Group Members

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Debbie Crans: Our Fearless Leader


Graduate Student Bios:

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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.


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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.


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Kaitlin Doucette

Focus: Characterization of electrochemical properties of menaquinone, growth studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Skills: Electrochemistry, protein purification, membrane studies, cell culturing, liposomes
Origin: Big Lake, MN
Education: BS from Winona State University  (MN) in Biochemistry/Spanish (double major)
Interests: baking, long-distance running and biking, driving the speed limit, and spontaneous adventures
Year Joined: July 2015

Kelly Hassell

Focus: Flow cytometry assay development for metallocage drug delivery monitoring
Skills: Flow cytometry, metallocages
Origin: NW corridor of Philadelphia, PA
Education: M.S. from Rutgers University (NJ), M.Ed.
Interests: Camping, hiking, stargazing with her dogs, snuggling with her cat
Year Joined: 2015


Cameron Van Cleave

Focus: Model membrane studies and bioinorganic chemistry
Skills: Langmuir monolayer studies, FT-IR, EPR
Origin: the mountains of New Mexico
Education: B.A. in Biochemistry – Earlham College (IN)
Interests: drawing, music (especially voice!), all the visual arts, languages, volunteering at Animal Friends Alliance
Year Joined: December 2016

Allison Haase

Focus: Analytical chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, impact of transition metals on bacteria.
Skills: LC/MS, Skyline MS software, Originlab software, Langmuir monolayers.
Origin: Sugarland, TX.
Education: B.S. in Professional Chemistry from Sam Houston State University (TX)
Interests: Reading, video games, handicrafts
Year Joined: 2016

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, plan D&D campaigns, and read.


Kate Kostenkova

Focus: synthesis, characterization and biological applications of vanadium-based anticancer compounds and lipid electron carriers
Skills: vanadium chemistry, inorganic and organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy (1D and 2D), EPR spectroscopy
Origin: Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine -> New Salem, ND -> Spokane, WA
Education: B. S. Chemistry (with Biology minor) – Whitworth University (WA)
Hobbies: running, hiking, skiing, cooking, traveling
Year Joined: 2018