Current Members

Professor Michael Hecht
Professor of Chemistry

 

 

Email: hecht@princeton.edu

Shlomo Zarzhitsky, Ph.D. 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.  is a 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

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

Guanyu (Gary) Liao is a graduate student in the Chemistry Ph.D. program. Gary received his B.S. in University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in biochemistry and statistics. Gary is currently investigating enzymatic rescuers of auxotrophic strains of E. coli based on a de novo protein SynF4. Outside of lab, Gary enjoys basketball and soccer. He also likes traveling and photography.

Email: guanyul@princeton.edu

Jessi Dessau is a senior in the Chemistry department who is working on library design and 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 senior 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
Natalie Bahrami is a junior in the Chemistry department. Her current research includes optimizing a fusion tag to enhance protein expression, and identifying potential biomedical systems to apply it to. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, puzzling, and spending time with friends and family. 

Email: nbahrami@princeton.edu
Shanaz Deen is a junior in the chemistry department working on optimizing the codon sequence and characterizing the function of SynGltA. Outside of lab, she enjoys running, reading novels, and making playlists with her friends.

Email: sdeen@princeton.edu

Kaelix Johnson is a sophomore in the Molecular Biology department. His work consists of characterizing and optimizing the function of de novo proteins. Outside the lab, Kaelix loves spending his time moving, whether that’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or walks in the woods, having the company of friends, or listening to music.

Email: tkj@princeton.edu

Ananya Vinayak is a sophomore in the Chemistry Department. She is working on probing the possibility and nature of any additional biological activity of the de novo protein SynI3. Other than lab-work, she enjoys programming small robots, playing the piano, hanging out with friends, travelling, laughing and acting in comedy sketches. 

Email: avinayak@princeton.edu