Gassensmith Lab

Graduate Students

Candace Benjamin

B.S. Chemistry—St. John Fisher College (Rochester, New York)

Bio: Coming from the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, I developed an interest in developing more accessible and effective disease treatment methods. I completed my undergraduate studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York and found my place right here in the Gassensmith lab. When I'm not advancing my scientific prowess, I enjoy dancing, a variety of arts and crafts, gaming and baking.

Hamilton Lee

B.S. Chemistry—Trinity University (San Antonio, TX)

Bio: I am particularly interested in how intermolecular forces (IMFs) play a huge role in our world. I seek to advance our understanding of IMFs and design systems that have a positive impact in broad areas of our lives. When I’m not in the lab or performing activities related to lab, I like cooking, playing League of Legends, and playing StarCraft.

Madushani Dharmarwardana

B.S. Chemistry—University of Peradeniya (Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)

Bio: As an undergraduate researcher, I worked on isolation of bioactive compounds form natural product. My current research is mainly focuses on small molecule organic semiconductors and functionalized Tobacco Mosaic Virus as functional scaffolds. I enjoy reading science fictions and cooking.

Michael Luzuriaga

B.S. Chemistry—California Polytechnic State University (Pomona, CA)

Bio: My interest in Chemistry is Organic Synthesis and characterization of compounds. I consider myself a Green Chemist that has always been interested in alternative types of energy and finding alternative routes that are cleaner for the environment. I am from Hacienda Heights, California and in my free time I like to exercise, cook, and check out new places. Interesting fact: I'm not Mexican, I am Peruvian and have European/Spaniard descent.

Raymond Welch

B.S. Chemistry and B.S. Electrical Engineering—University of North Texas (Denton, Texas, USA)

  Bio: In my undergraduate research I learned about thin films, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, building ultra-high vacuum chambers, plasma etching and deposition, and magnetron sputtering. I am from Weatherford, TX and I enjoy blacksmithing, playing sports, watching football (Go Cowboys!), cooking, listening to music, and Minecraft.

Shaobo Li

B.S. Chemistry—Beijing University of Technology (Beijing, China)

Bio: I learned fabrication of ordered macroporous perovskite material in my undergraduate study and found deep interest in porous materials. I like using SEM and TEM to characterize morphologies of the nanomaterials I prepared. In my spare time I like reading, watching movies and playing basketball.

Zhuo Chen

B.S. Materials Chemistry—Tianjin University (Tianjin, China) and M.S. Chemistry—University of Massachusetts at Lowell (Lowell, MA, USA)

Bio: I joined Gassensmith lab at 2014 Spring. My project is mainly on bioconjugation chemistry of bacteriophage Qβ for smart drug delivery carriers.

Undergraduate Students

Anna Lynn Edwards

Biology Major

Anna is an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in biology, with the intent to conduct deep sea research as a long-term goal. In her free time, she plays soccer and guitar.

Bhargav Arimilli

Chemistry Major and Philosophy Minor

Bhargav is an undergraduate majoring in chemistry and minoring in philosophy. He is a cum laude graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and is from Washington, DC and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He is a staff writer for the UTD Mercury, an executive assistant for UTD CometTHON, and an active member of Chemistry Student Association. His interests include graphic design and commercial aviation.

Chayton Creswell

Biochemistry major and Neuroscience Minor

Chayton is an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Neuroscience. He is a transfer student from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. Through research in the Gassensmith lab he hopes to enrich his understanding of protein folding and reactivity to one day find applications of similar technologies in comprehending the cellular cascades responsible for cognition. Most of his free time is spent playing guitar, Dungeons and Dragons, or video games as well as flirting with mycology and pondering the beauty of our existence.

Cong-Bao (C.B.) Phan

Biochemistry Major

C. B. is an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry with the ultimate goal of earning an M.D. with a specialty in ophthalmology. In the past, he has earned his Associate's degree at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth through the Cornerstone Honors program. On his free time, C.B. loves to participate in the Filipino Student Association, exercising, cooking, and outdoor adventures.

Elizabeth Pham

Health Care Studies Major

Lizzie is an undergraudate pursuing a B.S. in Healthcare Studies. She graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory as one of the top 5 students of her class. She is an active member of Collegium V and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). Her interests include ice skating, tennis, music, and video games.

Hamza Ahmad

Biochemistry Major

Hamza is an undergraduate student that is pursuing a Biochemistry degree with a focus in Premed, as he wants to be a trauma surgeon in the future. He likes to dance, create different types of art, and read in his free time. He graduated from Plano West Senior High School in 2015, and is an active member of UTDDFC on campus.

Jose Maria Ramos

Chemistry Major

Jose graduated with a BS and MS in biology from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, TX. I  was a high school  teacher for 8 years and was then hired as a visiting instructor at Texas A&M International Unoversity.  I am perusing a BS in chemistry from UTD because my eventual goal is to apply to a doctoral program in chemistry.  My research interests include medicinal chemistry and behavioral ecology. I also have a passion for teaching.

Joseph Vo

Biochemistry Major

Joseph is an undergraduate working towards a B.S. in Biochemistry and is aiming for medical school. He graduated from Plano East High School in the top 5% of the class. He currently is a part of the Biochemistry Association, an officer of AOE, and a member of Collegium V. His interests include music, basketball, food, and finding the best outdoor outings.

Kevin Huynh

Chemistry Major and Public Education Minor

Kevin joined Dr. Gassensmith research lab in Spring 2016. He is currently pursuing a degree in Chemistry and minoring in Public Education through the UTeach program. Teaching, along with research, provides him an enriching outlook and the opportunity to teach from both laboratory and classroom experience to as many students he can come across. Aside from college, Kevin cooperates with Rain-Team in the discussion of cancer awareness. Rain is symbolic of the origin of life, and it offers a moment of reflection for the cancers that challenge the medical field and society today. After college, Kevin ultimately aims for a medical profession in the practice of cardiology.

Lana Tuong

Biology Major

Lana joined the Gassensmith group in Fall 2016 and is an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Biology. She graduated as salutatorian from Lee’s Summit North High School. She is an active member of the BSA, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Collegium V. Her goal is to become a dentist and travel the world to provide free dental care to those in need. In her free time she does ballet and plays videogames.

Nhan T. Khuu

Health Studies Major

Nhan is an undergraduate student and an aspiring chemist whose goal is to obtain an M.D. and practice radiology for his future career. Nhan is an active member of the Vietnamese Student Association and he loves to work out, though his love for gastronomy makes it difficult sometimes to keep his nutrition well-balance.

Stacey DetVo

Biochemistry Major

Stacey is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry and aspires to be a dentist. She graduated from Denton Guyer High School in the top 1% of her class. She is currently an active member of Health Occupations Students of America, and likes to go on adventures with her pup in her free time.


Anna Schlimme

Graduate with a M.S. in Chemistry and Education in 2016

Last Known Whereabouts: Chemistry teacher at Wylie High School

Hafiz Busari

Graduate with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2015

Last Known Whereabouts: Graduate School at Lehigh University

Jisoo Min

NanoExplorer (Su 2014) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jocelyn Lee

Graduate with Biochemistry Major in 2016 and Education Minor

Last Known Whereabouts: UTeach University of Texas at Dallas

Joycelyn Yiu

NanoExplorer (Su 2014)

Mohammad Kureishy

(BS 2015) Texas Tech University–Heath Science Center School of Medicine

Na Li

(Postdoc 2015–2016) Dong Chemicals (Irvine, CA)

Nazim Parupia

(BS 2015) Texas Tech University–Health Science Center School of Pharmacy

Quynh Nhu Do

(BS 2015) University of Incarnate Word– Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio.

Sharjeel Hassan

Graduated with a BS in 2015

Last Known Whereabouts: Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Udayram Kantipudi

NanoExplorer (Su 2014) University of Texas at Austin

Victoria Nguyen

Graduated with B.S. in Biochemistry in 2017

Last Known Whereabouts: UNT Health Science Center Program