Mariah Avila was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, where she began working part-time for an oceanographic consulting company. She completed a B.S. in Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a M.S in the laboratory of Kevin Esvelt. Her thesis involved the development of high-throughput screens for the engineering of CRISPR Cas12a systems in mammalian cells. She joined the Moore Lab in Fall of 2021, where her interests include the applications of synthetic biology techniques and continuous evolution to marine natural products and human health research.
Hannah received her B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry from UC Santa Barbara in 2018. After undergrad, she worked in the Hughes Lab at UC Irvine studying angiogenesis and the creation of an organ-on-a-chip model to create 3D vascularized tissues that are suitable for drug screening. Hannah joined the Moore lab in Fall 2021 and is interested in exploring natural products chemistry in macroalgae, specifically in Native Hawaiian species, and studying the intersection of marine systems and human health.
Leah Bushin, Ph.D.
Leah earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Princeton University where she completed her undergraduate thesis under the guidance of Prof. Mohammad Seyedsayamdost. Upon realizing her passion for natural product chemistry, she remained in the same laboratory to obtain her Ph.D. Her graduate research focused on the discovery and biosynthesis of radical SAM enzyme-modified RiPPs from streptococcus bacteria. She joined the Moore Lab in January 2021. Here, she is exploring her interests in synthetic biology, microbiomes, and biomedical applications.
Rebecca Schäfer, Ph.D.
Rebecca received her BSc. and MSc. in Chemistry from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. During her time in Heidelberg, she spent 8 months at UC Berkeley for her Master's thesis in the group of Prof. Dean Toste working on photoredox chemistry inside the cavity of a supramolecular Ga4L6-assembly. In 2015, she then moved to Switzerland to start her Ph.D. at ETH Zürich in the group of Prof. Helma Wennemers where she developed a new bioorthogonal ligation reactions based on isonitriles and chlorooximes. After her Ph.D., she went back to California and joined the Moore Lab in October 2020 as a Postdoc to study stereoselective enzymatic halogenation reactions of unactivated carbon skeletons in fresh water microalgae.
Steffaney received her B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Chemistry from Davidson College in 2018, where she studied Pseudo-nitzschia blooms along the US west coast. After, she received a Fulbright-EDUFI grant to research cyanobacterial akinetes and toxin records in sediment archives from the Baltic Sea with Drs. Sanna Suikkanen and Anke Kremp at the Finnish Environment Institute Marine Research Centre in Helsinki, Finland. She earned an M.S. in Microbiology & Microbial Biotechnology from the University of Helsinki after her Fulbright grant period. Steffaney joined the Moore Lab in Fall 2020 and is interested in toxin biosynthesis in harmful algae species.
Sanjoy Adak, Ph.D.
Sanjoy received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Calcutta and a master degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. During his master studies, he worked in the laboratory of Prof. Suvarn Kulkarni on the synthesis of complex carbohydrates. In 2019, he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University under Prof. Tadhg P. Begley. His graduate research focused on bacterial flavoenzymes involved in xenobiotic, nucleobase, and vitamin catabolism. He joined the Moore Lab in February 2020.
April Lukowski, Ph.D.
April was born in Bay City, Michigan. She earned her B.S. in biochemistry from Saginaw Valley State University in 2015 where she completed an honors thesis on the genetic basis for isoprene production in firs and conducted research in water quality assessment for bacterial contamination. April completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from the University of Michigan under the supervision of Prof. Alison Narayan. Her thesis research was focused on characterizing biosynthetic enzymes in the production of paralytic shellfish toxins in cyanobacteria. April joined the Moore lab in September 2020 and is studying the biosynthesis and chemical ecology of algal polybrominated compounds.
Kate earned her bachelor's degree in Chemistry at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she worked with Professor Lesley-Ann Giddings to exploit cryptic gene clusters in extremophilic microorganisms for the discovery of bioactive secondary metabolites. She is interested in the intersection of chemistry and biology in natural products research. She joined the Moore lab in the fall of 2016.
Immo Burkhardt, PhD
Immo was born in Lueneburg in Northern Germany. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Technical University of Braunschweig working on optical superresolution microscopy in the group of Prof. Philip Tinnefeld. At the same university he obtained his master’s degree in biological chemistry working on photoaffinity labeling of small peptides under Prof. Thomas Lindel. For pursuing his PhD he joined the group of Prof. Jeroen Dickschat at the University of Bonn to work in the fields of natural products chemistry and biosynthesis with a focus on fungal isoprenoids. He joined the Moore lab in October 2019.
For a current list of publications visit his google scholar page.
Tristan de Rond, Ph.D.
Timothy Fallon, Ph.D.
Tim was born in Tokyo, Japan. He earned his B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Dr. Jayaraj Rajagopal at the Massachusetts General Hospital studying the cellular and tissue biology of the mammalian lung epithelium. He obtained his PhD in the laboratory of Jing-Ke Weng at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his graduate studies, Tim studied the metabolism and evolution of bioluminescence in fireflies and other bioluminescent beetles, including the completion of the genome project for the North American firefly Photinus pyralis. He joined the Moore lab in July 2019. For a current list of publications visit his website at https://photocyte.github.io.
Vikram Shende, Ph.D.
Vik was born in Columbus, Ohio. He received his B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 2011. After undergraduate he spent a few years working as a synthetic chemist at Cayman Chemical in Ann Arbor, MI, working on the total synthesis of prostacyclins. Vik obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, working in the Sherman Lab where he characterized bacterial cytochromes P450 and their molecular basis for selectivity in the biosynthesis of non-symmetrical diketopiperazine dimers. Vik joined the Moore lab in March 2020 and is currently exploring the biosynthesis of sponge-derived natural products. Being from the midwest, Vik misses the cold weather, and despite the unforgiving California sun enjoys dark beer, and spicy noodle soups.
Taylor earned her B.S. in Biology-Chemistry in 2017 from Point Loma Nazarene University. There, she worked with Dr. Ariane Jansma to investigate interactions between viral proteins and PDZ domains from host cells using NMR spectroscopy. She also completed an honors thesis under the guidance of Dr. Ryan Botts and Dr. David E. Cummings to develop new sequencing and bioinformatics methodologies for the characterization of novel ciprofloxacin-resistant plasmids from coastal San Diego wetlands. Taylor joined the Moore lab in January of 2019 and is interested in algal genomics and halogenation in marine natural product chemistry.
Kayla earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, where she worked with Professor Larryn Peterson to design and synthesize antibacterial compounds that mimic the natural substrate of the LpxC enzyme. Sailing across the Atlantic on an oceanographic research vessel sparked her interest in marine systems. Kayla is interested in the microbiome of marine sponges and hopes to increase understanding of the chemical signaling between the host sponge and its symbionts. She joined the Moore lab in the Fall of 2017.