Group Members
JNJ Members
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Post-Doctoral Fellows
Mahesh Vishe
Mahesh Vishe
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2015, University of Geneva, Switzerland
M.Sc. Chemistry, 2009, SIES College, India
B.Sc. Chemistry, 2007, V.G. Vaze College, India
Mahesh is a native of India. After finishing Bachelors in chemistry from V.G. Vaze College (Mulund) he joined SIES College (SION). After securing a First Class Master’s Degree with distinction in organic chemistry, he joined as a junior research fellow at IIT Bombay in the lab of Prof. Kaliappan. There he focused on the total synthesis of callystatin A and spongidepsin. He subsequently moved to the University of Geneva in Switzerland and worked on the one step synthesis of functionalized macrocycles and their applications in the lab of Prof. Jérôme Lacour to obtain a Ph.D degree. He joined the group in 2016.
Kalisankar Bera
Kalisankar Bera
PD Chemistry, 2015, Universitat Leipzig, Germany
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2014, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India
M.Sc. Chemistry, 2008, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India
B.Sc. Chemistry, 2006, Haldia Government College, India
Kalisankar was born and grew up in Moyna, India. After receiving his M.Sc. in Chemistry from the IIT Madras, he began his PhD in the group of Professor I. N. N. Namboothiri at IIT Bombay in 2008. His research in PhD includes the discovery of organocatalytic asymmetric Michael additions for enantioselective synthesis of multifunctional molecules. In 2015 he joined the group of Professor C. Schneider at Universität Leipzig, Germany as postdoc where he worked on chiral phosphoric acid catalyzed asymmetric reactions. In November, 2016 he joined the group.
 
Graduate Students
Thomas Struble
Thomas Struble
B.S. Biochemistry, 2012, College of Charleston, SC
B.A. Chemistry, 2012, College of Charleston, SC

Thomas was born in Fargo, North Dakota and grew up on the beach in Charleston, SC. At the College of Charleston he worked for Dr. Marcello Forconi, where he worked on elucidation of the mechanism of catalysis for the hammerhead ribozyme. In his all-elusive free time he enjoys fishing, golfing, and swimming. Thomas smokes a mean rack of ribs, chicken, and boston butt but needs donations for a new smoker. Thomas joined the group after completing his third rotation.

Matthew Knowe
Matthew  Knowe
B.S. Biochemistry, 2012, College of Charleston, SC

Matthew was born in Athens, Georgia in 1990, and has lived in Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina since then. He studied Biochemistry at the College of Charleston and conducted chemical biology research under Dr. Marcello Forconi. He began his graduate studies at Vanderbilt in 2012. Matthew tries to keep a strict diet of gummy worms and ice cream, and he enjoys any type of game anytime anywhere, including 'creative expression portraiture' initiated by Thomas. 

 

Suzanne Batiste
Suzanne Batiste
B.S. Bioengineering, 2012, UC San Diego, CA

Suzanne was born and raised in California. She received her B.S in bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. At UCSD, Suzanne worked on creating a device to detect essential minerals for algae growth using gene circuits.  She began her graduate studies in chemistry at Vanderbilt in 2012. In her spare time, Suzanne enjoys running, dancing, and playing with her adorable cat Mo (also making him dance and feeding him cheese). Suzanne joined the group after completing her rotations.

Andrew Flach
Andrew Flach
B.S. Chemistry, 2014, University of Louisville, KY
Andrew was born in 1991 in Cincinnati and grew up in Northern Kentucky. At the University of Louisville he conducted research as an undergraduate in the Hammond-Xu group, first working on elucidating the mechanism of toxicity of an anticancer compound developed by Dr. Xu, and then investigating the role and effects of different counterions in organocatalysis. He joined Vanderbilt University in the Fall of 2014, and joined the Johnston group in March of 2015 after completing his rotations. He is currently studying counterion in PBAM-catalyzed reactions.
Jade Bing
Jade Bing
B.S. Biochemistry, 2013, Rider University, NJ
Jade is a Jersey girl, born and raised. In 2013 she received an ACS accredited B.S. in biochemistry from Rider University. At Rider, Jade became a McNair Scholar (2011) and worked with Dr. Danielle Jacobs on the stereocontrolled total chemical syntheses of cytotoxic and antimycobacterial natural products. In the summer of 2012, she worked with Dr. Robert Knowles at Princeton University on the use of PCET for intermolecular ketyl-olefin coupling. After graduation, she became a research coordinator and counselor for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program before coming to Vanderbilt in the fall of 2014. Jade truly appreciates a clever one-liner or pun and in her free time she enjoys playing sports, cooking and games.
Michael Crocker
Michael Crocker
B.S. Chemistry, 2015, University of Kentucky, KY
B.S. Chemical Engineering, 2015, University of Kentucky, KY
Michael is a native of Bowling Green, KY where he attended the Carol Martin Gatton Academy where he did research with Dr. Jeremy Maddox and Dr. Lester Pesterfield on Pourbaix diagrams. He also participated in an NSF-International Research Experience for Scientists in Taiwan working with Dr. Ru-Jong Jeng on dendron synthesis, for which he received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Michael also trained with Dr. Chad Snyder and Dr. Rui Zhang in synthesis. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky pursuing a double chemical engineering/chemistry major with a math minor. There he worked with Dr. Mark Meier on oxidative cleavage of lignin. Outside of class, Michael likes biking, cooking, and collecting/enjoying Chinese and Japanese teas and tea wear. Michael joined the group in 2016 at the end of his rotations. In 2016, Michael was awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Jade Izaguirre
Jade Izaguirre
B.S. Biochemistry, 2016, Berry College, GA
Jade was born and raised in Dalton, Georgia. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Berry College where she worked on the synthesis of two novel, fluorescent nucleosides under the supervision of Dr. Lindsey Davis. Jade has also had the privilege to work under Dr. Ruth Webster at the University of Bath during an international NSF-REU (2015). There, she gathered preliminary data on the catalytic ability of two iron-centered complexes. Jade, a recipient of a GAANN Fellowship, is excited to be entering her first year of graduate school and completed her first rotation in the Johnston lab.
Abigail Smith
Abigail Smith
Abby hails from Franklin, Indiana. She received her B.S. in professional chemistry in 2016 from the University of Evansville. Abby worked with the synthesis and development of small, biologically complex “smart” therapeutics aimed at simultaneously targeting, detecting, and treating disease.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with friends and family.
Jenna Payne
Jenna Payne
B.S. Chemistry, 2016, University of Detroit, Mercy, MI
Jenna was raised in Lansing, Michigan with her two brothers. Fun fact, Jenna is a triplet! She received her B.S. from the University of Detroit Mercy. Her undergraduate research focused on developing multi-dentate ligands utilizing straight-chain podand amines and ortho-functionalized aldehydes; in select cases, these ligands reacted with metal cations. Jenna’s hobbies include running, reading, and playing lacrosse.
 
UnderGraduate Students
Sarah Sun
Sarah Sun
B.A. Chemistry/Applied Math, 2017, Vanderbilt University, TN
Sarah is a junior at Vanderbilt University majoring in chemistry and applied mathematics. She has lived most of her life in Houston, TX, but was born in Norway, and has family living in China, Norway, Canada, and the United States. Sarah is a College Scholar in the College of Arts and Science. She is also public relations chair of the Vanderbilt American Chemical Society and on the executive board of the Scientific Immersion and Mentorship program. Beginning her sophomore year, she conducted research investigating the linkages between irregular patterns of RNA editing and the development of depression. In the spring of 2016 she joined the Johnston lab where her research has been focused on synthesis of the chiral organocatalyst, PBAM.
 
REU Students
 
Rotation Students
 
Monday 22 May, 21:26:06
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