People

Administration

  • Kevin Gardner, Ph.D.

    • Director, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Einstein Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The City College of New York

    The Gardner Lab studies the biophysical and biochemical basis of environmental sensing domains, exploring natural regulation, and developing methods of artificial control.

    Email: kgardner@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3220
  • Rinat Abzalimov, Ph.D.

    • Director, Mass Spectrometry Facility
    • Co-Director, MALDI-TOF MS Imaging Facility
    • Research Associate Professor, Structural Biology Initiative

    The Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Facility provides analytical services and expertise to CUNY researchers and their industrial partners, and academic research labs outside the University.

    Email: rabzalimov@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3236
  • Amédée des Georges, Ph.D.

    • Assistant Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The City College of New York

    Since his first class on the subject, Des Georges has been fascinated by protein structures and allosteric control. He found electron microscopy to be a compelling tool to study their function and dynamics, and he joined the Linda Amos lab for his Ph.D to learn its techniques. He subsequently joined the Joachim Frank lab to learn the single-particle technique during his postdoctoral studies.

    Still excited by its ability to visualize proteins directly, he continues to foray into the study of protein dynamics with cryo-electron microscopy, trying to learn as much as he can on the allosteric modulation of membrane proteins and on the role this plays in cell signaling. He enjoys exploring science with others, as a conversation in the pursuit of knowledge. He believes in fostering these conversations within his group to make science a fun and exciting pursuit.

    The des Georges lab studies structural and functional study of the regulation of large macromolecular complexes using cryo-electron microscopy.

    Email: adesgeorges@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3232
  • Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle, Ph.D.

    • Assistant Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    The Elbaum-Garfinkle Lab studies protein liquid phase separation and neurodegenerative aggregation using a combination of single molecule fluorescence, soft matter material science and C. elegans genetics.

    Email: selbaumgarfinkle@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3245
  • Denize C. Favaro

    • Research Associate Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Facility Director, Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility

    The Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility provides instrumentation, analysis, and expertise to researchers within or outside academia.

    Email: dfavaro@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3234
  • Eta A. Isiorho, Ph.D.

    • Research Assistant Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Facility Director, Macromolecular Crystallization Facility

    Eta Isiorho directs the Macromolecular Crystallization Facility, which provides protein and small molecule crystallization services, instrumentation, X-ray data collection at national synchrotron facilities, as well as X-ray crystallographic support to academic and industrial researchers both within and outside the CUNY.

    Eta joins the ASRC from Auburn University, where she was both a postdoctoral fellow and the macromolecular staff scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Biochemistry while being co-supervised by Drs. Adrian Keatinge-Clay and Hung-wen (Ben) Liu. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry from Indiana University Bloomington. She is excited to be a part of the SBI at the ASRC where she also provides crystallographic educational tutorials and guest lectures on macromolecular X-ray crystallography.

     

    Research Interests

    Using macromolecular X-ray crystallography to understand protein-ligand interactions and unusual biochemical transformations. Exploring and utilizing various crystallization methods on recalcitrant proteins (almost everything can crystallize if you manipulate it enough). Making structural biology, in particular X-ray crystallography, accessible to historically underserved populations.

    Email: eisiorho@gc.cuny.edu

  • Bruce Johnson, Ph.D.

    • Senior Research Director, Computational Sciences, Structural Biology Initiative

    The Johnson Lab works at the interface of computation and experiment in developing new techniques for the analysis and use of NMR data from proteins, RNA and metabolomics studies.

    Email: bjohnson@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3227
  • Daniel Keedy, Ph.D.

    • Assistant Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
    • Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The City College of New York

    The Keedy Lab combines computation and experiments to reveal alternative protein conformations and explore how they underlie dynamic functions such as catalysis, ligand binding, and allosteric regulation.

    Email: dkeedy@gc.cuny.edu
    Phone: 212.413.3246
  • Harsh Bansia, Ph.D.

    • Postdoctoral Research Associate, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    To me, one of the fascinating and satisfying aspect of being a structural biologist is the everyday chance to also become a mathematician, physicist, chemist and a computer scientist. After being introduced to biological macromolecular machines and different levels at which they can be studied, I decided to explore the foundational level and joined IISc for my PhD to study protein structure, function and dynamics using X-ray crystallography and MD simulations. As a postdoc in Des Georges lab, I use cryo-EM and machine learning to experimentally capture protein dynamics going well beyond the “one structure describes it all” notion. As a structural biologist, my long-term goal is to study intrinsically disordered proteins. As they say in structural biology, intrinsic disorder is the limit.

    Email: hbansia@gc.cuny.edu

  • Ali Ebrahim

    • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Keedy Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    Ali is a BSc (Hons) Biology and MPhil Biochemistry graduate of the University of Portsmouth, UK. His MPhil focused on the characterisation of cellulases involved in the production of second-generation biofuels, igniting an interest into the field of X-ray crystallography. He earned his PhD from the University of Essex, UK, in early 2020, under the co-supervision of Dr. Mike Hough from the University of Essex and Dr. Robin Owen from Diamond Light Source, UK. His research focused on the development of serial crystallography data collection and processing methods for both synchrotrons and X-ray free-electron lasers, used to analyse and exploit the effects of radiation damage in metalloproteins. Ali joined the Keedy lab as a postdoc in the spring of 2020 (though the pandemic had something to say about that…). He aims to bring his experience in crystallographic multi-dataset processing and analysis to the ASRC, in order to further unlock understanding within the field of phosphatase ligand binding, activity, and allostery.

    Email: aebrahim@gc.cuny.edu

  • Tara Marcink, Ph.D.

    • Postdoctoral Research Associate, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    I obtained my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri in 2018. My previous research focused on elucidating protein interactions between MT1-MMP, a key metastatic protein, and the cell surface, using various biochemical techniques including NMR, FRET, and electron microscopy to discover how this protein binds to nanodiscs. I continue pursuing my love of structural biochemistry through this unique collaboration between the des Georges Lab at CUNY and Anne Moscona’s and Matteo Porotto’s labs at Columbia University Medical Center where I try to uncover the structure and function of protein complexes involved in respiratory virus fusion with host cells using cry-electron tomography.
    Outside of the lab, I enjoy running, creating digital artwork, and making fancy desserts.

    Email: tmarcink@gc.cuny.edu

Doctoral Students

  • Roksana Azad
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology Initiative
    Email: razad@gc.cuny.edu
  • Andres Cabezas
    • Doctoral Student, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    I graduated in 2019 from New Jersey City University, the school where I gained valuable research experience in Dr. Yufeng Wei biochemistry lab and mentorship in classes from memorable faculty. I joined the des Georges lab to learn more about the amazing ability of cryo-electron microscopy to obtain snapshots of large proteins, such as calcium ion channels, and ultimately obtain high resolution structural models of them. My research focuses on protein-lipid interactions, as they play a major role in membrane protein function. Aside from lab work, I enjoy sports, gaming with friends, and improving my computer science skills.

    Email:
  • Alfredo Vidal Ceballos
    • Doctoral Student, Elbaum-Garfinkle Lab, Structural Biology Initiative
    Email: avidalceballos@gc.cuny.edu
  • Matt Cleere
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology
    Email: mcleere@gc.cuny.edu
  • Joseph Closson
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    I graduated with my BS in Biochemistry from Siena College where I researched neurotransmitter protein synaptotagmin I and its relationship with lead poisoning. In 2021, I joined the Gardner Lab and started work on Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR), a xenobiotic sensor involved in dioxin poisoning and cancer. Specifically, I am interested in its ligand and coactivator binding mechanisms and how they work in tandem to produce unique downstream effects. Outside of the lab, I enjoy working out and cooking.

    Email: jclosson@gradcenter.cuny.edu
  • Da Cui
    • Doctoral Student, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology

    After getting a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in mathematics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and two years of research at Tulane University, I joined des Georges’ lab in 2018 with a huge enthusiasm in applying the state-of-the-art technique of cryo-EM to solve the mechanisms of macromolecular assembly related to the Central Dogma. My long-term goal is to start my own lab in a research institute, contributing to the elucidation of key pathways related to cellular physiology with biophysical and biochemical tools, and training future students to continue the scientific development. Outside lab, I enjoy basketball, photography and backpacking. CMOS is one of my best friends now, both in the lab, and high in the remote mountains. 

    Email: dcui@gc.cuny.edu
  • Dominique Gutierrez
    • Doctoral Student, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology

    As an undergrad research assistant at UTEP, fluorescently localizing viral-host protein interactions in the cellular pool made me interested in seeing such interactions more directly and in comprehending their novel  effects on cellular processes, such as translation. I got to explore this interest when I spent a summer in Joachim Frank’s cryo-EM ribosome lab in New York City.  Fascinated by the vast scientific community present in the city and Amedee des Georges’s cryo-EM expertise, I joined the ASRC for my graduate studies to learn single-particle cryo-EM. Mastering techniques from such an evolving field has been a very exciting challenge. My goal is to become an independent scientist whose research contributes to the physiological and mechanistic understanding of cellular complexes. 

    Email: dgutierrez@gc.cuny.edu
  • Lilliana Margent
    • Doctoral Student, Keedy Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    Originally from Colombia, Liliana graduated with (Bs) in Biological Engineering from National University of Colombia. Liliana Margent moved to New York in 2016 to pursue a career in Biochemistry. In 2021, Liliana graduated with a masters in Biochemistry from Hunter College. She recently joined the Keedy Lab in which she hopes to focus her research in the study of allosteric networks of phosphatases with the use of computational tools.

    Email: lmargent@gradcenter.cuny.edu
  • Charles (CJ) McDonald
    • Doctoral Student, Elbaum-Garfinkle Lab, Structural Biology
    Email: cmcdonald@gc.cuny.edu
  • Jack Mechler
    • Doctoral Student, des Georges Lab, Structural Biology Initiative
    Email: jmechler@gradcenter.cuny.edu
  • Tamar Skaist
    • Doctoral Student, Keedy Lab, Structural Biology
    Email: tskaist@gc.cuny.edu
  • Danielle Swingle
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology Initiative
    Email: dswingle@gradcenter.cuny.edu
  • Tarsisius Tiyani
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology Initiative

    Tarsisius was born and raised in Zimbabwe. He moved to South Africa where he obtained his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biochemistry and Chemistry (University of Fort Hare), an Honours degree in Biochemistry and an M.S in Biochemistry (University of The Free State). During his M.S, he investigated the effect of active site mutations in CYP153A71 on the oxyfunctionalization of short-chain alkanes and aliphatic alcohols. His research interests in the Gardner lab revolve around structure-guided understanding of molecular mechanisms used by bacterial photosensors to regulate their response to environmental cues. Away from the lab, Tarsisius likes to participate in sporting activities, enjoys traveling and exploring new cities as well as hiking.

    Email: ttiyani@gradcenter.cuny.edu
  • Xingjian (Jim) Xu
    • Doctoral Student, Gardner Lab, Structural Biology
    Email: xxu2@gc.cuny.edu

Undergraduate Students

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