Lab Members

Group Photo Above: Top row from L to R: Dr. Tanmay Chatterjee, Dr. Shankar Mandal, Dr. Katelyn Green, Dr. Aaron Blanchaerd, Karen Montoya, Dr. Li Zi, Dr. Adrien Chauvier, Saffron Little, Dr. Robb Welty, Dr. Andreas Schmidt, Dr. Surajit Chatterjee, Kunal Khanna, Liuhan Dai, Two family guests
Bottom Row from L to R: Four family guests, Mason Myers, Guoming Gao, Emily Ellinger, Rosa Romero, Laura Penabad-Peña, Dr. Elizabeth Duran, Dr. Catie Scull, Dr. Nils Walter
Absent: Damon Hoff, Martina Jerant, Several undergrads

Principal Investigator

Prof. Nils Walter, Ph.D. : Principal Investigator

Prof. Nils Walter, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

nwalter@umich.edu

Hi, I'm Nils Walter, lucky to be the mentor and coach of a young, dynamic, and interactive group, where my main job is to help everyone excel in their research. Over the years we have developed and applied many leading-edge single molecule microscopy tools to understand the mechanisms of RNA biology, from RNA enzymes and riboswitches to the spliceosome and RNA silencing machinery. We also work on CRISPR and DNA nanotechnology, and have developed a molecular diagnostics tools that can reliably detect single biomarkers of disease (leading to foundation of a biotech company!). Students and postdocs in my group get both a broad and a deep education with skills that translate into the real world, from academia to industry. I have an "open-door" policy, so please stop by if you have a question, or seek us out on Twitter!
Curriculum Vitae

Office : 734-615-2060


Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Surajit Chatterjee : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Surajit Chatterjee

Postdoctoral Fellow

surajitc@umich.edu

Surajit completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology Indore, India. His thesis work primarily focused on the study of the photoluminescence properties of silicon quantum dot and its effectiveness as a single-particle luminescence marker. He joined the Walter Lab as a postdoc in December 2016 and studies how the riboswitches regulate gene expression upon their interaction with various small-molecule ligands, proteins, ribosomes etc. (Member since 2016)
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Dr. Tanmay Chatterjee :

Dr. Tanmay Chatterjee

tanmayc@umich.edu

Tanmay received his M.Sc. from University of Burdwan and Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISER KOLKATA). He joined the Walter lab as a postdoc in May, 2017. His current research focus is on ultra sensitive protein detection by Single- Molecule Recognition through Equilibrium Poisson Sampling (SiMREPS) method. (Member since 2017)
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Dr. Adrien Chauvier : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Adrien Chauvier

Postdoctoral Fellow

achauvie@umich.edu

Adrien obtained his B.Sc and M.Sc. in Microbiology Agrobioscience from the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. During his PhD, he worked on riboswitch regulation with Daniel Lafontaine at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. In the Walter lab, Adrien is applying biochemical and single molecule techniques to understand how Non-coding RNAs modulate the dynamic of the transcription machinery. (Member Since 2017)
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Dr. Elizabeth Duran : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Elizabeth Duran

Postdoctoral Fellow

elizabcd@umich.edu

Elizabeth received her B.A. in Chemistry from Florida International University and then completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry in the lab of Aaron Lucius at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During her graduate work she used hydrodynamic techniques to elucidate the ATP-linked assembly mechanism of a AAA+ molecular motor involved in bacterial protein quality control pathways. In her current work, she’s using single molecule approaches to investigate the mechanism of DEAH-box helicases critical to the function of the yeast spliceosome. Elizabeth’s work is currently supported through a postdoctoral fellowship from the Michigan IRACDA program. (Member Since: 2018)
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Dr. Shankar Mandal : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Shankar Mandal

Postdoctoral Fellow

mandal@umich.edu

Shankar received his B.S. in Chemistry and M.S in Organic Chemistry from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He received his PhD, in Chemistry and Biochemistry, under the supervision of Hanbin Mao at Kent State University, Ohio. During his PhD, he used single molecule force spectroscopy (laser tweezers) to develop single molecule mechanochemical biosensors. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Walter's laboratory, he is utilizing single molecule fluorescence microscopy to develop sensitive, highly specific, and multiplexed biosensors for detecting nucleic acid molecules as potential disease biomarkers in complex biosamples. (Member Since:2019)
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Dr. Andreas Schmidt : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Andreas Schmidt

Postdoctoral Fellow

andsch@umich.edu

Member Since: 2019
Learn more about Andreas

 

 

Dr. Catie Scull : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Catie Scull

Postdoctoral Fellow

cescull@umich.edu

Catie obtained her B.S. in Cell, Molecular, and Microbial Biology from Auburn University, and then completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in the lab of David Schneider at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her graduate research focused on the kinetics of transcription elongation by eukaryotic RNA polymerase I. She joined the Walter lab in 2020, and is now focused on understanding the co-transcriptional folding of riboswitch RNA. (Member since 2020)
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Dr. Robb Welty : Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Robb Welty

Postdoctoral Fellow

robbw@umich.edu

Robb received his B.S. in Chemistry & Molecular Biology and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He received his PhD, in Computational and Molecular Biophysics, under the mentorship of Kathleen Hall at Washington University in St. Louis. Where his thesis work focused on the kinetics of ion and protein induced RNA folding and allostery. In the Walter lab, Robb is studying how sequence encoded RNA structure plays a role in alternative gene splicing in disease. (Member Since: 2018)
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Graduate Students

Liuhan Dai : Graduate Student

Liuhan Dai

Graduate Student

liuhand@umich.edu

Liuhan received his B.S. in Chemical Biology from Nankai University, China and becomes a Ph.D. student in Chemistry/Chemical Biology in University of Michigan. During his undergraduate studies, he explored both methodology development of fluorine chemistry in Pingping Tang's lab and detection by single molecule kinetic fingerprinting (SMKF) in Nils Walter's lab as a visiting researcher. Currently, he is developing a detection method for epigenetic biomarkers of cancer with SMKF. Multidisciplinary convergence is always a fun nature in his research. (Member since 2017)
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Emily Ellinger : Graduate Student

Emily Ellinger

Graduate Student

eellinge@umich.edu

Emily received her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Indiana in 2019. She is currently obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in the Department of Biological Chemistry. Her current research in Nils Walter's lab focuses on using biochemical techniques to study riboswitches and transcription machinery. (Member since 2020)
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Guoming Gao : Graduate Student

Guoming Gao

Graduate Student

gmgao@umich.edu

Guoming received his B.S. in Biology from Wuhan University, Wuhan, China. He stepped into the Single Molecule Biophysics field by studying chaperone-assisted R-loop formation in Xinghua Zhang's lab at Wuhan University. Further exploration in biophysics, including MD simulation in Niu Huang's Lab at NIBS, Beijing, and X-Ray Crystallography in Xuewu Zhang's Lab at UTSW Medical Center, Dallas, led to his decision on joining the Biophysics Ph.D. program through PIBS in 2018. Currently, his research focuses on probing the role of RNAs in membraneless organelles with live-cell single molecule RNA tracking. (Member since 2018)
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Kunal Khanna : Chemistry Graduate Student

Kunal Khanna

Chemistry Graduate Student

khannak@umich.edu

Kunal received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Hunter College. He studied optimizing synthesis of various organic compounds as an undergraduate and worked as a lab technician in the Alarcon lab at SUNY Downstate which studied how learning and acquisition of memory in mice changed the mouse hippocampus at the levels of neural circuits. He then joined the Chemistry PhD program at University of Michigan and is currently working in the Walter Lab on developing a FRET-based approach to SiMREPS for detecting a variety of miRNA targets. (Member since 2017)
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Saffron Little : Graduate Student

Saffron Little

Graduate Student

littlesr@umich.edu

Member Since: 2019
Learn more about Saffron

 

 

Karen Montoya : Graduate Student

Karen Montoya

Graduate Student

kmontoya@umich.edu

Member since 2017
Learn more about Karen

 

 

Rosa Romero : Graduate Student

Rosa Romero

Graduate Student

roromero@umich.edu

Rosa received a Bachelor's in Biochemistry from California State University of San Marcos, then joined the Ph.D. program in Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan. During undergrad, she worked in Dr. Kambiz Hammadani laboratory where she worked on developing a method to enhance fluorescence quantum yield determination using Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS). Her current research involves understanding how riboswitches control gene expression using single-molecule approaches.  (Member Since: 2019) Learn more..


Masters Students


Rotation Students

Xin Li : Rotation Student

Xin Li

Rotation Student

xinleee@umich.edu

Xin received his M.S. in marine pharmaceutical science and B.S. in pharmaceutical science from China Pharmaceutical University and is starting in the Biological Chemistry Ph.D program in 2021. During his master period, he worked in the Dr. Hanmei Xu lab on the discovery and function validation of micropeptides. He will be working with Dr. Gao this fall. (Member since 2021)

Jackline Onyango : Rotation Student

Jackline Onyango

Rotation Student

jonyango@umich.edu

Jackline is a first-year doctoral student in the PIBS program. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Jackline received her M.S in Chemistry from Western Michigan University. Her thesis project in the laboratory of Dr. Kelly Teske focused on the development of a high throughput assay for the identification and evaluation of small molecule inhibitors of microRNA-31 expression. Jackline received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Kenyatta University, Kenya. (Member since 2021)

Emily Sumrall :

Emily Sumrall

esumrall@umich.edu

Emily is a first year graduate student in the biophysics program. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Mississippi State University. During her undergraduate degree, she worked in Dr. Nicholas Fitzkee’s laboratory on a project aimed at understanding the interactions between Staphylococcal Autolysin domains and polystyrene surfaces. (Member since 2021)

Jingxuan Tang : Rotation Student

Jingxuan Tang

Rotation Student

tjx@umich.edu

I received my B.S. in Chemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison and is starting in the Chemical biology Ph.D. program at U-M. During my undergraduate, I worked in the Dr. John Markley’s lab on solving the structure of human acyl carrier protein with NMR and investigating the interaction of acyl carrier protein with zinc. I will be working this fall with Dr. Welty. (Member since 2021)


Undergraduate Students

Pujan Ajmera : Undergraduate student

Pujan Ajmera

Undergraduate student

pujan@umich.edu

Pujan is an undergraduate student planning to graduate in 2022 with a B.S. in engineering physics, minoring in biophysics and music. He is currently working with Dr. Chauvier on understanding the structure and dynamics of the crcB fluoride riboswitch and transcriptional machinery using single molecule FRET. (Member since 2018)
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Annika Ehrlacher : Undergraduate Student

Annika Ehrlacher

Undergraduate Student

aehrlach@umich.edu

Annika is an undergraduate student planning on graduating in 2024 with a BS in biochemistry. After graduation, she plans to continue her education by pursuing an MD-PhD program. (Member since 2021) Learn more..

 

Carolyn Glasser : Undergraduate Student

Carolyn Glasser

Undergraduate Student

caglass@umich.edu

Carolyn is an undergraduate student planning on graduating in 2023 with a BS in biochemistry. She is currently working with Andreas to establish a single-molecule m6A detection assay using TIRF microscopy. (Member since 2019) Learn more..

Alexey Kovalenko : Undergraduate Researcher

Alexey Kovalenko

Undergraduate Researcher

alexeyk@umich.edu

Alexey is an international undergraduate student from Russia, majoring in biochemistry. After graduation, he plans to continue his education by going to medical school
(Member since 2021)

Katherine Mudge : Undergraduate Student

Katherine Mudge

Undergraduate Student

katmudge@umich.edu

Katherine is an undergraduate student planning on graduating in 2024 with a BS in Biochemistry and Informatics. She is currently working with Karen on detecting miRNAs using FRET and SiMREPS. (Member since 2021)
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Becky Perelman : UROP Undergraduate Researcher

Becky Perelman

UROP Undergraduate Researcher

Becky is an undergraduate student planning on graduating in 2023 with a BS in biophysics. She is currently working with Guoming on how membraneless organelles are formed via phase transition of proteins/RNAs from a diluted phase to a condensed phase. (Member since 2020)
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Emily Schugardt : Undergraduate student

Emily Schugardt

Undergraduate student

eschugar@umich.edu

Emily is an undergraduate student set to graduate in 2024 with a BS in Biomolecular Sciences. After graduation, she plans to pursue an MD-PhD dual program and study infectious disease. (Member since 2021)
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Visiting Researchers


SMART Center Staff

Dr. Damon Hoff : SMART Center Manager

Dr. Damon Hoff

SMART Center Manager

hoffj@umich.edu

J. Damon Hoff manages the Center for Single Molecule Analysis in Real-Time (SMART Center), a shared use facility housed in the Dept. of Biophysics at the University of Michigan that offers a suite of single-molecule microscopes and analysis tools. He obtained his B.S.E. in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering from Duke University, and continued his studies at the University of Michigan, obtaining his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, developing optical tools for manipulation of biomolecules, including nanoscale ultrafast laser ablation and optical tweezers. He now manages the day-to-day activities at the SMART Center and facilitates user training, experimental planning, and analysis. (Member since 2013, SMART center phone: 734-763-5449)
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Research Associate

Martina Jerant, MPH : Research Associate

Martina Jerant, MPH

Research Associate

mjerant@umich.edu

Martina completed her undergraduate degree in Biology from Brown University and received her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. Martina Jerant serves as the Walter Lab manager as well as the manager for the Center for RNA Biomedicine at the University of Michigan. Using collaborative tools like Strategic Doing and Grant Sprints, Martina leads diverse groups of students, faculty, and researchers to collaboratively work across disciplines, build community and generate innovative ideas to advance RNA research and education across the University of Michigan. (Member since 2016) Office: 734-615-8213
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