Welcome, Orikeda and Ikeda Trashi (identical twins!) and Noora Kharji!
Arezoo Shahrivarkevishahi’s paper in JACS was recently covered by C&E News! Arezoo even goes on to speculate what the future of the project might bring: “The good thing about viruses is that we can not only decorate their surfaces but also load things inside them,” Shahrivarkevishahi says. Although the current study presents a simple version of the approach, loading Qβ coat proteins or another VLP with chemotherapy or other cancer drugs could further potentiate the treatment’s efficacy.” Congrats, Arezoo and team!
A recent collaborative paper with the Meloni lab has hit the news. Fabian Castro, a third-year grad student, did work with help from the Meloni Crew on making room-temperature stable liposomes, proteoliposomes, and protein-detergent micelles. All the formulations were so stable they could be stored at room temperature and even mailed around the US in an envelope for weeks at a time. There are pretty big differences between the COVID-19 vaccine and the liposomes we used here, but it’s probably obvious what we are doing next.
Jeremiah obviously got carried away and took five students this year. A huge welcome to (from top left across and then down and across) Perouza Parsamian (Փիրուզա Փարսամյան), Thomas Howlett, Ryanne Ehrman, Sneha Kumari, and Shailendra Koirala (शैलेन्द कोईराला).
The group received a new NSF grant with Co-PI Jonathan Sczpanski a rockstar assistant professor at Texas A&M doing innovative biomaterial-based research with complex RNA systems. This is a very exciting and our first funded collaboration with an Aggie!
Departing rockstar chemist, Hamilton Lee, has a paper in Chemical Science that made it into the popular media! A university press release and an accompanying snapshot of the highly photogenic team of Arezoo, Olivia, Laurel, et al. (Hamilton was busy starting the first week of his training at his new job right out of grad school.) You can read various media takes on our work here and here and you can watch this very nice video Chemical Science made for us as a ‘Pick of the Week’ as well as enjoy the cover art we received.
Welcome (left to right) Laurel Hagge of Texas and Yalini Wijesundara (යලිනි විජේසුන්දර) of Sri Lanka! The two have hopped into hot projects and (as of this writing) already putting their names on drafts for publication! A record for a new incoming class!
Drs. Raymond Welch and Hamilton Lee (not pictured because he was already at his new job at Merrill Lynch!) were hooded as PhD numbers FOUR and FIVE. Collectively they put out 10 papers (maybe more).
Jeremiah began his first day as an Associate Professor with Tenure on September 1. This is great and everything but the real credit goes to the brave…maybe crazy…students that join an assistant professors lab. I mean, I didn’t even HAVE a lab when I started. I didn’t have a lab for nearly six months. But somehow I think Zhuo, Shaobo, Madushani, and Anna and then Raymond (and Hamilton and Candace) came along. Then Michael, who came along in year 3 before I had any money and rumors that I wasn’t going to make it started to swril… Then $5 million, 23 papers, a few patent applications, a spin off company, and … well, suffice it to say that’s all neat stuff for a CV but that isn’t why i’m happy, I guess, that I get promoted… It’s the students that have made this job worthwhile. This promotion just affords me the privilege to work with folks like Arezoo, Olivia, Jenica, Nima, Tahmid, and Fabian a while longer…and some new folks that come along the way.