Christopher T. Nomura, Ph.D.
Christopher (Chris) Nomura was born in East L.A. and grew up in Southern California, spending time between East and South Central Los Angeles. He got his B.A. with honor in Biology from UC Santa Cruz where he studied elephant seal immunology and physiology in the laboratory of Dr. C. Leo Ortiz. He received his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University where he studied cyanobacterial physiology and electron transport proteins in the lab of Dr. Donald A. Bryant. Chris did his post-doctoral work in Japan in the Polymer Chemistry Laboratory at The RIKEN Institute under the supervision of Dr. Yoshiharu Doi. Chris is currently an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at SUNY-ESF.
Ben Lundgren Postdoctoral Fellow
After several years of training and competing in the Alaskan Iditarod, which he valiantly won back in 2003, Ben decided it was time to fulfill his other dream of becoming a professional biochemist. Most of his time is now spent on understanding and re-wiring bacterial metabolism for the production of high-valued biomolecules, including polyhydroxyalkanoates, polysaccharides, etc. This research not only focuses on developing cost-effective fermentation routes for these compounds but also provides insight into the biosynthesis of these molecules in the native organisms.
Ryan Tappel Graduate Student
Ryan is a Biochemistry graduate student who graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. His present research involves the engineering of various genes for improved biodegradable polymer synthesis. The genes involved come from various bacterial strains to produce metabolic precursors to the polymer. Other genes manipulated are part of the fatty-acid biosynthesis and β-oxidation pathways of non-native polymer-producing bacteria like E. coli.
Outside of lab, Ryan is an avid ultimate frisbee player and enjoys bike riding, running, and other various outdoor activities. When there’s no frisbees being thrown his way, he also enjoys playing Settlers of Catan and Bang.
Lucia Salamanca-Cardona Graduate Student
Lucia is a graduate student working on characterization and optimization of cellulases and xylanases from S. coelicolor. The current focus of the research is the manipulation of B. subitlis for the expression of cellulose and hemicellulose degrading enzymes to be optimized and used in efficient biofuel production, as well as an easy carbon source for bacterial PHA production.
Xian Wang Graduate Student
Xian is an Environmental Science graduate student who is interested in medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoates (MCL-PHA) synthesis from different carbon sources. Recently her work is focusing on developing an optimal condition for producing novel MCL-PHA. Xian is also developing methodologies to detect pharmaceutical compounds in waste water. Outside of work, she likes singing, playing the flute, and reading.
Alex Levine Graduate Student
Alex is a Biochemistry graduate student. His previous research includes the stereoselective polymerization of polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer, and the catalytic evolution of Hydrogen from water using mixed-metal oxynitrides. Alex’s current research is geared toward the characterization of (1,3)-b-glucan synthesis in bacteria. Outside the lab, Alex is a classically trained musician and an outdoor enthusiast.
Wenyang Pan Graduate Student
Pan is a third year graduate student in Dr. Nakas’ lab.
He grew up in the north part of China, which is as cold as Syracuse in winter but doesn’t have as much snow.
Pan is working on PHA production from various inexpensive carbon sources like cheese whey and wood hydrolysate.
He will be investigating the possibility of increasing PHA production from those cheap carbon sources: optimization of the fermentation, genetic engineering….
In his free time, Pan enjoys reading, hiking and playing basketball. He is also a fan of Syracuse University basketball.
Leticia Izquierdo Graduate Student
Leticia is currently a MS student in the GPES program. She is characterizing a hypothetical protein involved in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Mike Cook Undergraduate Student
Mike is a junior biotechnology major coming from the beautiful Hudson Valley area. He enjoys being tall and spends the majority of his time reaching things for the shorter lab members. Mike spent the summer of 2010 working under Ben Lundgren to up regulate acetyl Co-A production in E. coli to optimize PHA production. He is currently continuing to work in the lab in hopes to learn new techniques, make exciting new discoveries and get one or two publications in Nature…or maybe Science. Outside the lab Mike enjoys playing basketball and chopping wood on the ESF woodsman team.
Diana Dunn Undergraduate Student
Diana is currently a sophomore at SUNY-ESF, majoring in Biotechnology and shooting for a minor in Chemistry. She started working in the lab her freshmen year during the second semester learning new techniques and hopes to continue with her own project soon. She enjoys any challenge and strives for the best. Outside of the lab Diana likes riding her bike, sewing and anything else creative. And also Glee!
Masami Nonaka Alumni
Masami graduated with a BS in Biotechnology in 2010.
Alex Mottern Alumni
Alex graduated with a BS in Chemistry in 2012. He is currently Rochester’s greatest bartender.
Chengjun Zhu Alumni
Chengjun received his Ph.D. in Biology in 2011. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in
Anthony Garza’s lab at Syracuse University.
Alex Mueller Alumni
Alex graduated with his M.S. in Biochemistry in 2011. He is currently a scientist at LanzaTech.
Qin Wang Alumni
Qin graduated with her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2012. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher
in David Kaplan’s lab at Tufts University.
Hoa Nguyen Alumni
Hoa is a Biochemistry alumna from SUNY-ESF. Her research involved protein engineering of Escherichia coli through cloning, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and transformation to produce recombinant bacteria strains that will produce polyhydroxyalkanoates. Currently, she is working towards her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
Greg Boyd Alumni
Gregory D. Boyd graduated in December 2007 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biotechnology. Greg is currently an assistant scientist with the SEA program. During the 2.5 years he spent here at SUNY-ESF he has made many contributions to the college. One of his biggest accomplishments is the Biodiesel Demonstration facility he had set up and operated. Since the project began the school is now fueling their fleet vehicles on B20 produced on campus. His hobbies include adventuring of any sort…
Matthew Martino Alumni
Matthew graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from SUNY-ESF (Natural and Synthetic Polymers option) with a minor in Entrepreneurship from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. He is currently a scientist at Metabolix, Inc.
Erica Hansen Alumni
Erica graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Outside of the lab Erica loves watching SU basketball and she always hopes that they make the NCAA tournament. Currently Erica is a technician in Dr. Frederick Alt’s Laboratory at the Immune Disease Institute.
Jackie Mueller Alumni
Jackie graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY-ESF. She keeps herself busy outside the lab through dancing tap, jazz, modern, and hip-hop, swimming, TAing and tutoring chemistry, working in a student dining hall, cooking, and traveling the world. Jackie is currently in a doctoral program at the University of Hawaii working with Dr. Grieg Steward on marine viruses.
Jingnan Lu Alumni
Jingnan graduated from SUNY-ESF with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Jingnan is currently a graduate student at M.I.T. in the lab of Dr. Anthony Sinskey. Jingnan has a wide variety of interests such as reading forensic science, singing, playing piano, performing in musicals, playing cards, playing GO, making coffee drinks, swimming, collecting foreign coins and stamps, complaining, and making people laugh.
Ben Murphy Alumni
Ben graduated from SUNY-ESF with a B.S. in Biochemistry and is now in Officer Candidate School. Hobbies include: Exercise, football, socializing, people watching, meditation, reading on psychology, religion, and sales.
Dan Nicholson Advisor
Dan is a quasi-Graduate Student in Bioprocess Engineering and a part-time Research Support Technician in the Chemistry Department. His research interests are Biofuels, alternative chemical feedstocks, and the re-engineering of biowaste into useful products.