Group Members
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Post-Doctoral Fellows
Erode Prabhakaran
Erode Prabhakaran
Postdoctoral Scholar, 2006, Texas A&M, TX
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2002, Indiana University, IN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2000, IIT Kanpur, India
Erode is a native of India, and completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Organic Chemistry at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning before studying with Javed Iqbal at IIT, Kanpur. In his gradauate studies, Erode designed peptide turn mimics, completed their synthesis, and developed several new methods to accomlish these larger goals. In 2000, Erode joined the Johnston group as a postdoctoral scholar, and drove to completion several projects within our program in free radical-mediated aryl and vinyl amination. He then pursued studies in protein biochemistry with Prof. Martin Scholtz (Texas A&M). Erode accepted a position in 2006 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore (IISc), and was promoted with tenure in 2014. His independent program at IISc Bangalore is interdisciplinary in nature, using a variety of skills in organic synthesis and physical biochemistry to create new biological catalysts for organic synthesis and to understand existing biochemical phenomena. He has made major contributions to our understanding of peptide secondary structure.
Joe Mahoney
Joe Mahoney
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005, Indiana University, IN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2003, University of Notre Dame, IN
Joe began his training as an undergraduate at Davidson College (NC) where he worked with Prof. Ruth Beeston on the development of light-harvesting ruthenium complexes. He received his B.S. Chemistry degree in 1998 and then moved to The University of Notre Dame where he worked with Prof. Brad Smith to develop new host-guest systems for molecular recognition. He received the J. Peter Grace Prize Fellowship and in 2003 received his Ph.D. in Chemistry. Joe continued his training in the Johnston group and developed the BrØnsted-acid promoted azide-olefin oxazolidine diene synthesis. In 2005, he accepted a position as Senior Research Chemist at Hercules Chemical Company in Wilmington, DE.
Jeong Seok Han
Jeong Seok Han
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2007, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2003, The Ohio State University, OH
Jeong Seok Han was born in Seoul, South Korea. He completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Yonsei University in Seoul. Following his service in the military, he worked in the chemical industry from 1992 to 1998 at the Samyang Group Research Institute. Jeong Seok then entered the graduate program in chemistry at The Ohio State University where he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2003, under the mentorship of Prof. Todd Lowary. In 2003 he joined the Johnston group as a postdoctoral scholar and significantly propelled our work toward the total synthesis of (+)-serratezomine A forward. In 2007, he returned to South Korea to accept a Scientist position in the pharmaceutical division at Cheil Jedang.
Ki Bum Hong
Ki Bum Hong
Postdoctoral Associate, 2015, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
Postdoctoral Associate, 2012, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2010, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
M.S. Chemistry, 2003, Chungnam National University, South Korea
Ki Bum Hong hails from Daejeon, Korea where he completed B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry at Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea. He joined the Johnston group in 2004 and has recently extended the scope of the Bronsted acid-catalyzed anti-aminohydroxylation reaction while clarifying details related to its mechanism. Of particular note is his discovery and documentation (with Matt Donahue) of secondary catalysis by water in triazoline decomposition reactions under acidic conditions. Ki Bum was a postdoctoral associate with Peter Wipf at the University of Pittsburgh from 2010 to 2012, and returned to the group in 2012 to continue the total synthesis of zwittermicin. Ki Bum also discovered the hypervalent iodine-mediated alkene diamination reaction using electron rich amines. In 2015, he began a position as Senior Researcher at DGMIF (Daegu Gyeongbuk Medical Innovation Foundation) New Drug Development Center in South Korea.
Jeremy Wilt
Jeremy Wilt
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2007, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2005, Yale University, CT
B.S. Chemistry, 2001, University of Pittsburgh, PA
Jeremy Wilt was raised in the boroughs of Pittsburgh and completed his B.S. degree in Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh in 2001. He then joined Jack Faller's group at Yale where he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2005. Later that year, he joined the Johnston group as a postdoctoral scholar and is responsible for the development of a diastereo- and enantioselective synthesis of a,b-diamino phosphonates using chiral proton catalysis. In 2007, he accepted a position at Albany Molecular Research in Syracuse, NY in their process chemistry group, but moved several years later to Johnson-Mathey outside of Boston, MA.
Matt Donahue
Matt Donahue
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2007, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2005, The Ohio State University, OH
Matt Donahue is a native of the midwest, specifically Wisconsin, where he completed his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1999 at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside. He then entered the graduate program in chemistry at The Ohio State University where he received his Ph.D. in 2005 under the mentorship of Prof. David Hart, working toward the total synthesis of terpene natural products. He joined the Johnston group later that year as a postdoctoral scholar. Matt contributed to several efforts, including the preparative synthesis of phosphoramidon and the development of Bronsted acid promoted azide-olefin reactions. With Ki Bum Hong, he characterized secondary catalysis of triazoline fragmenation by water. Matt joined Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2007 as a Senior Scientist and moved in 2011 to join the Isotope Synthesis group at Johnson & Johnson PRD. In 2013, he began a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Matthew Leighty
Matthew Leighty
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013, Broad Institute MIT-Harvard, MA
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2010, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2009, University of Kansas, KS
M.S. Chemistry, 2004, University of Kansas, KS
B.S. Chemistry, 2001, Alma College, MI
A Michigan native, Matt Leighty pursued his interest in chemistry as an undergraduate at Alma Colege.  He began graduate studies in medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas.  Matt's accomplishments include the development of a new protocol for Suzuki-Miyaura couplings to alpha-iodoenaminones, and the use of the Georg amide-aldehyde transformation with the Schwartz reagent on large scale.  He also completed the total synthesis of boehmeriasin A and screened its biological activity.  He joined the group in 2010 and has developed a new enantioselective route to a-oxy amides using Umpolung Amide Synthesis. In 2013, he moved to the Broad Institute of MIT-Harvard, and then accepted a position as Staff Scientist at Kalexsyn in 2014.
Sergey Tsukanov
Sergey Tsukanov
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, North Carolina State University, NC
M.S. Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (Honors), 2007, Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology, Russia
B.S. Chemistry & Chemical Technology, 2005, Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology , Russia

Sergey was born in Moscow, Russia. He completed his undergraduate studies at Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Chemical Technology in 2005. After graduation, he continued his studies at Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology, and in 2007, he received a Master of Science in Chemical Technology and Biotechnology with Honors. Upon completion of his Master’s program, Sergey decided to pursue a career in synthetic chemistry and began his graduate studies at North Carolina State University under the supervision of Dr. Daniel L. Comins working on the synthesis of indolizidine alkaloids lepadiformine and 205B. He successfully completed the total synthesis of 205B and received his PhD degree in 2012. Sergey contributed to our work in Umpolung Amide Synthesis by completing the synthesis of a fluorinated version of the natural product feglymycin, a tridecapeptide. In 2013, Sergey received the Lilly Innovation Fellowship Award and transitioned to projects that involved the adaptation of our group's chemistries to continuous processing formats. He accepted a position with the Lilly Chemical Development Group in Indianapolis in 2016.

Roozbeh Yousefi
Roozbeh Yousefi
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, Michigan State University, MI
M.S. Chemistry, 2004, Sharif University of Technology, Iran
B.S. Chemistry, 2002, Shahid Beheshty University , Iran

Roozbeh hails from Tehran, Iran where he completed his B.S in chemistry at Shahid Beheshty University and M.S in organic chemistry at Sharif University of Technology. After working for a year for Castrol Company he began his further graduate studies with Babak Borhan at Michigan State University. During his time in MSU, he worked on asymmetric halocyclization reactions, and particularly on the mechanism of the asymmetric chlorolactonization. He was able to clarify the mechanism of the chlorolactonization by labeling, NMR and RPKA studies. Roozbeh developed the highly enantioselective carbon dioxide capture-cyclization reaction of unsaturated amines. He received his green card in 2014, and in 2015, he began a position as a Senior Scientist at Johnson-Matthey in Waltham, MA.

David Rubush
David Rubush
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, Colorado State University, CO
B.S. Chemistry, 2006, Calvin College, MI

David was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began his training at Calvin College where he worked with Professor Ronald Blankespoor to develop a synthesis of β-alkynals. After receiving his B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2006, he moved to Colorado State University where he pursued graduate studies under Professor Tomislav Rovis. His research focused on the total synthesis of stemocurtisine utilizing an asymmetric intramolecular Stetter reaction. He also developed an asymmetric synthesis of 1,2,4-trioxane anticancer agents through a Brønsted acid catalyzed cascade. David worked on our total synthesis of (+)-zwittermicin A. In 2014, he began at Benedictine College (Chicago, IL) as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

Yasunori Toda
Yasunori Toda
Postdoctoral Scholar, 2015, Vanderbilt University, TN
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2013, Tohoku University, Japan
B.S. Chemistry, 2008, Tohoku University, Japan
Yasunori was born and raised in Yamanashi, Japan. He received his B.S. Chemistry degree from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) in 2008. He continued into graduate studies at Tohoku, where he worked with Prof. Masahiro Terada, working on the combination of metal complexes and chiral Bronsted acid catalysts. He joined the group in June 2013 and developed the first phosphoramidic acid additions to alkenes using enantioselective Bronsted acid catalysis. In April 2015, he began a position as Assistant Prof. of Chemistry at Shinshu University in Nagano, Japan.
Kazuyuki Tokumaru
Kazuyuki Tokumaru
Ph.D., 2006, Chiba University, Japan
M.S. Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2003, Nagoya City University, Japan
B.S. Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2001, Nagoya City University, Japan
Kazuyuki was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. He began his training at Nagoya City University, where he worked with Professor Takayuki Shioiri and Professor Toyohiko Aoyama to develop asymmetric phase-transfer catalysis. After receiving his M.S. degree in 2003, he moved to Chiba University, where he worked with Professor Atsushi Nishida. He received Ph.D. in 2006 accomplishing the total synthesis of manzamine A. He is a researcher of pharmaceutical research division of Toray Industries, Inc., Japan and joined the group as a Visiting Scientist in March 2015, and returned to Japan in February 2017 after completing an impactful new series of heterocycle syntheses based on diverted UmAS.
Jonathan Scheerer
Jonathan Scheerer
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009, Johns Hopkins University, MD
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2006, Harvard University, MA
B.S. Chemistry, 2001, Beloit College, MI
Professor Scheerer was a visiting faculty scholar on sabbatical during summer 2016 from the College of William & Mary, a research-active primarily undergraduate institution. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Beloit College (2001). Doctoral (Ph.D. 2006) and postdoctoral studies were completed at Harvard with David Evans and Johns Hopkins University with Craig Townsend. He moved to the Department of Chemistry at William & Mary in 2009, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2015. Research within the Scheerer group focuses on chemical and biological discovery directed toward natural products and the development of efficient syntheses of biologically relevant targets.
Robert Hinkle
Robert Hinkle
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 1996, University of California, Irvine, CA
Ph.D. Chemistry, 1994, University of Utah, UT
A.B. Chemistry, 1986, Bowdoin College, ME
Rob Hinkle was a visiting scholar for the fall of 2016 and has been a professor at William & Mary since 1996. William & Mary is a predominantly undergraduate, public university with a small thesis-based Master’s program. Rob’s PhD work focused on both platinum chemistry as well as the synthesis and reactions of alkenyl(aryl)iodonium salts (i.e., the iodonium-Stille reaction). As a postdoctoral fellow, he investigated a tandem bis-Heck strategy toward the core of psycholeine. His current research interests include oxocarbenium ions, cascade reactions involving these ions, catalysis, and potential uses of hypervalent iodine compounds. He has taught Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II for majors, organic synthesis and a freshman seminar entitled “Beyond Petroleum as a Fuel.” The first three courses are self-explanatory, and the latter discusses the uses of petroleum, including petrochemical feedstock production, alternative energy sources and sustainability.
 
Graduate Students
Sarah Cortright
Sarah Cortright
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2006, The Ohio State University, OH
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2004, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry, 1999, Hope College, MI
Sarah Cortright hails from Holland, MI, and completed her B.S. degree in Chemistry magna cum laude in 1999 at Hope College. Her undergraduate research was in the area of asymmetric catalysis, working with Joanne Stewart. Sarah joined the Johnston group in its first year at Indiana University, and received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in August 2004. Her graduate work was principally in the area of asymmetric catalysis where she was responsible for the design, synthesis, and implementation of the first axially chiral b-diketimines known as the IAN amines. Sarah completed a study of the stereochemical aspects of their coordination to group IV metals, and began our investigation into their reactivity. While at IU, she was the recipient of a GAANN fellowship (1999, 2001) and the 2001 Bernard Berk Award in Organic Chemistry. Sarah moved to The Ohio State University in 2005, where she worked on the synthesis of new azinomycin congeners with Robert Coleman. In 2006, Sarah began at Promiliad (Athens, OH) as a Senior Scientist, and a position as Lecturer in Chemistry at Washington University (St. Louis) in 2008. In 2011, she accepted a tenure track position as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Michael Plotkin
Michael Plotkin
M.S. Chemistry, 2001, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry, 1999, Penn State University, PA
Michael, a Pennsylvania native, received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 1999. In that year, he began graduate studies at Indiana University, and joined the Johnston group shortly thereafter. Michael was the first to effect free radical-mediated aryl amination in group, and was a prominent contributor to its early methodological development. He completed his Masters degree in Chemistry in 2001 and joined Pfizer Global Research & Development in Groton, CT as a research associate. In 2009, Michael accepted a position at Merck (NJ).
Amie Williams
Amie Williams
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2007, Scripps Research Institute, FL
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2004, Indiana University, IN
B.A. Chemistry, 1999, DePauw University, IN
Amie Williams was born and raised in Indiana, where she also completed her B.A. Chemistry degree at DePauw University in 1999. Her undergraduate research was guided by Jeffrey Hansen. Amie joined the Johnston group in 1999, and she received her doctoral degree in 2004. Amie began and contributed to a variety of areas, including free radical-mediated vinyl amination and the Bronsted acid-catalyzed aza-Darzens reaction. Amie began studies toward the total synthesis of mitomycin C. Her accomplishments were recognized by Paget and GAANN fellowships (1999-2001), and the departmental Procter & Gamble Fellowship (2003-04). In 2004, she began a postdoctoral position with Bill Roush at the Scripps Research Institute of Florida where she worked in the area of macrolide total synthesis. In 2007 she began a position as Senior Scientist in medicinal chemistry at GlaxoSmithKline in North Carolina, and returned in 2008 to Florida to become the Lower Southeast Regional Manager in Global Chemicals for Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Rajesh Viswanathan
Rajesh Viswanathan
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2008, University of Utah, UT
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2005, Indiana University, IN
M.S. Chemistry, 1999, IIT Kanpur, India
Rajesh is a native of India. He completed his M.S. degree in Chemistry at IIT, Kanpur, working with Prof. Javed Iqbal. He entered the graduate program at IU in 1999, and joined the Johnston group in its first year. Rajesh was an early contributor to the development of free radical-mediated aryl amination, and it was through his development of an enantioselective construction of the indoline a-amino acids that he discovered the azacyclopentenylcarbinyl radical isomerization (ACCRI). In the final stages of his dissertation work, he applied the amination reaction in an approach to (+)-ambiguine G. In recognition of his accomplishments, Rajesh was awarded the Bernard Berk Award (2002) and a Lubrizol Fellowship (2003). After receipt of the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry, he joined Dale Poulter in 2005 at the University of Utah as a postdoctoral associate to pursue studies in the area of natural product biosynthesis. Rajesh began his independent career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University in 2008.
Ben Nugent
Ben Nugent
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2005, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry and Math, 1997, Central Michigan University, MI
A Michigan native, Ben naturally studied at The University of Michigan and Central Michigan University where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1997. Following a three year stint as a research chemist at Dow Corning (Midland, MI), Ben migrated to Indiana University and joined the Johnston group. Ben contributed to a variety of areas including our work in free radical-mediated vinyl amination. Additionally, he developed the first chiral proton catalyst and applied it to enantioselective imine additions and hetero-Diels-Alder reactions. While at IU, Ben was the recipient of the Paget, Slagle, and P&G fellowships. He was also awarded the Wendell Metzner and Associate Instructor Awards. Ben received his Ph.D. in 2005 and accepted a position as Principal Scientist in Discovery Research at Dow Agro (Indianapolis, IN).
Daniel Mutnick
Daniel Mutnick
M.S. Chemistry, 2003, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry, 1999, California Polytech State U., CA
Daniel is a northern California native and completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at California Polytech State University in 1999. He then worked for a short time at Affymetrix before matriculating in the Chemistry graduate program at IU. He joined the Johnston group in 2000 and began the stereocontrolled total synthesis of (+)-serratezomine A. He was awarded an M.S. degree in 2003 and returned to California to a position at Novartis (GNF) in San Diego.
Ryan Yoder
Ryan Yoder
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry, 2002, Indiana University, IN
Ryan Yoder hails from Crown Point, IN, and completed a B.S. degree in Chemistry (Honors) at Indiana University in 2002. He then entered the graduate program at IU and joined the Johnston group in that year. He is received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 2008. Ryan has developed the chiral proton catalyzed aza-Henry reaction while studying various aspects of mechanism with this new catalyst that functions through hydrogen bonding. In recognition of his accomplishments, he received a McCormick Science Award (2004) and an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship for 2005-06. Ryan began in the Process Chemistry Group at Albemarle in May 2007.
Colin Smith
Colin Smith
B.A. Chemistry, 2001, DePauw University, IN
Colin is a native Hoosier and received his B.A. Chemistry degree from DePauw University in 2001. He then moved to Indiana University and began in the chemistry graduate program. Colin's work focused on the discovery and development of the acid-promoted aziridination and aminohydroxylation of olefins. In 2004 he returned to DePauw as a Lecturer in chemistry.
Julie Pigza
Julie Pigza
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2009, UC San Diego, CA
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008, Indiana University, IN
B.S. Chemistry, 2002, Allegheny College, PA
Julie Pigza is a Pennsylvania native, graduating in 2002 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Allegheny College where she did undergraduate research with Shaun Murphree. She joined the Johnston group in that year and received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2008. She nearly completed the total synthesis of (+)-serratezomine A. As a result of her accomplishments, she has received a Lilly Fellowship (2002), GAANN fellowship (2003), the inaugural Jack Crandall award in organic chemistry at IU (2004), and a Pfizer Diversity Fellowship in Organic Chemistry (2005-06). Julie was a postdoctoral scholar with Tadeusz Molinski at UC San Diego where she pursued her interest in natural product isolation and characterization with a particular emphasis on the development of methods to assign remote chiral carbon configuration. Julie began her independent career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Queens Community College in New York City, before moving to the University of Southern Mississippi in 2013.
Jayasree Srinivasan
Jayasree Srinivasan
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008, Indiana University, IN
M.S. Chemistry, 1999, University of Houston, TX
Jayasree Srinivasan is a native of Chennai, India, and emigrated to the United States in 1997. She received an M.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Houston in 1999. She then worked in the pharmaceutical industry until 2003 when she returned to graduate studies and joined the Johnston group. She has studied the use of indoline a-amino acids to control peptide secondary structure, an emerging area in the group. Jay's dissertation research also involved the development of an approach to the total synthesis of the antitumor agent mitomycin C. Jay completed her Ph.D. in 2008.
Timothy Troyer
Timothy Troyer
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008, Vanderbilt University, TN
M.S. Chemistry, 1999, University of Michigan, MI
Tim Troyer is a native of Michigan and completed his B.S. degree in Chemistry at Goshen College in 1996. He then earned an M.S. Chemistry degree from the University of Michigan in 1999. After four years as a medicinal chemist at Bristol-Myers-Squibb, he returned to graduate studies in 2003. His dissertation research involved a mechanistic study of the Bronsted acid-catalyzed aza-Darzens reaction, and the use of this knowledge to design a Bronsted acid promoted glycolate Mannich reaction. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2008 and began his independent career at West Virginia Wesleyan University as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.
Bo Shen
Bo Shen
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2009, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2003, University of Science and Technology of China, China
Bo Shen is a native of Nanjing, China. He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), earning a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2003. He joined the Johnston group later that year and has studied enantioselective chiral proton-catalyzed olefin functionalization. Additionally, he has developed a new chiral proton-catalyzed synthesis of a,b-diamino acid derivatives that produces the syn diastereomer with high dr and ee. Bo also discovered and developed a new hydrative amide synthesis - Umpolung Amide Synthesis. Bo completed postdoctoral studies at MIT with Timothy Jamison in the area of flow chemistry, and in 2013 accepted a position in medicinal chemistry at Incyte (Delaware).
Anand Singh
Anand Singh
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2009, Vanderbilt University, TN
M.S. Chemistry, 2004, IIT Bombay, India
Anand Singh was born in Gorakhpur, India. After receiving a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Mumbai, and an M.S. degree in organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, he entered the graduate program at Indiana University in 2004. He joined the Johnston group in 2005. Among his accomplishments, Anand discovered an unsymmetrical chiral proton catalyst that delivers anti-a,b-diamino acid derivatives with high diastereo- and enantioselection. He received a Warren Fellowship while at Vanderbilt University, and earned his Ph.D. in 2009. Following a postdoc with Greg Roth at the Burnham Institute in Florida, Anand began an independent faculty position in the Department of Chemistry at IIT Kanpur in 2013.
Aroop Chandra
Aroop Chandra
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2011, Vanderbilt University, TN
M.S. Chemistry, 2005, University of Delhi, India
Aroop was born and raised in India, where he attended St. Stephen's College in Delhi for his undergraduate studies. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry in 2003 and continued his studies at the University of Delhi where he completed an M.S. degree in Chemistry. In 2005 he joined the Johnston group when we moved from IU to Vanderbilt. He has explored the use of indoline a-amino acids as conformational control elements in peptides, completed the first total synthesis of (+)-serratezomine A, the first total synthesis of hapalindole K & A, and a formal synthesis of hapalindole G. Aroop was a postdoctoral associate at Princeton University with David MacMillan, until he began his current position in medicinal chemistry at Cytokinetics (San Francisco) in 2013.
Tyler Davis
Tyler Davis
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2011, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Biochemistry, 2005, Lipscomb University, TN
Tyler is of Tennessee origin, and embarked on his undergraduate studies at Lipscomb University in Nashville where he received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry (magna cum laude) in 2005. During the summer of 2004, he worked with Bruce King at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He began graduate studies at Vanderbilt and joined the group in 2006. Tyler has discovered a new chiral proton catalyst (dubbed PBAM) whose increased reactivity has substantially expanded the scope of the aza-Henry reaction. He has also successfully deployed these catalysts in the preparation of several chiral nonracemic amines of medicinal importance, most notably (-)-Nutlin-3 (HLR). After a brief stint as a postdoctoral fellow in the group, he began postdoctoral studies with Tomislav Rovis at Colorado State University, and accepted a position as Investigator in process and catalysis chemistry at GlaxoSmithKline (NC) in June 2014, but moved to Merck Process (NJ) in August 2015.
Hubert Muchalski
Hubert Muchalski
Ph.D., 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S./M.S., 2006, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland
Hubert is a native of Poland where he received his B.S./M.S. in Chemistry at Wroclaw University of Technology in 2006. During these studies, he investigated the diselenide catalyzed hydroperoxide oxidation of naphthalenes. In 2006, he began graduate studies at Vanderbilt and joined the group in 2007 after his rotations. Hubert developed a unique a-diazo imide reagent that enabled the development of the Bronsted acid catalyzed syn-glycolate Mannich reaction. He then used the Bronsted acid-promoted azide-alkene synthesis of vic-amino alcohols to develop a two directional synthesis approach to (+)-zwittermicin A. Hubert was a postdoctoral scholar with Ned Porter until 2015, at which time he joined California State University, Fresno as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.
Priya Mathew
Priya Mathew
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2006, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Priya was born in Kerala, India and raised in Muscat, Oman. She came to the US in 2002 and began her undergraduate studies at The University of Texas, Austin. In December 2006, she received her B.S. Chemistry degree and began graduate studies in organic chemistry at Vanderbilt in 2007. Priya spent her first rotation in the group preparing front-line material in our mitomycin C synthesis campaign and then joined the group to continue the synthesis. She completed her dissertation in 2012 and moved to Michigan as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Kalamazoo College.
Mark Dobish
Mark Dobish
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2007, Allegheny College, PA
Mark hails from western Pennsylvania, specifically the town of New Wilmington. He completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry in 2007 at Allegheny College. While at Allegheny, Mark completed undergraduate research with Prof. P.J. Persichini, and completed an internship at Pfizer (Groton). Mark matriculated in the Vanderbilt Graduate Program in Chemistry in 2007 and joined the group after his rotations. Mark completed the first enantioselective synthesis of VNI, a small molecule discovered by colleagues in Biochemistry who determined it to be a potent inhibitor of CYP51. The synthesis - which required the development of a large scale PBAM-catalyzed enantioselective aza-Henry reaction, provided the drug quantity necessary for a collaborator at Meharry Medical College to show that VNI can cure both acute and chronic Chagas infection in a murine model. Mark also discovered an enantioselective chiral proton catalyzed iodolactonization reaction. Mark accepted a position at Noramco process chemistry research, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in 2012.
Dawn Makley
Dawn Makley
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Biology, 2007, Xavier University, Ohio
Dawn is a native of Tipp City, Ohio. She began undergraduate studies at Xavier University in 2003, leading to receipt of a B.S. Chemistry degree in 2007. While at Xavier, Dawn performed undergraduate research under the mentorship of Prof. Rick Mullins. Dawn entered the graduate program in chemistry in 2007, and joined the group after her rotations. Dawn is developing a most impressive (Bo says...) new amide bond forming reaction, with a particular emphasis on unmet amide synthesis needs. Dawn was awarded the Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2012, and taught at a private school in New Jersey while moonlighting as a scientist at Princeton University. She moved in 2014 to take a new faculty position at Nueva School, a private high school in San Francisco.
Amanda Doody
Amanda Doody
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2014, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2008, Wofford, SC
Amanda was an NSF-REU student at Columbia University working with Gerard Parkin during the summer of 2007. She then completed her B.S. Chemistry degree (summa cum laude) from Wofford College in South Carolina in 2008. She matriculated at Vanderbilt later that year and joined the group following her rotations. Amanda perfected our preparation of a novel diazo-imide for reaction discovery and development, and developed our approaches to the alkaloid kauluamine and aryl glycine-rich feglymycin natural products. Following completion of her Ph.D. degree in 2014, she accepted a position as Laboratory Coordinator and Lecturer at Georgia Tech.
Jessica Shackleford
Jessica Shackleford
M.S. Chemistry, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry (with honors), 2009, University of Southern Mississippi, MS
Jessica is one of several ‘true’ southerners in the group, hailing from Mississippi where she completed her undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of Southern Mississippi. During that time, she worked with Prof. Douglas Masterson to develop free radical azidation reactions using sulfonyl azides. Additionally, she completed two NSF-REU stints, one with Prof. Mukund Sibi at NDSU (2007), and a second with Prof. Scott Denmark at UIUC (2008). Jessica matriculated at Vanderbilt in 2009 and joined the group shortly thereafter as part of our new amide and peptide synthesis program. Jessica was a 2007 Goldwater Scholar, and an NSF Predoctoral Fellow. In 2012, Jessica completed her M.S. Thesis and returned to her hometown in MS to pursue a career in teaching and a (tasty) family business.
Dain Beezer
Dain Beezer
M.S. Chemistry, 2013, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.A. Chemistry, 2010, Fisk University, TN
Jamaica native Dain Beezer completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Fisk University.  As an undergrad, he enjoyed summer research stints in a variety of scientific areas at Alabama A&M, Vanderbilt, and Fisk. He began graduate studies at Vanderbilt in 2010 and after completing his rotations, joined the group beginning summer 2011. Dain used a combination of the Sharpless dihydroxylation reaction and Umpolung Amide Synthesis to prepare b,g-dihydroxy amides enantioselectively. He completed his M.S. thesis in 2013 and is developing polymer-based chemical devices with Prof. Eva Harth.
Michael Danneman
Michael Danneman
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2016, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, Xavier University, OH
Michael Danneman is a native of Kentucky and completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the mentorship of Professor Rick Mullins, Michael worked toward the total synthesis of pilosinine. He matriculated at Vanderbilt in 2010, and joined the group after his rotations. Secretly, we were hoping he would share knowledge of a certain recipe from his former employer Skyline Chili. Instead, we received a new highly effective catalyst (MAM), development of a new alkene diamination using hypervalent iodine reagents, and an enantioselective route to a promising therapeutic - an equally tasty harvest. Michael defended his dissertation in February 2016, and began postdoctoral studies with Tomislav Rovis at Columbia University.
Brandon Vara
Brandon Vara
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2015, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, James Madison University, VA

Although born in Irvine, California, Brandon represents the traffic-laden suburbs of Northern Virginia and received his B.S. in Chemistry from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. At JMU Brandon worked with Professor Kevin Minbiole exploring cyclopropane fragmentations and subsequent rearrangements to azepines and piperidines. In the summer of 2009, he interned with Amgen in medicinal chemistry as a wide-eyed undergraduate and developed diterpene libraries via unique biooxidations. Beginning his graduate studies in chemistry at Vanderbilt in 2010, Brandon broadened the aza-Henry approach to Nutlin-3 derivatives using chiral proton catalysis. He also developed the enantioselective synthesis of iodocarbonates by CO2-fixation with homoallylic alcohols. In 2015, he bestowed his greatest accomplishment - the creation of the Johnston Group Twitter account - on his successor, and successfully defended his dissertation. Brandon began postdoctoral studies in January 2016 with Prof. Gary Molander at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ken Schwieter
Ken Schwieter
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2016, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2011, Xavier University, OH

Chapter 1. Ken was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. He began at Xavier University in 2007 and worked with Prof. Rick Mullins as an undergraduate researcher. Provided a furlough for the summer, he joined the privileged (albeit dubious) ranks of NSF-REU students at Vanderbilt, and more specifically, the Johnston group. Ken assisted the PBAM scale-up campaign, and prepared a novel BAM ligand. Ken is an avid collector and amateur model for St. X, Xavier, and Vanderbilt T-shirts.

Chapter 2. Ken matriculated at Vanderbilt in 2011, and completed his rotations during the Fall. He then joined the group in January 2012 and developed the enantioselective synthesis of aliphatic a-amino acids using a combination of chiral proton catalysis and Umpolung Amide Synthesis. He had many other accomplishments, but most notable was the expansion of his wardrobe to include shirts in support of the US Men's National Soccer Team.

Chapter 3. Ken joined Jeff Moore's group in polymer and material synthesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne in 2016.

Daniel Sprague
Daniel Sprague
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2016, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Biochemistry, 2011, University of Miami, FL
B.S. Chemistry, 2011, University of Miami, FL
Dan grew up in New Jersey, but flew south for college to the University of Miami. He completed his B.S. Biochemistry and B.S. Chemistry degrees (General Honors) in 2011 with magna cum laude distinction. While at Miami, Prof. Norito Takenaka inspired him to begin research in organic chemistry, through which Dan prepared several new helically chiral catalysts for enantioselective catalysis. Dan completed his rotations at Vanderbilt during the summer and Fall, and joined the group in January 2012. He investigated the chiral proton catalyzed enantioselective hetero-Diels-Alder reactions, and further developed enantioselective aza-Henry additions of nitroesters. Dan's interest in therapeutic development were indulged by several complex small molecule targets. In 2016, Dan was awarded the Ph.D. and he then continued his career track toward scientist-physician by matriculating in the medical program at UW-Milwaukee.
Jonathan Witt
Jonathan Witt
M.S. Chemistry, 2014, Vanderbilt University, TN
B.S. Chemistry, 2011, Haverford College, PA

Jon grew up in Portland, ME and has two brothers and two sisters-as well as a faithful dog - Sammy. He attended Haverford College in Haverford, PA. Jon worked on several research projects during undergrad including contributing to a natural product synthesis and working with ligands in bioinorganic chemistry. His college thesis detailed the synthesis and properties of a novel tri-guanidine ligand. Jon began his work at Vanderbilt, after a year in the private sector, as a rotation student in the Johnston lab during the summer of 2012. Jon joined the group following this rotations and completed his Masters thesis in 2014. Jon investigated the application of UmAS to free a-amino acid acceptors for peptide synthesis.

Stefano Lancianesi
Stefano Lancianesi

Stefano Lancianesi was born in Italy and received his Laurea degree in 2011 at the University of Camerino. During the same year he started his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Marino Petrini. His research interests include the study of new methodologies for the synthesis and functionalization of heteroaromatic compounds. He joined the group as a visiting student in March 2014. 


 
UnderGraduate Students
Kristen Nailor
Kristen Nailor
B.S. Biochemistry, 2001, Indiana University, IN
Kristen Nailor is of Hoosier origin, and she completed her B.S. degree in Biochemistry in 2001. As an undergraduate in the group, Kristy was part of the early effort to realize free radical-mediated aryl amination. Throughout her years at IU, she worked under the umbrella of the IU STARS program, providing an early entry into the research enivironment at IU. During her undergraduate years, she was also a summer intern at Eli Lilly in Discovery Chemistry, working with Dr. Kumiko Takeuchi and Dr. Sandra Filla. In 2001, she joined GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle, NC, as an associate scientist. She is currently the Chemical Management Specialist for the Vanderbilt Program in Drug Discovery in the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.
Heather Burks
Heather Burks
Postdoctoral Scholar, 2009, UC Berkeley, CA
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
B.S. Chemistry, 2003, Indiana University, IN
Heather Burks was born and raised in Indiana, and joined the Johnston group as an undergraduate in her third year. Heather initiated the scale-up of the indoline a-amino acid synthesis based on free radical-mediated aryl amination, and began our program aimed at the investigation of their use in short peptides. In recognition of her abilities, Heather was named a Beckman Scholar, and supported for two academic years and one summer by this program. In 2003, Heather was awarded a B.S. Chemistry degree, and in 2008 received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina with Jim Morken (now at Boston College). Heather was a postdoctoral scholar with Dean Toste at UC Berkeley before beginning her current position in Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis (Cambridge, MA).
Travis Smith
Travis Smith
B.S. Chemistry, 2004, Indiana University, IN
Travis was born and raised in Crown Point, IN. He joined the Johnston research program in 2003, and contributed to the effort in chiral proton catalysis. His accomplishment was recognized by an Eli Lilly Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship in 2004. He completed his degree requirements later that year, and Travis began studies in the IU School of Law in August 2005.
Abram Hess
Abram Hess
B.S. Chemistry, 2007, Indiana University, IN
Abram is a Bloomington native who began at IU in 2003 as a chemistry major. Abram is an IU Stars awardee who, through this program, was able to join the Johnston group as a freshman. Abram has played a supporting role in the proton catalysis area, and was the first in the group to measure the pKa for BAM-HX Bronsted acids.
Brandon Steele
Brandon Steele
B.S. Chemistry, 2004, Indiana University, IN
Brandon Steele is an Indiana native, and joined the group in his last year as an undergraduate at IU. Brandon contributed to the scale up effort for the asymmetric synthesis of the IAN amines. He graduated from IU in 2004, and began graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Idaho later that year.
Ryan Kilgore
Ryan Kilgore
B.S. Chemistry, 2005, Indiana University, IN
Ryan joined the Johnston group briefly as a part of a trek from a music career to Russian studies. He began at IU in the School of Music as a tuba major, but became enamored with organic chemistry after taking the lecture course as an elective. Unfortunately, the lure of Russian studies was overwhelming, and he made a final (?) diversion in that direction after an academic year spent with the group.
Carla Counceller
Carla Counceller
B.S. Chemistry, 2005, Indiana University, IN
Carla Counceller (nee Beatty) is a native of Indiana, entering IU as an undergraduate in 2001. Carla joined the group in her junior year and contributed to the scale up of the asymmetric synthesis of the IAN amines. In 2004, Carla was awarded a nationally-competitive Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarship. Carla graduated with a B.S. Chemistry degree in 2005, and began graduate studies in organic chemistry at the Ohio State University. She completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry with James Stambuli in 2010, and accepted a position at Chemical Abstracts.
Bobby Bowman
Bobby Bowman
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, Vanderbilt University, TN

Robert 'Bobby' Bowman was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He migrated eastward to Nashville in 2006 and began his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt as a chemistry major. Bobby has been named to the Dean's List each semester and began undergraduate chemistry research in 2007, contributing to our program in catalysis. Bobby was attracted to the group by its legendary football games. Following graduation, Bobby began postgraduate studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City, where he worked with Johanna Joyce studying the role of tumor associated macrophages in glioma. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at MSK.

Aspen Chun
Aspen Chun
B.A. Chemistry, 2011, Vanderbilt, TN
Aspen is a native of California (Los Angeles) but spent the better part of her formative years in South Korea. She returned to the US in 2004, ultimately matriculating at Vanderbilt in 2008. She began research in the group in 2009, and helped with our large scale preparation of PBAM.
Vanessa Arredondo
Vanessa Arredondo
B.A. Chemistry, 2012, Vanderbilt University, TN

Vanessa, born and raised in beautiful, sunny California, joined the Johnston Group in Spring 2011 as an undergraduate following an NSF-REU  summer experience with Stefan France at Georgia Tech. At Vanderbilt, she has prepared (-)-Nutlin-3, a potent p53/MDM2 inhibitor currently in development as a cancer chemotherapeutic by Hoffmann-La Roche and others, and prepared a novel analog with the cis-imidazoline backbone as one of our collaborative efforts in drug development. Vanessa is currently a graduate student in chemistry and NSF Predoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine.

Emily Wang
Emily Wang
B.S. Chemistry (anticipated), 2015, Vanderbilt University, TN
Emily was born and raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She plans to enter medical school following graduation from Vanderbilt.
Zachary Carter
Zachary Carter
Zach completed his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, with minors in biology and neuroscience. He was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Zach is a Chancellor’s Scholar and continuing Resident Advisor in the Martha Ingram Freshmen Commons. He was also the Cultural Chair of the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students. Zach took organic chemistry as a Freshman and gained research experience through the Department of Epithelial Cancer Biology. In 2014 he began work with the Johnston laboratory in an effort to apply new chemical methods to the synthesis of natural products with interesting biological activity, and became a VU Beckman Scholar for May 2014-August 2015. Zach graduated in May 2016, and he begins graduate studies in computational chemistry at Yale in the Fall.
Sarah Sun
Sarah Sun
B.A. Chemistry/Applied Math, 2017, Vanderbilt University, TN
Sarah began working with the group as 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 was 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 was focused on synthesis of the chiral organocatalyst, PBAM, and its application in halolactonization reactions. Following graduation in 2017, she entered the MSTP program at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.
 
REU Students
Angela Sauers
Angela Sauers
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2006, Princeton University, NJ
B.S. Chemistry, 2002, Juniata College, MI
Angela Sauers is one of three students who spent a summer with the group through the Indiana University REU program. Angela received her B.S. Chemistry degree in 2002 and entered the graduate program in chemistry at Princeton University. She completed her Ph.D. in 2006 with Stefan Bernhard, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia.
Brittany Perkins
Brittany Perkins
Ph.D. Chemistry, 2009, U. Arizona, AZ
B.S. Chemistry, 2004, Wheaton College, IL
Brittany Perkins is one of three students who spent a summer with the group through the Indiana University REU program. Brittany contributed to the enantioselective synthesis of the IAN amines. Brittany received her B.S. Chemistry degree in 2004 from Wheaton College and entered the graduate program in chemistry at the University of Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry (analytical/mass spectrometry) with Vicki Wysocki in 2009 and is currently a faculty member at Central New Mexico Community College.
Courtney Conrad
Courtney Conrad
B.S. Chemistry, 2005, Clarion College, IN
Courtney Conrad is one of three students who spent a summer with the group through the Indiana University REU program. Courtney contributed to the preparative scale synthesis of the IAN amines. She received her B.S. Chemistry degree in 2005 from Clarion College and entered dental school.
Daniel McMillan
Daniel McMillan
Daniel McMillan was an REU participant in the Johnston lab during the summer of 2009. He will complete his bachelor's degree at New Mexico State University in 2010.
John Tellis
John Tellis
B.S., 2012, Elizabethtown College, PA

John is from Pottstown, Pennsylvania (not the Yuengling town...that’s Pottsville) and was supported by the NSF-REU at Vanderbilt. As a biochemistry major at Elizabethtown College, his research was directed toward the development and optimization of luminescence-based sensors. John conducted studies with chiral PBAM catalysts and their application to the Nutlin class of chemotherapeutics. John matriculated at U. Pennsylvania in their graduate program in chemistry, where he received a Ph.D. in 2016 under the mentorship of Prof. Gary Molander. In that year, he began at Genentech as a Sr. Scientist in medicinal chemistry.

Jeremy Mason
Jeremy Mason
B.S. Chemistry, 2013, Allegheny College, PA
Jeremy comes from Pittsburgh, PA and is supported by the Vanderbilt NSF-REU program in Chemical Biology. He is a chemistry major at Allegheny College and does research with Prof. Shaun Murphree directed at sulfone-based organic methodology. Jeremy worked on the utilization of PBAM catalysts to prepare novel analogs of (-)-Nutlin 3. He graduated from Allegheny in 2013, and matriculated in the graduate program in chemistry at Penn State University the following Fall.

Weiwei Wang
Weiwei Wang
B.S. Chemistry, 2013, Kalamazoo College, MI
Weiwei was born and raised in Nanjing, China. She enrolled at Kalamazoo College in 2009, and has worked with Professor Greg Slough as an undergraduate researcher studying solid phase synthesis. She joined us for the summer of 2012 with support from the Kalamazoo HHMI program. Weiwei developed a new reaction in our enantioselective catalysis program, for which she received 'Honors' as her Senior Individualized Project at Kalamazoo. Weiwei entered the graduate program in chemistry at Northwestern University in 2013 and joined the research group of Prof. Regan Thompson.
Victoria Lim
Victoria  Lim
B.S. Chemistry and Math (anticipated), 2015, Belmont University, TN
Vickie is from Spring Hill, Tennessee. She was an ACS SCI Scholar for the summer of 2013 at Croda, and an REU student at the University of Georgia in 2014 where she worked in the area of computational chemistry. Vickie was responsible for developing a large scale preparation of an aryl glycine donor for use in UmAS. Following a summer internship at Merck (NJ), she entered the graduate program in chemistry at UC Irvine. Vickie was very active in outreach programs at Belmont, stimulating the interest of many future scientists in the Nashville area. In 2016, Vickie was awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Jessica Zinna
Jessica Zinna
B.S. Chemistry, 2016, Winthrop University, SC
Jessica is a rising senior at Winthrop University majoring in Chemistry with a Math minor, where she conducts research under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Gelabert in the field of hydrothermal crystal growth. Jessica is the president of the Winthrop chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, a member of the honors college, and a departmental tutor. She was born in Connecticut, but spent most of her time in Ohio and South Carolina where she acquired her love for sweet tea and biscuits. In her free time Jessica enjoys baking, taking naps, eating pasta, and watching cat videos. Her postgraduate plan is still to be determined.
Danielle Boley
Danielle Boley
B.S. Biochemistry, 2017, University of Notre Dame, IN

Danielle is a senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in bioengineering at the University of Notre Dame. She was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Washington, Illinois. Danielle is a Balfour-Hesburgh Scholar, a Glynn Family Honors Student, and a proud member of the piccolo section in the marching band at ND. As a member of Dr. Norman Dovichi's lab, her research uses capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry to study the metabolome of diseased tissue samples and the development of Xenopus laevis. Danielle was a researcher in the Chemical Biology REU at Vanderbilt in 2016, learning new organic chemistry research skills, working with Suzanne on the preparation of a super cool depsipeptide. After completing her undergraduate degree, Danielle plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

 
Rotation Students
Marta Wenzler
Marta Wenzler
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, St. Louis University, MO
Marta hails from Minneapolis (MN) and migrated south to Saint Louis University for her undergraduate studies where she performed undergraduate research in the laboratories of Prof. Ryan McCulla, studying the photochemical release of nitroxyl. She completed her B.S. Chemistry degree in 2010 and migrated south further still to Vanderbilt. She completed her first rotation in the group, assisting with the preparation of key intermediates in our mitomycin C synthesis.
Nina Collins
Nina Collins
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, Xavier University, OH
A Kentucky native, Nina Collins completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Xavier University.  At Xavier, she was named a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar and worked toward the total synthesis of kalkitoxin with Prof. Rick Mullins. Nina entered the graduate program in chemistry in 2010 and completed her first rotation with our group, working on the scale-up of a promising anti-viral agent discovered by the Waterman Group, our collaborators in Biochemistry.
Bobby Boer
Bobby Boer
B.S. Chemistry, 2010, Loyola University, MD
Brent Whitley
Brent Whitley
B.S. Biology, 2011, Appalachian State University, NC

Brent is a native of North Carolina, where he received his B.S. in biology at Appalachian State University. While at Appalachian State, Brent investigated a blood-brain barrier efflux transporter under the guidance of Drs. Jennifer Cecile and Nathan Mowa. Brent matriculated at Vanderbilt in the summer of 2011 and joined the Johnston group for his third rotation.

Adam Metts
Adam Metts
B.A. Chemistry, 2015, Washington University, MO
Adam grew up in Clinton, Mississippi before moving to St Louis to begin his undergraduate studies. While at WashU, he worked under Dr. Kevin Moeller studying electrolytic oxidation of stilbene derivatives using amine-based catalysis, and he earned his degree in B.A. in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. Outside of lab, Adam likes playing the blues on his guitar, reading novels, wearing old-man sweaters, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Eric Huseman
Eric Huseman
B.S. Chemistry, 2014, Cedarville University, OH
Eric was born in Akron, Ohio, and began his undergraduate studies at Cedarville University in 2010 as a prepharmacy major. Three and half years later, he finally saw the light and joined Cedarville’s chemistry program. He matriculated at Vanderbilt University in 2015 and came to the Johnston group during his second rotation. During his rotation, he assisted with the synthesis of (-)-Nutlin-3 needed for further biological testing.
Scott Chapp
Scott Chapp
B.S. Chemistry, 2015, St. Lawrence University, NY
B.S. Math, 2015, St. Lawrence University, NY
Scott grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois before attending St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. There he double majored in chemistry and math and minored in statistics. While attending St. Lawrence University, Scott conducted his undergraduate research with Dr. Adam Hill where he focused on synthesizing heterobimetallic Co/Zr complexes supported by phosphinoamide ligands for artificial photosynthesis. When Scott isn’t in lab, he enjoys hiking, fishing, golfing and playing hockey.
Benjamin Mueller
Benjamin Mueller
B.S. Biochemistry, 2015, Auburn University, AL
Ben was born in Cannes, France, and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He left North Carolina to attend Auburn University, where he received a B.S. degree in biochemistry, with a minor in French. While at Auburn, he worked on elucidating the biosynthetic pathways of tetrapyrroles under the direction of Dr. Steven Mansoorabadi. When not in lab, he enjoys watching sports and traveling.
Isaiah Speight
Isaiah Speight
B.S. Chemistry, 2016, Norfolk State University, VA
Isaiah was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia and attended Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he received a B.S. in Chemistry in 2016. During the summer of 2015, Isaiah was an REU student at Vanderbilt University working with the Townsend Research group on functionalizing galactooligosaccharides. He completed his first rotation with us during summer 2016.
John Terrell
John Terrell
B.S. Chemistry, 2016, Univ. North Carolina, Asheville, NC
John was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and grew up in Knoxville, TN. He received a B.S. in Chemistry at UNC Asheville and conducted natural product synthesis research on depsidones under Dr. Amanda Wolfe. He started his graduate career at Vanderbilt in 2016. John enjoys playing and watching sports of any kind (though he doesn't really understand rhythmic gymnastics) and most outdoor activities.
Carson Reed
Carson Reed
B.S. Biochemistry, 2015, College of Charleston, SC
B.A. Chemistry, 2015, College of Charleston, SC
Carson was born in Charleston, SC. He performed research with Dr. Justin Wyatt at the College of Charleston focusing on the synthesis of novel bis-indenyl ligands for polymerization catalysis. Carson received a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Chemistry from the College of Charleston in 2015. From 2015-2016, he worked as a research assistant synthesizing small molecules for treating retinitis pigmentosa with Dr. Craig Beeson’s small therapeutic company (MitoChem Therapeutics) at the Medical University of South Carolina. He entered Vanderbilt’s chemistry graduate program in 2016. One interesting fact about Carson is that it is said that he learned how to play the jazz flute from Ron Burgundy himself.
Schuyler Chambers
Schuyler Chambers
B.S., 2016, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE
Schuyler is from Los Angeles, California and received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Her undergraduate research focused on the synthesis of peroxide-containing fatty acid analogs and was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Dussault.  When she is not in lab, she likes to travel, read classic literature, and hangout outdoors.
Maggie Jones
Maggie Jones
B.S. Chemistry, 2016, University of South Florida, FL
Maggie was born in Indianapolis, but grew up in sunny Tampa, Florida. She attended undergraduate at the University of South Florida, where she worked under Dr. Chad Dickey studying chaperone-mediated tau protein degradation in pathologies such as Alzheimer ’s disease and depression. Later during her undergraduate career she moved on to pursue her love for chemical synthesis under the supervision of Dr. Ed Turos, where she worked to synthesize a library of asymmetric disulfide inhibitors of the FabH enzyme, a target of antibiotic resistance. When she is not working tirelessly in the lab, Maggie enjoys concerts, baking cookies and going to the beach.
 
Monday 24 Jul, 16:43:54
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