical development research. She added a double major in Chemistry and began conducting research in Professor Brian Paegel’s laboratory, where she worked on developing reaction conditions for the synthesis of DNA-encoded libraries in magnetic hydrogel particles. After realizing her immense passion for research, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCI in Professor James Nowick’s laboratory, where she is investigating immunotherapies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease  (AD) and characterizing the structures of neurotoxic Amyloid-Beta oligomers found in AD brains. Her career aspirations are to become a researcher in a biomedical or pharmaceutical company and continue to investigate novel therapeutics for the treatment of AD. When she is not in lab, Jovanna likes to spend time with her family, explore outdoors, and soak up some sun at our local Orange County beaches.


Grant Lai


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.


Elvina Vu


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry, University of California-Irvine (2024)


Elvina was born in San Jose, California. She studied at De Anza College before transferring to UC Irvine to pursue a B.S. in chemistry. She began working in the Nowick lab as an undergraduate research assistant in the spring of 2023 under the guidance of Sarah Ruttenberg. Under Sarah’s mentorship, Elvina is learning about peptide synthesis/analysis to develop her skills in a research setting, and will hopefully be able to expand her knowledge of amyloid diseases and stem cell research as a whole. She is grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with the Nowick group to gain hands-on research experience in the field of chemical biology! Elvina’s future goals possibly include pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D in chemistry to pursue her passion in chemical research. In her free time, she loves going out with friends, eating, watching shows, and playing the piano when she gets the chance!


Jeramiah Small


Undergraduate Research Assistant


-Chemistry Undergraduate, University of California-Irvine (2027)


Jeramiah was born in Chula Vista, California, and has moved between California, Tennessee, and Washington throughout his lifetime. After aspiring to be an engineer or biologist for the longest time, Jeramiah discovered a passion for chemistry during his Organic Chemistry course at Olympic College. Looking to delve into the intersection of chemical biology and microbiology, he joined the Nowick group in the fall of 2023 under the guidance of Jackson Brunicardi. Jeramiah aims to acquire skills in organic and peptide synthesis, bacterial biology, and spectroscopic/analytical techniques. Outside of school, Jeramiah enjoys playing video games and watching shows.

Graduate Students

Adam Kreutzer

Amy Sue Grant (Waldman)

Chelsea Marie Parrocha (Chelsea)

Chris Dicksion

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)

Maj Krumberger

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

Rathanon Tippaphachote

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

Ana-Teresa Mendoza

Andrew Mason Cunningham

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

Rachel Bauer

Robert Bernstein

Roxanne Massoumi

Sabrina Richter

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)

Yucheng Jiang

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


Azzurra Stefanucci

Elena Castellanos Santiago

Elena Junquera González

Guido Lutterbach

Jonathan Lin

Katie Ferrick

Michael Ferracane

Max Lumetzberger

Mia Russo

Nosheen Akber (Rao)

Pin-Nan Cheng

Saleha Khan

Sebastian Clementson

Shafiullah Khan

Silvi Lybbert

Takayuki Nakamuro