5th Year Graduate Students

Rachel Valenzuela
B.S. Chemistry, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Photo0370 Bio: Rachel’s research  is centered on exploring how chemically modified small interfering RNA (siRNA) modulates unwanted off-target effects
such as immune stimulation and miRNA-like off-targeting. She is also
exploring how these effects are related to siRNA-protein binding,
mainly to Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) and human Argonaute 2 (hAgo2).
Her work provides insights on how to improve RNAi efficacy, as well as
understand the mechanisms behind siRNA – protein interactions.

Kiet Tran

4th Year Graduate Students

Eric (Yuxuan) Zheng

image  Bio: Eric is currently doing research on ADAR substrate recognition and crystaliztion of RNA bound ADAR complex. Previously, Eric worked on RNA interference and CCA-adding enzyme. As an undergraduate, Eric worked on G-quadruplex stablization and development of photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy.

Yuru Wang
B.S. Materials Chemistry, Nankai University, China

Yuru photo Bio: Yuru worked on siRNA delivery as an undergraduate student. Now she is exploring the mechanism and structural requirements for RNA substrates of human Adenosine Deaminase acting on RNA1 (ADAR1). Yuru is also working on developing an in vitro evolutionary study of human ADAR3.

Justin Thomas
B.S. Biochemistry UCSB

Bio: As and undergraduate Justin worked with Dr. Norbert Reich in the UCSB chemistry/biochemsitry department.  There Justin, screened human telomerase inhibitors. Justin also worked to development a luminescent plate based assay for human telomerase activity.

Justin worked for 3 years at Peninsula Lab’s LLC. in San Carlos Ca. as a research associate.  My jobs included development of Enzyme-immuno assays (EIA) and Radio-immuno assays (RIA),  antigen conjugation and antibody purification.
In the Beal lab, Justin’s work focuses on defining the structural basis for RNA editing selectivity by ADARs (Adenosine Deaminases Acting on RNA) and developing site specific inhibitors of ADAR editing to advance our understanding of the functional significance of ADAR driven mRNA re-coding.
3rd Year graduate Students

Scott Suter
Bradford Borge Fellow (2013)
B.S. Chemistry from Monmouth University, 2013

11412191_997136813651486_6213082179243308503_n Bio: Scott went to undergrad at Monmouth University were he got a B.S. degree in chemistry. During his time there, he did research in Dr. Massimiliano Lamberto lab, where he researched napthtalene diamides to inhibit telomerase.

Scott is currently synthesizing different nucleobase modifications with the intent to incorporate them into RNAs to study their effects in RNAi and innate immunity with Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Scott is using molecular docking, and biochemical assays to evaluate the modifications he synthesizes.

2nd year Graduate Students

Cody Palumbo
NIH Predoctoral Fellow (2015)
B.S. Chemistry from Colorado State University, 2014

12027372_1059983300700170_682620604203193069_o    Bio: While at Colorado State University Cody worked 3.5 years as a mass spectroscopist. Cody also worked for Dr. Mellissa Reynolds synthesizing biopolymers.

Cody is now using organic synthesis to make modified nucleic acids that are capable of tethering and will use mass spectroscopy to screen for lead modifications to enhance binding of oligonucleotides to ADAR.


Tim (Tiannan) Hu,
B.S. Applied Chemistry (emphasis chemical biology), Zhejiang University, China

TiannanHuBio; Tim is working on probing the chemical biology of immune stimulation system TLR-8.


First Year Graduate Students

Leanna Monteleone
B.S. Biochemistry, California Polytechnic State University: San Luis Obispo, 2015
Bradford Borge Fellow 2015

pic Bio: Leanna worked for Dr. Philip Costanzo for three years. Worked on controlling surface energy and wettability with a light responsive linker system. Also worked for Dr. Abraham Joy at the   University of Akron researching thermoresponsive, biodegradable polyesters. In the Beal lab, Leanna is creating ADAR2 mutants, and will use specifically modified bottom strands to achieve site directed editing.

SeHee Park
B.S Chemistry, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea, 2015
IMG_0973 Bio: Prior to joining the lab, Sehee worked on asymmetric synthesis using Crystallization Induced Dynamic Resolution(CIDR). Sehee is using her synthesis experience to create nucleoside analogs containing thiols.
Pengzhan Qian
B.S. Pharmaceutical Science, Peking University, China, 2015

unnamed Bio: Pengzhan worked with Dr. Zhongjun Li in developing methods for oligosaccharides synthesis when he was in Peking University.

Undergraduate Students

Madeline Mumbleau

11987067_1653801758167901_6675816883698391209_n  Bio: Madeline joined the lab of Fall 2015 and is getting her degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UC-Davis. Madeline is working under the guidance of Scott to make RNA modifications via click-chemistry and then study them through crystallography.

Sara Stanley

Bio: Sara worked as an intern at LGC Biosearch Technologies where she learned small to large scale phosphoramidite synthesis, development of scale up processes, a solubility study to investigate separation of two constitutional isomers and a study of activator performance via reaction completion. She joined the Beal lab in Winter 2016. While getting her degree in Chemistry, she works with Cody synthesizing modified nucleic acids for various ADAR projects.