PEOPLE

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Jessica MJ Swanson

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Henry Eyring Center for Theoretical Chemistry, Biological Chemistry Program, & Center for Cell and Genome Science

University of Utah
4613 Thatcher Building for Biological and Biophysical Chemistry (TBBC)
CV

POST DOCS

Gabriel Costa Da Hora

Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Utah
gabriel.hora [at] utah.edu

Gabriel joined the Swanson Group in the Fall of 2019 with a B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD in Chemistry (2016) from the Department of Fundamental Chemistry of the Federal University of Pernambuco (Brazil). Gabriel has experience in the fields of quantum chemistry, molecular-based biochemistry and computational biochemistry, development of coarse-grained force fields and modeling of biomaterials such as cell membranes, peptides, polymers. His current research interests are focused on multi-scale approaches to characterize biophysical processes, like membrane permeation and the mechanism of action proteins. The goal is to apply enhanced sampling methods (metadynamics, umbrella sampling, simulated annealing) to explore the rough energy landscapes to understand the behavior of biological processes.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

John Nguyen

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

John joined the Swanson Group in the Spring of 2020. He received his B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Utah and is currently working towards a PhD in Chemistry. His research interests include the use of multiscale methods to study biological systems. Currently, he is studying membrane permeation to understand the interactions between membranes and molecules such as toxins, amphiphilic molecules, and membrane proteins.

Jay Braun

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

Jay got his B.S. in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University, where his main research focus was on materials/bio-inspired materials, with a heavy emphasis on materials characterization. He is currently interested in using simulations to investigate biophysical phenomena such as the properties and characteristics of lipid droplets, and how proteins interact with them. He is interested in incorporating machine learning techniques into his research.

Hannah Burton

Graduate Student, Biological Chemistry Program & Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

Hannah joined the Swanson Group in the Spring of 2021 with a B.Sc in Biochemistry and minor in Physics from The Pennsylvania State University, where the focus of her research revolved around theoretical atomic and molecular physics as well as understanding the molecular and genetic events involved in the initiation of sporulation in the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Her current research interests focus on multi-scale approaches to characterize biophysical processes, such as combining atomistic free energy simulation with microkinetic analysis to understand the equilibrium dynamics of ion channels with an applied membrane potential.

Tyler Southam

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

Tyler received his B.S. in Chemistry from Brigham Young University – Idaho. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemistry. His research interests include using computational methods to investigate biochemical systems and processes. His current work focuses on ATP hydrolysis by YME1.

Pooja Rao

Graduate Student, Biological Chemistry Program & Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

Pooja joined the Swanson group in the Summer of 2022. Pooja received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from SRIHER, India and BITS Pilani, India respectively. Her research project was in the molecular pharmacology domain with a focus on understanding the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in diabetes mellitus. She is currently interested in utilizing all atom molecular dynamic simulations and enhanced sampling techniques to investigate the mechanism by which physiologically relevant proteins target lipid droplets.

Josh Peterson

Josh received his B.S. in Chemistry from Brigham Young University – Idaho. There he studied polymer synthesis and characterization techniques as well as method development in organic extractions from natural materials. During a summer research experience at BYU in Provo, he also utilized spectroscopic and computational techniques to map unit cell dimensions of crystal structures. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry. His research focuses on the copper active site of pMMO, a methane oxidizing enzyme, and using computational techniques to understand the catalytic cycle and mechanism of the oxidation of methane to methanol in this system.

UNDERGRADUATES

Maya Rabbitt

Maya is an undergraduate at the University of Utah working toward her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. She plans to switch to research in industry after graduation. She is interested in applying molecular dynamics to material sciences for the exploration of bioactive and environmentally sustainable medical solutions.

Orion Harmon

Orion is an undergraduate student at the University of Utah studying biochemistry with an emphasis on computer science. His current research interests focus on computational modeling and implementation of AI into research models.

Jonah Pratt

Jonah is an undergraduate student at Grinnell College in Iowa pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Math. His current research interests focus on using mathematical and multiscale kinetic modeling to investigate biologically relevant systems.

ALUMNI

Scott Wayne Springer
Former Undergraduate

Austen Bernardi
Former Postdoc
Currently postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Myong In Oh
Former Postdoc
Currently a principal investigator at Koniag government services funded by the FDA & visiting scientist at the University of Maryland School of pharmacy

Andrew Ralph
Former Undergraduate, Department of Chemistry, University of Utah
Currently a graduate student at BYU

Dudu Tong
Former postdoc
Currently a postdoc in the Bidone Group