Crans Group Members


Debbie Crans: Our Fearless Leader

Graduate Student Bios:


Cheryle Beuning

Cheryle graduated from Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her primary research field and expertise are analytical chemistry with a focus in bio-analytical spectroscopic characterization. Her current research includes using fluorescence spectroscopy to characterize inter-peptidic Cu(II) exchange kinetics of some small fluorescent peptide models for amyloid-beta, specifically from Cu-GHW with exchange to GHK/DAHK. This method uses tryptophan fluorescence quenching by paramagnetic Cu(II) to indicate exchange and the manuscript is currently in peer-review. She is currently extending this method to examine the effect of the N-terminus residue on the kinetics of inter-peptidic exchange from Cu-GHW and Cu-GGW complexes to the XAHK motif, where X is a number of different types of residues. She hopes to extend this to the amyloid-beta peptide in the future. She has also looked at metal ion transfer within reverse micelles using a Zn(II) bound photolytic cage and Zincon as an awaiting ligand. Through photolysis using a laser we can break apart the cage and release the metal which can be picked up by the Zincon. This manuscript is currently being written. She was awarded the 2015 Chateaubriand Fellowship to work with Dr. Christelle Hureau in Toulouse, France in 2015, a prominent amyloid researcher and our collaborator on the inter-peptidic Cu(II) exchange kinetics project. Cheryle has also contributed to non-aqueous electrochemistry of menaquinones using cyclic voltammetry for Jordan’s Koehn’s MK project. Personally, Cheryle loves traveling, chemistry, playing World of Warcraft, playing the violin, movies, her kitty Zoe and lounging around the house on weekends with her husband.


Zeyad Arhouma

Zeyad graduated from the Benghazi University in Libya. He has teaching and research supervision experience in Zoology at Benghazi University and Al-Arab Medical University. Primary research field and expertise is chemical biology with a focus in tuberculosis. His current research includes the examination of how an active tuberculosis drug interacts with model membrane interfaces by using very simple reverse micelle systems to determine exactly how the drug interacts with a membrane. He was also the head of the Biology Department at Faculty of Education in Ghemines/Benghazi University from 2011-13.


Kaitlin Doucette

Kaitlin graduated from Winona State University in Winona, MN, with a double major in biochemistry and Spanish.  Her primary research expertise is in cell and molecular biology and using chemical applications to better elucidate biological mechanisms and processes.  Her current research includes work identifying the interactions of amino acids and small peptides at cellular mimetic membrane interfaces by using reverse micelles and liposomes.  This will be used to better understand how proteins behave at membrane interfaces for future work with the protein heavily implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-beta. She is also working on the characterization of the geometry of vanadate in vanadium-dependent haloperoxidases to better elucidate their enzymatic mechanism of action.  Kaitlin’s hobbies include painting, binge-watching Netflix, driving the speed limit and going on spontaneous adventures.

Kelly Hassell

Kelly N Hassell, originally from the NW corridor of Philadelphia, PA, obtained her second Masters’ degree in Biology from Rutgers University in 2014.   After earning her M. Ed in Multicultural Education, Kelly taught various science courses and coached sports; lacrosse, soccer, and softball, at the K-12 level. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities (camping, hiking, and stargazing with her puppies; Angus and Gouda Bleu, snuggling indoors with her cat, Pumpkin Tails. Kelly is currently a third-year Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. student conducting research in the Chemistry Dept. with the Crans’ Group.  Kelly’s research interests focus on flow cytometry assay development for metallocage drug delivery monitoring in live cells.

Cameron Van Cleave

Cameron graduated with a B.A. in Biochemistry from Earlham College in Indiana. Her research focuses on the physical and chemical properties of small biologically relevant molecules, such as menaquinones, at the air-water interface of Langmuir monolayers. She and an undergraduate research student are also involved in developing a more rigorous statistical analysis of data obtained via the compression of Langmuir monolayers. She is a mezzo-soprano with training in classical voice performance. Her hobbies include reading and drawing comics about life in the Crans Lab.

Allison Haase

Allison Haase is currently a graduate student working in the Crans lab at the Colorado State University Chemistry Department in Fort Collins, CO. A Texas native, Allison got her B.S. in Professional Chemistry at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and did research there focusing on determination of inflammatory compounds in fish lipid samples via GC/MS. Research interests include analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, mass spectrometry, lipid interactions, and radioactive decay. Her hobbies include reading and scientific outreach.

Heide Murakami

Heide Murakami graduated with a BS in Chemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She worked with the UH Cancer Center to develop compounds to use against Glioblastoma. Heide is currently a graduate student in the Crans’ lab at Colorado State University, working as an organic/inorganic chemist. Research interests include organic and inorganic synthesis and medicinal chemistry. If not working, Heide likes to play games and read.

Kate Kostenkova

Kate got her B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Biology from Whitworth University, a small liberal arts university in Spokane, WA. Her research interests include bioinorganic and organic syntheses with an application to the medical field. In particular, Kate is interested in developing transition metal complexes for cancer treatment and biological imaging applications. She did her undergraduate research at Washington State University where she worked on the synthesis and characterization of LKE and LKE-P derivatives for treating Alzheimer’s and ALS. She also worked on environmental and organometallic chemistry research projects at Whitworth University. Outside of research, Kate enjoys running, hiking, skiing, reading, learning languages, postcards and coin collecting, traveling, and cooking.