Current Members

Professor Michael Hecht
Professor of Chemistry
Head of Forbes College

 

 

 

Email: hecht@princeton.edu

Shlomo Zarzhitsky, Ph.D.

 

 

 

Shlomo received his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Hanna Rapaport at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Fascinated by the ability of designed peptides to form ordered and functional structures, Shlomo decided to plunge into the world of protein design and explore the vast sequence space in order to investigate non-conventional protein folding pathways. To address this problem he applies both chemical solid phase peptide synthesis as well as recombinant protein engineering tools. Outside the lab he enjoys hiking and perfecting his photography skills.

Email: shlomoz@princeton.edu

Sarangan Chari, Ph.D. 

Sarangan is an graduate alumnus of the Princeton Chemistry Department having done his doctoral work on carboranes under the guidance of Prof. Maitland Jones, Jr.. After many forays in industrial and academic labs, he wound up as an investment banker. Having seen the error of his ways, he is back in science trying his hand at Synthetic Biology. His current project involves deciphering the mechanism of auxotroph rescue by synthetic proteins. Outside of the lab, he is mostly concerned with ameliorating the effects of decades of sleep deprivation.

Email: chari@princeton.edu

Joshua Mancini, Ph.D.

Josh became fascinated with de novo protein design during his Ph.D. tenure under Prof. Leslie Dutton at the University of Pennsylvania. It was here that he was introduced to the ability of de novo proteins to interface with metals and organic cofactors in cells.  Josh has decided to pursue the combinatorial approach of de novo protein design to elucidate design principles of early enzymes as well as build novel catalysts for useful chemistry. In his spare time he enjoys SCUBA diving, backpacking in the wilderness, and doing ceramics.

Email: jmancini@princeton.edu

Christina Karas is a graduate student in the molecular biology department. She is currently working on creating libraries of active de novo proteins based on stable templates. Christina received her B.A. from Drew University where she studied biochemistry and molecular biology. Outside of the lab she enjoys equestrian sports, visiting the beach, and cooking plant-based foods.

 

 

 

Email: ckaras@princeton.edu

Michael Wang is a graduate student in the chemistry department currently investigating if and how de novo proteins interact with common biological ions and molecules. Michael received an H.BSc from McMaster University, where he studied integrated science and chemistry.  Characterized by a lack of direction, his undergraduate career included research of atmospheric pollutants, metalloproteins, and materials self-assembly.  Though now somewhat more focused, he still enjoys the intersection of multiple disciplines.  Outside the lab he enjoys camping, hiking, and cheesy martial arts movies.

 

 

 

Email: msw5@princeton.edu

Yueyu Yao is a graduate student in the chemistry department currently exploring the enzymatic activity and gene-regulatory role of the de novo protein syn-I3. She received her B.A. from Smith College, where she studied biochemistry and computer science. As someone with constantly changing interests, Yueyu has worked on development of visual reality applications, excavation of a prehistoric site in Xi’an China, and the synthesis of DNA-conjugated small molecule catalyst, before she finally decided to pursue a career in chemical biology. Outside of the lab she enjoys reading about ancient Asia, writing song lyrics, and playing video games.

Email: yueyuy@princeton.edu

Sha Tao is a visiting doctoral student from Nanjing Tech University currently investigating the design of a fusion protein for use in generating a new de novo protein library. Before pursuing research, she received her master’s degree from Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and practiced for a year as a doctor. Outside of lab, she enjoys skateboarding as well as playing guitar, piano, badminton, and table tennis.

 Email: shat@princeton.edu

Esther Choi is a senior in the Chemistry department. She is currently working on screening a library of de novo proteins for life-sustaining functions in various strains of E. coli bacteria. Outside of the lab, she loves to bake, travel, and re-watch Harry Potter movies with her friends.

Email: yewoonc@princeton.edu

 

Colin Yost is a senior in the Chemistry department. His work focuses on identifying artificial proteins capable of sustaining life through non-natural functions. Outside of lab, he spends most of his time bonding with first-year students as a Residential College Adviser at Forbes College, playing mallet percussion, or avidly discussing his most recent TV/film obsession. After graduation, Colin plans to continue to medical school with hopes of eventually practicing cardiothoracic surgery.

 

 

 

Email: cyost@princeton.edu

Jessi Dessau is a junior in the Chemistry department who is working on auxotroph rescues. Outside of lab, she enjoys skiing, eating gluten free snacks, and arguing with her friends about movies.
 
Email: jdessau@princeton.edu
Alex Jiang is a junior in the Molecular Biology department. The nature of his work involves developing and fine-tuning a fusion tag that can be attached to hydrophobic proteins for augmented expression. Aside from lab work, he enjoys going on quick runs, watching BuzzFeed and generally YouTube videos, and casually hanging out with friends.
 
Email: aj6@princeton.edu
Clara Yu is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Biochemistry. She helps screen library proteins for structure as well as function. Outside of the lab, she enjoys running, painting, and trying out new foods.

 

 

 

Email: chyu3@wisc.edu