PhD Students

Manjie Huang

Manjie is from Nanjing, China. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry at Colgate University and her Master of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering at Cornell University. She is interested in therapeutic protein engineering and is currently working on using yeast display method to identify protein-small molecule hybrids that target serine hydrolases.

Mariha Islam

Mariha is originally from Tangail, Bangladesh. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a second major in Chemistry from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), UAE. Whilst at AUS, Mariha did research on cellulose-based heavy metal waste treatment as well as in-situ preparation of oxygen for Martian atmospheric conditions. In the Van Deventer Lab, Mariha is interested in identifying potent, specific hybrid inhibitors of metalloproteinases.

Ming Lei

Ming is from Rosemead, California. He studied Bioengineering as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and previously worked in the Ryan Lab at UC Berkeley, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, and Bolt Threads. He is interested in bioinformatics and synthetic biology and is currently working on quantifying noncanonical amino acid uptake and incorporation in yeast.

Kelly Potts

Kelly is from Wheaton, Illinois. After leaving her hometown near Chicago, she moved to East Lansing where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, and Minor in Beverage Science and Technology at Michigan State University. She also completed a French minor while spending three months abroad in Tours, France. At MSU her primary undergraduate research focus was developing an immunoassay for an enzyme-immobilized, electrochemical biosensor. Her current research interests include enhancing the versatility of genetic code manipulation in yeast.

Arlinda Rezhdo

Arlinda was born and raised in Fier, Albania. She attended Colby College, Maine, where she earned a double major in Biology and Mathematics. She also attended Dartmouth College, where her research was primarily focused on material properties of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene in joint replacement implants. Her interests have taken Arlinda around the globe, and recently she joined the ChBE department at Tufts university as a PhD student. Here, Arlinda will work on selective disruption of metalloproteinases using yeast display. Her ambition is to contribute to research that will have impactful healthcare applications.

Jessica Stieglitz

Jessica is from Honolulu, Hawaii. She attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, as an undergraduate, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. While there, she pursued metabolic and protein engineering research in the laboratory of Mattheos A. G. Koffas. Jessica is interested in genetic code manipulation to engineer robust noncanonical amino acid incorporation systems in yeast.

BS/MS Students

Catherine Lessard
Kate is an undergraduate chemical engineering student interested in biological applications of chemical engineering. She is currently researching the inhibition of enzymes that play a significant role in the tumor microenvironment. She spent her junior year abroad at University College London in the UK, after having studied at Yonsei University in South Korea for the summer. Kate enjoys watching movies and improving her Korean language skills.

Undergraduate Students

Greg Berumen

Greg Berumen grew up near Dallas, Texas, and is currently a junior majoring in Chemical Engineering. Greg joined the group his sophomore year and is working on analyzing and improving noncanonical amino acid incorporation into proteins, using a yeast display system. Outside of lab, Greg enjoys exploring music and watching sports.

Olivia Frasher

Olivia is going to be a senior at the University of Notre Dame studying chemical engineering and studio art. She is currently an REU student in the Van Deventer lab and has been working on improving non-canonical amino acid incorporation in yeast by modifying the translation suppression system.

Van Deventer Lab in August 2018